I know this might sound like a shock to some, but pastors are just like anybody else. Despite what some may think (or how some preachers may portray themselves), the men who stand behind pulpits every Sunday delivering sermons are on the same spiritual level as the congregants who sit in the pews. There are no superheroes, no men of steel, no group impervious to the toils and pains of life that everyone else must endure.
I’m not trying to burst any bubbles or say that pastors aren’t great people. They are…at least, most of the ones I know. But being great and being different aren’t the same thing. Like I said, I know a lot of great pastors, but I can assure you, they are not different than you.
- They laugh and cry.
- They have highs and lows.
- They counsel and sometimes need counseling.
- They get hurt by the words of others and sometimes, like the rest of us, hurt others with their words.
- They can be both strong and insecure, both loving and insensitive.
- They have fought with their spouse, yelled at their kids, silently cursed the car in front of them because it’s not going fast enough.
- Like you, they can make really big mistakes. Mistakes they aren’t proud of, wouldn’t want to tell anyone, and just flat out make them ashamed.
Don’t get me wrong, most pastors I know are “stand up” kind of guys. They do their best to model the faith, live strong for Christ and exemplify the qualifications for elders found in passages like 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Again, most are sterling followers of Jesus.
They’re just not Jesus.
They don’t live on some super-spiritual level that’s above temptation and sin. If you feel that way about the pastor, it’s a nice sentiment, it just isn’t true. But this should help both our sympathy and gratitude: Our sympathy, knowing that the guy preaching to you this Sunday is just one more broken person forgiven by the grace of Christ and who will likely, until the King’s return, demonstrate his very common brokenness every now and then. But his brokenness should also inform our gratitude, trusting that God didn’t give up on people because they ceased to be perfect. On the contrary, because of his great love, God, in Christ, became perfect for them. Now that is Good News.
Good News for you and your pastor.
So remember the next time you see your pastor, Bible in hand, alight upon the pulpit to preach God’s Word – that the hope of the pastor is the same as the hope of his people: Jesus.
Because pastors are people too.