except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places…..(1 Kings 3:3).
King David, although a man’s after God’s heart was also, just a man. His son, Solomon, who succeeded him as King, although a great ruler, was also, just a man, with brokenness, impure motives, and fears. Never should we look to a leader and glorify them as somehow “above the rest.” Truly, they are just people, with their own sins they wrestle with. I think the best leaders are people that are humble enough to say, “I’m a lot just like you.” Should they be spiritually mature people? Yes, of course, but we must remember that even the most spiritually mature persons are still being made into the image of Christ. They still have their own baggage that the Lord is working through.
One of the reasons why the church can be so messy is because its filled with people with their own fears, blind spots, and insecurities, including those who lead it. At the end of the day, although they may have the titles or degrees that put them in a position of authority, they are just people. Therefore, we should not be surprised when they fail in some way or do something that hurts us.
I have spoken with many people who have been hurt by the church. I have talked with some who have stopped going to church altogether. I can understand why someone would get the point where they give up on the church. If our focus becomes how we’re treated by people, leadership or whatever, it’s easy to become frustrated and done with the church.
That can’t be our focus though. We must have grace for one another. Knowing that your pastor or church leaders are just people sets them free from our high expectations of them. This doesn’t dismiss their behavior, for we are all held accountable to God and we should be accountable to others. The right response isn’t to say, “How could they?” and then cut ourselves off from that fellowship, but instead to say, “I must have grace for them because they are a sinner too.”
There must be an open door of conversation between us and our church leaders. Sadly, sometimes, the church operates out of fear and so the decisions that are made are not done out of love, but to protect something it fears. This shuts off communication and leads people out of the flock to a place where they will be heard and understood.
We must remember that the leader of our church is not our pastor or board of people who govern it, but our leader is God. If I place my life in His hands I can rest assured that no matter how I am treated or misunderstood by people on this earth, God sees everything and He will make all things beautiful in HIs time.
Lord, give us grace for one another. The church is so messy. We misuse power, we treat people wrong. We don’t listen to the broken. We shut people out. We are governed not by love and grace, but fear and insecurity. Forgive us, Lord, we want to show your power to the world. Please sift through our mess and grow our hearts, in Jesus name, Amen.