What happens when a pastor falls short of perfection? What happens when a weakness is revealed for all to see? Do we love, support, empathize, encourage, and work to help them or do we find a way to escort them out the door seeking another pastor who will be perfect?
I can imagine that for many pastors, there is a great fear that their congregation will discover that they are merely human like the rest of us… full of flaws and weakness.
I like what Jesus said in Luke 18:19, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
And in Hebrews 4:15-16, where it is written, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
The point here is that we sometimes put pastors on a pedestal of perfection. And when they fall short, we don’t always extend them the same grace and mercy that God shows us in all of our imperfections. Pastors have doubts, fears, and temptations just like the rest of us. Sometimes they stumble like the rest of us.
When that happens, love them through it. If they confess and seek forgiveness, we should be quick to forgive, as God is quick to forgive us.
Lastly, create an environment at your church and a relationship with your pastor that would enable them to speak freely about their imperfections. They need not isolate themselves in an attempt to hide their flaws for fear of what their congregation might think. Be a loving, grace-filled church to your pastor, just as you are taught to be to the rest of the world.