When pastors sin,
they don’t just have guilt over the sin
they also have guilt about whether they should be a pastor.
Pastors are people. Most pastors know this, but others tend to forget.
People are sinners.
Pastors are people.
Thus, pastors are sinners.
Pastors make mistakes. We have bad days. We lose our temper. We covet and lust after things we ought not. We lie here and there. We sin.
Sin is not good. Christians are at war with sin and the life of every Christian is a battle against sin. Too many Christians resign themselves to sin. “Well, Bible says we can’t help sinning, so whadaya gonna do?”
Pastors should really be taking this battle seriously. And, I believe, should have a track record of successfully battling sin. There should be a higher standard and that standard should be met regularly.
And yet, pastors are people. People are sinners. There’s a reason why grace and forgiveness are a thing.
One of the frustrations with being a pastor is that I’m not allowed to talk about my sin, and watch out if one of my sins is ever on display.
“You know, pastors shouldn’t do that. Maybe you should get out of the ministry.”
I’ve heard this sort of thing frequently. I either make a joke I shouldn’t have said, or argue a call at church softball, or even if I just admit a struggle, and someone is right there letting me know I failed the pastoral qualifications.
Here’s the thing: I already feel that way every time I sin. Anytime I struggle with peace and contentment. Any weakness I’ve ever had in my life a voice in my head says, “Why are you even doing this job? You know, you should probably just get out of the ministry. Pastors shouldn’t have this problem.”
I’m already low, already hurting, and the church gladly steps in to make sure my depth of woe is as deep as possible.
Again, I’m not a serial killer over here. I’m not living 24-hours a day raping people and stealing the neighbor’s chickens. Just run of the mill sin, stuff that human nature gets tangled in from time to time.
Pastors aren’t allowed to express frustration and struggle. Anytime they do, they are immediately lectured and told “maybe it’s time for you to get another job.”
This makes pastors internalize their struggle. They keep it quiet and stew in guilt. Guess what happens then? Sin increases. Since a guy can’t go anywhere for help, the depression and frustration sets in and sin gets out of hand.
One of the reasons why pastors fall into sins that do disqualify them from ministry is because they couldn’t/didn’t go to anyone when the sin wasn’t fully cranked up yet.
I’m constantly being sinned against and forgiving people. Many of those who have expressed outrage at my sin are people I’ve forgiven hundreds of times. Many people tell me their sins and ask for help. People can come to me with that, but I’m not allowed to. If a pastor sins, he shouldn’t be forgiven and he shouldn’t be a pastor.
Pastors then huddle up. When pastors get together they whine about their churches and share their struggles and sins and mope together. It all comes out over waffles and coffee. Each pastor waiting for the next to quit whining so they can start. This isn’t healthy either.
Pastors should be battling sin and spiritual growth should be evident in them. But we’re still human.
My prayer-life has increased mightily as a pastor because there’s legitimately no one else to talk to about this stuff. I’ve confessed things to people before only to have them lecture me and some have even left the church and held those things over my head. The Lord has not done that to me. I thank God for prayer.
I’m a pastor. I’m not perfect. I sin. I deal with this the best I can. I don’t brag about my sin. Sin humiliates me. I confess it to the Lord. I battle. I fight. I lose. I battle again. I fight again. I carry on, pressing toward the mark.
It would just be cool to have someone help instead of heap the guilt and doubt I already have.
I fear saying this because I know a response is going to be, “Wow, if you struggle with sin this badly, you really probably shouldn’t be a pastor.”
Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.
Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed
–2 Corinthians 6:3