Many times while praying alone, I will intercede for people in my church.
Intercession soon turns into bemoaning the direction people are heading.
“Lord, help him to take the spiritual lead in his family, because he’s totally not doing that. His kids are going nuts. Oh Lord, the things they are doing. It’s not like I didn’t see it coming. I told him. I don’t know. Did he not hear anything I was preaching the last ten years? And then his wife. What’s up with her? No wonder the kids are nuts.”
What started out as true spiritual concern devolves into judging and condemning.
After “interceding” for people in my church for a good fifteen minutes, it’s become clear: it’s me and God on one team and people in my church on the other.
This feeds self-righteousness, bitterness, judgmentalism, and all manner of evil things one shouldn’t do.
But I’m just stating the facts! And, at the end of the facts, sure looks like me and God against the people.
It’s possible I’m the only pastor who feels this way, but that’s highly unlikely. I’ve talked to many pastors and this attitude seems common.
In fact, anytime pastors get together there’s camaraderie between them, much of which sounds like Pastors vs. Church People. We commiserate over the similarity of all church people and how they drop the ball and wouldn’t it be swell if everyone just listened to us, then we’d all be good.
Elijah had this issue. “Lord, everyone is a moron. I’m the only righteous one left.” God’s answer, “Nope, I’ve got 7,000 others. Relax.”
Isaiah seems to show the better attitude, “I am a man of unclean lips in the midst of a people with unclean lips.”
We’re all in it together. Hard to remember that sometimes, especially since pastors are held to a higher standard, and I hope are living up to it.
But the humility to understand, “yeah, I may be hitting the standard a bit better than others, but love, compassion, and mercy. We all need a Good Shepherd.”
Our job is to point out the right way, not just in words, but in how we live. I trust you are doing that. If you are, self-righteousness is right around the corner though.
We do all we do for the Lord, not to please people. Not to compare ourselves with others, or to set ourselves up for positions of honor.
Pastors are here for one reason—bring others to Christ. He is the Head of the Body. He had every right to feel superior to everyone in the Body, and He took that supreme position to lay down His life for the members of the Body.
Next time we’re interceding and feeling superior to the ridiculous sinners in our churches, remember love and sacrifice is what true spiritual maturity does. It’s what Christ did for us, because, by the way, we need Him too.