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When priests and pastors sin, it seems that they fall a very long way. Their indiscretions are very pronounced and it creates a major controversy which can lead to church goers questioning their own faith. The more popular the pastor the greater the issues. The recent news highlights yet another pastor of a “mega church” who is being accused of soliciting sexual relations from a few young men in his church. This is not to say he is guilty or not but this is to discuss how fallible we are as humans.
Is being a spiritual leader too much of a weight to carry for some men? Pastors are automatically thrust into an undeniable leadership role which carries a magnitude of responsibilities. Christians will point fingers at Jesus who had the fate of the world to carry and he never sinned; however, is that the same expectations of church leaders who are a 100% human? The temptation and opportunity to indulge in a particular behavior is more accessible because of their position.
On the other hand, some church leaders enter into the ministry with these personal struggles hoping that immersing oneself into the church will create a refuge. It seems to be an eerie trend which follows that the leaders who scream the loudest about a particular human “depravity” is also an active part taker of that sin. Christians or the morally righteous have a funny way of projecting . Projecting is a Freudian defense mechanism term that means a shifting of one’s unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses within oneself onto someone else. For ex. in a recent Law and Order: SVU episode in which one of the characters went so far out of his way to track and out child molesters but in the end he was also one of them. It is easier to point a finger at the speck in someone else’s eye in order to avoid addressing the log in our own eyes.
This is not to say that we should become suspicious of religious leaders who focus on eradicating one specific sin. Or to assume that their personal causes are a sign of something in which they are struggling. However, it does make you wonder when someone relentlessly pursues one particular issue what is their motivation. Is it projecting or a true religious zeal for God’s truth?
The lesson learnt is that we need to pray for our spiritual leaders. Even though the bible states that we should not put our trust in man, it is undeniable that people who are chosen to lead our churches and provide us with spiritual directions have an impact on our religious experiences. We trust them to set good examples and not cause hurt and pain. Pastors are human and as Christians we need to give them support as much as they give us as well as point out when they have done a major wrong.