Jerk Pastors

Occasionally I hear accounts where a person had a horrible thing happen to them and they visited their pastor who blew them off insensitively.

The last one I heard of was by a woman who was raped. She told her pastor who blew her off by telling her she probably led the guy on to do it.

Here are two observations I have about these sorts of stories:

1) Many of them are true. Many pastors are idiots. Also, some people say things and they think they are being clear and the pastor is not sure how to take what was said and insensitive things can be said.

Pastors make mistakes. I have said things to people I wish I could have taken back. It happens. It’s a bummer when these mistakes lead to harmful reactions. It is also unfortunate that people don’t talk to the pastor about these things and instead just leave and get mad.

2) People exaggerate to make their own problems seem worse than they are. I know many situations I have had with people where I know exactly what I said and it’s not the way they repeat the story to others.

One guy stopped coming to church because apparently I told him I didn’t like him anymore. Absolutely nothing of the sort was ever communicated to this guy.

People remember things in such a way as to make them look better, and, if it helps, to look more victimized. As long as their problems are other people’s fault, they don’t have to fix it.

One of these two reasons is behind these stories. I’ve been around long enough to know that pastors make mistakes. I’ve also been around long enough to know that people lie like crazy.

Next time you hear one of these stories, be careful how you respond. It may be true, it may not be. There are always two sides.

One thought on “Jerk Pastors”

  1. Jeff,

    This is right on. The biggest problem with humanity is self-justification. Martin Luther called it the “cause of all the distresses of the human heart”.

    The pointing of fingers started right with the entrance of sin. Any pastor who attempts to deal honestly with his flock, in the fear of God, and in the knowledge that sin is a fatal disease, will find many of the people he tries to help turn into his worst enemies.

    On the other hand, those who truly accept the help will rightly consider him one of their best friends. We absolutely need friends who have the courage, honesty, and faithfulness to tell us the truth about ourselves. But it is so easy and tempting to flatter people…you buy the world at the expense of worshiping the devil.

    The crucifixion of Christ was the biggest attempt of humanity to justify itself before God. That’s how strong the impulse is.

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