Pastor as Scapegoat

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions but the folks walking that road may well blame "their" pastors.

This post may irk some people, I'm okay with that.  Tomorrow I'll wake up and wonder how I could be so careless.  I'll wonder how I can be so cruel and heartless.  But until then, I have a few things to say about pastors and how they seem to take the blame for some people.

First off, no one is responsible for your righteousness besides God.  As much as I believe in free will, I don't believe you can possibly choose Christ without the Holy Spirit.  God's prevenient grace will always supersede anything you can do.  After all, God has been working towards your salvation since before you were... real.

Secondly, no one is responsible for your mistakes besides yourself.  Nothing like taking a little responsibility, eh?  Because I believe in God's love, I know nothing can stand between us and God's love - and that love is freedom.  Freedom to choose.  That freedom?  It means no one is to blame for your mistakes because you act within freedom, whether you realize it or not.

Phew.  With those truths behind us, can I share a bit?  I'm blessed enough to know that there were great men and women who went before me to contributed to my faith.  In their worst moments, they may have hampered it... either way... even pastors have pastors.

Sometimes pastors become scapegoats in a bad way.  I hear people blame pastors for lots of stuff.  We do our job poorly, even to the point of frustration.  We let someone down, and there is... ha... "hell to pay."  We contribute to the Kingdom of God and face the end.  No good deed goes unpunished?  Sometimes Christians forget we are following Christ and not following them.  But you know - of those who receive much, much is expected?  Surely pastors are held to a higher standard.  With that said...

I hate it when Christians blame pastors for the loss of a loved one.  Pastors, in their best moments, want to be present and available.  That availability means that we make an easy target.  Intimacy is a fun thing - the closer you get, the easier it is to yell at you, to blame you, to channel all of that personal hell straight into another person.

I hate it when Christians blame pastors for someone's "fall from grace."  If you are coherent enough to call on a pastor to save you friend, why aren't you coherent enough to save your friend yourself?  It isn't that the pastor doesn't want to help, they just aren't to blame when *you* feel like you've failed your friend or God.... or your pastor.

I hate it when Christians blame pastors for being human (imperfect).  It is a form of condemnation that Jesus knew well.  We are only human.  Christ and Christ alone is faithful perfectly.  We...try.  I promise we try.  As much as I want to be Jesus every moment of my life, I seem plagued to make mistakes.  Still working on that. I know God loves me.  Which means, and this is the hard part...a certain part of me is paradoxical.  On one side... I don't care who loves me - Christ is all I need.  On the other side, I want to share Christ's love with all which means I need Christ's perfect love to pour out of me (thus meaning I should love all and care about all).

I hate when Christians target pastors as "political."  Look, I'm just trying to be like Christ.  I don't have a political agenda, I'm not pushing a particular candidate, but if you HEAR Jesus in a certain way through what I'm preaching, I'd say that is your problem, not mine.  Maybe God is speaking to you in your defensiveness?  Maybe we can talk about it sometime?  We all wrestle with... our defenses.

I hate when Christians... you know...sound like pastors.  lol

Church folks mean well... it frustrates Christians that their leaders let them down.  I think Jesus said a thing or two about that though.  Both for and against said "leaders"

Occasionally, pastors become scapegoats in a great way.

I love it when a Pastor gives their all.  Sometimes the sacrifice is seen, sometimes it isn't.  The recognition is unimportant.  The truth is when there is a loss, a grief, an undefined sorrow, pastors can simply fade into the background.  They are a presence without being the center of attention.  When it happens right Pastors are and forever will be enablers.  We exude God's presence and deny ourselves.  Others become more themselves when this happens.

I love it when a Pastor is mistaken for Christ.  I would hope that Christians (or non-Christians) would never mistake a Pastor's sacrifice for Christ's sacrifice but that a Pastor's sacrifice may model Christ's sacrifice and remind Christians about what Christ gave for us.  Long story short - God's love can and should come out in a Pastor's attempts to love those in his/her church and the world.

I love it when a Pastor takes responsibility for the sins of others.  Hear me out.  If Jesus could empty himself for the sake of the world, I can make it my business that everyone can come to know that same person.  I'm not saying that I should be to blame (although, is that not what Christ calls us to?!), but rather that I feel and know and love the mistakes we humans make daily, until those mistakes end.  May I be sensitive to God's calling.  May I be sensitive to our failings.  May I be like Christ - who though not to blame for our sins, still took those sins upon himself.

Bottom line?  I'm going to try to be more like Jesus and I hope you will too.  Don't blame your pastor for how well you pull that off.

image credit.