I know it’s difficult when our leaders fail us, particularly if they sin. And James does say they should expect a tougher judgement. But that is from God, not from us.
The whole point of Christianity is that we’re all flawed and sinful and we need Jesus to save us. And that is because we have a fundamental problem that we inherited our sinful nature from our parents, not that we’re just weak and could learn to control it if we tried. We’re all Christians because we believe that to be true.
So shouldn’t we expect that our leaders are also flawed and sinful too? Isn’t that just simple logic? Why would they suddenly become the only people on the planet who don’t struggle with their sin every day?
And if they’re just as flawed and sinful as us then why are we so surprised when they sin?
Look at the leaders in the Bible. Moses sinned so badly when he struck the rock twice that God banned him from the promised land! But he was still God’s chosen leader. What?
David slept with someone else’s wife, tried to make it look like the baby was her husband’s, and then had him killed. And it was after that that God described David as, “A man after my own heart”. What? And David married the woman and she became an ancestor to Jesus. What?
BTW: Would you have judged David more harshly than Moses, or Moses more than David? What did God do?
Peter denied Jesus. Three times. And only hours after saying he was willing to die with him if it came to that.
And then Jesus put him in charge of the church. What?
In fact, most of the Bible leaders had issues. And yet God continued to use them. Often in remarkable ways even after they had sinned.
If the modern church had been around in those days we would have fired David on the spot. He would have ended his days shepherding sheep in some small village outside of Jerusalem. Peter would have just been a fisherman. Moses would still be wandering in the desert, along with the rest of the Jews in a leaderless daze.
We are so judgemental.
Who do we think we are to judge another man’s servant? They are God’s chosen leaders. Not ours.
And we rate sin wrongly anyway. In the modern western church divorce seems to be pretty much up there as sin #1. Does the Bible actually say that divorce is a sin? Yes, God hates divorce. But that’s not the same thing. God allowed divorce in The Law, why would he do that if it was sinful?
Divorce causes a lot of pain and suffering. It is definitely not a good thing. But is it sin #1? I don’t think so.
Adultery? Definitely a sin, but Jesus didn’t come down very hard on the woman caught in adultery did he? In fact, he just told her to stop doing it. No stoning. No public humiliation. No banning from the church. No shunning as you walk down the street. Just stop doing it. And he did that in such a loving way that I get the impression that she went away changed and didn’t keep doing it.
So what sin did Jesus come down hard on? Pride. Greed. Hypocrisy.
How about you?
Do you struggle with those? Or have you stopped struggling and just given in to them completely?
In my experience I have seen that people are usually most vocal about the sins they think they are least likely to do themselves. Kind of like ex-smokers.
Sort of like, “I have control of that. Look at me. I would never do that.” They’re probably right. They are so consumed with pride, and arrogance, and being judgemental, and gossip, that they wouldn’t dream of committing a smaller sin like adultery.
But the sins that bring leaders down always seem to be that smaller kind don’t they. The church judges them for some more obvious thing. I don’t recall ever seeing a leader dismissed for being proud. Or greedy. Or for loving money.
When a leader sins we should help them to deal with their issues. We should support them.
We definitely shouldn’t have an “anything goes” attitude for our leaders any more than we should for ourselves. But to have an expectation that our leaders should be perfect is just totally absurd, and completely un-Biblical.
It is destined for failure, and it gives young Christians a false expectation in their own struggle.
We all sin.
Our leaders will sin. Guaranteed.
When they do, let’s help them through it, rather than abandoning them to judgement and rejection.