We need to check ourself before we wreck ourself.
As a follow up from my last post (which by the way, broke the record for reads and site visits since I started a Substack. So, thank you to all who took the time to read it and engage. I hope The Lord used it for your edification and His glory) I wanted to write about pastoral arrogance.
Arrogant: showing an offensive attitude of superiority.
How many times have we dismissed someone because of our arrogant attitudes? Someone who has a genuine need or question that they are struggling with? I used to do that. I couldn’t see past my own nose because of my arrogance. I believed and judged church members wrongly because I had an education, I knew my bible better than they did, I was a pastor, a youth pastor, people who hurt me were sinners, blah, blah, blah. You get the point. I drew upon all of these things in my life to determine that I was better than the people that God called me to serve.
I was Balaam’s donkey.
Thank God for His mercy and grace.
I do believe that getting to an arrogant position though is due to how we react to others. Well, it is how I got there. Granted, I know pastors who come off the degree assembly line already arrogant and puffed up. I have actually had conversations with some who have said “I’m not going to a small church, I didn’t get my masters for nothing.” and then “God is not calling me to a small church.”. But, I am getting ahead of myself.
So as I have been hurt over the years in ministry - ninety five percent of the time I would react in an ungodly way and judge the person who hurt me as an ungodly or even lost person. So I would store up that hurt and anger and turn it into a moral biblical superiority. I know, the mother of all oxymorons. It was a defense mechanism. It is easier to hate than to love, hate is our nature, love is not. I took the anger from the offense and turned it outward towards the church member. After awhile of doing this it would not matter if the church member coming to me for help was sincere. All I saw was “red”. I always felt attacked and it was because I mishandled my earlier reactions and like a haunted house my heart grew into a calloused arrogant shell. Hence the bitterness post from yesterday.
So I became an arrogant person, in every facet of my life. Only after conviction and biblical understanding have I finally realized the error of my ways. I do truly believe that spiritual maturity plays an important role in the believers life. Spiritually mature individuals simply do not fret over the petty issues that bog down churches. The spiritually immature however, always seem to have an issue with something in the church. Whether it’s the pastor, or program, or music, or VBS, it really does not matter to them. There is no healing or reconciliation with these people only that they get there way. Spiritually immature people are the embodiment of James 4:1-12. I was one of those, I was spiritually immature and I had no place in ministry. I was blinded by my pride and arrogance. I saw church members beneath me because they could not surpass me in Scripture. I became Gamaliel.
My path to pastoral arrogance was due to my spiritual immaturity in dealing with the hurt inflicted on me. How about you? Are you dealing with an arrogant attitude in your heart towards the church you serve? Or maybe you’re a church member who’s arrogant and needs help. We always need to examine ourselves and our motives. Are we serving The Lord out of love for Him and people or are our motives self serving?
To the people who are not in ministry reading this, do you find yourself with an arrogant heart? If so let me ask both groups a question: How are you doing spiritually? Are you seeking The Lord through bible study, prayer, humble service, etc.?
I only ask because I know now that I was completely wrong and all I or we can do is confess our sin, ask for forgiveness, and keep pressing on.
Both Peter and James tell us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” I don’t know about you but I need the grace of God.
How about you?