“It’s not my fault for getting angry! If my staff would just do their job I never would…”
“I would be a better husband and Father if the demands of the church weren’t so high. I guess I just have to continue to sacrifice for the call.”
We live in a toxic realm within our minds as church leaders. It’s the realm of natural excuse making. We are excuse-makers. The real, present, poisonous nature of our gig as pastors is the fact that we are spokesmen for a perfect God and His perfect Word, and yet we are imperfect and constantly making mistakes. However, if our knowledge isn’t deep, and our humility is lacking, we will struggle to see clearly in the mirror, and may even spiritualize our sin.
Our first ancestors were excuse-makers as well.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”(Gen. 3:8-13)
God had consequences for Adam and Eve for eating from the knowledge tree of good and evil- they ended up entering into a curse that would affect many generations of those who would follow in their footsteps of disobedience and self-justification. But I love the fact that the natural consequence was also a restoration of the relationship, and Adam and Eve continued to love God through it and beyond it.
But there is a greater promise beyond drowning in the abyss of the curse.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Rom. 7:21-25)
So the next time we’re on the verge of justifying something that we know is wrong- and making it seem as if we’re following God in the process, we need to stop ourselves in our tracks, repent from it, look in the mirror clearly, and apologize to the offended before the toxicity of self-justification seeps in more deeply.