We’ve already looked at a number of ways that insecure reveals itself in the life of a pastor, but there is one way we haven’t discussed that can be particularly destructive to that leader’s ministry—Condemnation.
- CONDEMNATION The judgmental attitude of yourself or others, which results in self-pity or self-conceit.
When a pastor feels insecure, one of the ways such feelings reveal themselves is with a bit of a judgmental attitude toward the work or ideas of others. Such a posture can cause the pastor to damage or even end relationships that he really needs to strengthen his life.
This expression is particularly difficult to identify because a part of pastoring is protecting his flock from wrong ideas, unhealthy ministry practices, and other elements that demand a pastor’s critical thinking. There is a certain amount of “prophet” in every pastor, stirring him to warn other of the dangers he sees.
But that critical thinking can step over a line into a critical spirit, and the pastor doesn’t even realize it. When our reactions to the ministries of others flows out of the feelings we have toward our own efforts, now we’re no longer protecting our sheep. We have begun to guard ourselves against the feelings of inferiority or inadequacy that someone else’s efforts have triggered.
Many pastors alienate themselves from other pastors, their district leaders or denominational events, by finding reasons to criticize such people or efforts. The “I-don’t-agree-so-I-don’t-attend” idea is usually an indication of insecurity. If the truth were known, the real issue is how that pastor feels when he is with such people or in such places.
If left unaddressed, such expressions of insecurity will draw lines that the pastor will soon decide not to cross again. And that lost fellowship and accountability will diminish his life and ministry even further.
Danger: The distortion of reality and the temptation to withdraw from responsibility.
Example: Elijah (I Kings 19)
a. You have shortsighted perception of your circumstances.
b. You feel self-pity and loneliness, as though you’re the only one to endure hardship.
c. You complain about unjust circumstances and feel overwhelmed.
d. You find excuses for withdrawing from others.
e. You fear your own demise and insignificance.
f. You either blame yourself or others for everything wrong.
What does the scripture say about this issue?
“But to me, it is a very small thing that I should be examined (critiqued) by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come form God.” (I Corinthians 4:3-5)
The Bible also encourages us to prove all things, but hold onto what is good. In other words, even as you see flaws in others, choose to focus your gaze on their strengths and find reasons to maintain your connection. Soon, we’ll begin discussing how to overcome such insecurity—the disease behind such symptoms. But begin today to be honest about your last Facebook rant about someone else’s inadequacies. Perhaps a piece of your concern is being fueled by a need to keep criticism’s spotlight aimed at someone else for awhile.