As I was trying to work my way through the questions, I had several sleepless nights. You have to understand when you have been in a church for so long (over 20 years), making the decision to leave is not easy. One particular night, my train of thoughts led me to wonder if the Bible had anything to say about pastors. After a couple of hours, I finally got out of bed and got my Bible. I sat there in the floor and didn't know where to look, but then I had a light bulb moment. Who is the greatest Shepherd to ever live? It is Jesus! I pulled out my 10 pound commentary and looked up some scriptures out of John. This is what I found.....
Jesus the Great Shepherd
*He doesn't drive the sheep
*He puts the sheep before himself
*He knows the sheep
*He acquaints himself with the sheep and this knowledge notes affection
*He knows the sheep under their many infirmities
*He knows them with a favorable eye
*He takes cognizance (notice) of their state and concerns himself for them
*He has a tender and affectionate regard for them and is continually mindful of them
*He visits graciously and has communion with them
*He approves and accepts them
I copied this word for word and tucked it away in my notepad. Would it be safe to assume that earthly pastors should use Jesus as their example? This list didn't describe the experience I have had for the past 22 years. I think the last statement on the list hit home the most because I somehow have felt over the years that I just didn't measure up. I have never been a trouble maker and I've always tried to please, but I still have felt that eyes have been rolled behind my back many times. As I sat there and pondered on these things, I felt hurt and disappointed, but also a feeling of comfort came to me as I thought, "If Jesus accepts me the way I am then maybe I don't have to strive so hard to measure up in the eyes of someone else."
I guess somehow over the years maybe I had the impression that Jesus sometimes had bad days. I had sure seen the wrath of my pastor many times. I know now that Jesus cares for His sheep and doesn't neglect them. I always want to remember that He can be trusted and what really matters in life is that we love Him and love people.