Religious leaders, priests, ministers, rabbis, and imams can be admired and revered but also hated and despised. We expect that our religious leaders will bring us closer to God through their prayers, teaching, and guidance. Therefore, we watch their behaviour carefully and listen critically to their words. But precisely because we expect, often without fully realising it, to be superhuman, we are easily disappointed or even feel betrayed when they prove to be just as human as we are. Thus, our unmitigated admiration quickly turns into unrestrained anger.
Let’s try to love our religious leaders, forgive them their faults, and see them as brothers and sisters. Then we will enable them, in their brokenness, to lead us closer to the heart of God.
I love the Nouwen meditation I received today. I hope you like it too. I find it difficult at times realizing that I will inevitably let someone down. I have been on the end of anger and it is not a pretty place to be. I have been saddened and frustrated with the knowledge that I failed, or that I was unable to meet expectations.
I would hope that we can all look to each other as brothers and sisters, a piece each one of us of the priesthood of all believers. We are all in our own right Religious Leaders. I believe the covenant of our baptism calls us to a very high place of responsibility with each other.
There will be, no doubt, times that we let each other down. But if we love each other as religious leaders, if we forgive each others faults, we will as Nouwen says, be able to function in our brokenness to be the body of Christ. We are all trying to get a little closer to the heart of God. Let us do so by loving and forgiving.