Thursday, April 9, 2009

From Henri Nouwen

Loving Our Spiritual Leaders

"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 behavior 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."

This devotional means a lot to me today. I understand the feelings on both sides of the quotient. I've revered religious leaders in the past, only to be disappointed by my own unrealistic expectations on their lives. And, I know that I have disappointed quite a few people who have looked to me, hoping that in my calling I would be superhuman.

I love Henri's last sentence: "Then we will enable them, in their brokenness, to lead us closer to the heart of God."

Its not in our perfection that we find the path to God's heart. Realizing that leaders are human, we can then appreciate that as they experience 'life' and learn how to grow closer to God through their trials and choices - the true meaning of 'leadership' comes forth. They are walking down the path of life - 'leading' us, marking the trail, showing us what they found to be the best or worst options.

If they had never sinned, they would know nothing of forgiveness. It is broken hearted repentance over their sin that makes a way for them to experience the depths of His love and mercy which cannot be fathomed and which fill His heart to overflowing. When leadership has walked down that path, their testimony is infused with convincing power that can produce life and hope in the hearts of those who hear.

Let us pray for our religious leaders. Let us hold them in our hearts with compassion and realistic perceptions about who they are and what they are made of and what God has called them to do. Let us listen as they come to experience the power of God in their lives that produces strength to overcome the darkness every human heart battles against every single moment of every single day.

1 comment:

Connie said...

A wonderful post- lots of truth.