I find that there is in me a stubborn and deep seated resistance to the application of the Gospel. In brief, I have the desire to work hard enough and be perfect enough to not need grace. I want to be above criticism.
The first observation that I need to make is that there is mystery here. We must acknowledge that complete understanding of this is beyond our reach as humans.
I am learning to trust that God can use my choices, even the faulty ones, to bring me to the place he wants me to be. Like a GPS that recalculated the route when I miss a turn, God can bring about his plan without my full understanding or cooperation.
If one or more of the leaders is using ungodly means to implement his vision, I struggle to see how the church could be healthy.
In the last few months, I have been reading about the first Ecumenical Councils of the church in the 4th and 5th Centuries. It was at these councils that the nature of Jesus was clearly defined for all of Christendom. Many of the misunderstandings about Jesus that survive today were addressed by these councils.
But Jesus is the wild card that makes everything possible. The point (or at least one point) of this story is that no-one is beyond hope. No-one should be written off as no longer able to be changed. No-one.
The question I have to ask myself is this, “if John the Baptist, arguably the greatest prophet sent before Christ, experienced doubt and confusion, why would I assume that I should be exempt?”
If we fail to properly value the individual people in our charge we are failing in our mission thus demonstrating a gap between how God views those people and how we do.