Friday, October 7, 2011

Single Pastors - Living Behind the Mask

Oftentimes those in ministry and missions are seen by others as people who have "arrived" spiritually. Because of this they are expected to be role models at all times, in every part of their lives. That is impossible for anyone. So ministers and missionaries either disprove that theory and live authentic lives, risking not being "follow-able", or they try to live up to perfection by living behind a mask.

This is doubly difficult for single people. Those who are married and in ministry have a spouse and children who live behind the mask. These family members see the minister/missionary at home in his good and bad moments. Living with others behind their mask hopefully results in humility, character refinement, and a clearer picture of one's character flaws.

As a single minister/missionary the danger of the mask can be even more disastrous.

It is possible for a single person in ministry to live behind the mask, the charade, and actually begin to believe that the mask is true. This is a dangerous place to be. Pride develops because people believe that the mask is true and put us on a pedestal. Temptation gains power because all of our secret sins are being hidden to preserve our self-righteous mask and we don't feel free to confess our sins "one to another." We believe we are wise because people expect that our words are right  and follow what we say.

While these same temptations can be struggles for those who are married in ministry they are heightened in the lives of single ministers and missionaries. Unhealthy amounts of privacy, secrecy, and self-deception can ruin us. Today will you begin to ask God to bring trustworthy believers into your life who can be invited to live behind your mask and know you as you truly are. In this environment of authentic Christian living you will begin to find the health, strength, and community that each of us to need. Live in the light. The truth will set you free.

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