Saturday, February 02, 2002

Understanding Christian Leaders

"For men who are mighty and tall,
they falter and tremble
We shall possess the LAND
For Strong and Faithful is our GOD
For strong and faithful is our God."

The two books of Samuel from which most of the First Readings of the pastmonth were taken contains such a dramatic human interest story. It beginswith the story of two wives (married to one man as this was allowed in theOld Testament times); and tells how jealous one was of the other because theformer was barren; how that woman who finally conceived offered her son toGod in return; how that son, Samuel, was called clearly and repeatedly byGod; how Samuel met Saul, God's anointed but reluctant king; how Saul lostGod's anointing as he took matters into his own hands and disobeyed God; howDavid triumphantly slew Goliath; how Jonathan bargained with his father Saulfor David's life; how God anointed David as king of Israel; and how Davidbecame such a great and passionate king.

Today, however, we read about David's fall. Today he became more MAN thanking. 2 Samuel 11 tells of David having relations with beautiful Bathshebawho happened to be married to Uriah the Hittite; and how David eventuallycaused the death of Uriah. Such sin, arrogance, weakness and selfishnessfrom the mighty King David!

Every time we sing the song Strong and Faithful (by Bo Sanchez), I think of David as one ofthe "men who are mighty and strong" but who faltered and trembled. I havebeen reflecting on this for some time now and I've realized that none of ushuman beings are spared from temptation. Therefore, we should not expectanyone, not even a great king, to be that strong. We should not expectanyone to be perfect - especially in the areas of resisting temptation andsin.

In the Church and even in community, we have leaders to whom we look up to.Because of the way our leaders speak about God and live their lives in sucha holy manner, we sometimes tend to expect them to be perfect. We expectthat they should not commit mistakes, disappoint us, or sin against God.And so when we see our leaders "falter and tremble", sometimes we lose faithin the Church and/or in the community. We give up because of ourdisappointment.

The problem is, we should not have expected our leaders to be perfectly holyand blameless -- in this world -- in the first place. Just because oneperson has a particular weakness does not render void all his good works andall his selfless service, right? I hear many Catholics refusing to"practice their faith" because they are disappointed in the Church. Theytend to forget that it is a Church of God run by men. Men who have inherentweaknesses, who have the capacity to give in to things "of the flesh", asSt. Paul himself put it. I have seen brothers and sisters who disappearfrom community because somebody has let them down.

I just pray for some understanding for leaders everywhere. It is not easyfor them to be living in an aquarium. Although they often succeed in beinggood witnesses, they are as likely as we are to commit sin. Let us not betoo hard on anyone just because he is Christian leader. A Christian walkingthis earth is not yet a saint and not yet made perfect, as this can only beachieved after his/her reunion with Christ. Let us love our leaders -everything about them. Let us forgive our leaders if they have hurt ordisappointed us in any way. But our leaders are NOT the Church. Our humanleaders are not community.

There is Someone strong and faithful who is Shepherding us all. One trueKing. The One we should look up to and emulate. Our leaders, like us, aretrying their best to follow Jesus, too. Let us increase our capacity tounderstand the seeming failures of our leaders. Let us forgive them, let uslove them. If only Love were the rule rather than the exception, what abeautiful world this would be!

No comments: