How “unique” is our pain?

pain I read an article today about pain that pastors face. The article itself was okay; it mentioned areas where pastors can feel challenged. (For the curious, the areas are: Criticism, Rejection, Betrayal, Loneliness, Weariness, Frustrations, and Disappointments.) I won’t repeat the entire article here, but one phrase really caught my attention. Right before these various challenges are presented, this phrase was written in bold, to make sure I didn’t miss it:

“Some of the unique problems that pastors face are…”

And THAT got me to thinking. Why would I assume that the problems of criticism and rejection are uniquely related to the role of pastor? Doesn’t everyone face criticism occasionally? Aren’t we all rejected at times? There’s nothing special or unique about a pastor being betrayed or lonely: people from all walks of life experience these things.
I think the “unique” matter in all of this (that the article did NOT mention) is that there is often an unspoken expectation that these issues will not show up in the church – at least, certainly not to the extent that they might be known in “the world”. However, I don’t think that’s correct. After all, everyone has times of frustration, or disappointment, or weariness. That’s part of the human condition, and there’s no getting away from it.
Jesus experienced everyone of of these issues personally, and some of them frequently. That alone tells me that, as a follower of Christ, I’m going to be going through the same things as well – just not to the same degree as He did.
We, called to be God’s people in this time and place, will go through them all; there will even be times when we are responsible for *inflicting* them on others around us, whether people of faith or not.
I think the KEY is this: we cannot, should not, indeed MUST NOT try to walk through this life alone, or pretending like “we’ve got it all under control”. We don’t. We *know* that – and we know it’s true of everyone else if we stop and think about it – but when we’re tired, or under stress, it’s more of a challenge to remember our shared condition; we often just think it’s unique to our own situation.
Hebrews 3 has a good word for us: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:13) Every day, whether you think you need it or not, encourage someone else. Find a good thing to say; tell them they look nice, or that you appreciate their smile, or perhaps you’re refreshed by their candor. As we encourage one another, we ourselves receive encouragement. And the greatest encouragement we’ll receive is from God Himself: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
Don’t give up – and don’t be a stranger. Share God’s grace with others at church on Sunday, so you’ll be encouraged to do it the rest of the week “out there”.
Keep Following Jesus –
Ed

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2 Responses to “How “unique” is our pain?”


  1. 1 Valorie May 9, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Ed, Thank you for this message. We all need encouragement, so thought I would start by saying thank you. You are appreciated.

  2. 2 RevSmilez May 11, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Well said, Brother!


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Pastor Ed Backell

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