It’s tough to walk the talk, as most of us can confirm. It’s one thing to teach students how to live for Christ, but quite another to consistently put it into practice ourselves.
In that, we’re not alone.
Studies show that 800 out of 3,915 cops examined in Florida had speeded, many while off duty. That’s a whopping 20% of people who are supposed to know better.
Doctors fare no better. One study showed 38% of doctors as being overweight—5% more than the American population in general (granted, the percentage of people who were obese was much lower amongst doctors).
Other studies showed that ethicists—people who have studied ethics—behaved no better on ethic issues that others, like donating blood, registering as organ donor, or eating red meat (which in my humble opinion is not a ethical issue per se). And philosophers turn out to be really sucky at calling their moms.
All these statistics show the hypocrisy of telling others how to live their lives, while doing a pretty mediocre job yourself. Now here’s the big question: how would youth pastors score when it comes to this? Are youth pastors the biggest hypocrites of all?
I don’t know. There are no hard statistics to support this.
But to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised.
A while back, I came across a statement that youth pastors are huge porn consumers, even dring youth ministry conferences. I was a bit doubtful and asked the guy for the source. It turned out to be legit:
“A number of years ago a national conference for church youth directors was held at a major hotel in a city in the mid-west. Youth pastors by the hundreds flooded into that hotel and took nearly every room. At the conclusion of the conference, the hotel manager told the conference administrator that the number of guests who tuned into the adult movie channel broke the previous record, far and away outdoing any other convention in the history of the hotel.”
This is a sad reality, obviously. What saddens me most though, is not the fact that as youth pastors, we sin. We are sinners in need of a Savior, just like everybody else. What saddens me is not even the fact that e seem to sin more in certain areas, like porn.
What saddens me, is that we can’t talk about this.
What saddens me, is that we need to hide our sins and weaknesses.
What saddens me, is that we desperately pretend to be near-perfect.
What saddens me the most, is that this hypocrisy seems to be expected of us.
Sin thrives in the dark. It festers where there is no light. As long as youth pastors are expected to be darn near close to perfect, we will be spectacular hypocrites. We will fail. We will sin.
The only remedy for hypocrisy is vulnerability. Honesty. Grace. Forgiveness. Light.
Only when we are no longer expected to be perfect, but are allowed to be human can we bring our sins into the light and deal with them.
[Source: Emma Green, Philosophers are Hypocrites, The Atlantic, June 2015]
[Photo Credit: Diana Robinson, Flickr, Creative Commons]