There’s nothing worse as a pastor when you’re having a lousy day (or few days) and you have a “weak” moment publicly. You know, one of those moments where you feel the flesh waking up. Your face heats up, your pulse quickens, your fists clench, and you know what is about to happen. You know you’re about say something you will later regret. Your mind is screaming, “NO! Stop! Run!” Your flesh is screaming out, “I will destroy. Right here, right now, I will destroy.”

In that moment, your either resist or you give in.

That moment is born out of your weakness. Your weak flesh. Your own sin nature. Your own brokenness.

But wait, you’re a pastor. You’re super human. You’re just like Jesus. You sir, you ma’am, are a bastion of grace, mercy, love, kindness, gentleness, and patience.

It turns out that you’re a person. A broken, vulnerable, weak, person. Sometimes your tanks are empty. There are days, sometimes days and days, where you are so keenly aware of the broken world around you that you have no patience. You are at a loss for kindness. Your gentleness and compassion are gone. Your faith wains and loving by faith is hard to come by.

I had that moment last night. It had “been a week” and it was only Tuesday. At a ministry event, my tank emptied. There was nothing left in it. I couldn’t put on the face any longer. I couldn’t “play the man.” I nearly engaged in destruction. My words almost became weapons that could cause irreparable harm. I could almost audibly hear the Holy Spirit say, “Go. Run. Get out!” As the roar of the lion of sin grew louder and louder and louder, there was nothing left. I could give in or walk away. There was no fighting it this time. By God’s grace, I walked away. I am quite certain there was still damage done, but it is nothing that can’t be repaired and redeemed.

Last night as I lay in bed my heart continued to race. My mind turned over the night’s events again and again and again. “You’re so weak. What is your problem? You coward. You’re so fake.” The images rolled through my mind all night.

When I woke up this morning I opened up my text messages and there was the last conversation that I had engaged in last night. The text said, “Strong.”

As I drove this morning to my office, I pondered that word, “strong.” It struck me that strength is often found in weakness. The weak thing would have been to give in to my empty flesh to use my words as weapons, to destroy. My friend, with one word, “strong,” reminded me that walking away was the strong thing to do.

Us pastors are not super human. We’re going to have bad days. There will be times when we lose it. It will happen. Our flesh, our old self, will rise up. The question is what will we do when it happens? Will we give in? Will we flee it? Can we fight it? There is no shame if we can’t fight it, to flee it.

I am continuing to learn that true strength is found as we embrace our brokenness and weakness. When we stop trying to pretend that we are perfect, then we can experience grace and mercy.

We are not perfect. I’m not perfect. That’s OK. There was one who was perfect and is perfect. In our imperfection we grab hold of his cloak and hang on for the ride. Jesus doesn’t expect perfection, just faith.

Originally published at