This is a true story. A few details and names have been changed to protect the innocent.
A while back a man was telling me how he didn’t like a certain local pastor. We’ll call that pastor, “Pastor Bob.” He felt that Pastor Bob was arrogant, conceited, full of himself and full of pride.
“You can tell he’s up to something. I don’t trust him. I have no respect for him. There’s something fishy going on there. He’s sleeping with someone, stealing money, headed for failure…. Wait and see.”
I happen to know Pastor Bob pretty well. I have never seen him demonstrate anything other than the utmost integrity and personal sacrifice. Granted, he is bold, full of faith, and a hard-charger. Some might interpret that as pride, but I see that as passion and drive. I tried to defend Pastor Bob, but it was no use. This mental midget had already made up his mind. Pastor Bob was up to no good, headed for a major failure, and that was that!
Next he began to compare Pastor Bob to another local minister in the same town. This other guy, we’ll call him Pastor Steve, was a veritable storehouse of Biblical wisdom. He quoted Greek, he quoted authors, was prolific in ancient theology, and pontificated with great verbosity about the deeper things of God.
“The thing I like about Pastor Steve is, he is a humble guy. He has real integrity and is very spiritual. He prays all the time. Loves his wife. A humble man, not like Pastor Bob. Pastor Steve is going places….”
A few weeks later, Pastor Steve got caught in a grevious sin. He attempted a cover-up. It became apparent that this was an on-going issue. His unrepentant attitude led to his removal and effectively ruined his ministry. His double life betrayed a great number of people who had placed their confidence in him. The last I heard, the situation was not resolved. Several families have become polarized and divided over their loyalty to him, and many more have even dropped out of church.
Meanwhile, Pastor Bob is still preaching the Word of God and effectively leading a growing church…. with no scandals.
Perhaps this is why the Bible says, “…know them which who labor among you” (I Thess. 5:12).
It is a mistake to judge people by outward appearances, or by rumors you hear. The guy who seems humble might actually be a time-bomb masked in meekness.
You never know.