“A bishop then must be blameless”…how in the world do you do that?

My observation: a great weakness of many leaders (preachers, elders, parents, others): the hard rule they have that they won’t admit and apologize for mistakes, weaknesses, sins, shortcomings, offenses, and neglect for fear of losing respect and power.

When that rule is followed, that person cannot be blameless, without fault, above reproach. Many times I’ve seen a congregation stay in turmoil because leaders refused to admit they made a mistake. When approached by pleading brethren to apologize, their reply: “That’s not gonnna happen.”

Consider These Principles

Every accountable person sins both before and after becoming a disciple of Jesus (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). I violate clear commands of the Lord (1 John 3:4). I fail to do what I know I should do (James 4:17).

However, leaders (elders and deacons) and all Christians are to be blameless (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:5-7; Philippians 2:12-16). How does a leader deal with the tension of meeting the quality of being blameless and the fact he often misses the mark?

Should he deny he makes mistakes?

Should he cover up his mistakes and hope no one finds out?

Is he exempt from recognizing, repenting, confessing, and asking forgiveness for the times he hurts others?

How did great Christians in the New Testament deal with this?

Paul often mentioned his sins (1 Corinthians 15:9, 10; Galatians 1:13, 14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17). He was aware of the horrible things he did and how great the grace of the Lord was in permitting him to work in His service. Paul made errors in judgment. He said he did wrong in not taking money from the Corinthians, and asked them to forgive him (2 Corinthians 12:13).

If Paul found value in discussing and admitting his weakness, needs, sins, and shortcomings, leaders today might find the same strength in their weakness. Healing comes from confessing our sins (James 5:16; 1 John 1:5-10; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Part of the package of the continual cleansing of the blood of Jesus is confession, admitting our sins (1 John 1:9).

Honesty is essential in all parts of confession and forgiveness. It begins with a real desire for the knowledge of truth about myself (Psalm 139:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Matthew 5:8).

It continues with being honest with others in my confession of sins against others. Sometimes when a person is confronted with a hurtful action, his reply, “Oh, I didn’t mean that. Can’t you take a joke?”. A more loving response might be, “Yes. I see I hurt you. I’m sorry.”

Honesty is also essential when someone apologizes for hurts inflicted on me. It isn’t truthful to say, “No. There’s nothing wrong. I’m alright,” when there is something wrong. A better reply: “Yes. You may not have thought, but what you did hurt.”

A confession with an “if” is not a confession. When confronted by a brother of a hurt inflicted, “If I have hurt you, then I’m sorry,” isn’t confessing regret. When a brother says, “You did offend me,” to continue to insert the if is to insinuate the person relating the pain is dishonest and a whiner.

“If Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then I believe it,” is not a confession of Christ. “If I hurt you,” or, “I’m sorry you’re offended,” isn’t confessing sin and assuming responsibility not to do it again.

Therefore, I want to be truthful – inside out – about my relationship with God, myself, and others.

I need to search for truth about my actions and intentions inside my heart (Psalm 51:6).

I’m committed to express the truth to others: accurately (Matthew 5:37), at the best time (John 16:12), and in the best way (Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29).

The only way I know to attain and maintain the quality of blamelessness is to repent and confess often and well

2 scriptures and 2 Seth Godin observations

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV).

The other person is always right
Always right about feelings.
About the day he just experienced.
About the fears (appropriate and ill-founded) in his life.
About the narrative going on, unspoken, in his head.
You’ll need to travel to this place of ‘right’ before you have any chance at all of actual communication. 
Posted by Seth Godin on December 06, 2016, https://seths.blog/2016/12/the-other-person-is-always-right/

See two posts about the above scripture and principle
1 Reason People Act the Way They Do

Why Would Anybody Do That?

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).

Two elements of an apology
Compassion and Contrition
“We’re sorry that your flight was cancelled. This must have truly messed up your day, sir.”
That’s a statement of compassion.
“Cancelling a flight that a valued customer trusted us to fly is not the way we like to do business. We messed up, it was an error in judgment for us to underinvest in pilot allocation. Even worse, we didn’t do everything we could to get you on a flight that would have helped your schedule. We’ll do better next time.”
That’s what contrition sounds like. We were wrong and we learned from it.
The disappointing thing is that most people and organizations that take the time to apologize intentionally express neither compassion nor contrition.
If you can’t do this, hardly worth bothering.
But it is worth bothering, because you’re a human. And because customers who feel listened to help you improve (and come back to give you another chance.)
Seth Godin, September 18, 2014, https://seths.blog/2014/09/two-elements-of-an-apology/

Do I need to practice apologizing?

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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