For someone as insecure and riven with doubts as myself, it was hard to be disillusioned by leaders over the years. I mean, by those who fail to practice what they preach. When I moved to work with some leaders who profess to follow Christ, I thought I would learn to be a better Christian. Instead, like Philip Yancey, I found myself asking, "Why doesn't it work?"
When I think about individual Christian leaders I know, I experience cognitive dissonance. There's always a gap between the spiritual ideals of God's Word and the reality of those who profess it. In my own experience, I can remember pastors and overseers who are judgmental, proud, and envious. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, seminary president/professors who teach community are the very ones who show self-indulgence and very little love and warmth towards students/teachers on campus.
With such examples, my heart would naturally get oppressed. It was like a feeling of being in a strange land. There's this sense of isolation, fear, and betrayal of what is intended by God in His Word. At the same time, I could not silence the contradictions that also existed within myself. I knew that I too fell short. The examples I got exposed to simply contributed to the aggravation.
Jesus offers absolute grace to all of us. Not anyone of us, not even a Mother Teresa or our most "spiritual" pastors in the church, can comply with the perfection of God's standards. If that's our human condition, where else can we go? We return to Jesus in the safety net of His grace. We depend on His Holy Spirit to enable us to impart His ideals to others while never stop striving to cultivate an inner, godly character.
"...'My grace is sufficent for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12: 9).