Let’s face it. We all have had people in our life that we look up to and admire. Whether it was that Disney princess you wanted to be as a child or that super cool cousin you wanted to be just like when you grow up; everyone has looked up to someone. Our early childhood selves were naïve and innocent when it came to our role models. We never thought about our role models hurting us, disappointing us, or showing us a side of them that we never thought we would see. When we think of someone who is worthy of looking up to, we view them as someone who can do no wrong. The only person who can do no wrong is Jesus, and Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus is the only one worthy of being on a pedestal. And even though Jesus was worthy of being on a pedestal, he still chose to be on a cross instead. And you know what? Despite the fact that Jesus himself chose the cross over the pedestal, we still try to put people on a pedestal that Jesus himself wouldn’t even stand on!
Over time when we experience hurt, disappointment, and the other negative sides of these role models, our childlike faith begins to fade. We start to see the fact that people do not belong on pedestals. Now, I am not saying you can’t look up to someone, but they should never take the place of Jesus in your life. You shouldn’t place all your faith in them but in Him. Jesus is the only one that will never hurt us, disappoint us, or turn on us. Jesus is faithful even when we are not faithful. He remains true even when we are living untrue lives.
I have been on both sides of what we will call the “pedestal mentality”. I have put people on pedestals and have been greatly disappointed. I also have been put on pedestals by people and have greatly disappointed them. Some people may not even know the full extent of why I don’t belong on a pedestal, but I will be the first one to say that I in no way belong on one. I learned at a young age what it felt like to admire and desire to be just like someone all to be completely let down by the same individual. One of these individuals I looked up to was a minster who had a thriving ministry. I was so captivated by his calling and talent. I remember as a teenager I wanted everyone I knew to meet him. Everyone who met this minister quickly understood my admiration towards him. All that, however, quickly dissipated when the news surfaced that this minister had committed sexual sin with some of the women in the church. When I first found out about this, my heart sunk to the pit of my stomach. I remember crying for long periods of times because I was so hurt, disappointed, and honestly angry. I looked up to him so much! I had him on a pedestal! The truth was, however, he never belonged on that pedestal to begin with. Aside from this situation, I remember other incidents where people “fell off” of the pedestals they were put on, for example: underage, Christian, and unmarried individuals getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant. With different situations like this, I use to get so hurt. However, this was not because of the other people’s shortcomings; it was because I hadn’t gone through my own seasons of mistakes and temptations. As I always say, sometimes you never know the power of God’s grace until you need it desperately in your own life.
I remember having a conversation about mistakes and sin and thinking that we all sin differently. Some of us are just better at hiding sin than others. I once read that a little sin is like a pregnancy: it’s only a matter of time before everyone knows about it. If we all had all our sins exposed it would be extremely messy- no doubt about it! But I think it would also be very healing because as all our sins were exposed to one another, we would see that we are not the only ones who have messed up or done something we regret. We would see that no matter if you have a title or not, we have all made mistakes and been in need of grace greater than our titles. We would see that none of us belong on pedestals. This is not to say that we can’t strive to be the best versions of ourselves, but it is a reminder that no one is perfect, title or no title. When we become a follower of Christ we don’t become sinless but we should strive to sin less.
I never want to take advantage of God’s grace, but I also don’t want to forget that it exits in my life. I know as a pastor I am to live by higher standers and be above reproach, and that is my goal. In a way, messing up as a pastor has made me even more grateful for God’s grace and it has motivated me to do better, be better, and serve better. It has also helped me not look at the mistakes of others through eyes of judgment but through eyes of grace.
Artist Stacie Orrico sang a song when I was a teenager called “Don’t Look at Me.” I want to leave you with the lyrics of this song because it holds so much reality.
“Don't look at me if you're looking for perfection Don't look at me I will only let you down I'll do my best to point you in the right direction But don't look at me No, no, no Don't look at me, look at Him
Sometimes I have a fear That you will see a mirror And get the thought that it's the main attraction But all that you detect Is just what I reflect Of the object of my own affection
I'll lead you to the One I found He'll give you everything you need
Don't look at me if you're looking for perfection Don't look at me I will only let you down I'll do my best to point you in the right direction But don't' look at me No, no, no Don't' look at me, look at Him
It's understandable to want a hero But people can't meet all your expectations Still some can teach you things about the love He brings Just know the source of life is in the Savior
I'll lead you to the One I found He'll give you everything you need
Don't look at me if you're looking for perfection Don't look at me I will only let you down I'll do my best to point you in the right direction But don't look at me No, no, no Don't look at me, look at Him
He's the One who lived a perfect life He's the One who always gets it right He's the One and only guiding light, Ohh, yeah He is everything you want to be He's the answer to your every need If you follow Him then you will see He's like no other
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh yeah
I'll do my best to point you in the right direction But don't look at me No, no, no Don't look at me Oh, don't look at me I'll only let you down I'll do my best to point you in the right direction No no no no no oh oh look at Him Yeah, yeah”
I remember Stacy getting a lot of judgment because she went into a little bit of a secular platform with her music, but she said it point blank: “don’t look at me look at him”. I am with Stacy. I will do my best to point you to Jesus but just remember to keep your eyes on Him and not me. I don’t belong on a pedestal because no matter how high the pedestal is, it could never compare to the height and the depth of the work on the Cross. Instead of standing on a pedestal, I want to kneel before Jesus, the one who choose the cross over the kingdom so that the kingdom could allow me and you within it.