Recently my daughter told me about a girl at school that she has been getting to know, who recently moved here from another state. She learned that this friend is also a pastor’s kid and is struggling with missing friends she moved away from. I was excited to hear that my daughter was connecting with another pastor’s kid, who she could relate to and empathize with. I quickly told her that I was glad she had someone like her and that “pk’s need to stick together.”
My excitement quickly faded after my daughter told me something that her new friend’s sister just experienced. She explained that her friend’s older sister was recently approached by a member of their church, who told her she was an embarrassment to her father and should not be at church in her appearance (black clothes and a nose ring). I have to admit, such anger rose up inside me that I wished I could hit the person who said that to this young girl. Hurt and emotions rose up within me, thinking about a struggling teenage pastor’s kid who always feels pressure to be perfect and left the only life she knows, to sacrifice with her family for a church where she does not feel loved or accepted.
Lingenfelter, in the book Ministering Cross-Culturally says, “One of the biggest problems in our families, church, and missions is that we often insist that others think and judge in the same way we do. We do not accept one another in love; rather we try to remake those around us into our own image” (63 ).
I have seen these things happen in the church more than I would like to admit and it grieves me. As followers of Christ, we are called to love and accept people. We have not arrived! It is not up to us to force people to look and act like us. It is up to us to lovingly point people to Christ so they can be made into his image, not ours. Jesus embraced people like this young girl while shunning the religious who acted like the adult in this story. His example is a reminder to each of us how precious each person is. As believers and churches, let’s aim to love others more than anyone else does…especially pastors kids!