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Confronting the Toxic Power in Me

High-profile stories of fallen pastors can distract us from ourselves or hold up a mirror to our souls.
Confronting the Toxic Power in Me
Image: micaelnuss / Getty

I (Jamin) can still see their faces. Every Wednesday night we gathered in a living room, and about 40 high school students fixed their attention on me as I taught on a passage of Scripture. I was in seminary at the time, so my teaching was infused with a unique brand of arrogance that comes from the rare opportunity to immediately speak authoritatively about things you just learned for the first time yourself. It wasn’t a church sanctuary filled with 3,000 people, but it might as well have been. I can remember feeling powerful in that room. As I wielded my gifts and abilities, I received adoration and respect. The constant affirmations by well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ didn’t help curb the pride growing within me. Each affirmation was like a puff of air stoking the flames of the early embers of grandiosity smoldering in my heart. I can still remember them: “You’re wise beyond your years,” “You’re a uniquely gifted communicator,” ...

May/June
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