In the late 1980s a popular pastor and author had a moral failure. I remember being shocked. I knew pastors failed. I just didn’t realize that it could happen to the best of pastors.
In the decades since then, I’ve seen many other pastors fail. Recently I’ve seen another type of failure (alleged and real). An article in Christianity Today says, “It’s refreshing news to hear of pastors taking a leave of absence not over sexual or financial misconduct, but over pride.”
This is not to minimize pride and related issues. My friend Bill Kinnon has been blogging about how serious this is. I agree. We can’t take serious allegations lightly.
This is an opportunity for us.
Every time I hear of a pastor fall in any area, I try to use it to examine my own life. This usually leads to a discussion with Charlene about how similar temptations show up in my life. I can’t assume that I am above danger. This past week I’ve been thinking about some of the ways that I may be in danger of hurting people through my style of leadership.
It’s an opportunity to pray. I am the first to admit that I am much too interested in learning the sordid details of other people’s failures. Maybe it makes me feel better about myself. I can become judgmental too. There’s a place to name sin as sin, but I also need to be careful. I see the danger of gloating in my own life. Instead I want to pray for restoration.
Galatians 6:1-5 says it best:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
This passage says:
- Focus on gentle restoration
- See that you’re in danger of committing the same sin
- Expect to bear the burdens of others
- Don’t get proud
- Don’t focus on others while ignoring yourself
- Focus on your own responsibilities before the Lord
I need to hear all of that.
So I’m humbled and sobered every time another pastor seems to have failed. I take it seriously, but I don’t want to gloat, and I certainly want to recognize that it could happen to me too.
Comments are temporarily closed while I try to make some changes at the site, but I’m definitely interested in your feedback. I welcome your thoughts.