There’s a funny thing about earthquakes and about a pastor’s fall….the reminder of the events come back on occasions with a slight tremor that won’t let you forget about the earthquake that changed your life. When a pastor falls there are a number of things that are affected- trust, confidence, optimism, faith in your spiritual leader….literally the foundations of your church are shaken, and the faith of many who attend is affected for years to come. So, what do you do when the tremors happen?
Let me suggest several things that every believer must do in his own walk with God when there is a breach of trust with any believer and especially when it’s a spiritual leader. These will be simple things, but they are necessary when you feel the tremors that shake your trust.
1. Remember that your true pastor is Christ himself. He is the head of the church and always will be. You can trust him, and he will never let you down. When man fails Christ will not. When the foundations feel unsure then just move over a little and stand on Christ. He is the sure foundation and the eternal pastor and shepherd of the church. Look to him when man fails. Christ will not let you down.
2. Pray. Pray for your church, for the fallen pastor, for those who have lost their balance because of the earthquake of his sin, pray for the Lord’s protection in your own life. Pray and trust the Lord. First, he is our shepherd and pastor, and second, he can be trusted to help us when we find ourselves in the middle of one of these earthquakes.
3. Help those around you who have been shaken by the sin of the pastor. In any earthquake the first thing people do is make sure they are ok, and then they check on their neighbors and help them. As we help each other and care for one another we will get through this and find that our church family is much closer than it was before.
4. Get in the word. As we recover from the fall of a pastor the best response is to grow in our faith and become strong in our walk with God. You have heard it said, “but for the grace of God….?” It’s true that any one of us could be captured by sin, and many are, so when you have the example of a spiritual leader who falls your best response is to grow in your faith and trust in God. If he can fall then the potential is not far from any one of us. Grow in your faith so you will be able to stand against the attaches of the enemy.
5. Realize that there is a war going on around you. The enemy is busy attaching the church of God. If you are unaware of it you will be an easy target. As Paul tells us in Ephesians 6, get your armour on…there’s a war going on and you need to be ready. If you haven’t read it in a while go to Ephesians 6:12-18 and review the battle preparation instructions. The best thing you can do is be ready for the attaches of the enemy, because he WILL attach you.
6. When a tremor comes, a reminder of the past sins of the pastor…a discussion of the hurt he caused…a moment of anger because he thought so little of his calling and church….grief over your loss….discouragement, bitterness, doubt, fear, or whatever you are facing because of what your spiritual leader did, take it all to the Lord and lay it at his feet. He will help you through your tremors….he will rebuild your life on a sure foundation- Jesus Christ himself.
Tremors will come….they may linger for a time, but they will gradually diminish and be forgotten, and you will find that you are stronger than you were before because you you made the right choices in the shadow of a man who made the wrong choices. Trust the Lord, get in the word, pray, encourage one another, put on the full armour of God, use the bad example of a man who fell to make good choices in your own life. Use the earthquakes of your life to build a stronger foundation for the days ahead because I promise, there are more earthquakes ahead…..