I received a comment from David about a fall in his church. Here are his comments and then I will add a few thoughts of my own,
“Our pastor came to the head deacon & told him to call the sheriffs department and then confessed to embezzling all the church’s funds. Then we get to watch the drama unfold. What I’m watching unfold is how people are making it about themselves. The pastor let me or us down and all the other comments that come with an anger that is self centered. I’m not surprised, our pastor is a man just like the rest of us. I’m not mad at him and I don’t see the issue to be money and betrayal like they are making it out to be. Pastor and his family should be our concern as far as I’m concerned. Everyone is making it about them. The pastor is Satan’s primary target. I’d like to ask these people how many prayed for pastor and his family on a daily basis. When the other pastor or deacons stand in front of the congregation and start crying about how hurt and let down they are. Am I missing something here but it’s not about them. I believe the Bibles tells us our first responsibility is restoring pastor back into the family of God not finding out why he took the money. I only ask why is because if he has another problem we need to help him with another issue.”
David asked some great questions, made some very insightful comments and sees the issues well. The problem that happens when a pastor falls, either to immorality or fraud, is an intense wound suffered by people in the body. Sadly we elevate our pastors to a place we should reserve for God alone and so when they fall we are more wounded and take the sin personally…..we feel the sin was against us! When we are hurt in this way we have chosen to sin as well and blame it on the pastor.
When this ripple effect of sin happens it’s really hard to isolate what is really wrong with the church, who needs forgiveness, who needs to repent and how to fix the problem. Another big problem in the story David described is pride. Pride “muddies the water” so it’s even harder to sort out what to do. In a situation like this a church needs to pray and pursue corporate repentance. We all need to humble ourselves and ask for God’s forgiveness.
Sadly this usually doesn’t happen. The pastor is the scapegoat, the church claims to be the wounded party and pity the poor pastor who next takes this church. So the problem is clouded and the church becomes impotent.
I will be praying for you and your church David. Repentance, restoration, forgiveness and love for one another is God’s desire. When we divide, destroy and selfishly proclaim our own wounds we do nothing for the kingdom of God. Sadly I see too many churches “killing” the wounded pastor instead of drawing them close, loving them, restoring them and demonstrating the love of Christ to the fallen man or woman. I pray we can see through our own wounds and bandage the wounds of our fallen leaders.