Monthly Archives: October 2012

God loves even him!

I just wrote a post titled, “Sin is messy”.  In a way it was a chance for me to vent a bit about how destructive this sin is, this sin of adultery for a pastor, but as I read it I was struck by two things, 1. the truth of the words, and 2. the harshness of my own anger at the devil and the results of this sin in our church and others I talk  to.  I’m frankly very tired of good and godly men being stupid!

But what I need to address is this- even though we might sin, destroy our marriages, our lives, our churches….God loves us!  He is constantly reaching out to the broken, fallen, failed with his love.  And, who needs it more than a fallen pastor?  My friend who fell found himself with nothing and no one.  His wife divorced him and as she prepared to leave gave him a few dollars.  That’s all he had.  Everyone had abandoned him, a man who was dearly loved only weeks before.  We just don’t know what to do with all of this, do we?

In the middle of the sin of a pastor there is one truth we have to tell them, remind them of and tell ourselves as well- God loves him.  He loves me.  He’s madly in love with his children no matter what the sin.  It’s God’s love the fallen pastor needs the most because all others abandon him and he finds himself alone.

I’m in the middle of a book titled, “Good and beautiful God” by Smith.  Today I read chapter four in preparation for a small group.  It just brought this truth back to my mind that even in the middle of the most terrible sin a church could experience God is still madly in love with the sinner.

Our response?  It has to be the same.  We must love that fallen one, embrace them, restore them in some way (not to the pulpit, but to the family) and we must forgive.  If God still loves the fallen man or woman how can we possibly do any less?

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Sin is messy

To be honest with you I really hate this topic.  It’s painful to talk about. It’s nasty to deal with.  It’s messy!

There is no good that comes from a pastor’s fall!  None.

Sin is messy.  We leave damage all around us when we think secret sin can be committed without penalty.  But out of our sin comes nothing but broken churches and destroyed families and abandoned faith.  This sin is probably one of the devil’s best victories in any church.  It destroys far more than we even know as we try to clean up the damage.

In our own experience I have seen the “domino effect” happen as others have emulated the pastor’s deed and think because he did it they can do it as well.  As a result more families are destroyed.  Faith is compromised. Obedience abandoned.

Sin is messy.  We will never find happiness disobeying God.  Never.  It’s simply not possible.  It’s never been done and we won’t be the first.  In a pastor’s sin, whatever the reason, a cascade of lives are damaged, faith eroded, churches made impotent and much more.

Words escape me to describe this in a way that would make a pastor respond, “Well, if it’s that bad it’s just not worth it!”  But the devil is much smarter than we are.  Much more cunning.  He looks for our weakness and attacks there.  For some reason we believe his lie, although we should know better, and because of the lie many fall.

Sin is messy.  So far, in my short 62 years, I have never, not once, seen good come from sin.  But some would quote Romans 8:28 to me as I say that, I can hear it already.  What that verse speaks of is God’s great work in spite of our sin, not because of it.

Church,  know this because it’s true and will always be true- You will never find happiness disobeying God.  It won’t happen…no matter how pretty she is, no matter how unhappy you are, no matter how much you love her, no matter how depressed you are.

Solomon, the son of David, wrote of men who make these choices in Proverbs 5-7.  In the middle of these thoughts he described a man who lacked sense and the result was what many have seen in the lives of their pastors; sin, failure, lust, broken lives.  The words of Solomon should be a clear slap in the face for anyone thinking “they won’t get caught.”

As you can tell I’m rambling a bit in this entry.  These thoughts are a culmination of seeing way too much, being way too tired of it all.  When will we realize that God is much more interested in our obedience than he is in our happiness?  What we fail to realize is that if we will live a life surrendered to his will we will find happiness.  He will make sure of that, but sin will never discover it.  It’s simply not on that path.

Integrity

in·teg·ri·ty

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2.the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

One of the key issues for anyone who falls into sin is the issue of integrity, not the moral or ethical aspect, although that is important, but the lack of wholeness.  When there is a “hole” of need in a life that person will try to fill it with what they believes will fill that hole.  It’s this lack of wholeness that is core to the problem of infidelity.
We all struggle with wholeness.
God knows that.
That’s why Jesus came.  His mission was to save and restore to wholeness the man he created.  We teach and preach the message of salvation and wholeness as pastors and it’s common to expect people in the pews to respond to this need and seek wholeness, integrity.  But what we often ignore is the fact that the man in the pulpit is also fallen, broken, and needs wholeness.  There are times when the pastor will seek wholeness in other places than God and his work in him.  It happens subtly.  It happens seductively. It happens.  And suddenly, or so it appears, a pastor who is looking for wholeness in the people of his church finds that he himself has sought that wholeness in all the wrong places.  Because he lacked wholeness, lacked integrity, he was easy prey for the enemy.  And he falls.

The secret for this short post is this reality-  integrity (wholeness) must be found in God alone.  When we seek to fill those holes in some other way we always get in trouble.