This week I received this question:
“How do you console the wife and children of the fallen minister?”
We all have to admit, when a pastor falls, that a death has occurred. It’s a death of a man’s position, ministry, voice and possibly even his marriage.
Because of his visibility and his sin we often focus our thoughts and discussions on him, but what about the wife and children?
Who takes care of them? As my questioner asked, “How do we console the wife and children..?”
Console is the perfect word! For the wife it’s as if she has experienced a death. It’s a death of her marriage, her trust in her husband and a death of his vocation. How will they pay the bills? What will they do now? Where will they live? How do we deal with the shame?
The church often treats the wife as a part of the problem and discards her as they do the pastor. Out of sight, out of mind, thank you very much.
But the church’s job is to care for this “widow.” She has lost her husband, her identity, her role as a pastor’s wife. She has lost everything!
How do we console her? We must care for her as we would someone who has lost a partner to death. We must come alongside her, be with her, bring her meals, pray for her and love her well.
Love her as you would love and care for a widow. Come alongside her kids, spend time with them, help them. Encourage the wife. Help her with her transition. She has lost everything, don’t abandon her!
How do we console her? Just as we would someone who has lost a mate to death….because it is a death. A death of everything she has known. And, above all, love her well.