Category Archives: integrity

Again….

Again I face the fall of a pastor.  Each time I have to deal with this in a church, in a life, it’s hard.  It’s messy!  Lives are shattered, tears are shed, families are destroyed and faith is shaken.

I think that is the very reason Paul warns Timothy, “FLEE immorality!”  It destroys far more than we could ever imagine and we can never make it right again.

Maybe this should be the first lessons for any new pastor.  Here is what I would tell them,

  1. Sex is enticing, exciting, fun….for a moment in time.
  2. You are a target
  3. You will be tempted
  4. Sexual sin outside of your marriage as a pastor is a sin
  5. The price is far higher than you know
  6. The tears are more than you can imagine
  7. The damage will never be repaired “as it was before”
  8. It’s not worth it!!!!
  9. If you think you can “get away with it” you are wrong!
  10. FLEE sexual sin

There’s my short list.  Every pastor taking a new church needs this drilled into his head.  In one of my early churches I had several women “chasing me.”  I was scared to death of the sins that would result and ran for dear life.  But a few years later I left the ministry for some time away in business and suddenly the attention from women stopped.  I realized, to my surprise, that it was my position they were drawn to and not me.

This is spiritual warfare and it is one of the most effective weapons of the enemy.  If he can get you, as a pastor, to fall then he destroys much more than one life, much more.

So, what I say to anyone thinking about the lure of sex outside of marriage is this, “FLEE!!!!!  Run for your life.”

 

Regret

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  -2 Corinthians 7:10
Regret is something I think about often.  We all do it when we think about the bad choices of the past.  I regret so many things it’s hard to keep up with them.  I regret not saving more, I regret not saying I’m sorry when I needed to, I regret not playing with my kids more.  There are so many.
I’m sure, if you made a list, there would be several that you wish you could have a mulligan on, a do-over.  That’s the way of regret, once we have done it or said it we must live with the consequences of the action or the word for the rest of our lives.
Most of our sins leave us with small regrets, but the sin of a pastor who has fallen rings with an amplified regret.  It’s in bold letters for them if they are tender to God.  But with regret comes two other emotions we each must deal with- the fantasy of what could have been and the fear of what might be.  All of these are the results of bad choices and not trusting God with our lives.
Regret is real, but God’s desire is that we use it to repent and be restored to him and his family.  We can’t undo what we have done, but we can use the regrets of our sins to make good choices in the days ahead.
God’s desire for the fallen pastor is that he would repent and walk with God once more, a son restored, forgiven, rejoicing in the savior who gave his life for all our sins….even this one.

The NEXT pastor

man-silhouette.svg_.hi_Welcome to 2013!  A new year.  A new beginning.

New beginnings are exciting, but often hard.  They are especially hard when a church family is considering a new pastor after the last one fell in sin.  The church is fearful and still untrusting.  The new pastor is hopeful, but he has much to deal with in this broken and hurting church.

The church thinks a new man will dull the pain and scars of the last pastor, but he can’t.  No man can.  The scars and wounds, the lack of trust and forgiveness needed must all be done over time.  Healing will take a while.  It’s a work of God, not of a new pastor.

Can the new pastor survive the healing process?  Does he know what he’s dealing with?  Usually he doesn’t last long and honestly, most of the time has no idea what he’s facing.  Soon he’s gone and the church is still in pain.

If you are part of a church dealing with a fallen pastor or a pastor coming into a broken church here are some things you both need to know.  Let me list them as they come to my mind.  There are  more, but here are a few:

1. The church is hurting.  The church and the new pastor need to acknowledge that.  Don’t try to pretend it’s not true.  Deal with it honestly and deal with it biblically.

2. The church’s trust has been broken.  Most of the people in the church, although unaware of it, will not trust the new pastor.  The last one, the one they loved, failed them.  How can they trust another pastor?  Trust is something that will have to be earned.  The new pastor needs to know it’s not given easily in a broken church, he will have to work on this intentionally.

3. Forgiveness is needed.  The new pastor will need to talk about what forgiveness is and what the process must be for a church to heal.  Forgiveness is a must if the church and the new pastor are to survive.

4. Trust in another area has been dealt a blow as well.  Wives, who always trusted their husbands in the past, are now more likely to lose trust in their own husbands for a period of time.  If the pastor, a “godly man”, could fall then how can I trust my husband?  That question will be in the air even if never spoken.  A wise pastor coming into a broken church will soon teach a series on marriage.  It will be vital for the church and for the couples who were struggling before all of this happened.

5. Those who might have been thinking about an affair in their marriages before now have “permission”.  If the pastor did it….then…   And some, in spite of the price paid by the pastor who fell in sin, will consider it permission for them to do the same thing.  Some marriages will fail because of the fall of the pastor.  The next pastor needs to be keenly aware of this being a temptation to a few in the church.

6. And last, for this post….although I will deal with this again, the next pastor must be overly careful about his own marriage and how he handles himself.  He must be overly careful. He must make sure he never counsels a woman in the church alone.  He must never meet with a woman alone.  He might be completely trustworthy and would never repeat the sin of the former pastor, but because of the pain and hurt in the church family people will be watching VERY closely.  He has to be especially careful in his actions to help the church heal.  The next pastor may think this unfair.  He would never repeat the same sin, but that’s not the point.  His role is one of healer, restorer, shepherd and in that role he has to guard the sheep…even from their own suspicions.

I have many more in my thoughts as I write, but this post is already a little long.  I’ll revisit this topic again soon.  I hope you all have a great new year and I pray you and your church heal, forgive and grow in the grace of Jesus Christ.

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.