Category Archives: Secrets

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.

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Confusion

One of the things that an affair does in a church is create confusion.  Before the affair the church family loved and trusted the pastor to guide them, share truth and the word of God with them.  After the affair those who looked to him for leadership are confused and wonder if they can ever trust anyone again!  It’s that confusion that the enemy uses to cause problems in the lives of those who are part of the church where a pastor has sinned.  The confusion sounds like this,  “If HE could sin how can I trust my husband to not do the same thing?”  or “How could a man who says he loves God do such a thing? Is my whole Christian life a lie?”

When an affair is revealed in a pastor’s life confusion, doubt, fear, disappointment and sin are the results in the church.  It’s catastrophic!  No wonder the enemy is so busy trying to destroy pastors in this way because it literally destroys the whole church and the faith of those in it.

“How could he do that?”

“Why did he fall, I thought he was a godly man.”

“Is this whole Christian faith a lie?”

“If this is how pastors act I will never go to church again!”

Confusion… suddenly a whole church family loses its direction and it will take years to recover.  We are just now, after almost 6 years , beginning to see new life and the fading of confusion.  Sins like this are much more destructive than I ever imagined!  Confusion…one of the enemies best weapons.

Keeping secrets

(I’ve received a number of notes over the last few years from those of you going through this same thing.  I would like to share the stories of others going through the fall of a pastor.  I will remove the names, dates and locations to protect their privacy, but their stories from the pews are so important that I wanted to share them with you.   -Mike)

Thank you for writing your blog.  At the moment, I am the confidante of our pastor’s wife in a very small church (under 60 most Sundays.)  We’ve been through a difficult loss of a beloved pastor (new appointment) which made many leave our church and now our current pastor is having an affair.  I am the only one at church who knows at this time about this situation and have been praying with and for the pastor’s wife.   He has asked her to leave the parsonage, but she has determined to stay as long as she can.  While there is no physical abuse, the situation is becoming unbearable as he leaves her and the children, as he lies, as he walks blinded to what he is doing to his family.  At this point they believe their boys don’t know, but the 12 year old is perceptive and knows things aren’t right.

I am so burdened for this family, for this dear wife who is so wounded (and has never been anything but an exemplary pastor’s wife, supporting him through seminary and small churches, working hard in the churches they served, etc.)   She is looking for a full-time job and housing so she can leave, because staying is becoming too hard and in the meantime, they tell their children nothing and outside of their very immediate family, and our district superintendent (who only knows he wants out of the marriage, not about the affair) I am the only other one who knows about this.  I have not even told my own husband what is going on except that he knows I meet with the pastor’s wife because she is having “issues.”  I do believe he has his suspicions though!

I am not exactly sure why I am writing, except that this is pretty anonymous and I need to share this burden.  I do not think our church  has any real procedure for church discipline; I am pretty sure the pastor fully expects to continue preaching and receiving his salary until an appointment to a new church, which is what typically is the procedure in a divorce situation.  I have appreciated reading your blog, seeing what you’ve “done right” and gleaning much wisdom from your experience.

Thank you so much for the wise counsel offered in those blog posts… I am preparing for the earthquake, even while I struggle Sunday after Sunday to sit and hear him preach and act as if all is right with the world… Jesus has been faithfully instructing me in how to deal, and even when I feel at a loss, I know He will continue to lead.