Affairrecovery.com – Hope For Broken Marriages

affair_recovery_logoHas your spouse cheated on you? Are you cheating on your spouse and want to come clean about it? Maybe you’ve been caught and all you want is for your relationship with your spouse to be restored.

Lots of people don’t know where to start. I ran across a group of people recently who have dedicated their lives to helping people recover from affairs and I want to introduce them to you.

They’re Affair Recovery – (affairrecovery.com) and they have been helping people for a long time and if you give them a chance, they can help you as well.

Here at Fallen Pastor, I act as a temporary gatekeeper for ministers in trouble. I’m not a long term solution. I try to get people help locally so they can get long-term help. I have a lot of resources. That’s why when I heard about affairrecovery.com, I was excited about what they did.

I spoke with Tony Fetchel, one of the specialists at Affair Recovery. He is a fallen minister and deals with heartbreaking stories every day.  He introduced me to the phenomenal things that Affair Recovery has been doing in the lives of people and can do for those who are in need of their help.

When you arrive at their site, you will find an “Affair Analyzer,” which will help you understand where you are and what kind of help you need. The analyzer offers you the chance to be contacted by one of their specialists. They aren’t going to try and sell you anything, they are there to help, first and foremost.

They help all kinds of people – Christians, non-Christians, spouses who weren’t able to reconcile, couples who want to work it out, pastors, executives, etc. If you’re having trouble, they have someone for you to talk to, privately and confidentially.

They offer all kinds of options for healing. They have home study courses, weekend retreats and even more invasive options.

Let me say this – I hear about ministries that can help, but Affair Recovery is one of the most well-organized and caring groups I’ve seen. I highly recommend it to you if you are in crisis mode and need help now.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

Pastors and the Batman Problem

jokerAs a Batman fan, something struck me the other day while I was watching the new hit TV show, Gotham. In my years of reading Batman and Detective Comics, why didn’t Batman/Bruce Wayne ever build a better prison to lock up the Joker?

The Joker is responsible for a lot of death and destruction and he’s typically housed in Arkham Asylum from which he’s escaped on numerous occasions.

So why didn’t/doesn’t Bruce/Batman spend a little Wayne Foundation money on making sure that the Joker is in an escape-proof, Joker-tight, laser-guarded, seven-miles-below-the-earth, impossible to escape from cell? Everything else is plausible in the comic book world, why not that?

Honestly, for a man who doesn’t seem to want to kill, prevention should be pretty high on his list, right?

Then that got me to thinking about this ministry, pastors and the Batman problem.  Every pastor has the Joker looming around the corner. Most every pastor would admit that he is capable of ministry failure. Whether that’s adultery, sexual sin, burnout, or his marriage falling apart – most pastors know it can happen.

Even more, most pastors give some degree of lip service to it. Some guys protect their hearts and marriages. A lot of guys will say, “Oh yeah, everything is fine in my marriage and ministry,” even though things are falling down around them.

Despite whether we deny the reality of future temptation or not, it exists and can happen. It’s like the Joker. And we can choose to build a prison for the guy and get ready for him, or we can ignore that he’s there and let him wreak havoc whenever he decides to show up.

Pastors aren’t stupid. They know how to protect their hearts. Theycesarjoker know what they should and shouldn’t be looking at. They know that they need accountability and mentoring. It’s just doing it. It’s realizing that all of us need help, regardless of education, age or experience, swallowing our pride and asking for support.

I’m here to help. If you want to know if your church is equipped for ministry failure, I can help. If you want resources, check out my blogroll. If you have a private question, go to my contact page.

But understand that if we don’t take steps to lock up the villains on our own, they will find us and do some serious damage. 

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

3 Things To Remember When Forgiving Someone

begPeople want and need to be forgiven. There are those of us walking around with huge burdens that need to be reconciled with groups of people or individuals.

We’ve tried to ask for forgiveness, asked for it, or are looking for a way to ask for it in a similar way in which we sinned against others.

But for whatever reason, there are those who withhold forgiveness. That explains why my post on “5 Reasons People Won’t Forgive You” is the most read post on my blog. If you are in need of forgiveness and can’t understand why someone won’t forgive you, go read that one.

Here, I want to address how to forgive someone who is asking you for forgiveness. There are a lot of possibilities wrapped up in this, so let’s look at as much as we can.

1. Do your best to take their apology at face value.

This is tough, but use your common sense. If someone borrowed your favorite shirt and got tomato sauce on it, asks for an apology, offers to have it dry cleaned, they’re probably being sincere.

But what about more serious sin? Like adultery? Or someone who lies to you all the time? That’s tough. I deal with this frequently when I’m counseling fallen pastors and their wives. The fallen pastor will cheat with someone and then in a week say to his wife, “I’m so sorry, please forgive me.” Well, guess what, dude? She’s not ready to forgive.

But he’ll make it worse. He will say things like, “The Bible commands you to forgive me. You’re not in the will of God.Don’t do that.

Both people in the transaction of forgiveness have a tremendous responsibility. The person who has sinned has to get their heart right. There has to be repentance (different than remorse or “feeling sorry I got caught“). But as the person who is doing the forgiving, that’s out of your control.


 “Most people who are repentant and asking for your forgiveness have been dwelling on this moment for a long time. They need your forgiveness like a thirsty dog needs a drink of water. They need to hear those three words, ‘I forgive you,’ desperately.”


So what do you do? A couple of things. You can understand that there are people who may feel remorse but don’t understand that their apology is not sincere. You can tell them, “I understand that you’re apologizing to me and I appreciate it. But we are known by our fruits in our life. Please allow me time to heal emotionally and I will allow time for God to work repentance in your life. He will bring both of us to a place where we can finish the transaction of forgiveness on His time. I’m not withholding forgiveness. But I can tell you that I am storing up grace for the day when I can forgive you wholly and completely.” Or something like that.

You can also be honest with the person and tell them that it is difficult for you to process forgiveness because of the hurt. That you are working on it, earnestly and prayerfully. Ask them for patience and encourage them to look up stories of people who have endured the same kind of pain you’re going through. Ask them for empathy.

2. It’s okay to draw boundaries.

If a person has hurt you in the same way before – repeatedly – realize that forgiveness can happen, but you may need to draw a boundary. 

I had a counselor tell me once that boundaries are good because they keep us from slamming the door completely. I was having trouble with a person who I believed I hated. The counselor said, “You know, God draws boundaries. He drew boundaries for the Israelites at Sinai. Some could go to the foot of the mountain. Others could go on the mountain. Moses could go to the top. Jesus had followers who could listen to his teachings. He had twelve disciples who heard more. Then he had an inner three who heard exclusive things.

I said, “Yes, and?boundary

He said, “We need to be careful about shutting anyone out of our lives completely. If you cut this person out of your life completely, you will shut out any chance for the restoration of God in their life or a miracle of reconciliation in your life. So draw a boundary. Tell them that they can be part of your life. But in your life, restrict them to certain areas. Don’t tell them everything. Don’t allow them access to all areas of your heart.

He was right. Never shut the door on someone – always leave it open just a little and allow God to do what He will do.

3. When forgiving, always be gracious.

Sometimes, someone will come up to you and ask for forgiveness for something you didn’t even know they did. Be gracious. Make sure they understand they have your full forgiveness.

Other times, you will know why they are apologizing. You’re ready to forgive and reconcile. (Trust me, it will feel great when you’re done). Guess what? Be gracious. Make sure they understand they have your full forgiveness.

What I’m saying is – most people who are repentant and asking for your forgiveness have been dwelling on this moment for a long time. They need your forgiveness like a thirsty dog needs a drink of water. They need to hear those three words, “I forgive you,” desperately. So make it clear.

Realize that at some point, we will all be standing in the need of someone’s forgiveness. In fact, we have already been there. Christ forgave us a debt we could not possibly repay. That’s why Paul tells us in Colossians 3:13 to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

I Love The Rain

rainRain is the greatest weather ever.

If I had been one of the people not invited on the Ark, (and I probably wouldn’t have been), and it had been raining for about 20 days, I would’ve said to the other whiners, “What’s your problem? Keep it coming!

There are just so many beautiful things about rain.


Do you know how to peg who the truly happy people are? The ones who just keep walking in the rain. They don’t run. They walk.


It feels good and it’s refreshing. When you’re standing outside in the heat and you feel that first slight breeze, you know there’s rain on the way. Then that first little drop of rain. Then the second, then it all breaks loose.

Remember playing in the rain as a kid? Nothing stopped you when you were young. Even if Mom made you put on embarrassing galoshes or whatever, you wanted to go out in it. My mom didn’t make me wear that stuff. I’d go out there in it and just play. Catch crawdads in the runoff water, get soaked to the bone, run up and down the street – those were the times. And it didn’t matter if I got wet.

But today, while we’re adults – watch the heavens open up, see the rain2people in their suits and dresses scamper for cover or an umbrella. Do you know how to peg who the truly happy people are? The ones who just keep walking in the rain. They don’t run. They walk. And they slowly turn their faces skyward with a grin to appreciate it.

And our music bears this out.

People don’t write too many songs about snow. Or hail, or ground frosts, or the Nor’easter (save Billy Joel). They write songs about rain.

Blue Eyes Cryin’ In the Rain, Can You Stand The Rain, Blame It On The Rain, I Wish It Would Rain Down, Kentucky Rain (one of my favorites), Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, It’s Rainin’ Men (probably shouldn’t include that one), I Love a Rainy Night, Raining On Sunday, Summer Rain, Who’ll Stop the Rain, etc, etc, etc.

Sure, rain stops baseball games. It stops picnics (get a pavilion). It stops NASCAR races.

But it also washes away the old. It’s great to kiss in. To run around in. To find yourself.

And it seems, and it may just be a coincidence, that on every significant day of my life that it has rained. It’s been a close friend to me. I’ll take the rain whether it’s drizzling, sprinkling, pouring, coming horizontally, or a torrential downpour.

It’s always refreshing.


Happy Fifth Anniversary, Allison.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Is My Pastor Up To Something Sinful?

computerTurn on the news and what do you see? War. Murder. What does that mean? That you’re probably going to get shot tomorrow and that the end is near.

Of course that’s not what that means.

But we do internalize a lot of the evening news, don’t we? And we internalize a lot of statistics. We get online and type in some symptoms we’re having and WebMD tells us that we have an incurable disease. It can be difficult not to do those things when information is so accessible.

Here at Fallen Pastor I share a lot of statistics. I’ll tell you that a lot of pastors suffer from depression or look at pornography. I tell you that ministry failure is a stark reality and I use statistics to illustrate the point. It’s a real problem.webmd

Once in a while I will write a blog about how people can take care of their “normal” pastor. How pastors can prevent moral failure.

But I want you to know that just because there are tendencies toward sin, just because there are pastors who struggle – that doesn’t mean that your pastor is sitting at his desk with his cell phone, texting his secret lover trying to figure out an out of the way rendezvous, all the while surfing the web for pornography, simultaneously writing his Sunday sermon on how husbands should love their wives.

There are some great pastors out there. A ton of them. Have I ever met a perfect one? Nope. Never met a perfect Christian or church member either. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. All of us undergoing the process of sanctification, working together, walking together in Christ.

I hope you don’t read this blog and think that your pastor is wiling away his hours being sinful. He’s probably not. He does need your support. So does his family. They are under extreme pressure. Let them be human. Let them be part of the community of faith and express their frustrations, prayer requests, and have time off with their family.

Let them worship together as a family on Sunday and make sure they are experiencing God in the church as you are. Don’t treat him as  a hired hand – treat him as a brother in Christ.

Don’t be suspicious of his motives. Instead, if you think he might have a problem, approach him as Matthew 18 asks us to. If you feel he has slighted you or made an error, go to him in love. Treat him as you would want to be treated in the same situation.

Has he made mistakes? Sure. Will he continue to make them? Absolutely. Will you? Sure you will.

Is my pastor up to something sinful? Probably. We all are to some degree. But will we continue to be mistake-making people who constantly look to Christ for help, sanctification and healing as  a community of faith? That’s the real question.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Can You Believe That Sinner?

I’ve been writing for a long time. My senior year of high school, I got to help write  a play. I can see the following monologue being acted out by one person for a church drama. But I can also see it happening every week in churches as a reaction to those who sin, unfortunately. These are the whispers that sinners hear – deservedly so – but when do they stop? And when do our hearts change? What should our hearts be speaking toward those who sin? Scripture references are linked:

“Can you believe that sinner? Do you know what he did? He cheated on his wife. Unbelievable. He’s a member of this church.  And he was a Sunday School teacher.

whispering“Oh, when did he do it? About eight months ago. Filthy person. How dare he show up back in our church like this. Seriously. He’s got two kids. They’re not even ten yet. What was he thinking?

“I don’t know how he could even show himself in public. He’s lucky he even has a job still. I can hardly stand looking at him.

“How did he teach Sunday School all those Sundays and carry on with that other woman? What audacity! That has to be blasphemy.

“Do what? Oh, he’s been meeting with the pastor. I have no idea why the pastor would even talk to him. I’m sure he’s blaming his wife or a problem with pornography or a troubled childhood. But to me, there’s no excuse for that kind of sin.

“His wife? Here’s a stunner. She’s trying to work things out with him. whispering2I have no idea why. She should have dumped his sorry rear end right there on the spot when she found those text messages. She could have gone straight to a lawyer and owned everything that little bitty man has.

“I don’t know. I mean I’m not being judgmental. I just don’t like the way he looks around the sanctuary. I don’t like the way he talks or speaks to anyone. He’s not fooling me with that false humility.

I’m telling you, once a cheater, always a cheater.

“Those poor little children of his. Maybe one day they’ll learn what an unholy person their father is. How can he even sing songs of worship?

I just don’t know how someone like that can live with themselves.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

The Yellow Sticky Note

Today I’m honored to guest blog from an old friend. I’m posting a bio below. But please read the post first. I think a lot of you will relate to the writing and the topic. It’s one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time.

He asked me to write an article for his website.  If he only knew, he wouldn’t ask.  I knew what I wanted to say, but didn’t have the courage to tell the truth.

What came to mind was my first appointment with a therapist about 30 years ago.  At the end of our session, he wrote something on a yellow sticky note, and told me to put it on my refrigerator.  It said, “I’m doing the best I can.  That’s good enough.”  Immediately I said, “Nonsense!  I’m doing the best I can, and it’s never good enough.”  “But it has to be,” he replied, “because it’s all you can do.

post-it-yellowFor the last nine months, I’ve been sinking into increasing depression and despair.  I’m eating less, drinking more, and find it difficult to pray.  I’ve stopped teaching my class, cancelled my relationships with the two women I mentored, and hardly ever write. I’m still connected to my family, but only have one truly honest relationship – a friend who knows most of what’s going on and refuses to give up on me, believing when I can’t.

It’s not that I don’t care anymore, yet my ability to move forward has all but ceased, and I feel like it’s my fault.  I certainly have no business leading anyone else spiritually.  Why would I want to lead anyone into this darkness?

And yet it isn’t totally dark inside me.  There is still a sense of ministry as I care for a crabby, difficult old lady 36 hours a week, offering her the patience and compassion I don’t feel for myself.  The satisfaction I have in cooking healthy meals for my family still thrives.  Twice a week I go to church and the gym.  In other words, I haven’t given up on life.  But my self-esteem lies liquid on the floor, the vision I once had is vacant, and I can’t escape.  Self-destruction and self-fulfillment co-exist.  It’s not the end, but……I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t good.  It certainly isn’t “good enough.”

What isn’t missing is my awareness of God’s presence.  God hasn’t left nor have I left God.  The Bible says nothing can separate us from the love of God, and God promises to never leave us.  That is my one solace in this turmoil.  But what is my purpose right now?

Simon Peter comes to mind – a spiritual loose cannon.  He was predictably irresponsible, a class-act idiot, saying and doing the dumbest things.  If he had been one of my disciples, I would have fired him.  Actually, if I had known what he was like, I wouldn’t have chosen him in the first place.  He failed Jesus so many times.  Peter finally gave up trying and went back to fishing after abandoning Jesus on the worst day of his life.

And yet Jesus came to him personally where he was – even after all that – and told Peter to feed and care for His sheep.  How do you feed someone when you have nothing to give?  How do you care for someone when you are doing a terrible job of caring for yourself? Makes me think of the TV show, “Mission Impossible” – “Your mission, should you choose to accept it,….”  What if I can’t accept what seems to be impossible?  Certainly God wouldn’t say, “You’re doing the best you can.  That’s good enough.

Yeah, right.

That damn yellow sticky note.  Even if I don’t believe it’s true, what if my mission from God today is to get up and go to work, cook a good dinner for my family, and treat that crabby old lady with kindness, even if I don’t feel like it? God, you know I’m already doing those things.

And God said, “Read the yellow sticky note.”

___________________________

Our guest blogger today was Joy Wilson. Joy Wilson is the author of Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God (Civitas Press, 2011). She blogs at Solacetree.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

6 Popular Ways To Run Off Your Pastor

Fallenpastor.com does not recommend this approach to removing a pastor from a church.
Fallenpastor.com does not recommend this approach to removing a pastor from a church.

Want to get rid of your pastor? Maybe not, but there could be people unwittingly doing things within your church who are sending messages to your preacher that they want him gone. Yesterday.

During my five-year ministry to fallen pastors, I talk to former ministers, active ministers, retired pastors, directors of missions, and missionaries. The problems I list below come from years of talking to frustrated ministers.

Unfortunately, for most of them, there are certain types of attitudes that pop up in churches that do much harm to ministers. I wrote a blog post a while back called “3 Ways You Can Prevent Pastoral Adultery.” It wasn’t very popular (probably the title). It was about how church members and leaders can help their pastors thrive in the pulpit.

So, I’m taking a different approach today. They are things that most pastors think and encounter but would never share with their own congregation. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, slightly snarky, but unfortunately, through my research of talking to hundreds of fellow ministers, here are 6 popular ways to run off your pastor.  (I might add, don’t do any of these things. In fact, do the opposite.)

1. Leave Him Passive Aggressive Notes

Don’t like something about church? Don’t like the hymns or how long the pastor is preaching? Don’t like the new music style or how the young people are acting? Well, there’s a time-honored solution for that. Leave the pastor a passive aggressive note. Preferably anonymousanonymous. Pastors just love anonymous notes left on their desks, windshields or in the offering plate.

You know with messages like, “Your messages were much more enjoyable when they were five minutes shorter,” or “You look more professional when you wear a tie” or “The sermon was fine, but you quoted 1 John 1:2 when I think you meant John 1:2.That’s the kind of stuff that helps the pastor focus on what’s really important.

2. Show Remarkable Imbalance as Church Leaders

When there’s a huge church crisis or disagreement looming and the pastor needs wisdom, input and support from his leadership, don’t say a word. Let him figure that stuff out on his own. Heck, that’s what all those seminary classes are for, right? But when he orders a $25 box of personalized pens with the church’s name on them without prior authorization? Give him heck at the next business meeting!


We have a tendency to treat the pastor as a “hired hand” instead of as a fellow member of the community of faith.


3. Say Insulting Things About His Less Than Perfect Wife

Did you know that a lot of pastor’s wives didn’t marry a pastor? A lot of men get the call to ministry after they are married, so it’s always good to cut them a little slack. That being said, pastor’s wives are often the target of a lot of trash talk.

For some reason a lot of people have an unrealistic model of what the perfect pastor’s wife should look and act like. I guess she’s supposed to be the Proverbs 31 woman, head of the nursery, teaching three kids Sunday School classes, head of AWANAs, always smiling, remembering everyone’s birthday and anniversary, and never have a hair or opinion out-of-place.

Well, sorry to say, that’s not reality. God made all pastor’s wives different and with unique personalities and gifts. Some are outspoken, some are quiet, some make friends easily, some keep to themselves, some like to cook 15 dishes for the potluck and some will bring a premade cake from Kroger.

pastorswifeUnfortunately, some churchgoers feel the need to pick at the pastor’s wife whether through gossip, low voices in the pews, or even Facebook. “Why does she always look so miserable?” “Why doesn’t she relate to people better?” “Why is she so outspoken?” “Why doesn’t she teach a Sunday School class?” “She didn’t say hello to me today.” “Why does she always seem so distant?” Hmmmm. Maybe it’s because she’s wondering why everyone is always staring at her with inquisitive looks on their faces.

4. Join a Few Others Who Think It’s Time For The Pastor “To Go” For Arbitrary Reasons

Now, it’s true a pastor can outlast his welcome by messing things up or by being a poor leader. No doubt about that. There are reasons to fire a guy or suggest he move on. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when people get it in their head that they just need a new pastor every 3-10 years and find ridiculous reasons for it.

He’s just a better preacher than a pastor.” “He preaches too much about evangelism.” “I just don’t like the version of the Lord’s Prayer he uses.” “Seems like he’s been here too long.

Have we ever thought that maybe our problems with our pastor say more about us than they do about him? Let’s dig a little deeper. Maybe our problems with the person in the pulpit have more to do with our what’s lacking in our own relationship with God than they do with any church leader.

5. Argue and Disagree With Any Idea He Has For Kingdom Growth

Who would have a problem with church growth? I can answer that one, actually. I was awake the day they taught that in seminary. On the surface, most people love church growth. But when the church grows, it inevitably changes. And well, we all know how most people feel about change. We don’t like it too much. That’s why we try to 12angrymenuse words like “adapt” instead.

So when the pastor has an idea for growth or a plan for evangelism or anything that has to do with outreach, there will be some who will grumble. It just doesn’t fit into their own personal model of how things are or how things should be.

Well, pastor, we’ve tried that before.” “That’s not for us.” “That plan you’re suggesting sounds a little bit *gasp* liberal.” That’ll stop that plan for growth in its tracks.

6. Final Step: Simply Decide He’s Not The Right Man For “The Job”

When a group of people has decided they’ve had enough of the pastor, they can sway others pretty well. Lies can be told – “I hear he gets his sermons right off the Internet!” “He doesn’t spend enough time to justify what we’re paying him.

When this happens, it’s unfortunate. It’s something I’ve pointed out since I wrote my book. We have a tendency to treat the pastor as a “hired hand” instead of as a fellow member of the community of faith. When we look at him, we  see a guy we hired, can fire, and find a new one. We see an investment for our local church instead of a human being with a calling from God.

What we should be seeing is a minister gifted by God, called to our local fellowship, to be transparent, open, and part of us. We walk together, fall together, forgive together, and love one another.

Let’s not be in a hurry to run anyone off from our churches. Let’s invest the love of Christ in anyone who joins our local fellowship, loving them as we love ourselves.

Looking for more? Thom Rainer of Lifeway is the king of articles like this. I love his posts about pastors and church. I recommend these:

“Seven Ways To Hurt Your Pastor”

“14 Things NOT to Say To Your Pastor”

“8 Negative Reasons Pastors Leave a Church”

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Is Facebook Ruining Marriages?

facebook01A couple of headlines caught my eye this week regarding Facebook and its role in the destruction of marriage. The first was an article by Samantha Yule in The Mirror: “Facebook now crops up in a third of divorce cases over cheating and old flames.

Yule reports that many married people get in touch with old flames through Facebook. Worse, people tend to portray the best of themselves on Facebook when the reality of their situation may not be so great.

The other article was from CNN by Ian Kerner: “E-motional affairs: How Facebook leads to infidelity.” Kerner does an excellent job of listing the factors that lead people down the road of infidelity by the door of Facebook.  He encourages people not to “romanticize the past,” “don’t keep secrets,” “Facebook friends can be more powerful than porn,” and he suggests that if the temptation is too great, get off Facebook.

His article hits a lot of great points. I’ve counseled a lot of fallen pastors in the past few years who were able to carry on an emotional relationship with someone online that got out of hand and eventually turned physical.

A disclaimer, though. Is Facebook the moral evil? No, it’s not. And I don’t think Kerner or Yule would say that it is either. Any type of technology we engage in can be used for good or evil. When our lusts and sin get out of check, we can find ourselves in dangerous and deep waters. We could just as easily be talking about Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or texting.


We have to remember that social media is not a reflection of people as they are, typically. It is a reflection of how we want others to see us.


There are two things I’d add to the previous authors’ observations. First, most of the things we are fed electronically these days are built on the premise of addiction. We like things because they’re easy and fun. We keep clicking the button to see more. Some like social media to unwind after a long day and for some, it’s their means of communication. It can become a problem when we begin to cross lines of morality in the virtual world with real people that we would never cross with them face to face. We have to keep our hearts in check.

Happy Family Hugging Each OtherSecondly, I’d also add that what we see of people on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other media are the best of what they have to offer. It’s easy for a person to look back at someone they knew in high school on Facebook and say, “Wow, they have it all together. Look at their wife, their new house, their new job.

Well, yeah. Because we typically post only the most flattering things about ourselves. We post the high points in our lives. The vacation shots, the perfectly positioned selfies, the shots of us in the clothes we look good in. We don’t post the picture of ourselves after we’ve first gotten up in the morning. Or after we’ve gotten mad at our precious child for leaving their backpack that we tripped over in the floor (for the billionth time) and we yelled at them.

We have to remember that social media is not a reflection of people as they are, typically. It is a reflection of how we want others to see us.

Is Facebook ruining marriages? Facebook is a complex program that we are able to access and if we are not careful, allow it to consume us. Worse, we can use it to propel our sinful desires forward into inappropriate behaviors.

I can tell you this. It’s not the basis for judging someone’s soul. And it’s definitely not a dating service for married people.

(But hey, have you messed up in this area? Are you a pastor, church leader? I’m here to help without judgment. Contact info is below.)

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Can People Really Change?

Christians believe that when Christ comes into our lives, we change. Our selfish behavior becomes God-oriented. That which was self-directed now becomes God-directed. That’s the work of God in our lives.

changeI was having an interesting conversation with my 12-year-old daughter Katie a while back about whether we can really, really change.

That probably sounds really cynical, doesn’t it? Now, we weren’t talking about whether people could change bad habits or whether God could transform us at the time of our salvation into new creatures.

What we were talking about was this – does our basic personality ever really change?  We were having a pretty good discussion about it. When we got down to the basic point, we came to the conclusion that we kinda are who God made us.

Biblically speaking, when we look at Peter, he was always kind of impulsive. That never changed. As he grew older and wiser, it did seem to get under control better – like he was turning down the volume. (More about that in a minute).


 “Everyone is like a television. We all have these personalities that won’t change. A person’s channel won’t change, but they can change the volume of their channel.”


For instance, Katie and I have a somewhat dry sense of humor that is an extension of our personality. That personality has been described as sarcasm at times. Now, sarcasm can get out of control and sinful. But there is a place for sarcasm and humor of that kind when it is under the control of the Holy Spirit. 

Will our sarcasm ever completely disappear? I don’t think so. Whether through nature or nurture, we have it ingrained into our minds and hearts. It’s just there. (A behavioral psychologist might disagree, but that’s for a different type of blog).

I said to Katie, “I think everyone has a different personality. They are who they are. For the most part, we’re not going to change. All of us have these beautiful God-given talents and characteristics that we’re supposed to be honing and growing – that’s sanctification. But we also let them get out of control – that’s sin.

For instance, a person might have confidence. There are a lot of people who have confidence in Scripture. Confidence isn’t a bad thing. We should be confident in who we are in Christ. But confidence in ourselves as our own personal Savior can turn into pride and destruction.

volumeThat’s about when Katie jumped on board with the thought of the week. She said, “Everyone is like a television. We all have these personalities that won’t change. A person’s channel won’t change, but they can change the volume of their channel.

Whoa. She’s right. So I might have a humor channel in my life. If I turn it way up, it’s biting, sinful, cynical sarcasm. If it’s down low, it’s humor that keeps Christ in mind and is appropriate. If I have a confidence channel and it’s on low or medium, I’m focused on Christ as the source of my confidence and life. If it’s turned way up, it’s all about me. 

I’m happy to have some smart kids who are figuring their way through life. What do you think? How much can we really change about ourselves? Is it like turning up and down the volume?

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

Finding Restoration in a Broken World

%d bloggers like this: