You’ve decided that approaching and reconciling with your pastor who fell years ago is the right thing to do. Guess what? You’re right.
But you’re also in the minority. I’ve discovered that in the 20% (a percentage I made up for this blog post) of churches that reconcile with their pastors, most of the time, it’s the pastor who approaches the church (another stat I made up).
I made those stats up out of observation. Unfortunately, most of the time, churches and fallen pastors do not reconcile. Why? Because after the hurt and pain that is left behind, both sides decide that it’s in their best interest that the problems are best ignored and life just goes on. But that is not a Scriptural ideal at all, is it? You know it’s not and I don’t have to throw Bible verses in your face to prove it. And to not insult your intelligence, I won’t.
After these past few months of talking to what I believe to be well-meaning Christians, it is my belief that most “Christians” in the pews would rather hang adulterous pastors out to dry than forgive them.
Don’t believe me? I recently joined FaithWriters.com and found an article by a writer who was rather opinionated. Her opinion wasn’t isolated either. Feel free to peruse her entire summary of what should happen to pastors who sin. I have no judgment for her, but I hurt for her. She has been hurt by a pastor, or a husband like me. A man who did not repent or approach her with a repentant attitude. She may have been injured in her walk forever, but I hope not. I hope that she may learn to forgive, despite whatever experience she may have been through.
Listen closely, reader . . . the injured in this battle are not just pastors (even though many of us fallen pastors would like to think so). They are the wives, the church members, the families, the people who were attending who were lost and left, and the unbelieving members of the community who take the time to laugh at the church for our hypocrisy. All the while the powers of darkness enjoy watching us fight and quarrel amongst ourselves as we wallow in our inability to forgive one another even though our Savior commands it.
There is something wrong here. It begins with me. It begins with my sin. But it continues with me. But it continues with all of us – me and my church when we cannot reconcile. You and your church – you and your fallen pastor when you cannot reconcile with your fallen pastor.
It is a victory for the powers of darkness. How long will you continue to let it be a victory for them?
We cannot continue to let ourselves to be mired down in a lack of forgiveness. We cannot let petty thoughts and hurt keep us from reconciliation. Does it hurt? Yes. Did a pastor hurt us? Yes. Did a man of God let us down? Absolutely. But people will let us down every day.
David let the whole nation of Israel down, but he repented and God forgave Him. Was David ever the same after that? No, but he led. He moved forward. I’m not asking you to let your pastor, worship leader, youth leader, whomever into a position of trust. I’m not asking you to let this person back into the same place where they were before.
What I am asking is that you do what Christ did in John 8. The Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and threw her before Christ. He did not condemn her. He did not judge her, but he had the right. He stood between her and every single rock these people had.
He showed compassion. Just like he would show compassion for you if you ever needed it in your life. He did not condone her sin, he did not excuse her sin. He just showed love.
Love. The greatest emotion, the greatest action ever in the history of humanity. One that breaks down all walls, all barriers. It says, “I don’t necessarily approve of what you did, but I love the person God made you to be. I love the fact that God made you and He made you for a reason. I don’t hate you, and you are going through a tough time and I am your friend, just as Christ is your friend.”
It does not mean you approve of anyone’s sin. It does not mean you love anyone’s sin. But it opens the door to helping so many. And it is the exact opposite of judging. What Christ told us not to do.
Last time I blogged that I went to a funeral of a former church member. Many of my former church members stared at me, in judgment. I don’t think they even realized they were doing it. Judging is embedded in us. It used to be embedded in me. In some way it still is. Not like it was.
When we open our hearts to how Christ reacted and loved people – how He – on that cross said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” . . . do we understand that? Those people had whipped him, beaten him, spit on him, driven nails into his hands, and yet He did not hold them responsible.
Yet, for some reason, we lash out at those who sin against us for the smallest things. Friends, it is time to forgive. It is time to make calls. It is time to call parents before they die. It is time to call fallen pastors. It is time to call lost friends. It is time to reconcile with Christians we have petty arguments with. The world is watching. The enemy is laughing.
What will we do?