Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in adultery, anger, book, church members, death, fallenness, forgiveness, grace, hurt, judgment, pastoring, preachers, preaching, reconciliation, restoration, sin | Posted on 24-07-2012
(Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about several reasons why the book “Fallen Pastor” is for anyone concerned about the future of the church. We are in the midst of a crisis and need to understand how to approach it).
I love talking to people who work in funeral homes. They have some of the most amazing personalities. They deal with people and care for them at the worst point in their lives on a daily basis. Yet, most of them have the best attitude when you get to know them.
The other day, I was riding in the pallbearer car back to the funeral home with a lady who helped manage the funeral home. We had been talking a bit and she said, “What do you do?”
We had already talked enough that she knew I worked in sports medicine. What this 50-something woman who knew people really wanted to know was, “What was I doing as a pallbearer at this funeral?”
I said, “I used to pastor this church that most of these people went to.”
She said, half-joking, “What did they do? Kick you out?”
I had to smile because she probably wouldn’t have asked it like that if she had known. Or maybe she would have. She had a great sense of humor and, like most funeral directors, shot pretty straight.
“I committed adultery,” I said.
Her mouth dropped wide open, “Ooooooohhhh!” I thought for a second the car was going off the road as she adjusted her sunglasses. Then she looked at me and said, smiling, “I’ve heard about you.”
She said, “You wrote a book! Didn’t you?”
“Yes ma’am, I did. Did you read it?” I asked.
“No, I didn’t think I needed to, I’m not a pastor,” she said.
“Well, it’s not just for pastors,” I told her. “It’s for everyone. It’s about learning to forgive, what we expect of our pastors, how we can restore people, how we’re all sinners…”
She stopped me and continued my thought, “You know, you’re just a sinner like me. You’re no different. We all mess up. Why is it people find it so hard to forgive pastors?”
“That’s a great question,” I said. “We are all sinners. I disappointed a lot of people who expected more from me. And they should have.”
“But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t forgive,” she said with a slight frown.
“No, it doesn’t,” I said. “It just takes some longer than others. Hurt can last a long time. I haven’t always been perfect and no one else is either.”
She let me out at my car and said, “Thanks for sharing that. You’re a good person.”
I knew what she meant. And I appreciated her saying so. But I’m not good. None of us are. None of our heroes are good. They are all stained with sin and mere moments from a fall. When they do fall, I pray we all have courage to forgive.