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Pastoral Adultery Doesn’t Happen Overnight

“Our pastor committed adultery! How did this happen?” If I’ve heard this once since I fell from ministry, I’ve heard it a thousand times. When a pastor falls, it is a shocking thing to the church and community. People’s emotions range from shock then to anger in...

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Allison, My Wife, My Inspiration

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in affirmation, Allison, blog, marriage | Posted on 29-03-2013


I was overwhelmed Wednesday by the reception I received from my blog post called, “Gay Marriage, the Church, and Fallen_Pastor_Blog-1024x815the Christ Response.” All the feedback I got was amazing and it was from both sides of the aisle. The post wasn’t really about gay marriage, but about how we should love as Christ loved.

I say that to say this – I wasn’t going to post anything about it, but my lovely wife Allison, had said something to me several times during the evening after I had received a Facebook inbox message asking me my opinion about it. After she had mentioned it, the lights came on about 2:00 in the morning and I started writing.

It ended up being the most viewed blog post I had ever written. I was kinda dumbfounded about the whole thing and I asked her why she thought it had done so well. She said, “You know how people were always trying to trap Jesus and he never answered the way they wanted him to? You answered the question perfectly.”

I don’t think I was worthy of a Jesus comparison, to be sure. But I got what she was saying. More than that, I cannot emphasize how much I love and appreciate my wife. She is my biggest fan. She said, “I just want people to read this post. I want the world to see it.”

She’s always like that. Whether I’m writing, counseling a fallen pastor, working, or whatever, she’s encouraging me.

DSC_0355Lately, I haven’t been living up to my potential, I think. She’s been honest with me about that. She knows that God has something better for me and she’s told me so. I love that about her too.

We always say that when one of us is down, the other one always seems to be up and able to help the other one. We fit so well together and I’m blessed to have her in my life.

I’m at a point where God is using me in a different way and to do a different type of ministry. I’m very thankful that I have a God who doesn’t give up on His people or His pastors when they fall.

I’m also thankful to have Allison at this time. A woman who I could not live without right now. A woman who understands this ministry I am engaged in to help those who fall, who understands my frustrations, my limitations, my pain, my grief and constantly puts up with me in spite of my glaring imperfections.

I’m proud of her for getting her blog up and going again. In her own right, she is ministering to a whole group of people I cannot reach. I know many times she thinks she is incapable or unworthy but she is amazing at what she does. Her heart is amazing and I am very proud of her.

The road that has led us to where we are now has been difficult, but it has also been rewarding. But I am glad I have been blessed by God with Allison.

Gay Marriage, the Church, and the Jesus Response

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in belief, bitterness, boundaries, brokenness, Christ, church, church members, community, compassion, current events, divisiveness, encouragement, gay marriage, grace, hate, hatred, homosexuality, judgment, love, religion, repentance, salvation, scripture, self-righteousness | Posted on 27-03-2013


I was so thankful yesterday to get a Facebook inbox message from a friend who was concerned about the current argument in America over gay marriage. Like many Christians, she was concerned about the moral failure of the country. She had been watching Facebook and so have I. I too, have seen many comments like, “Why don’t people see what Scripture says?”

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch television news. For a good reason. It’s only purpose seems to be to rile people up over things that are insignificant. You get stressed out. I mentioned in an online magazine recently how watching TV news in a constant flow caused my mother anxiety.

She said she read my blog occasionally and never saw me write anything about the issue. I don’t. My blog is about fallen

Pic courtesy of PBS

Pic courtesy of PBS

pastors, mostly. Then, I write about issues secondary to that. Then, after that, I write about what tickles my fancy. I don’t avoid the big issues. I’ve written about big issues before, but they’re just not on the radar of what I do.

My response to her was probably not what she expected, but I hope it was biblical. (She did thank me for the sermon :)) I want to post it here then add some comments after. Here it is, verbatim:

Here is what I would say. And I pray it’s the biblical thing, because any response of my own would be wrong.

I’d take it back to the apostle Paul who wrote to a church that was probably going through more moral decay than we are, if you can imagine. In his time, it wasn’t just the culture, it was members of the church who were declining in morality. Members of the church were going up to the pagan temple and sleeping with temple prostitutes.

Paul was surrounded by a pagan Roman culture that was filled with violence, sex, child molestation, and hedonism – and all of it was legal. But Paul didn’t write against the evil around him in the world. He wrote about the sin within the church. He says something interesting in 1 Corinthians 5:

Please take time to read more important stuff after the jump:

“I’m Sorry.” “It’s Okay, It’s Not Your Fault.” ARRRGH!

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in compassion, empathy, understanding | Posted on 25-03-2013


There’s a little interaction between people that really needs to go away. I don’t even know why it exists in the culture. Let faultme give you a few examples. You’re probably aware of it. You might even be guilty of it:

Example 1

Person #1: My car broke down.
Person #2: I’m sorry.
Person #1: It’s okay. It’s not your fault.

Example 2

Person #1: This cold weather is making me sick.
Person #2: I’m sorry.
Person #1: It’s okay. It’s not your fault.
Person #2: I know. What I meant was that . . . never mind.

Example 3

Person #1: My grandmother is in the hospital after being attacked by rabid weasels.
Person #2: I’m sorry.
Person #1: It’s okay, it’s not your fault.
Person#2: Ugh. What I was trying to do was offer you condolences by saying, “I’m sorry.” I’m not taking personal responsibility for the rabid weasels. Or was I?

You get the picture. You may be like me. Person #2 whose immediate reaction is one of compassion and the response is, “I’m sorry.” It’s a shortened way of saying, “I’m sorry to hear about your terrible situation. I hope it gets better.

empathSo why in the world do people think that we are taking some sort of responsibility for their plight? Really, we’re just looking for something like, “Thanks.” Not as in, “Oh, thank you for falling all over yourself to feel bad for me.” But more like, “I appreciate your empathy.”

But maybe the problem lies with those of us who are person #2. Maybe we aren’t being clear. I’ve heard some great grieving experts say that one of the best and most heartfelt responses we can give is, “You must be hurting a lot going through that.” At the same time, showing them true empathy and taking the time to identify with them.

But before we make that shift in human dialogue, maybe both sides can come to terms. Really, what one side wants is a short way to express their empathy, but do it in a heart felt manner. The other side wants to be heard. Is it possible? Ideas are welcome.

Johnny Cash, “Unchained”

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in sorrow, youtube | Posted on 23-03-2013


I’ve learned that no matter where you are in life, there’s a Johnny Cash song to go along with it.

Recently, I’ve caused trouble to people very close to me. Very close. And this song does justice to how I feel. So, in deference and all respect to Cindy Holman’s music posting style, I’m posting “Unchained” by Johnny Cash so this person will know that I’m human and afraid and vulnerable. And that I’m weak. Most of all, I’m hoping to overcome my chains.

Unchained, by Johnny Cash

I have been ungrateful,
I’ve been unwise.
Restless from the cradle,
Now I realize,
It’s so hard to see the rainbow,
Through glasses dark as these.
Maybe I’ll be able,
From now on, on my knees.

Oh, I am weak.
Oh, I know I am vain.
Take this weight from me,
Let my spirit be unchained.

Old man swearin’ at the sidewalk,
I’m overcome.
Seems that we’ve both forgotten,
Forgotten to go home.
Have I seen an angel?
Oh, have I seen a ghost?
Where’s that rock of ages,
When I need it most?

Oh, I am weak.
Oh, I know I am vain.
Take this weight from me,
Let my spirit be unchained.

Is Anyone Qualified To Pastor? The Forest of 1 Timothy 3:1-7

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in Christianity, church, churches, expectations, fallenness, holiness, judgment, leadership, ministry, pastoring, pastors, restoration, theology | Posted on 22-03-2013


I’ve written about whether fallen pastors should be allowed to return to the pulpit. Some fallen pastors reconcile with pulpit2their wives, some are unable to. I’ve seen men go through a process of repentance and return to a lifestyle of holiness and return to ministry.

Each time I blog about it, I mention the verses in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul’s qualification for an overseer in the church. Among the qualifications, an overseer must be “above reproach, husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, not quarrelsome, manage his household well, keep his children submissive, not be a recent convert, and be thought of well by outsiders.”

Tough list. But I think when we approach this passage, we’re missing the forest for the trees. It gets broken down into each individual characteristic. And that’s important. But we forget that basically, this is a letter from Paul to Timothy. And what is Paul doing? Answering a question on how the church should be organized and how leaders should be selected. More on that later.

I hear one comment a lot, “Well, by that list, no one could ever be a church leader. None of us is perfect.” The logic often follows that since no one could keep any of those things, the list isn’t a hard and fast list of rules. They aren’t suggestions, but a lifestyle to be maintained over the course of one’s ministry.

I suppose that there are two extremes to this. The first extreme is that no one should pastor. No one is perfect. A lot of pastors attempt to keep a perfect image, but we are all sinners. The other extreme is that anyone can pastor, regardless of sin, ongoing or repentant.

One of my guilty little pleasures is to visit my blog stats every day and find out how people found my site. It’s interesting to look at some of the search terms. Recently I saw someone searched, “My pastor is texting my wife late at night.” Another, “Can a convicted felon be a pastor?” Those are some intriguing situations.

One of the statistics I quote in my book is that in a survey of conservative ministers. 30% of them said they had either mancomputbeen in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner. And it hadn’t been reported or caught. Add on top of that what seems to be a rampant amount of pornography use by ministers and there is a serious problem lurking in the hearts of ministers today.

If the list is a hard and fast pattern of rules that once broken, disqualify people for ministry, then a lot of people are disqualified. Right now. Anyone who has lost control, not been hospitable or become violent is out. They can be mixed in with the adulterous, those who can’t keep their children in control and those who are deemed in the category, “husband of one wife.” (And that depends on who you ask. Those can be divorced men before or after becoming Christians, the single, etc.)

If a pastor has a serious, unconfessed sin and is ministering and a church holds fast to the strict interpretation of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, then I would argue that a tremendous amount of our pulpits should be vacant next week. Heck, take a look at the man’s kids. If they aren’t submissive to him, then he should be taking a sabbatical or be dismissed immediately.

Panic yet?

I don’t think those verses are an ultra-strict mandate for ministers. If that’s the case, ministry leaders across the country are in serious trouble. For all of the ministers whose sin is discovered, I’d be daring enough to say that the hidden sin is twofold.

So why this list? Is it merely a suggestion? I don’t think that’s appropriate either. Surely we don’t want rampant sin from our church leaders. We should hold our leaders to a higher moral standard. We should expect them to be hospitable, to not commit adultery, to not be violent. Right?

treesI think we get into trouble when we take these verses and make them into something they were never meant to be. When we emphasize parts of them with great vigor but lessen the overall picture. The church is greatest served when we imagine ourselves sitting across from Paul as he addresses Timothy and Paul answers the question, “So, what kind of church leader should we be looking for?” That way, we can see the forest for the trees.

Can you imagine it for a moment? “Hey, Paul, what kind of leaders should we be getting?” “Well, Timothy, for sure, you need overseers who are husbands of one wife.” “Wait, Paul. Do you mean by that they can’t be previously divorced or single?” “Timothy, listen. What did I say? I’m trying to give you some simple rules for leadership. Look around you. You have some people in churches who are going to the pagan temple and engaging in prostitution. So, I think being the husband of one wife is pretty simple.”

In our time, maybe we don’t allow enough humanity from our leaders. We place them on a higher pedestal than they should be. We don’t see them as completely human. When they err, we are shocked. I’m not talking about major sins, I’m speaking of just daily interaction. Do we place them under too much pressure? The Barna Group suggests that pastors are expected to juggle 16 major tasks at once.

And with this list, I think there’s a reason ministers should be mentored and trained. There’s a reason all of us are living the continued process of sanctification. All of us are growing in holiness. Any pastor worth his salt will admit that he made mistakes early on that he wouldn’t make today due to pride or ignorance. But that’s part of the growing process.

Sin is not to be taken lightly. The men who aspire to it should know that much is expected. But an over-eager application of 1 Timothy 3 isn’t going to help anyone. It will increase judgment and self-righteousness among the believers. What we should be doing is living in grace and an expectation of holiness, mentoring and discipling one another. Knowing that all of our work will be going to serve Christ and glorify what He is doing in the world.

Are Christians Allowed To Enjoy Life Following A Major Sin?

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in adultery, blessings, brokenness, compassion, divorce, fallenness, forgiveness, grace, holiness, jesus, judgment, ministry, pastors, preachers, restoration | Posted on 20-03-2013


I’ve got a fallen pastor friend that I’ve grown close to. I don’t think he reads my blog, but I hope he does. He has gone through some of the same issues I went through three and a half years ago when I fell from ministry when I committed adultery.

He fell a while back from his place of ministry. He called several months ago and we had a conversation I won’t forget:pastph

Him: “I know you’ll be able to identify with me on this. At least I think you will. You’re the only one who seems to understand what I’m going through.”

Me: “Go for it.”

Him: “Since my wife and I divorced a while back, I’ve been seeing someone. Everything is going great, you know? I feel like despite everything, life is good. I couldn’t work things out with my wife. We tried, but we moved on. I have been working things out with God. I’m cautiously seeing this woman. I’m part of a church and that’s going well. But…”

Me: “Let me guess. You feel like the bottom is about to drop out because you don’t think you should be happy.”

Him: “How did you know?”

Me: “You said you thought I’d understand because I’d been there before.”

Him: “That’s right. It’s been a long road and I know I have a long way to go still. I don’t believe in karma, but I can’t put my finger on what it is. It’s like I’m waiting on the other shoe to drop. It’s like I don’t deserve to be happy after what I’ve put everyone else through. Like I don’t deserve to feel this good. It’s almost like God is out there waiting to punish me or put me down the second things really start going.”

Me: “I know exactly what you feel. But I need you to do something. Take a deep breath for a moment and listen. What you’re feeling is normal. But what you’re feeling comes from several places.

“First, guilt. I know you’re still working things out with God. You have a long way to go with the sin you committed. God is still working on you and I know He’s forgiven you, but you still have to reconcile that to yourself. You still have a lot of guilt stored up. You don’t feel like you deserve anything good after you cheated on your wife and hurt an entire congregation, right?”

guiltHim: “Yeah, you’re right.”

Me: “Next, your view of God has suffered a little. In fact, it may not have ever been exactly right. Mine never was. A lot of people see God as some dude up in heaven ready to strike us down the second we get a little bit happy. Worse, we see him as a cosmic killjoy.

“I’ve told you before about how much John 8 and the story of the woman caught in adultery means to me. She was taken to Jesus and they were ready to stone her. Jesus sent them away and He did not judge her. What did He say to her after that? ‘Is anyone left to condemn you?’ I would ask you the same question, friend. If you’ve reconciled to God, is anyone left to condemn you?

Him: “No.”

Me: “No one can stand as your judge if you are forgiven by the judge of all mankind. Only God can know that. And what does Jesus say next to her? ‘Then go and sin no more.’ Listen, Christ sees our flaws, took those sins and sacrificed Himself for them. We are, indeed, awful, wretched people. But He loves us. And thank God for that. But we are free from those sins when we are forgiven, right?”

Him: “Right. We are, but it’s difficult.”

Me: “Sure it is. Both me and my wife Allison still, at times, feel like we don’t deserve anything good in life. After we committed adultery, after I hurt an entire church, hurt my ex-wife, disappointed a community, hurt my family, I didn’t feel like I ever deserved to be happy again. And still those feelings come up once and again. But Christ doesn’t withhold His blessings from me. Do I still suffer consequences because of my sin? Sure. But I have been made pure by Christ and He no longer holds my sin against me.”

Him: “You’re right, but it’s still a struggle for me.”

Me: “And it will be. It should be. It takes time. Broken relationships with people take a long time to heal. Work on your sinrelationship with God. Live a life pleasing to Him. Work on the relationships you have that are good. When you have a chance to make things right with people, do it. Say kind words to those you have hurt. Let them see the progress Christ is making in your soul. It happens, just not overnight.”

Him: “It does take time. Thank you.”

Me: “We can sin in a moment, but coming back from it can take a very long time. But Christ is worth it. And I promise you, He wants us to be happy in His will and the life He has for us. Enjoy the life before you. Don’t spend time worrying about the sin behind you that He has forgiven. Mend those broken relationships when you can. But embrace the gracious future.”

But then again, there’s always a dissenting opinion:

My Wife’s New Web Site: Fallenpastorswife.com

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in Allison, blog | Posted on 19-03-2013


My wife, Allison, has a new website for her blog – www.fallenpastorswife.com. She really has a heart for women who are in relationships/have been in relationships with pastors or those otherwise effected.

She’s gotten back into blogging and has received a lot of good feedback and appreciates it. Thank you for your support. She’s a great listener and encourager. I know I wouldn’t have survived without her.

She works so hard all week at her job but finds time to write to encourage others. It’s a good reminder that no matter where we find ourselves, no matter how weary or tired, God will find a way to use us. Keep up the good work sweetie.


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 Pathetic Power of Unforgiveness: When “I’m Sorry” Isn’t Enough, Pt. 3

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in Christ, community, compassion, conflict, cross, fallenness, forgiveness, grace, love, mercy, reconciliation, relationships, restoration | Posted on 18-03-2013


When we mess up and need forgiveness, one of the most frustrating things can be when people withhold that forgiveness. I’ve tried to outline some lewisreasons people do that, but today I want to get into one of the really nasty things that can happen after someone grants a sort of half-hearted forgiveness.

You know what I’m talking about. You’ve sinned against someone and you ask their forgiveness, but when they grant it, the forgiveness only becomes a way to keep you down. They constantly remind you of your former sin, beating you over the head with it. Or, worse, they sarcastically or subtly bring it up at an opportune time to give them a perceived upper hand.

That’s not forgiveness. And I hope that goes without saying. If someone is holding that kind of “forgiveness” over you, it’s not love, grace or kindness. It’s a power trip. And the best thing you can do is simply say, “I realize you haven’t forgiven me for the sin I’ve committed. I’ve been forgiven by God. I hope one day we can talk again about this and you can forgive me. Please let me know when we can discuss it further.

Don’t let people hold your sin that God has forgiven you for over your head. And don’t do it to yourself either. The sin is over with and done. Will consequences still be meted out in real life for it? Sure. But there does come a time for grace and understanding. Move on. If others can’t move along with you, be patient with them.

So why do people do this? In my last blog, I gave reasons people don’t forgive. So why do people act like they forgive then drag up our sin before us in a humiliating way?

For some, it seems like a way to exercise power over another. It’s like standing there and saying, “Remember what you did? I can keep you right where I want you because I know what you did.” Guess what kills that? Public confession. When everyone knows what you did, no one person has power over you.

For others, and most of us, we feel better about our own sin when we can compare ourselves to others. When some one else commits a sin, we can always say, “Well, at least I didn’t do that.” I have a happy little theory that many people enjoy crime and reality TV because we like to know that there are people in the world worse than us. But guess what squashes this line of thinking? The ultimate righteousness of God. None of us is as good as Him. And the only one who can meet that standard is Christ.

fcrossNone of us is any better than the other. In fact, we are all great at sinning. Only by the grace of Christ are we all equal. All ground is level at the foot of the cross.

Forgiveness is so awesome. And it took a fall from ministry for me to grasp it fully. It’s so awesome because it brings us to a place where we don’t have to be ashamed. We don’t have to look down on another or feel beholden to anyone else in this world. We don’t have to walk through Wal-Mart with out head down. We don’t have to worry about what others say about us because our best friend, Jesus Christ, loves us no matter what.

And guess what? If Jesus is their best friend too, they shouldn’t care about it either. They’ll treat us like a brother or sister and we’ll eventually get it all figured out.

Forgiveness isn’t the easiest thing, but when it’s accomplished, it’s one of the greatest things.


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.

My Wife, “Fallen Pastor’s Wife” & Her Ministry

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in adultery, Allison, blog, love, marriage | Posted on 14-03-2013


Allison is my sweet wife of three years. We have both tread the path of holiness since our fall, trying to do what is right. Are we always perfect? Nope. But we are here to serve those who fall.

A while back she started a blog. It’s been inactive a while, but today, she wrote again, to tell our story.

If you are “the other woman,” or someone who just wants to understand, just follow this link. She wants to share her heart. Thanks. 

5 Reasons People Won’t Forgive – When I’m Sorry Isn’t Enough

Posted by fallenpastor | Posted in apology, forgiveness, grace, holiness, humillity, hurt, reconciliation, relationships, repentance | Posted on 12-03-2013


"Apology accepted, Captain Needa."

“Apology accepted, Captain Needa.”

I don’t know about you, but I mess up. A lot. And in my life, I’ve found myself asking for forgiveness more than once. But when I fell from ministry, it took me a while to get to a place where my heart was right enough to ask forgiveness in the right manner. I blogged about that a little last time.

I’d like to focus on why people fail to forgive, even though a heartfelt and repentant apology is offered. It’s a difficult thing to face, especially when you’ve taken the time to face your demons, approach someone with humility and say those two words, “I’m sorry.” But I might point out – if you find yourself angry if someone withholds forgiveness, your heart still might not be in the right place. But that’s a topic for later.

So let’s get to 5 reasons people won’t forgive:

1. They want you to jump through more hoops.

So there you are. You’ve committed a sin and people have been hurt. You’ve reconciled to God, gotten help, and done what you can to make restitution (if you’ve broken laws). You approach someone you’ve hurt and ask for forgiveness. They say, “No. You still aren’t fully repentant.” Then, they add a few caveats to what would make you more repentant: talking to their pastor, church attendance every Sunday, an attitude change that they haven’t seen yet, etc.

What are you supposed to do?

First, take their response graciously. They could be right. Maybe you haven’t been the most humble. Maybe you have neglected something. Give their point of view a chance. After you have, then explain to them with all love the steps you have taken and how God has forgiven you. Tell them about how deep the grace of God is, how you’ve been humbled by the decisions you made and how great the love of God is.

If you’re still there holding the bag and they don’t understand or are unwilling to forgive, then show grace. Agree to disagree and maybe meet at a later time.

I said in the last blog I’d say something particular about adultery. I’ve blogged about it before and here is the link. It is my belief that no one is beyond rescue. No one is beyond the grace of God. If someone comes to us asking to be forgiven, who are we to refuse if they have shown humility and have been forgiven by God? Don’t add something that is beyond the work of God to what they need to do.

2. They have been hurt in their past.

Some people won’t forgive because the sin you committed was committed by someone in their past close to them. When pasthyou did it, it just opened up a huge wound for them. That old wound was never closed and they see that sin as unforgivable. Your chances of being forgiven by them? Not very good. How were you supposed to know? You weren’t.

This is one of those things that you just trust God to work out. Sometimes we come across unforgiving people and just wonder, “Why are they like that?” This is one of the reasons. Keep it in mind and know that God is at work in the hearts of people. Don’t judge people when they withhold forgiveness. Just love, understand and move on.

3. They are currently committing the same sin.

Similar to #2, but slightly different. They will lash out at you for whatever you did, but they are secretly doing the same thing. It’s pretty common. Those who are involved in a sin will be harsh critics of that sin. And similar to #2, God will work it out.

4. They are still hurt and not ready to forgive.

This one can be tough for people. We think that just because we are ready to say the words, “I’m sorry,” that someone should be ready to forgive. Well, it doesn’t always work that way. When we hurt someone, we don’t always understand the degree to which we’ve hurt them. And it’s selfish of us to think we do.

Sometimes, people need time alone with their hurt. Sometimes they need to pray. Sometimes they need counseling. Sometimes they just need time. Give it to them. Don’t rush them. Don’t bombard them with, “You know, I asked for forgiveness and the Bible says you’re supposed to give it to me.” Don’t guilt them into forgiving you because it’s not right or natural.

Give people space and time. It’s the gracious thing to do.

sorry5. They are right not to, because your apology wasn’t honest.

Here’s another one that’s tough. Sometimes people may see in you a lack of repentance. They see a lack of humility. And they might call you out on it. They should do it in love and compassion. When you ask for forgiveness, don’t react harshly if they do this. Listen.

And if they want to talk about it and you don’t think you can handle it, go to a mediator. Someone you both trust and will listen to. Maybe you both have a point.

Forgiveness is worth working for. It’s worth being humble for. It’s worth the hard work and difficulty. There are probably about a thousand points I’ve left out. If you think of any, feel free to make a comment on this blog and list one. As a community of faith, that’s why we’re here. To help each other out.

And, as always, if you’re struggling with anything, please feel free to contact me. If I can’t help you, I probably know someone who can.

Want to leave a comment? Click the “keep reading” button and join the conversation.


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.