Right now, there are ministers in danger. They are emotionally vulnerable, their marriages are on the brink of failure, they are probably looking at pornography online – what are they doing? They’re looking to fill an emotional need that is in their life.
They are in a place they never imagined they’d be in. They are either in the beginning stages of an affair, are in the middle of an emotional affair, or have already crossed the line into adultery.
You might be reading this and identify with that last statement. You might have been in the ministry for a long time. Your marriage may have been in tumult for a long time and now you’ve found an emotional connection with someone other than your spouse. You feel great when you’re texting, emailing, or talking to this person. They listen to you like no one ever has before.
I am a fallen pastor. I’ve talked to fallen pastors. I’ve been there and can tell you that it’s never too late to get help. If you’re in the middle of an affair and think, “This is great, no one will find out. I wouldn’t be like this if my wife had paid attention to me.” Or if you’re telling yourself any number of things to justify your sin, know that you’re not the first.
But also know that there are a lot of us who have gone down that road and care about you.
It makes me think of a quote by C. S. Lewis: “God allows disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavor. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together.”
If you’re fantasizing about another woman, guess what? The fantasy can be amazing, but it is just that – fantasy. And eventually, it will turn into reality. If you cross the line, it will eventually turn into reality.
If you’re in the middle of it, let me know. I won’t judge you, I won’t hate you for it, I’ll just listen and love. Will I have advice? You bet – when you’re ready to listen. But I’ll be right there with you.
Pastors – those of you facing temptation right now who are playing with fire? Get help. Find a mentor or an accountability partner. What do I mean by accountability partner? Someone who can take your phone from you at any moment and scroll through it. Someone who has the passwords to all of your email accounts. Someone you will not lie to. Someone you can tell that you’ve already messed up and that you need a fresh start.
Don’t let the wrong passions get stoked within you. Don’t let temptation burn out of control. Know that there is a way out and that there are people out there willing to help – you just have to be ready to reach out and ask for help.
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.
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