Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, Christ, Christianity, church members, fallenness, forgiveness, pastoring, pastors | Posted on 28-06-2013
I hope you don’t think the point of my blog is to make people feel sorry for pastors who have committed adultery. It’s not. We sinned and we fell and we made our choice. What I am trying to do is let people know that we don’t deserve the worst from people. We don’t deserve to be thrown onto the trash heap. And we don’t deserve to be treated with contempt – especially by Christians.
In fact, Scripture calls upon us to restore those who fall. Galatians tells us to restore those who have fallen. When those who are weak have sinned, they need a tremendous amount of help. Unless you’ve been there, you may never know.
I want to relate to you today that some of the worst treatment fallen pastors get is from other Christians – especially other pastors.
Recently, I met a pastor who was with a small group from his church. I shook his hand after I had talked to a few people from his church. He was a jolly soul, about 60. He had been in the ministry for over 30 years. He was very nice and had served at many Southern Baptist churches.
After a few minutes, he asked me, “What do you do?”
I want you to know before I continue this story, that there were three other people observing this conversation. They were watching body language. And I also want you to know that everyone I talk to about my ministry is someone I want to get involved. I want them to be concerned about fallen pastors. Heck, I want them to say, “Hey, I know a fallen fella right now that I want you to call.”
Anyway, I said, “Well, brother, I do supply preaching for some friends, I work in sports medicine, I write a lot, and I run a ministry for fallen pastors.”
His eyebrows raised in interest, “Fallen pastors?”
His eyebrows went further up and his forehead wrinkled. He said, “Well, that’s a very important thing to be doing. How did you get involved in that?”
I said, “Almost four years ago, I committed adultery while I was a pastor. There were almost no resources available to me. Eventually, this is where I found myself and I’ve been able to network with a lot of great people now.”
As soon as I said, “I committed adultery,” he took an automatic two steps backward. I don’t think he realized he did it. In fact, I’m sure of it. It was like I had given him a little shove. Or like I had just told him I had a very contagious flu. Or that I told him I had leprosy.
The conversation that we had been having about him, his church, his mission team, his ministry suddenly ended as he politely walked away.
That little encounter, my friends, is not uncommon at all. In fact, it happens frequently among the Christians I meet. There are pastors I know who will be seen in public with me, but they are rare. There are Christians I know who will have an extended conversation with me at Kroger, but they too are uncommon. The more common are those who will dodge me or my wife (unless we are with the kids – I suppose they want to make sure we aren’t having a terrible impact on them), or those who will wave at us while moving as quickly away from us as possible.
If they don’t, I suppose they will be guilty by association. Or they might catch the adultery bug. Or possibly our sin might rub off on them. My wife wrote a blog post about it a while back that you might enjoy.
It really used to bother me, but it doesn’t so much anymore. I am who I am and God has given me a new life with what I’m doing now. I hope that people can be helped.
What does concern me is that nationwide, fallen pastors are being treated this way by other Christians. Friends, we have got to do better. Surely, if you have ever read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, “The Scarlet Letter,” you thought, “How silly that was to make someone wear a scarlet letter to show that they sinned.”
But how different is it today when we scowl at people in public who we still consider a sinner?
Worse yet, how bad is it when we as Christians do it? Does not Christ forgive? Are His arms not open wide? Does He not make the vilest spots clean?
So why then, why do we keep public record of the sins people commit? We will not ever move forward, have revival, grow or be able to glorify Christ when we keep treating others in such a manner. May God break all our hearts.
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.
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