Help With The Crisis of Fallen Pastors

It is my strong belief that most churches and leaders are not ready to handle the failure of a church leader. But even before that happens, I believe that it can and should be prevented.

This video is an invitation to church leaders, associational missionaries, church members, pastors and anyone who wants to prevent ministry failure in their churches. It is also a call to fallen pastors to heal and be restored back to Christ.

There are plenty of blog posts here concerning fallen pastors, their wives, how churches can get started after a pastor falls, and many other issues. If you’re looking for help, this is one place to start.

My book, “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” also gives insight on why pastors fall and how we can understand the process better and prevent it.

I am available to you on the phone or if my schedule allows it, in person. I have a strong network of people I trust who can help in many different situations. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

There seems to be a grassroots movement of people who are becoming concerned about this issue. I hope that’s the case. If you’d like to help, please share this short video and/or this website with people and their churches so that we might see ministry failure due to sexual sin stopped before it gets started.

__________________

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.

I Want To Pastor Again

I do. Or, I think I do.

I get a lot of emails from fallen pastors who ask, “Will I ever get to pastor again?” My typical response is this: “Nope. Not unless you have restored with your wife or you are in a Pentecostal or Church of God denomination.”

sinners

Like one man said, Sinners make the best saints.”

Think about all the failures in Scripture. Think about all the men who failed before they became great men of God. I don’t even have to list them here for you.

But some will say, “But you violated the seventh commandment. That puts you right out of pastoring.”

Listen, I’ve blogged about that before. I’m going to tell you that when I’ve preached since my fall from the pastorate, I’ve preached about grace, the love of Christ, my adultery, sin, and mercy. Every time I do, I have an altar call full of people, deacons, elders, and people who respond like I’ve never seen.

Here’s what I know. I have pastors calling me on a regular basis who don’t know how to relate to the current generation. They know that the old church standards are dying. They ask me why.

I say, “Because the old church standards have forgotten how to love like Christ does. Because the old church is so hung up on arguing about what hymnal to use that they have forgotten how to welcome in sinners into the church.”

Honestly, if I was pastoring, I would be happy to let in anyone into the church. That might tick off some people, but so be it. Jesus made a lot of people unhappy when he was ministering. He spoke to the woman at the well, stood between a bunch of stones and the woman in adultery, spoke to Zacheeus, and even played nice with some Roman statesmen.

Here’s the deal. Let them all come in the church. I don’t care if they’re drug dealers,  high on marijuana, people who are cutting themselves, people who are terribly depressed, people with PTSD, those with aclochol problems, with addiction issues, with pornography issues, poverty stricken, sexually Traffic sign for Winners or Losers - business conceptconfused, smelly, ex-convicts, or whatever. Know why? It’s not my job to change them.

Get that?

It’s the pastor’s job to preach the Word in and out of season. There might be some regular church members who might feel a little uncomfortable with that, but there were plenty of people who felt that way in Jesus’ time as well.

You know who does the remarkable changing in people’s lives? God. He does the transformation in people’s hearts. Through His Word. We just let them in. And unfortunately, we aren’t letting a lot of different people in to our churches who don’t look like us, act like us or talk like us.

I have a new heart these days. If I was pastoring, I’d dig having anyone come into my church. Having anyone who was weary, poor of heart, sad, depressed, and burdened down walk in through those doors. I’d be happy to feed them, love on them, and share the good news with them.

In fact, I would be pleased if they didn’t look like church people. I’d be enthralled. Because I’d know those were the people Jesus wanted to minister to. Those were the people Jesus wanted to speak to directly. The rough crowd. The people hungry for change.

Yeah, I want to pastor. I want to pastor the tough group. People like me. People who are looked down upon. Sinners who people don’t want to associate with. People who have no other place to go.

People who need absolute grace, love, mercy and Christ. That’s where I want to be. I’d be proud to be their servant.

____________________________

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.

 

Pastors and Divorce: The Reality

2percentThis isn’t an easy post. Some fallen pastors who have committed adultery end up with the woman they commit adultery with. I was one. How should we approach the issue of fallen pastors and divorce?

Let me share with you a couple of things before I start. The statistic is non-negotiable – 2% of marriages that are built on adultery succeed. You get that? That means if you marry someone that you commit adultery with, you are looking down the barrel of a 98% failure rate.

Now, let me share with you this quote from Dr. Hershael York, preaching professor who I interviewed for my book. He had a great reason why marriages built on affairs don’t really last. It’s because when you’re engaged in an affair, it’s really a fantasy world that you can come and go from. It’s not a true relationship that is founded on the marriage ideal:

Every time you have an affair with anybody, I don’t care who you are, in a sense, you’re having an affair with a fantasy and not a real person. Because the person you’ve got to pay the mortgage with, deal with the kids’ soccer schedule with, the one whose vomit you wipe up when they’re sick, that’s the real person you live with. Twenty minutes in the sack on a Tuesday afternoon is really not love. You’ve got to tell yourself that. You’ve got to awaken yourself to the fact that it’s fantasy. If you end up with the person you had an affair with, I guarantee you once you get married you have to face the same issues and same struggles. You cannot take two totally depraved human beings, stick them in the same house and not have friction.” (Fallen Pastor, p. 172)

He’s right. The thrill of the affair is not the same as a marriage covenant.

I did in fact, marry Allison, who was the woman I met and had an affair with. We are still here after four years. We are not the norm. I do not encourage fallen pastors to run after the women they had an affair with. For some reason, Allison and I have made it work. She is great for me. She loves me for who I am and I love her with all my heart. Does that make our sin right? Nope. But we are here, attempting to move on past what we did and trying to live a life of holiness.

I’ve often said that pastors don’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll commit adultery today.” They don’t. It takes a long time to get to that point. Know this – their sin is their responsibility. There are factors that weaken them and I list them in my book – poor relationship with spouse, overly high expectations, church conflict, isolation and many times a huge trauma.

pastorkidsOne thing that many fallen pastors don’t think about is what the fallout will be. When I was on the road to leaving my wife and the ministry, I just knew I wanted to be with Allison. I knew it would cost me my job and the contact I had with my children.

When I finally got caught, it became more real to me. It was all over. All of it. Especially the contact I would have with my children.

I won’t sit here and tell you that it was an easy thing. It was the most difficult thing. In fact, all of the fallen pastors I talk to tell me that losing full-time contact with their children in cases of divorce is the most devastating thing for them.

There are some statistics that should bother anyone involved in church today. The statistic that a vast majority of ministry couples feel that serving in the church has a detrimental effect upon their marriage. That most ministry couples experience anxiety and depression.

People ask me, “Would you do it again if you had the chance?” I don’t like hypothetical questions. What I do consider is being able to provide for my children, making sure they are happy, and being involved with them and being free to talk with them when they desire.

They are daddy’s girls. I am proud to say they love me. We discuss things that I know they only share with me. They know what I did was a sin, but they love me anyway.

Divorce is a terrible, sinful thing. They know this. But each time I see them, they wrap their arms around me and call me “Daddy.” They love me despite my flaws and care about the ministry I’m involved in now.

What is the point I’m driving at? Well, there are two. First, if you are a pastor who is thinking about adultery, please think about the consequences. If you fall, it will effect everyone around you. Your church, your wife, your kids and people in the community. If there is something there to salvage, work on it.

Secondly, if you have fallen, do what it takes to work things out with your family. Your kids, parents, siblings, trustgrandparents, whomever. Not everyone will be easy to trust or forgive you right away. You need to understand that you are the one who sinned. If you are truly repentant and understand grace, then you will give people time to heal.

Divorce is a serious thing. Fallen pastors, are you ready to go into those proceedings? Many hurt pastor’s wives want to leave you immediately. It’s because they are hurt. They often listen to the counsel of their family or those in the church who are hurt as they are. If you want your wife back, try to get an impartial mediator involved.

If divorce is pursued, seek the heart of Christ. Don’t be an angry person. Always be thinking about your children. Don’t respond with hatred when hatred is thrown back at you. Remember that the reason your spouse is acting as she does is because you did what you did. Show true, repentant humility.

You might not be able to stop a divorce, but beginning with true, Christ-like humility can put you on the right step toward a lifetime journey of repentance and holiness.

Finally, I will tell you this. When a wife has been cheated on, she has the right to be angry. Don’t expect her to forgive you or gain your trust overnight. I’ve seen a lot of fallen pastors say to their wives within months of the act of adultery, “God says you should forgive me.” Wrong approach. When we commit adultery, we have caused depths of hurt that we do not understand.

Step back, repent to God and allow Him to work on the hearts of others. Know that trust takes a long time to be restored. It may never be restored. I’ve seen fallen pastors whose wives never forgive them or always hold their adultery over their head.

How does one respond to that? With grace. With the same grace we desire after we committed adultery. We cannot expect to change anyone’s heart but our own. When you sin, turn to God. Allow Him to change in you what it is that went wrong. Even if your marriage ends in divorce, be patient with others. Allow God to make you a new person.

As Dr. York taught me, “Make your repentance more notorious than your sin.”

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.

Affairrecovery.com – Hope For Broken Marriages

affair_recovery_logoHas your spouse cheated on you? Are you cheating on your spouse and want to come clean about it? Maybe you’ve been caught and all you want is for your relationship with your spouse to be restored.

Lots of people don’t know where to start. I ran across a group of people recently who have dedicated their lives to helping people recover from affairs and I want to introduce them to you.

They’re Affair Recovery – (affairrecovery.com) and they have been helping people for a long time and if you give them a chance, they can help you as well.

Here at Fallen Pastor, I act as a temporary gatekeeper for ministers in trouble. I’m not a long term solution. I try to get people help locally so they can get long-term help. I have a lot of resources. That’s why when I heard about affairrecovery.com, I was excited about what they did.

I spoke with Tony Fetchel, one of the specialists at Affair Recovery. He is a fallen minister and deals with heartbreaking stories every day.  He introduced me to the phenomenal things that Affair Recovery has been doing in the lives of people and can do for those who are in need of their help.

When you arrive at their site, you will find an “Affair Analyzer,” which will help you understand where you are and what kind of help you need. The analyzer offers you the chance to be contacted by one of their specialists. They aren’t going to try and sell you anything, they are there to help, first and foremost.

They help all kinds of people – Christians, non-Christians, spouses who weren’t able to reconcile, couples who want to work it out, pastors, executives, etc. If you’re having trouble, they have someone for you to talk to, privately and confidentially.

They offer all kinds of options for healing. They have home study courses, weekend retreats and even more invasive options.

Let me say this – I hear about ministries that can help, but Affair Recovery is one of the most well-organized and caring groups I’ve seen. I highly recommend it to you if you are in crisis mode and need help now.

____________________________

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.

 

Pastors and the Batman Problem

jokerAs a Batman fan, something struck me the other day while I was watching the new hit TV show, Gotham. In my years of reading Batman and Detective Comics, why didn’t Batman/Bruce Wayne ever build a better prison to lock up the Joker?

The Joker is responsible for a lot of death and destruction and he’s typically housed in Arkham Asylum from which he’s escaped on numerous occasions.

So why didn’t/doesn’t Bruce/Batman spend a little Wayne Foundation money on making sure that the Joker is in an escape-proof, Joker-tight, laser-guarded, seven-miles-below-the-earth, impossible to escape from cell? Everything else is plausible in the comic book world, why not that?

Honestly, for a man who doesn’t seem to want to kill, prevention should be pretty high on his list, right?

Then that got me to thinking about this ministry, pastors and the Batman problem.  Every pastor has the Joker looming around the corner. Most every pastor would admit that he is capable of ministry failure. Whether that’s adultery, sexual sin, burnout, or his marriage falling apart – most pastors know it can happen.

Even more, most pastors give some degree of lip service to it. Some guys protect their hearts and marriages. A lot of guys will say, “Oh yeah, everything is fine in my marriage and ministry,” even though things are falling down around them.

Despite whether we deny the reality of future temptation or not, it exists and can happen. It’s like the Joker. And we can choose to build a prison for the guy and get ready for him, or we can ignore that he’s there and let him wreak havoc whenever he decides to show up.

Pastors aren’t stupid. They know how to protect their hearts. Theycesarjoker know what they should and shouldn’t be looking at. They know that they need accountability and mentoring. It’s just doing it. It’s realizing that all of us need help, regardless of education, age or experience, swallowing our pride and asking for support.

I’m here to help. If you want to know if your church is equipped for ministry failure, I can help. If you want resources, check out my blogroll. If you have a private question, go to my contact page.

But understand that if we don’t take steps to lock up the villains on our own, they will find us and do some serious damage. 

____________________________

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.

3 Things To Remember When Forgiving Someone

begPeople want and need to be forgiven. There are those of us walking around with huge burdens that need to be reconciled with groups of people or individuals.

We’ve tried to ask for forgiveness, asked for it, or are looking for a way to ask for it in a similar way in which we sinned against others.

But for whatever reason, there are those who withhold forgiveness. That explains why my post on “5 Reasons People Won’t Forgive You” is the most read post on my blog. If you are in need of forgiveness and can’t understand why someone won’t forgive you, go read that one.

Here, I want to address how to forgive someone who is asking you for forgiveness. There are a lot of possibilities wrapped up in this, so let’s look at as much as we can.

1. Do your best to take their apology at face value.

This is tough, but use your common sense. If someone borrowed your favorite shirt and got tomato sauce on it, asks for an apology, offers to have it dry cleaned, they’re probably being sincere.

But what about more serious sin? Like adultery? Or someone who lies to you all the time? That’s tough. I deal with this frequently when I’m counseling fallen pastors and their wives. The fallen pastor will cheat with someone and then in a week say to his wife, “I’m so sorry, please forgive me.” Well, guess what, dude? She’s not ready to forgive.

But he’ll make it worse. He will say things like, “The Bible commands you to forgive me. You’re not in the will of God.Don’t do that.

Both people in the transaction of forgiveness have a tremendous responsibility. The person who has sinned has to get their heart right. There has to be repentance (different than remorse or “feeling sorry I got caught“). But as the person who is doing the forgiving, that’s out of your control.


 “Most people who are repentant and asking for your forgiveness have been dwelling on this moment for a long time. They need your forgiveness like a thirsty dog needs a drink of water. They need to hear those three words, ‘I forgive you,’ desperately.”


So what do you do? A couple of things. You can understand that there are people who may feel remorse but don’t understand that their apology is not sincere. You can tell them, “I understand that you’re apologizing to me and I appreciate it. But we are known by our fruits in our life. Please allow me time to heal emotionally and I will allow time for God to work repentance in your life. He will bring both of us to a place where we can finish the transaction of forgiveness on His time. I’m not withholding forgiveness. But I can tell you that I am storing up grace for the day when I can forgive you wholly and completely.” Or something like that.

You can also be honest with the person and tell them that it is difficult for you to process forgiveness because of the hurt. That you are working on it, earnestly and prayerfully. Ask them for patience and encourage them to look up stories of people who have endured the same kind of pain you’re going through. Ask them for empathy.

2. It’s okay to draw boundaries.

If a person has hurt you in the same way before – repeatedly – realize that forgiveness can happen, but you may need to draw a boundary. 

I had a counselor tell me once that boundaries are good because they keep us from slamming the door completely. I was having trouble with a person who I believed I hated. The counselor said, “You know, God draws boundaries. He drew boundaries for the Israelites at Sinai. Some could go to the foot of the mountain. Others could go on the mountain. Moses could go to the top. Jesus had followers who could listen to his teachings. He had twelve disciples who heard more. Then he had an inner three who heard exclusive things.

I said, “Yes, and?boundary

He said, “We need to be careful about shutting anyone out of our lives completely. If you cut this person out of your life completely, you will shut out any chance for the restoration of God in their life or a miracle of reconciliation in your life. So draw a boundary. Tell them that they can be part of your life. But in your life, restrict them to certain areas. Don’t tell them everything. Don’t allow them access to all areas of your heart.

He was right. Never shut the door on someone – always leave it open just a little and allow God to do what He will do.

3. When forgiving, always be gracious.

Sometimes, someone will come up to you and ask for forgiveness for something you didn’t even know they did. Be gracious. Make sure they understand they have your full forgiveness.

Other times, you will know why they are apologizing. You’re ready to forgive and reconcile. (Trust me, it will feel great when you’re done). Guess what? Be gracious. Make sure they understand they have your full forgiveness.

What I’m saying is – most people who are repentant and asking for your forgiveness have been dwelling on this moment for a long time. They need your forgiveness like a thirsty dog needs a drink of water. They need to hear those three words, “I forgive you,” desperately. So make it clear.

Realize that at some point, we will all be standing in the need of someone’s forgiveness. In fact, we have already been there. Christ forgave us a debt we could not possibly repay. That’s why Paul tells us in Colossians 3:13 to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.

____________________________

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.

 

I Love The Rain

rainRain is the greatest weather ever.

If I had been one of the people not invited on the Ark, (and I probably wouldn’t have been), and it had been raining for about 20 days, I would’ve said to the other whiners, “What’s your problem? Keep it coming!

There are just so many beautiful things about rain.


Do you know how to peg who the truly happy people are? The ones who just keep walking in the rain. They don’t run. They walk.


It feels good and it’s refreshing. When you’re standing outside in the heat and you feel that first slight breeze, you know there’s rain on the way. Then that first little drop of rain. Then the second, then it all breaks loose.

Remember playing in the rain as a kid? Nothing stopped you when you were young. Even if Mom made you put on embarrassing galoshes or whatever, you wanted to go out in it. My mom didn’t make me wear that stuff. I’d go out there in it and just play. Catch crawdads in the runoff water, get soaked to the bone, run up and down the street – those were the times. And it didn’t matter if I got wet.

But today, while we’re adults – watch the heavens open up, see the rain2people in their suits and dresses scamper for cover or an umbrella. Do you know how to peg who the truly happy people are? The ones who just keep walking in the rain. They don’t run. They walk. And they slowly turn their faces skyward with a grin to appreciate it.

And our music bears this out.

People don’t write too many songs about snow. Or hail, or ground frosts, or the Nor’easter (save Billy Joel). They write songs about rain.

Blue Eyes Cryin’ In the Rain, Can You Stand The Rain, Blame It On The Rain, I Wish It Would Rain Down, Kentucky Rain (one of my favorites), Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, It’s Rainin’ Men (probably shouldn’t include that one), I Love a Rainy Night, Raining On Sunday, Summer Rain, Who’ll Stop the Rain, etc, etc, etc.

Sure, rain stops baseball games. It stops picnics (get a pavilion). It stops NASCAR races.

But it also washes away the old. It’s great to kiss in. To run around in. To find yourself.

And it seems, and it may just be a coincidence, that on every significant day of my life that it has rained. It’s been a close friend to me. I’ll take the rain whether it’s drizzling, sprinkling, pouring, coming horizontally, or a torrential downpour.

It’s always refreshing.


Happy Fifth Anniversary, Allison.

____________________________

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.

Is My Pastor Up To Something Sinful?

computerTurn on the news and what do you see? War. Murder. What does that mean? That you’re probably going to get shot tomorrow and that the end is near.

Of course that’s not what that means.

But we do internalize a lot of the evening news, don’t we? And we internalize a lot of statistics. We get online and type in some symptoms we’re having and WebMD tells us that we have an incurable disease. It can be difficult not to do those things when information is so accessible.

Here at Fallen Pastor I share a lot of statistics. I’ll tell you that a lot of pastors suffer from depression or look at pornography. I tell you that ministry failure is a stark reality and I use statistics to illustrate the point. It’s a real problem.webmd

Once in a while I will write a blog about how people can take care of their “normal” pastor. How pastors can prevent moral failure.

But I want you to know that just because there are tendencies toward sin, just because there are pastors who struggle – that doesn’t mean that your pastor is sitting at his desk with his cell phone, texting his secret lover trying to figure out an out of the way rendezvous, all the while surfing the web for pornography, simultaneously writing his Sunday sermon on how husbands should love their wives.

There are some great pastors out there. A ton of them. Have I ever met a perfect one? Nope. Never met a perfect Christian or church member either. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. All of us undergoing the process of sanctification, working together, walking together in Christ.

I hope you don’t read this blog and think that your pastor is wiling away his hours being sinful. He’s probably not. He does need your support. So does his family. They are under extreme pressure. Let them be human. Let them be part of the community of faith and express their frustrations, prayer requests, and have time off with their family.

Let them worship together as a family on Sunday and make sure they are experiencing God in the church as you are. Don’t treat him as  a hired hand – treat him as a brother in Christ.

Don’t be suspicious of his motives. Instead, if you think he might have a problem, approach him as Matthew 18 asks us to. If you feel he has slighted you or made an error, go to him in love. Treat him as you would want to be treated in the same situation.

Has he made mistakes? Sure. Will he continue to make them? Absolutely. Will you? Sure you will.

Is my pastor up to something sinful? Probably. We all are to some degree. But will we continue to be mistake-making people who constantly look to Christ for help, sanctification and healing as  a community of faith? That’s the real question.

____________________________

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.

Can You Believe That Sinner?

I’ve been writing for a long time. My senior year of high school, I got to help write  a play. I can see the following monologue being acted out by one person for a church drama. But I can also see it happening every week in churches as a reaction to those who sin, unfortunately. These are the whispers that sinners hear – deservedly so – but when do they stop? And when do our hearts change? What should our hearts be speaking toward those who sin? Scripture references are linked:

“Can you believe that sinner? Do you know what he did? He cheated on his wife. Unbelievable. He’s a member of this church.  And he was a Sunday School teacher.

whispering“Oh, when did he do it? About eight months ago. Filthy person. How dare he show up back in our church like this. Seriously. He’s got two kids. They’re not even ten yet. What was he thinking?

“I don’t know how he could even show himself in public. He’s lucky he even has a job still. I can hardly stand looking at him.

“How did he teach Sunday School all those Sundays and carry on with that other woman? What audacity! That has to be blasphemy.

“Do what? Oh, he’s been meeting with the pastor. I have no idea why the pastor would even talk to him. I’m sure he’s blaming his wife or a problem with pornography or a troubled childhood. But to me, there’s no excuse for that kind of sin.

“His wife? Here’s a stunner. She’s trying to work things out with him. whispering2I have no idea why. She should have dumped his sorry rear end right there on the spot when she found those text messages. She could have gone straight to a lawyer and owned everything that little bitty man has.

“I don’t know. I mean I’m not being judgmental. I just don’t like the way he looks around the sanctuary. I don’t like the way he talks or speaks to anyone. He’s not fooling me with that false humility.

I’m telling you, once a cheater, always a cheater.

“Those poor little children of his. Maybe one day they’ll learn what an unholy person their father is. How can he even sing songs of worship?

I just don’t know how someone like that can live with themselves.

____________________________

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 Yellow Sticky Note

Today I’m honored to guest blog from an old friend. I’m posting a bio below. But please read the post first. I think a lot of you will relate to the writing and the topic. It’s one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time.

He asked me to write an article for his website.  If he only knew, he wouldn’t ask.  I knew what I wanted to say, but didn’t have the courage to tell the truth.

What came to mind was my first appointment with a therapist about 30 years ago.  At the end of our session, he wrote something on a yellow sticky note, and told me to put it on my refrigerator.  It said, “I’m doing the best I can.  That’s good enough.”  Immediately I said, “Nonsense!  I’m doing the best I can, and it’s never good enough.”  “But it has to be,” he replied, “because it’s all you can do.

post-it-yellowFor the last nine months, I’ve been sinking into increasing depression and despair.  I’m eating less, drinking more, and find it difficult to pray.  I’ve stopped teaching my class, cancelled my relationships with the two women I mentored, and hardly ever write. I’m still connected to my family, but only have one truly honest relationship – a friend who knows most of what’s going on and refuses to give up on me, believing when I can’t.

It’s not that I don’t care anymore, yet my ability to move forward has all but ceased, and I feel like it’s my fault.  I certainly have no business leading anyone else spiritually.  Why would I want to lead anyone into this darkness?

And yet it isn’t totally dark inside me.  There is still a sense of ministry as I care for a crabby, difficult old lady 36 hours a week, offering her the patience and compassion I don’t feel for myself.  The satisfaction I have in cooking healthy meals for my family still thrives.  Twice a week I go to church and the gym.  In other words, I haven’t given up on life.  But my self-esteem lies liquid on the floor, the vision I once had is vacant, and I can’t escape.  Self-destruction and self-fulfillment co-exist.  It’s not the end, but……I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t good.  It certainly isn’t “good enough.”

What isn’t missing is my awareness of God’s presence.  God hasn’t left nor have I left God.  The Bible says nothing can separate us from the love of God, and God promises to never leave us.  That is my one solace in this turmoil.  But what is my purpose right now?

Simon Peter comes to mind – a spiritual loose cannon.  He was predictably irresponsible, a class-act idiot, saying and doing the dumbest things.  If he had been one of my disciples, I would have fired him.  Actually, if I had known what he was like, I wouldn’t have chosen him in the first place.  He failed Jesus so many times.  Peter finally gave up trying and went back to fishing after abandoning Jesus on the worst day of his life.

And yet Jesus came to him personally where he was – even after all that – and told Peter to feed and care for His sheep.  How do you feed someone when you have nothing to give?  How do you care for someone when you are doing a terrible job of caring for yourself? Makes me think of the TV show, “Mission Impossible” – “Your mission, should you choose to accept it,….”  What if I can’t accept what seems to be impossible?  Certainly God wouldn’t say, “You’re doing the best you can.  That’s good enough.

Yeah, right.

That damn yellow sticky note.  Even if I don’t believe it’s true, what if my mission from God today is to get up and go to work, cook a good dinner for my family, and treat that crabby old lady with kindness, even if I don’t feel like it? God, you know I’m already doing those things.

And God said, “Read the yellow sticky note.”

___________________________

Our guest blogger today was Joy Wilson. Joy Wilson is the author of Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God (Civitas Press, 2011). She blogs at Solacetree.

____________________________

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.

Finding Restoration in a Broken World

%d bloggers like this: