Are Women More Sensitive To Sin?

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Are Women More Sensitive To Sin?

I’ve noticed a trend in the past six years of doing this min­istry. I often get emails from peo­ple who are com­mit­ting adul­tery and are feel­ing guilty about it. The cou­ple com­mit­ting adul­tery are typ­i­cally made up of a pas­tor and a woman he knows from his staff, a church mem­ber, or a fam­ily friend.

sensitiveOver­whelm­ingly, when a mem­ber of this cou­ple reaches out for help out of sor­row for their sin, it isn’t the pas­tor. It is the per­son we often refer to as “the other woman.” It begs the ques­tion, “are women more sen­si­tive to sin?”

Maybe that’s the wrong ques­tion. Maybe pas­tors in posi­tions of power feel guilty as well, but they have more to hide and to pro­tect. These men (and I was one of them) spend their time jus­ti­fy­ing their actions to them­selves, to the woman they are involved with, and even to God.

The women who have reached out to us for help often ask the same ques­tions about the pas­tors they have become involved with: “Why doesn’t he rec­og­nize this as sin?” “Why is he com­fort­able with liv­ing two lives?” “Have I destroyed his life?” “Is this all my fault?”

Trag­i­cally, when adul­tery occurs, mar­riages will be changed for­ever. They don’t have to be destroyed, but they will be for­ever altered in some way. One of the things that makes adul­tery in min­istry so hard to fathom for those on the out­side is that pas­tors are sup­posed to know bet­ter. And when the per­son the pas­tor is involved with is more guilt-​ridden than he is, there is a seri­ous problem.

When peo­ple talk about the cost of pas­toral adul­tery, they often talk about how churches and fam­i­lies are destroyed. That is absolutely true. And it should take up a lot of space when we warn pas­tors and men of the dan­gers of infidelity.

But I can tell you this — when pas­tors become involved with another woman, it destroys them too. Most often when their adul­tery is dis­cov­ered, she is tossed aside by him, the church and the com­mu­nity. She is scorned by all who uphold right­eous­ness. The con­se­quences are often hers to bear alone.

Of the many “other women” I have talked to, they have gone through the same set of cir­cum­stances. When they were caught, they were kicked out of the church. They were told to never come back. Often, the pas­tor was for­given. Some­times, the pas­tor was told to never con­tact her again, but often reached out to her secretly. Many times, dea­cons and elders showed up at her door, warn­ing her to stay away from the pas­tor, his fam­ily and the church, even though she had no desire to do any of those things.

I have heard these sto­ries time and again. Do we all deserve con­se­quences? Absolutely. But we all deserve grace and for­give­ness as well. I mar­vel at how com­mu­ni­ties of faith treat these women when it was these women who felt more remorse than the pas­tor did. Often, the only rea­son the pas­tor felt remorse was because his sin was found out.

Are women more sen­si­tive to sin? I don’t know. My expe­ri­ence is that they reach out for help more often because of guilt than men do. I know that the women I’m sur­rounded by in my life are sen­si­tive to sin and desire repen­tance and grace more often than I do. They desire spir­i­tual things more than I do. I don’t know if it’s a gen­der thing, but their hearts are often more sen­si­tive to the deeper things of God. And I’m happy for that. I do know that the women I min­is­ter to and have in my life need love, grace, mercy and for­give­ness just like any­one else.

If you’re a pas­tor who is even think­ing about adul­tery, or you find your­self attracted to some­one; just stop. If you won’t stop because it’s Scrip­tural, or for your fam­ily, or for your church, then think of the other per­son and their family.

_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​

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’ve noticed a trend in the past six years of doing this ministry. I often get emails from people who are committing adultery and are feeling guilty about it. The couple committing adultery are typically made up of a pastor and a woman he knows from his staff, a church member, or a family friend.

sensitiveOverwhelmingly, when a member of this couple reaches out for help out of sorrow for their sin, it isn’t the pastor. It is the person we often refer to as “the other woman.” It begs the question, “are women more sensitive to sin?”

Maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe pastors in positions of power feel guilty as well, but they have more to hide and to protect. These men (and I was one of them) spend their time justifying their actions to themselves, to the woman they are involved with, and even to God.

The women who have reached out to us for help often ask the same questions about the pastors they have become involved with: “Why doesn’t he recognize this as sin?” “Why is he comfortable with living two lives?” “Have I destroyed his life?” “Is this all my fault?”

Tragically, when adultery occurs, marriages will be changed forever. They don’t have to be destroyed, but they will be forever altered in some way. One of the things that makes adultery in ministry so hard to fathom for those on the outside is that pastors are supposed to know better. And when the person the pastor is involved with is more guilt-ridden than he is, there is a serious problem.

When people talk about the cost of pastoral adultery, they often talk about how churches and families are destroyed. That is absolutely true. And it should take up a lot of space when we warn pastors and men of the dangers of infidelity.

But I can tell you this – when pastors become involved with another woman, it destroys them too. Most often when their adultery is discovered, she is tossed aside by him, the church and the community. She is scorned by all who uphold righteousness. The consequences are often hers to bear alone.

Of the many “other women” I have talked to, they have gone through the same set of circumstances. When they were caught, they were kicked out of the church. They were told to never come back. Often, the pastor was forgiven. Sometimes, the pastor was told to never contact her again, but often reached out to her secretly. Many times, deacons and elders showed up at her door, warning her to stay away from the pastor, his family and the church, even though she had no desire to do any of those things.

I have heard these stories time and again. Do we all deserve consequences? Absolutely. But we all deserve grace and forgiveness as well. I marvel at how communities of faith treat these women when it was these women who felt more remorse than the pastor did. Often, the only reason the pastor felt remorse was because his sin was found out.

Are women more sensitive to sin? I don’t know. My experience is that they reach out for help more often because of guilt than men do. I know that the women I’m surrounded by in my life are sensitive to sin and desire repentance and grace more often than I do. They desire spiritual things more than I do. I don’t know if it’s a gender thing, but their hearts are often more sensitive to the deeper things of God. And I’m happy for that. I do know that the women I minister to and have in my life need love, grace, mercy and forgiveness just like anyone else.

If you’re a pastor who is even thinking about adultery, or you find yourself attracted to someone; just stop. If you won’t stop because it’s Scriptural, or for your family, or for your church, then think of the other person and their family.

__________________

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 comments

  • Thank you for this post. You are so right. The “other woman” is quite often treated worse than the pastor she committed adultery with, kicked out of the church, forgotten (after a long period of gossiping about her, and him as well), and never to be heard of/from, seen, or contacted again. It’s sad, really, and I don’t understand how forgiveness could be extended to the fallen pastor, but not to her, as well. I wish I could hug each of these “other women”, and tell them they are still loved, and still of value to the kingdom of God.

  • A friend of mine who is really hurting at work (working with all women) commented on how no one hurts each other like WOMEN. The world is already skewed against us and yet the people we should be able to turn to no matter what are CHRISTIAN WOMEN: they are sometimes the absolute worst ones. Lois: Great comment! This is an excellent read: AGAIN!

  • I don’t have a problem with forgiving women. But most women are “manipulative, selfish and opportunist”.
    We (as women) need to start to have more self-esteem, self-confidence, self independance from men.
    I see so soooooooooooooo many women sleeping with married men and think that it’s okay.

    Let’s keep “sex” in a relationship legal. When we betray someone/something, we should always be ready for it’s consequences.

    WOMEN need to educate other WOMEN on things like “RESPECT OF A MARRIAGE” no matter what. Even if you are so in love with a married man.
    LIFE is not always about what we want and what we like.. it’s about RESPECTING THE LIFE OF OTHERS.

    I’m 28 years old. Many married men tried to seduce me. I always ignore and treat them like father when they are as old as my parents.
    WE NEED MORE DETERMINATION if we want to stop ADULTERY in a COUPLE.

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