I’ve been writing lately on the identity of the Christian. In God’s eyes, you are holy and righteous. Will there be times when you are weak? Yes, of course! Your flesh is your flesh. Your flesh is on your person. You can’t get away from it.
The church needs to quit trying to tell people that they can get away from the weaknesses of the flesh. We can’t do it! You know what? Neither can the pastor. That guy up there on the podium can’t avoid the flesh. He tells his congregation to quit doing something, but he has issues too. He might even have more issues, because he’s on a stage.
And a lot of times, he has no accountability. No one’s checking on him. He’s the pastor! So when his sin is exposed, everybody is so shocked. “Oh no! Our pastor had an affair! How could he do that to his church?”
Why is everyone so shocked when this happens? I think it’s because the pastor has spent years teaching his congregation to avoid the sins of the flesh. He has made them think that he avoids sin all the time.
But he’s a man! He is a flesh-and-blood man! He’s a man that grew attracted to someone other than his spouse. And he probably didn’t do things with accountability. He was probably meeting with women in his office for counseling, and one of them was drawn to him. Maybe he was feeling disconnected from his wife and his marriage. Everyone goes through that. Then he made the kind of decision that a man who has flesh makes.
You need to decide if you want to keep him as your pastor, but no matter what you decide, you need to love on him.
Is he going to be held to a higher standard because he’s a teacher? James says yes! But you are not going to be the one to judge him. God is the one who will say, “Dude. I put you in this pastoral role for a reason.” God gave the pastor influence, and that pastor was supposed to protect it. Instead, it has been tainted. God gives as he chooses, so He says, “I gave you that influence, and you didn’t do what you needed to do. Now you’re going to lose it.” That’s pain! That’s frustration.
Judgment belongs to God, not us. It would be better for a congregation to understand grace. They could say, “We need to slow down and look at this. We need to hear from the leadership board. What kinds of checks and balances did he have when he was meeting with people? Were there policies and guidelines in place, e.g. always meet in an open place, or make sure there’s always someone there with you? If not, then as a congregation you want to put those in place.
Don’t just sit there and be shocked. Don’t condemn the guy. I know you feel like he’s a man of the cloth and he shouldn’t do things like that. But he’s a man! That’s it.