4. Don’t speculate, chatter or move toward self-righteousness.
It’s so easy to start treating news about sexual sin in the church with all the speculation of a gossip tabloid—in the name of prayer. The way we talk about our fallen pastor and our church is critical at this time. It’s natural to be inquisitive, but there has to be a point where we cease the inner interrogation, rest in God’s grace and move forward with the mission. We also have to be cautious not to compare our leader’s sin with our own—in a way that elevates us. It’s a dangerous path. And, after all, we’re held to the standard of perfection in our human state—that’s why we need Christ. So, comparison, in human standards of wickedness, serves only a negative consequence and false sense of righteousness that doesn’t come from Christ.
5. It’s OK to grieve sexual sin in the church—and feel all the other emotions.
Grieving the loss of a leader doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy view of the church. It’s OK to feel the loss. We’re called to follow and imitate our leaders as they follow Christ. When they fall, there’s a real loss. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve elevated our leaders to an unhealthy state. However, it’s also a powerful reminder not to elevate human leaders to a position even close to Christ. We’re all called to abide in Christ as the Vine, not in our leaders. Leaders are just another branch nearby, but they don’t give us life. They don’t produce fruit in us. That can only be done by the power of Jesus. That also means that the loss we’re feeling can only be filled by Christ.
I hope this helps you have a better understanding of how to deal with sexual sin in the church. We’re still working through this journey together as a church, but we’re confident of greater things to come—not due to our human efforts or imperfect leadership, but due to the surpassing greatness of God and his love for the church.