8. Other ministers are tainted by being in the same profession as he.
The next time some pollster asks people to name the profession they trust most, they will remember this and drop all ministers lower down their list.
9. The pastor’s victim has been wounded and her family has paid a price.
Whether they know it or not. Compounding that tragedy, in many cases, some will accuse her of being the aggressor. No good comes from any of this.
10. The guilt from this will hound him the rest of his life.
When he’s 60 years old and the sin lies in the distant past, he will be saying, “Lord, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.” The Lord, of course, forgave that the first time he repented and asked. This sin was nailed to Jesus’ cross. God’s forgiveness is so total He says He actually forgets our sin (Hebrews 10:17).
But the memory of his deeds and the sorrow for the pain he has caused will never leave.
There is, however, a little good news. At least two good things can come from this tragic situation …
1. The pastor is going to find out who his friends are.
This is, of course, the worst of all possible ways to find that out, but you do learn it.
2. The church is going to find out what it really believes.
And so, incidentally, is the minister who has fallen.
Every church talks a good game of grace. But only when one near and dear to the members falls into gross sin and rebellion does this test reveal whether they believe in showing mercy and love to sinners. As with “finding out who his friends are,” this is the most brutal of all ways to make this discovery.
Pray for your ministers. Oh, one more thing: If your minister takes extraordinary steps to guard himself from temptation, do not take it personally.
A woman wrote recently saying that after her second counseling visit with her pastor, he informed her that he would like his wife to sit in on future sessions. She was offended, she said. “Why doesn’t he trust me?” She indicated she will probably not go back.
It would have been simple for me to have told her, “It’s himself he’s not trusting.” But that would not necessarily be true. He is simply being wise. This is for the protection of everyone. I suggested to the woman that she give it a try, to return to the pastor for at least two more visits and see how it goes. She can always stop the sessions and find another counselor. But I would not be surprised if she finds herself connecting with the pastor’s wife, and forming a friendship with the blessings of Heaven.
Pray for our pastors. And support them whenever they take steps to protect their relationships, their ministries, the people around them, their families and the name of Jesus.