I read a blog today on a site which will remain nameless, with a title that will remain nameless, about a subject that will not remain nameless. Someone wrote about several things a pastor could do to avoid sexual temptation. They were listed and expanded on; then I took a moment to read the comments of people who had also read the piece.
Now, the first point was shall we say, a bit of a stretch in drawing a parallel with the subject matter; but upon sharing it with my wife, she agreed. It doesn’t even matter what that point was really, I would say 75% of the comments were negative concerning that one point. Unfortunately, the first point detracted from the rest of the piece in that people couldn’t get past it. They were all commenting on this one thing and totally ignoring the substance that was present.
This is a textbook reaction that shows many people will stop reading and recieving when they are either offended, embarrassed, minimized, spoken down to, any number of things. Denial fires on all cylinders, and the subject matter was the catalyst.
I read through those comments and a couple stood out to me. A worship pastor said that he meets alone with women and doesn’t see it to be a problem. Another woman said that any pastor who struggles with temptation in the first place shouldn’t be a pastor! WOW, are you kidding me? Various other people chimed in with their own opinions. That is the 25% left after point number 1 stopped everyone else cold in their tracks! Very few reacted with concern for the topic or commended the writer for addressing this difficult and sensitive issue, adding to a much marginalized dialog.
For my part, I wanted to step in and advise people to be aware of the dangers that exist. Be proactive. Have policy in place to prevent even the hint of inappropriate behavior, that’s just using God-given wisdom. But I didn’t want to be ridiculed by perfect strangers when those I know, already think I am a one man band and turn me off when I write.
When will people get their head out of the sand and realize the threat and dangers that exist within the ranks of our pastors, and indeed all of Gods people? You may not hear about it in your church, but every week there are leaders being taken down by sexual sin. It would be one thing if it was purely a winnowing of those who don’t belong, but good, solid, learned, caring, experienced, and talented leaders are falling, and most churches are doing nothing to prevent this.
I know, because I am one who fell. I have spent my time since on the long road to restoring trust with my wife. Laying down things you take for granted to keep myself pure. Speaking to other men in my same situation while attending support groups, learning, growing, reading and writing, praying and studying God’s word and receiving counseling. Confronting the brokenness inside that made me susceptible to sin and learning to be loved by God when everyone else rejects and throws me away.
I don’t ask for your pity, or covet your reassurance, that’s part of how I got in this mess. All I ask is that you start taking the enemy seriously and understand that his weapons are powerful. He is cunning and crafty, and knows how to twist truth and bend minds. He will take the trauma you’ve experienced and make it into something so undeniably attractive, that you must have it to sooth your hurts. You won’t just want it, no, you will do anything to have it, if but for a moment. You will be willing to blindly sacrifice everything for another taste. What once was only a fleeting glance, becomes a mindless, soul-less thirst that can never be satisfied. By the time you realize what has happened its too late.
So… knowing this, what are you going to do? Are you going to focus on some minuscule point I have made that seems ridiculous in your thinking, and dismiss this altogether-or are you going to realize what is at stake in the life of the church and for its people, and do something about it?
This is a call to action…to do something!
Stop deciding what to do! Stop putting off the steps of freedom! Stop dancing around the issue hoping people actually get it! Stop worrying who will be offended and save some lives! Stop waiting for the right time, the right environment, or the right moment. It is always the right time to speak up and save people. We have that power in us. God has given us the ability to confront sin, to approach each other in love, and help restore the path of the wayward.
Jesus did it, why do we think we should do differently? Stop the denial and start loving. Listen to hear, aid those who seek help, show compassion to everyone in need. Restore the repentant in their gifts and calling, giving generously of your time and your patience. That is the church, not some whited seplecures that are nothing but an homage to the hands of faithless men.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. Galatians 5:25-26 (MSG)
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. Galatians 5:4-6 (MSG)
We are His hands and feet, don’t you dare cast away the broken. Call them to come and be healed from their disease. Provide meat and drink to restore their strength, and speak the truth that brings life. Above all, love as Christ has commanded us to love.
Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. Galatians 6:1-3 (MSG)
Witness the power of God…. in action…..through YOU…right NOW!