Pastor Ron was struggling with temptation. He’d engaged in some questionable behavior. He shared his struggle with a friend.
Word got back to the elders of the church. Two days later he was unemployed.
The road to spiritual healing and wholeness runs through confession. James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that we may be healed.
Pastors can’t do this. When a pastor confesses weakness to another person, he hands that person a weapon. That weapon can later be used to destroy his ministry and family.
So pastors keep their temptations and struggles to themselves. Or they have to rely on paid professional counselors who can maintain confidentiality.
Why are pastors different?
Christians are generally forgiving of their minister’s past sins (particularly if these took place before he entered the ministry). But we have a very hard time understanding his present struggles.
Christians expect pastors to be paragons of virtue. After all, they are the leaders of the flock – and our primary role models. The Bible holds pastors and elders to high moral standards.
But how high is that standard? How “real” can our pastors be before we dismiss them?
Pastors are human. They need a safe way to confess their sins so that they can be healed. But neither can the church look away from pastoral sin. An immoral or corrupt leader will take any organization down.
Here’s a list of temptations and sins that ensnare men. Let’s say your pastor confessed one of these shortcomings, in a spirit of repentance. Which ones would you consider a “firing offense”? Keep score. Give each firing offense one point:
- Uses mild curse words (damn, shit, etc.)
- Admits to an extramarital affair before he was a pastor
- Confesses to impure thoughts
- Fudges on his taxes
- Invests in a ponzi scheme
- Has a rebellious child
- Plays the lottery
- Burglarizes a home to make ends meet
- Has homosexual thoughts
- Invests his money in morally questionable stocks
- Occasionally looks at porn
- Consumes alcohol in moderation
- Bouts of anger
- Spiritual pride
- Doesn’t tithe
- “Friends” old girlfriends on Facebook
- Watches a TV show with lots of sex (such as Game of Thrones)
- Doubts his calling to ministry
- Is seeing a counselor
- Struggles with depression
- Secretly uses nicotine
- Touches a woman inappropriately
- Listens to non-Christian music
- Is irregular in personal devotions
- His wife files for divorce
- Carries a gun
- Struggles with lust
- Smokes a joint now and then (in states where it’s legal)
So where do you draw the line? Is anyone so accepting that your score is zero? Or so judgmental that your scored a 30?
Please report your score in the comments below – and share this to your Facebook page.