How do you feel when you find out that your pastor has sinned? Do you remember the Jimmy Lee Swaggart story and how stunned people were when his ‘sexual scandals’ came to light? His poor wife! And as for his congregation of believers … everyone was shocked into disbelief.
Here is an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Swaggart:
Jimmy Lee Swaggart (born March 15, 1935) is an American Pentecostal pastor, teacher, musician, author, and televangelist. He has preached to crowds around the world through his weekly telecast. According to the official website for Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, his 1980s telecast was transmitted to over 3,000 stations and cable systems each week. Sexual scandals in the late 1980s and early 1990s led the Assemblies of God to defrock him, and to his temporarily stepping down as the head of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. Swaggart’s television ministry, which began in 1975, continues airing in the US and internationally. The weekly Jimmy Swaggart Telecast and A Study in the Word programs are broadcast throughout the US and on 78 channels in 104 other countries, and over the Internet.
Maybe we forget our pastoral leaders are human beings exposed to and affected by temptation just as we are. Yet, on the other hand, we must acknowledge that these mere mortals must have known what they were getting into before they got into it. It’s like a priest consciously taking an oath of celibacy but still molests young boys. Worse than actually committing the sin however is the covering up of the offending action, not only by the offender but by the person(s) in charge of the offender. Not sure what I mean? Then read this article entitled “A pastor’s secret sins …” which offers a first hand (disappointing) experience with this type of situation.
Whether you are pastor or parishioner, leader or someone being led, we are all accountable to God for our own individual actions. Only He can judge us … and He will. Until then, I encourage us to pray for our pastoral ministers and leaders. Let us ask God to bless them, to help them to be strong in resisting temptation, and to give them the gift of discernment as they lead us honestly while trying to live an upright life. May our heavenly father help us to remember the value in forgiving others as He has instructed us to do, so that we may show compassion even though we do not condone the behaviour.
Something to think about.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)