HOW CAN WE PREVENT SEXUAL SCANDALS?
There is two ways that scandals could be prevented. Willful disclosure of hidden sexually immoral behavior according to Ephesians 5:8-14 or prophetic exposure according to Luke 12:2.
In both cases, God is looking to help man out of sin by any means necessary.
It is difficult to stop men of God that are bent on circumventing any principles of morals to fulfill the lusts of their flesh but God will do everything in His power to get your attention.
Sadly, every scandal from here on is only another indication that we are deep in the age of apostasy. The sins of preachers is only getting worse and it will lead many to hell on earth and a much more terrible hell under the earth.
Sadly, the people in the church will sit there and drink with these preachers. Becoming co-conspirators and cheerleading followers of their vile affections (see Romans chapter 1).
They will drink deeply of the sinful waters of sexual perversion.
Any sins committed by pastors and church folk will make the world blush in pride.
There is a problem with pastors living up to the standards of the Word of God.
Pastors that work independently and pastors that work under a ecclesiastical jurisdiction set up rarely have a place to go to to air out what is harboring in their hearts. Many pastors frown upon “inquisitions,” “personal accountability inquiries,” or other forms of measurable accountability because of what it can turn into.
When you are in sin or you have a problem with sexual addiction, you will not be quick to run to sit with somebody to ask you questions about your personal life. It is a very fearful thing to put your life out before people because your image is at stake. What people think of you determines your total outlook on yourself and ministry.
To put out your life before an accountability group requires that you be comfortable and safe. Otherwise, nothing deeply embedded in the soul will be shared. The fallen pastor must have people that either maintained the standard of holiness in the fear of the Lord or was once in the life of sin but gained victory.
Many will say that a couple of years out of sin is pretty much the standard. The more years the better because then the fallen pastor will be exposed to hear about certain tendencies and what to look out for.
At this point, never mind the self image you may have had or lost. What’s more important is what the Lord thinks about you. Can He use you or not is dependent upon how clean you become.
Coming clean about your sex life is the only way that you can be mightily used by God in the future, should you choose to accept long term measurable accountability that works.
Secret Sexual Sins is about how much sin you can commit while keeping it a secret.
If nobody knows, nobody gets hurt.
But God knows and He is already hurt if you continue to keep it a secret.
It is very easy for a pastor to hide and not be found. When it comes to men, apart from ministry, men believe that they can fix things by themselves.
In other words, male pastors go it alone.
This always leave the potential to sin and try to fix the sin by personal repentance alone. Personal repentance is fine if you are sincere about leaving sin alone, once and for all, but it is not true repentance if you return to commit the same sin over again. That’s why it is important for you to have someone to talk to or someone that can call you and see where you are.
If you go it alone, you are only opening the door for dealing with Secret Sexual Sins through remorse, not repentance. Remorse is about feeling sorry for yourself that you were caught in sin. It’s also called revolving door repentance.
To stop revolving door repentance is the ability to stop treating sin like a kid’s game.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
Let’s talk about..
Preventative And Measurable Accountability
It starts with an Accountability Group.
Someone that you willing submit to that will lovingly and uncompromisingly hold you accountable for your sexual integrity. Someone that can vouch for your life. Someone that can speak truth into your life whether you like it or not. Someone that can help you along the way, see ahead of you, and warn you of the dangers ahead.
Not many pastors are interested because of the price of transparency. However, if we are going to defeat sexual immorality and preserve our marriages, family, and ministries, we must leave no stone unturned.
Prevention is not a great subject these days. Too often nothing is done to prevent an accident but when an accident occurs, heaven and earth is moved to prevent another one.
Silly, isn’t it.
Sex scandals have continuously rocked the church for centuries. Yet, there has been no insistence of “measurable accountability.”
Partly for two reasons.
1. There is no contingency or template in place (bylaws-elder boards) when a scandal takes place.
2. Pastors refuse measurable preventative accountability and they refuse or circumvent remedial help or counseling after the scandal.
Sometimes, these fallen pastors impose upon themselves their own “accountability” rules.
They impose upon themselves that the ministry cannot continue without them and return too fast to the pulpit. If a child is born out of the adulterous relationship, and they do not have a job outside of pastoral duties, they will fight to stay on salary so they can be prepared to pay child support.
This is in addition to any divorce proceedings, if it goes in that direction.
They fail to spend time getting before the presence of the Lord and allow seasoned men of God to take them through the process of healing.
They fail to take the time to see to his wife’s healing, leaving her in a daze of confusion, betrayal, and embarrassment. They fail to help or get help for their suffering children and families. The church enters into an array of emotions but they hang between opinions governed by their denial and what is factual.
There is usually one reason why pastors return too soon to the pulpit.
They have their eyes on themselves and they want to save their “empire.”
The pastor takes the church and turns it into his own personal empire.
Two concepts of restoration comes to mind.
Not many fallen pastors will do what it takes to restore personal integrity. However, if you are going to come back to the pulpit, you must be willing to do the following.
1. SPIRITUAL RESTORATION
Too many pastors do not return to the Lord. They return to their ministries first, and second, they walk away from God and their wives. The first level of restoration begins with getting back in the face of God to seek His love, compassion, and grace. Too often, we run pass the Lord, and look to get back to doing what we do best.
Preaching and ministering to people.
This should be the furthest thing from your mind. God loves you. Not what you do (as far as preaching is concerned).
Yes, He called you to preach, but He called you to relate with Him.
When was the last time you were touched by God? The Lord said this to me during my season of Secret Sexual Sins. “Never forget how to be touched by God.” This didn’t ring true until there were times that the Holy Spirit brought me through seasons of repentance. The godly sorrow for sin finally hit me because I hurt God bad.
He was grieved.
False intimacy is devotion to devils at the altar of sexual immorality. There must be a serious reconnection to the Lord. A fallen pastor falls out of love with the Lord and must reconnect to the Lover of his soul. Yes, it is time to fall in love with the Lord all over again.
Otherwise, restoration in the other two areas will never happen.
2. FAMILY RESTORATION
After restoring your relationship with the Lord, your family is the next important priority, not your ministry.
You must do everything in your power to do what is right for your wife and kids. The church will go on without you, one way or another. You must get help for you and your wife, otherwise, no restorative process is worth the trouble. You are just wasting time, energy, and people’s lives.
This is a lengthy, time consuming process and it should never be rushed.
After this process of family restoration, your restorative group will recommend the next step.
3. MINISTERIAL RESTORATION
1. Submit yourself to some form of restoration process that takes control away from you of your ministry.
You cannot survive without God. Your ministry can survive without you.
2. Submit to some form of counseling. Be it anger management, sexual addiction (or any other addiction in connection), and family counseling.
3. Be prepared to share as much about your past as bearably possible. The links to your past is a track record that may reveal why you did what you did.
4. Submit to ongoing random spot checks by men of integrity. These are men that you trust your life with. Men that you confide with. Men that will hold your feet to the fire. It is painful but if you are serious about returning to the pulpit, your life needs to have measurable transparency.
These men will endorse or denounce your ministry effectiveness.
YOU ARE POWERLESS TO SELF IMPOSE A RETURN TO THE PULPIT.
Only the men that you are accountable to may recommend a return to the pulpit. Otherwise, it’s a farce.
It is very easy for a fallen pastor, after a brief absence from the pulpit, to resume ministry. He really feels he could continue to minister to others. It is a pompous display of pride and arrogance that got him into trouble in the first place.
It’s like driving a car full of explosives. It’s just a matter of time before they will blow themselves up. And inevitably, he will.
STARTING ANOTHER CHURCH OR ASSUMING THE PASTORATE ELSEWHERE
While there is no template or something etched in stone when it is feasible for a fallen pastor to return to any pulpit, there should be a reasonable time established. However, to start another church or to consider moving to another town to assume the pastorate elsewhere is not a good idea within the early stages of the restoration process.
Such a return timetable must be approved by those who hold him accountable. They must ensure that he and his family are well on their way to recovery. They must ascertain that the will of God require his restoration.
How is this done?
Gauging the health of their relationship with the Lord and his family.
Signs to look for.
1. Broken and contrite heart.
3. Willing to put off a return to any form of ministry until those involved in the redemptive restorative process see a clear display of humility or humbleness of mind.
4. Whole hearted agreement from the wife that he is ready to resume the minstry. If you do not have your wife’s unconditional support, it’s not worth the risk. That’s why family restoration will take longer than the other two areas of restoration because a breach of vows, confidence, and fidelity is not that easy to get by.
If there is anyone that should be able to vouch or question your return to the pulpit, it’s going to be your wife. She has to have confidence that you are not going to go down the path again. You owe her that much to see through the process of family restoration for as long as it takes.
God resists the proud but He also gives grace to the humble.
It is very easy to fool some of the people some of the time but God is never fooled, and God will bring certain people in your life to let you know that you can’t fool them either.
When a fallen pastor continues to speak his spiritual cliche or “anointing,” it’s a clear signal that they are not healed. When a fallen pastor speak “Biblelise” and refuse to entertain though provoking questions designed to determine where you are in the Lord, it is very plain that they are avoiding the issue.
In order to deceive, one must be deceived themselves.
Ministry is all that some pastors know. But they need to be certain that they are ready to properly balance family and ministry. Otherwise, another scandal is in the making. Most fallen pastors insist that they are ready. It never should be up to the fallen pastor to say that they are ready. It must be up to those who hold him accountable and his wife.
Anything less is failure on everyone’s part.
It is very easy to preach but it is difficult to be a child of God. Like me and every other preacher, we can preach at the drop of a hat. But can we live clean and holy before God and His people after the preaching is done?
When a fallen pastor says that they are ready, they are not.
How do I know?
If you are honest about your self assessment, you will never self rubber stamp your redemption. It is better to have others give you a truthful assessment. Self certification is a clear dis-qualifier.
Lasting redemption and restoration is an ongoing work that must have tough safeguards in place to prevent relapse. Sexual relapse is serious as a cancerous relapse.
Relapse happens in the smallest ways. During the restoration process, everyone must be on guard to address these mental and spiritual relapses. All it takes is one thought. One self sexual act to get the ball rolling. What Jesus did on a regular basis is “watch and pray.”
However, you need to have people watch and pray with you.
Everyone remembers the story of Cain and Abel. When Abel brought the sacrifice that God required, Cain brought fruit. Cain was upset that God, not Abel, rejected his offering.
God asked Cain a serious question.
“Where is your brother?”
Can answered, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Cain threw the question right back at God.
The answer to accountability is Cain’s question.
We are our brother’s keeper or guard.
We are expected to help one another steer clear of sexual immorality by employing tough, measurable accountability.
Sadly, many pastors will live in the arena of regret.
Especially during the judgment.
But we all have a chance to deal with this issue through meaningful, loving, non condemning accountability.