"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

This blog has been moved to www.fallenpastor.com.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reconciling With A Fallen Pastor, Part 4: Why Reconcile At All?

I started writing this post about how to reconcile with a fallen pastor long after he had fallen. But it occurred to me that I had failed to even broach the topic of "why reconcile with the fallen pastor?"

It's really a good question. I can see it from the hurt church member's perspective. He was the one who sinned. He should be taking the initiative and come dragging back to the church with a sad puppy dog face apology, right? He should come back in sack cloth and ashes, heart in hand and beg for forgiveness.

But it's not always that simple. The fallen pastor doesn't always see the path back to the church in that way. Often, he sees people staring him down, pushing him away, and the signs all telling him that he's lucky a restraining order wasn't put out. No kidding.

Most fallen pastors run away, tail tucked firmly between legs, and many go away to their own destruction.

If you're reading this blog, you may be a church member interested in reconciliation with a fallen pastor. Good for you. Pursue it. But you need to know why it is important. The why is just as important as the how.

Let me give you a few reasons why.

First, Scripture commands it. I mentioned Galatians 6 in a previous post. Galatians 6:1-5 (ESV) Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

It is the duty of the church to pursue those who have sinned, even the pastor. To bring him back into fellowship. I'll go into more detail in a minute to what that means, but we are not to ever abandon a Christian in their most desperate hour.

If you found out that your uncle, brother, daughter was strung out on crack cocaine, would you leave them to their own devices? No, you would not. You would pursue them and help them. Then why would you abandon your brother in Christ after finding out they fell into moral sin? But churches do it in a second when they discover their pastors have fallen into adultery or pornographic sin.

Secondly, it can be a testimony to the world of the reconciling power of Christ. Ephesians 2:14-17 says that Christ "himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near."

Christ came to break down walls of separation. He came to reconcile Jew to Greek. If He could break down that wall, surely He can break down the wall of fallen pastor to hurt church. The cross is powerful enough to show the world that He can break down such barriers. Yes, the pain is real when men fall. But Christ's power over such sin is even more powerful.

Third, it is an example to your family, your children, and the world to forgive. You might not even realize how angry you have been for the past few years against your pastor and his sin. Unforgiveness and anger are not good. When you think about the pastor who fell, how does it make you feel? Pangs of anger? Pity? Make things right and reconcile with him as Christ asked us to do.

Fourth, you must do this for the health of your church. Often times, after a pastor falls, and a church does not forgive, a pattern of sin and unforgiveness settles in that stays within for generations. It may be that to break this cycle and to make peace with God, your church needs to do the right thing and openly reconcile with the former pastor.

It is not easy to settle your heart to approach a former, fallen pastor. The next few posts will deal with how to do this. Set your heart on prayer now on making yourself right with God. You know reconciliation is the right thing. If someone has sinned against you, there is a command to be followed. If you have done someone wrong, you know what is to be done.

And in the long run, you know it will be right in the eyes of your Lord.

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