This post comes after having a conversation with other believers regarding sin among leadership. The concern was not only deliberate sin but also the church’s lack of acknowledgment or rebuke. Because this seems to be of great concern among believers from one coast to the other, I would like to take a moment to address it here for those of you who may be witness to the same within your own church.
I would like to begin in fairness for everyone because each situation is very individual, so first let’s start with Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While this is true and no one is perfect, pastors and leaders are held to a higher standard and will be accountable for the sheep that go astray while under their care.
The greatest part of the issue comes when sins among leadership are unrepented; when leadership does not take accountability; when the sins are blatant and without regard for the congregation; and when those sins are not handled biblically among the pastors and those in leadership, (Galatians 6:1-5).
Sin within the church and among leadership can come in many forms – not just through sexual immorality or other common planks, but also through a lack of love and respect for all those around them. In scripture, sin is also referred to as “leaven”. Matthew 16:6 reads “Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”.”
Jesus stressed this matter because sin in the church that isn’t properly addressed according to the Word of God can cause those who aren’t as strong spiritually to lose faith and walk away from the Lord. We cannot allow that to happen to the Lord’s sheep, (Luke 15:4). Sin will corrupt not only the person, but can adversely impact those who are under their influence and care, as well as those outside who are witness to it, (Jeremiah 50:6).
A church needs to have the heart of God, (Psalm 51:10). The soul that walks out of church offended means everything to the Lord, and the hearts of Christians cannot be so hardened that it matters none, (Ezekiel 36:26).
Leadership must take the time to reflect on whether or not they are giving God the quality of character and spirit that He deserves as our Savior, and all leadership should desire to represent Him properly not just in the church but also at home and to the world as well, (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
As mature Christians we must be accountable for the message we send to those that aren’t yet spiritually mature or strong in their faith.
Yes, there will be times of disagreement among members, differences in opinion, and even varying degrees of faith and beliefs. But all matters should be handled biblically and prayerfully. We see examples of sin within the church in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, in the letters to the seven churches. But God warned that, unless they repented, He would cease to use them for his purpose, (Revelation 2:5).
We need to remember to pray not just for the congregation, but also for our leaders and pastors – even more so because they’re in positions of authority. The word of God tells us if we witness children of God in sin, we are to come to them and reveal it in private so they have the opportunity to repent and be redeemed (Matthew 18:15).
If nothing begins to change, whether because of repeated denial although the sin is evident, or because the person is simply not repenting (which means to truly be remorseful, come to the Lord for deliverance, and stand strong against any temptation into that sin) then we are to share the sin with an elder (pastor or trusted leader) so that they may counsel the sinner, not just in one conversation but to be supportive and prayerful, consistently (Matthew 18:16).
Sinners should not be shunned, but embraced in spiritual sincerity and support; unless they are intentionally doing the work of the enemy by tempting others into sin, disregarding the word of God, and disregarding the church – we cannot be more concerned with holding a position, than we are with the Truth and Love. (Ephesians 4:29).
We are called to intercede on behalf of others, whether children of God or not, (1 Timothy 2:1-5). We should be ministers of reconciliation, not discord. Fervent prayer can accomplish much more in a moment than we ever could in a lifetime.
PRAYER through scripture:
2 Peter 1:3-11 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love…” These words we pray in the mighty name of Jesus’, Amen.
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