How to Process the Sexual Sin in Christian Leaders

Tragically and sorrowfully, the list just keeps getting longer.

I’m referring to the list of pastors and ministry leaders who fall to sexual sin.

To the shock of many, the list now includes the name of the late apologist Ravi Zacharias. From big-name leaders to lesser-known local pastors, the list represents sacred trust broken, power abused and countless lives shattered.

The destructive and devastating impact on victims is both heartbreaking and beyond calculation. The sum collateral damage to the cause of Christ is staggering. Yet it continues.

If you have been processing disbelief, confusion, anger, sadness and brokenness, you are not alone. I have been trying—incompletely and imperfectly—to process my own thoughts and feelings. Let me share a few:

1. God is love, truth, holy and good. He hates sin. Rebellion, abuse of power, broken trust, deceit, manipulation, victimization of anyone and sexual sin all grieve God. Period.

2. Each one of us has the capacity for incredible sin. A battle wages within every soul. An enemy prowls around looking for someone to devour. Therefore, you shouldn’t think yourself or anyone else is immune.

Each one of us has the capacity for incredible sin. A battle wages within every soul. An enemy prowls around looking for someone to devour. Click To Tweet

3. Christian men, leaders and organizations are called to a higher standard. We should be leading the way.

4. The evil one sees Christian leaders and ministry as high value strategic targets. Therefore, be alert and stand firm.

5. This brand of sin brings grievous harm to countless individuals and the cause of Christ. The tremendous collateral damage that ensues brings special delight to the evil one.

6. Christian leaders need to be keenly aware that charisma, competency and credentials are dangerous if not undergirded by deep character. Therefore, we all need to keep diligently working on healthy and holy character.

Christian leaders need to be keenly aware that charisma, competency and credentials are dangerous if not undergirded by deep character. Click To Tweet

7. Christian leaders need to actively engage “safe but not soft” community and relationships where they are truly and deeply known, hard questions are asked, wholeness is sought and accountability is required. Do you have this kind of community around you? You need it.

8. Effective development of leaders requires probing under the surface to help leaders address their inner brokenness, dark sides and temptations. Focusing primarily on knowledge transfer and skill development is a dangerous mistake.

9. Boards need to ensure that policies, systems and structures are in place and continually monitored to ensure leaders live and lead above reproach. What does your board need to put in place?

10. Whistleblowers and victims need to be encouraged to speak and be taken seriously, whatever fallout may come.

11. Only Jesus is worthy of worship. He lived differently. He led differently. His heart is pure. His eyes free of porn. His life was set apart from sin. He finished well. He can be trusted. He can be wholeheartedly followed. We can we learn much from Him. Repentance is required if/when we worship anyone or anything apart from God.

Only Jesus is worthy of worship. He lived differently. He led differently. His heart is pure. His eyes free of porn. Click To Tweet

12. In the deep wounds shame, guilt and messes of sin and life, there is still hope for all of us. His name is Jesus.

Come, Lord Jesus.

But for the grace of God go I,

Dr. Steve A. Brown
President, Arrow Leadership

Rose Thompson

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