Almost monthly I feel like I open up the Christian Post only to read a story about another Christian leader who has failed morally. These stories break my heart. Also, what breaks my heart are the tragic responses of some Christians.
When someone fails the natural human tendency is to feel superior. Our public reputations stand unblemished while someone wallows in their own mess. Pride is lurking, waiting to takeover the recipient’s heart when he or she hears the news. Here are some helpful ways to respond to the public moral flounder of a leader.
- Pray for the individual. This is a pretty obvious point that almost goes without saying, but prayer still gets overlooked. When someone you look up to and have served under falters, intercede on their behalf. Your prayers will help minister grace and mercy to them in their time of need. Think of a time you failed and reflect on how much you wanted someone to pray for you.
- If possible, reach out to them. You don’t have to send a long email or leave a comprehensive voicemail. When leaders loose their positions, sometimes they experience a time of disillusionment because part of their identity has been taken from them. It is natural for them to feel like they are of less value to God and the church after failure. Fight that lie by letting them know that they are more than a “title” to you.
- Don’t slander. Don’t feed gossip. If someone brings up the news in a malicious way, tell the gossiper that you are praying for the individual, and then let the topic go. It can be tempting to want to stir up drama and discuss rumors, but there is no edification for anyone from that kind of chatter. Be simple and to the point. Don’t give yourself or them any opportunity to slander or gossip.
- Step up and help out where you can. If a leader leaves a void, help fill it if you have the right gifts. Preachers aren’t the only men who fail in the church. Be ready to step into the small areas that need as much attention as preaching and worship.
Dealing with people’s shortcomings requires grace and mercy. Make sure that you are allowing the Holy Spirit to make you a more gracious, kind, and loving person. These kinds of people are the agents of healing that mistaken leaders need in their lives.
God bless, and have a great Saturday!
Photo is property of George Ro Photography