When Leaders Fail

Media outlets are blazing with the stories of politicians and their poor personal choices. We watch as marriages and lives are destroyed. I hear my mind say, “Another one bites the dust,” because the expectation of leaders living lives of integrity and with moral standards has dwindled so aggressively.

 

In today’s society when celebrities have indiscretions, magazines pay them for featured stories and place them on their covers to defend their choices. One celebrity was featured on the cover of magazine recently to give her advice on love. She is in and out of relationships as often as I change the oil in my car. Why would a reader look to this person as a role model concerning love when she obviously knows how to fall in love but can’t seem to stay there?

Tell the Truth

The situation becomes even more serious when we look to the church. There is much division among Christians concerning a pastor who was recently caught in a highly visible and troubling scandal.

 

I am asking myself tough questions like: What do we do when our leaders fail? How can you extend forgiveness and not justify sinful behavior? What is the obligation of congregants to hold their pastors accountable and get to the bottom of truth when the name of Jesus, the pastor, and the church is being disgraced? What does the Bible say about judging fellow believers? What about the need for confession and repentance of whatever percentage and responsibility was yours? Is it perhaps more honorable for a disgraced pastor to take the high road and resign his office to avoid sucking the life’s blood out of the congregation? Can you lead well in the midst of scandal?

 

These are a few questions to ask of all leaders but particularly of those who have lead people, maybe indirectly, down the wrong road. The danger is that these leaders will not only be held accountable for their mistakes (how inappropriate behavior is described when the offender is not truly repentant and does not want to confront his or her sin), but they will also be held accountable for the people that have fallen in their wake. Jesus gives a pretty stern warning to his disciples:

 

“Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a milestone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin (Luke 17:1-2 NIV).”

 

Therefore I share the words of David as a prayer for you, me, our church leaders, and other Christian leaders around the world that:

 

Those who hope in God may not be disgraced because of me,

O Lord, the Lord Almighty;

May those who seek you not be put to shame because of me,

O God of Israel. Psalm 69:6

  

How should we respond when leaders fail? What are our responsibilities to fellow Christians when sin destroys?

 

© Natasha S. Robinson 2011

 

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