Happy new month Guys! Here we are starting the month talking about Christian leaders and what happens when they mess up royally. How hard should the Church and the congregation be on them?
Once upon a time, (lol that is how we tell stories in Africa), there lived a young Christian man. He was a vibrant Youth pastor and served the Lord with all that he had. He was cheerful and happy with a smile for everyone and it was only a matter of time before he became a pastor.
However, his ascent into pastoral lane cane to a halt one day. Allegations of fornication were made against him and found to be true. He was given the standard punishment. This seemed fair enough but after that he was removed from the leadership position he held.
This was a punishment and epic disgrace in one act. This guaranteed that questions would be asked. There was no way anyone would hear that he had been removed that they wouldn’t ask what happened. Especially since he hadn’t been promoted.
A few people felt bad when they heard this punishment, but they justified it by thinking that maybe God needed him to be away from that particular position if it put him in temptations way by the close contact with the opposite sex . However a lot of people weren’t also happy because he didn’t seem beaten. They weren’t satisfied, they probably felt he got off too lightly compared to the gravity of his punishment.
Interestingly, he took it all in his stride. Never by a look or scowl did he betray what he was going through. He endured the looks, mockery, taunts and jeers from those who knew but apparently that punishment and the epic disgrace wasn’t enough to pacify the powers that be. Almost a year later Bro J. was asked not to carry out his Sunday duties in the Church again.
Now maybe I am too forgiving but I feel like there was more focus on punishing him than in counseling him, reforming him genuinely and monitoring him to be sure he doesn’t relapse. A sneaking suspicion tells me that some of the punishments have it’s root in malice.
I am probably wrong though but moral righteousness isn’t my thing. Far be it from me to judge someone who God hasn’t forsaken. Who is to say the people meting out punishment aren’t doing worse but they just haven’t been caught.
I am not downplaying what he did. Sure! He messed up. He messed up big time. Christian leaders have a duty to live to to what they preach but I am not shocked. I have never been the type to trust a human being absolutely just because he is a pastor or whatever. I have seen enough to know that Christians are under attack, and a pastor who doesn’t take cognisance of the hatred Satan has for Christians can eventually backslide. So even if I hear today that the most popular or powerful pastor in Nigeria did something unexpected, I may be surprised but not shocked.
I know that there has to be punishment to show that the Church has a higher standard for its workers. But shouldn’t correction be done in love? Making the man a pariah and feeling like saints because he likes sex and you happen to like money or gossip isn’t the solution.
I heard of a pastor who slept with his fiancee before marriage and his superior confronted him with that fact. He denied at first but eventually confessed and was punished. When he finished that he was transferred to another branch. I think that is not too bad.
There’s a popular pastor who committed adultery some years back and he came on the pulpit to confess to the congregation. The congregation scattered and many people left the Church but now,after some years he is back on track.
In my opinion, remorse and repentance are key factors to determining appropriate punishment by Church authorities in these cases. Plus the gravity of the offence and your level in the Church. What do you guys think? Excommunication, punishment with light consequences if heavy ones? Open disgrace or no punishment at all?