Christian researchers say that as many as 400 Christian leaders will resign during church services today because of revelation that they were members of the AshleyMadison extra-marital affair website. These are pastors, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, elders, deacons, etc. It is easy to treat this group as one type of person, hitting them all with one judgment. The large majority of these will be men. Here are some things to remember...
Some of these made a quick mistake in a lustful moment that will have long-term effects in their lives. Others were actively and regularly seeking sexual activity outside of their marriage.
Some were hypocrites, just playing a game in church. Others were genuine believers who fell for the oldest trick in Satan's book.
Some had already come clean with their families prior to this public leak of information. For others, this morning's revelation will be the first admission.
Some will be confessing as a genuine step of repentance, moving on to live lives of purity before God and their spouse Others will simply be sorry they got caught, but will continue a promiscuous lifestyle.
Some have already lost their spouse and family to the tragedy. Others will lose their spouse in the days to come. Some will save their marriage through hard work and spiritual intervention.
Some will be restored to a position of leadership ministry. Others will never lead again, either by their own decision, or because their church body will not let them.
Some will move on to an abundant redeemed life. Others will sink into depression, turn to alcohol or other drugs, struggle with thoughts of suicide, or actually take their own life.
Some will never fall into moral failure ever again, finding victory over lust and sexual sin. Others will find victory for a season, but eventually return to emotional or physical adultery.
Many other Christian leaders are not part of these 400 or so. There are also many leaders who for some reason or another were not outed by the recent hack, and will continue in sin. Some who were somehow spared the hack revelation will hear that 'wake-up call' and repent, never returning to that lifestyle.
Many more leaders were not registered with that site, but are still bound by pornography and lust. No one knows, and maybe no one will ever know. But they know. Some of those drowning in sexual sin and the guilt and shame that comes with it will seek God and find forgiveness and victory. Others will continue down that road to destruction in this life, and the next.
Many who sit in the pews this morning listening to their leader confess to sin and resign are guilty of the same thing, or something similar. They will feel bad that their leader was involved and caught, but glad that their own sin is not revealed. Some of these will repent, others will just feel lucky and continue down a bad road.
In all, this will be a difficult Sunday for many. It will be crushing. It will reveal that the enemy has won some battles in our camp as we were playing in his. But it not a day to roll over. It is not a day to submit to defeat. It is not a day to despair.
Today is a day that will test what we believe about confession, forgiveness, redemption, transformation, and restoration. Today we will begin to answer some core questions...
Are these concepts just thoughts we have about tax collectors and prostitutes, or are they real and available for fallen leaders and Pharisees?
Do we believe sin is sin regardless of who performs it, or is sin worse when a leader is overcome by it?
Is our hope found in people, or in Christ?
Will we lose faith in the Church because people in the Church are as susceptible as we are?
Will we be agents of restoration or gossips, and snipers?
Can we forgive like we want to be forgiven?
Here are some verses that apply to the conversation...
“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:1-3)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1)
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
This piece is not to suggest that we judge. It is not a warning to not judge. Judgment is in sin. This is just a reminder that sin is real. It targets no demographic. No one is immune. All have sinned. Grace is real. No one is outside of its reach. All can be restored. Trust in Jesus today. Pray for those who will confess their greatest failure before their family today. Be a part of the ministry of reconciliation whether the sinner is a career offender or a saint who has lost their way.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.