Sin That Plagues Pastors? Do Pastors Struggle with Sin?
Do Pastors Struggle with Sin? We have traditionally believed that pastors are perfect and they don’t sin or face the temptation to sin. But is this true? Pastors are men and women like the rest of us and they do sin and face the temptation to do so.
Romans 5:8 , 8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Paul tells us that God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. We have all been saved by the grace of God regardless of the calling upon our lives. When we sin we are to repent knowing we have forgiveness in Christ.
All People Sin, Christians realize that we are not perfect and when we do, we quickly admit and confess our sin, Then Get Back up and move forward.
God’s Word is Perfect / Its Messengers are Not
The Story of the Pharisees, Scribes and Adulterous Woman
John 8: 1 ff, “One time, a woman caught committing adultery was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees and Scribes. They wanted her stoned because she had sinned and the Law permitted them to do so. They felt justified in bringing her before Jesus for condemnation because, in their eyes, she deserved to die. The response Jesus gave surprised them because He responded with a challenge.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The Pharisees and Scribes walked away from the scene because their hearts were convicted by the words of Jesus. None stoned the woman and this shows us that they must have realized that they too sinned in their everyday lives.
These men were the ones who taught the Israelites the Law and this did not mean that they never sinned. Today, pastors teach us the word of God but this does not mean that they never sin. We were born with a sinful nature, and it is only in Christ that we receive forgiveness when we sin. These Leaders displayed
- Could have been Murder
Religious Leaders are people just like all men, It is very possible to get so involved and commited to your faith, it is easy to loose common sense. These were the Leaders and Teachers for many of the Jewish people. These were the ones they came to understand the Law and were instructors of it.
They had lost the inner looking to compare themselves to their message. Jesus spoke of a Danger that Pastors, and church leaders can fall into.
Matthew 7:3 – 5, 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Office of the Pastor
A pastor is one who has received the pastoral gift from Jesus Christ. According to
Ephesians 4:11, “Jesus gifted some believers to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.”
That means that a pastor is one who is born again, and given the pastoral gift to shepherd God’s people. This gift does not exempt one from sinning because they are still human, and will fall when they give in to temptation. A pastor is charged with feeding Christians the word of God and showing them the right way to live. Living a righteous life means acknowledging when one sins and then repents.
Satan Desires to take out Leadership
Matthew 26: 31, “Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'”
Leaders, Shepherds, are Leaders of the Flock. They are the guides, they preotect the flock. They Feed and nourish the family of God. Satan is described in this way,
I Peter 5:8, ” Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
If the Protector of the Flock is removed then the predators will be able to destroy, eat, kill, and scatter the flock.
When Does a Pastor Struggle with Sin?
Strike the Shepherd
A pastor can struggle with sin because of many reasons and we will look at four of them in this section.
People Put Preachers on a Pedestal
Since Pastors are upfront, they preach the perfect Word of God. We as part of the flock can put them on pedestals. Lift them up and look on them as being perfect.This is difficult because they are earthen, clay pots. All of us being shaped daily into more of a useful piece for God’s work
This is Bad for the Pastor, and it is also bad for the flock
Pastors, Ministers, Preachers, Missionaries very easily can fall into discouragement and depression. I Have know of several ministers that have fell into discouragement and taken their own lives.
Even Judas was a disciple, somewhere he saw Jesus as savior, he gave up all and followed him, yet at some point greed overtook his passion to follow jesus. When realization of his own sin came on him it overpowered him, and he took his own life
1. Temptation to Sin
This world offers many temptations that lead pastors to sin even when they are trying their best to live righteous lives. When a pastor faces temptation and he is not able to overcome it, he will end up committing a sin and experiencing a lot of guilt and shame. A pastor is not immune to the temptation to sin because he is human in nature. When faced with temptation, the best thing a pastor can do is pray and avoid places or things that make him fall and sin.
Matthew 26:41 ” tells us to pray so that we will not fall into temptation”
and the reason is that the flesh is weak even though the spirit wants to resist. Prayer strengthens your inner being, and you will develop the courage to walk away from situations that are likely to lead you into sin.
Over my life I have known many ministers to fall into the sin of adultery, the reasons are varied but none the less, it is something every pastor should guard against.
- Minister spends more time with others than their mate
- Pastors are helping very vulnerable people – in consoling of the pain of another, it can easily turn into a sinful relationship
- People needing counseling are coming many times from broken relationships. Here is a man (Pastor) that will listen, show compassion, understand my pain. Easy for a Lonely person to say this is what I want and go after the pastor.
2. Not talking about Weaknesses and Challenges
Sometimes pastors end up falling into sin because they have not told their spouses or close friends about their struggles with sin. Areas of weakness can also cause a pastor to sin because their defenses are low and they are not strong enough to resist temptation.
Pastors spend alot of time, ministering to the flock. Extra Attention and priority needs to be their own families.
Pastors can do things like commit adultery, embezzle church funds, indulge in addictions, much to the detriment of their congregations. Being in Leadership gives way to a whole new set of Sins that one can fall into
Sins of Leadership
- Pride – King Saul
- Love of Money – Judas
- Sexual Immortality – David
- Power – Caiphus and Annus / High Priest
- Unrighteous Judgements – Peter
- Laziness – Eli
- Tickling Ears
- Paul – Imprisoning Christians before his conversion
- Peter – Denied Jesus
- Simon the Zealot – a political operative, possibly assassin
We can see from this laundry list that some of God’s Leaders, were men and plagued and fell into sin as they lead.
One thing that pastors can do is have confidantes who can keep them accountable and help them work through their weaknesses. These are people who can pray with them, and walk with them through their daily challenges. If pastors can talk more about their challenging situations with trustworthy friends, they can avoid many pitfalls that can destroy their lives.
3. Falls for Deceptive Doctrine
If a pastor falls for deceptive doctrine, they can end up in sin. I’m sure you have heard pastors preaching some false doctrine and asking their congregations to take action based on their words. Falling for false doctrine happens if a pastor is not reading the Bible to counter check any teachings he hears out there.
II Timothy 4:3 ff, 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
A pastor needs to always go by what the Bible says and not deviate from it. This will help him not fall for deception, which can lead him to take the wrong action and encourage others to do so. Some cults were started by pastors who fell for false teachings and led others astray.
When a pastor faces trauma because of a misfortune or loss, he can fall into sin. You have probably seen pastors who have walked away from the faith after a divorce, bankruptcy, etc. When these things happen, the pastors lose faith in God and walk away from their faith. The end result is getting into a sinful life that doesn’t honor God.
A pastor can guard against sinning when bad things happen in his life by holding on to his relationship with God in the good and bad times. We may not always know why some things happen in our lives, but we can trust that God will bring good out of the bad in our lives.
There are many other reasons that can make a pastor struggle with sin. The important thing is for a pastor to repent when he sins instead of trying to cover up the sin of leaving the Christian faith. A pastor should understand that God has not called him to be perfect but to always aim to live a righteous life according to God’s Word. With God’s help, a pastor can overcome the struggle with sin.
Slide along Side Your Preacher
Men and women that have chosen to preach and share the Gospel, are men and women just like us. They have chosen a high calling in following the Lord. This is not an easy path, it is full of stones and obstacles. Satan knows who they are and would greatly like to remove the Lords’ Generals.
Acts 19: 3 ff, 3 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, [a]“We [b]exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Slide alongside your pastor, and give them someone to lean on, to confide in. Make them a priority in your prayer life. That they may speak Boldly and be protected from the evil one.