Thursday, May 3, 2018

When Men of God Fail

Good men and women fail. Even men and women of God, ministers of the gospel of Christ. We hear of it through the news, or from those who know or have heard about it. What happens when it’s someone you know? Has it ever happened to someone you personally know?

It hurts.

I recently attended a memorial service for someone I had worked under in ministry who had fallen. Because of my position at the time, I was involved in the process of confrontation and accountability. It was the second time I had been involved in such a process – a few years apart. It left me wounded and bleeding. These men had impacted my life. They had been a powerhouse for Christ. I considered it a privilege and blessing to work in ministry under their leadership.

They were good to me. As a boss.  As a friend.  As a mentor. I loved and admired them. I realize that ministers face the same struggles and temptations as anyone else. Perhaps more so because Satan has more to gain if men and women of God fall. Even non-believers take notice.

One man lost his family and ministry after he fell. The other lost his ministry.

Then it happened again. To a pastor we knew. Again, my husband and I were devastated. A trust had been broken this time. A wife was betrayed and abandoned, friends and family were wounded.

I could titillate you with details – and I have details – but I won’t. I respect the memory of the good these men did while in ministry.  Years later, when my thoughts go to any of these men, my heart floods with sadness.

Do I, or you, judge these men on their failure? Or on the totality of their ministry? Human nature is such that if you do ten wonderful, sacrificial things for someone and then do one horrid thing to them, it will likely be with that one horrid thing that dominates their memory of you. Sadly, in regards to these three men, their ministry legacy will reflect their failure more than their successes.

If you’re familiar with David in the Old Testament of the Bible, David had grievous sin and failure in his life. Adultery and murder to cover his crime were a few things in David’s life.  Yet, in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22, David is referred to as a man after God’s own heart.  How can that be?

The biblical record does not attempt to sugar-coat David’s blunders. It honestly shows his triumphs and his tragedies. Throughout, David had a soul that could be touched with truth. He was unafraid to admit his transgressions. He broke his own heart by his lapses of spirituality. 

David’s life, nor the lives of the three I mentioned, should be judged exclusively by their valleys of failure, but by the whole landscape of their ministry. They had/have families, friends, and followers who loved them. People were hurt, and some destroyed, by their failure. The greatest destruction, however, is what the repercussions of their actions did to them.

None of us know for sure what we are capable of doing if presented with certain circumstances. Remember that before you point a finger at others. 

And so, I write of these things in my and women of God who fall or fail. But, always with redemption and restoration in the end. That is the God we serve -- a God full of mercy, grace, compassion, and kindness.  Alas, I have not seen restoration in the men I personally have known. It is no fault of God's, but of their own.


  1. This is an EXCELLENT article and I'm pretty sure one of the men's actions left me so devastated that I became physically ill. Grace and peace to you dear friend.

    1. And to you, dear friend. We made it through, but it hurt so much.

  2. Great post with valuable insight. When a believer falls into sin, the devastation is wide-spread, but so are the arms of Jesus to the repentant heart and to those who were crushed by the fall. God is in the restoration business and there's not one of us that doesn't need His forgiveness and redemption.

    1. It’s true, we all fail in numerous small things and sometimes on the big stuff. God doesn’t separate big things from small, humans do. No one wants every action and thought displayed for the world to see. Yikes! 🤔