Shocking Truth about Failed Ministry Leaders & You
- Linda Evans Shepherd Right to the Heart of Women
- 2006 29 Dec
How shocked I was to hear that Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, admitted to a relationship with a male prostitute. At first, he denied it. Then he resigned from both the NAE and his church, saying, "I am a deceiver and a liar. The fact is I am guilty of sexua.l immorality. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life. Please forgive my accuser. Actually, thank God for him. He didn't violate you: I did."
Ted's not the first minister to fall or to make a shocking admission of guilt. Neither will he be the last. So how should we react?
- Don't let the enemy disillusion you with the sins of others. In recent days, it was reported that Ted publicly prayed that God would expose sin. God did. Exposure of Haggard's sin was supposed to happen because God loves him. God will expose sin to save the sinner.
- We can't judge those who fall because we don't know their hearts. Did they love God? Did they value His ways? Were they godly men and women who fell captive to the traps of the enemy? There's no way we can know. We know this: We serve a God who never fails. God can take any situation -- including Haggard's betrayal, your difficult ministry or job situations, your secret pain and family situations - and use them for His glory.
- Betrayal can lead to blessing. Ted Haggard's betrayal can lead to blessing. This is a wake-up call for both Ted and the Church. It's really only the kickoff to what I believe is the time of the dark night, the time in which the church awaits the Bridegroom.
How should we wait?
There's nothing like disillusionment to lead to burn out. In this dark period, if we focus on those who hurt us, we are not focusing on God. If we focus on betrayal, we are not trusting God. We must keep our "lamps trimmed" by focusing on Jesus.
Instead of turning away, we must be willing to push though pain. We must trust that God will turn everything, including future scandals and heartaches, into good for those who love him. As we do, we'll find God's presence as well as His strength. We'll find joy.
We must pray for strength, encouragement and integrity in our leaders, giving God our situations, and asking Him to turn them into miracles. In fact, join me in prayer that God will turn:
- Ted's situation into a miracle.
- Our ministry woes into miracles.
- Your personal trials into miracles.
Trim your lamps and look up. Jesus is on the way.