By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News
AN NJN EDITORIAL —
A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.
This pastor is 58 years old and he and his wife founded the church in 1985. He has probably been faithful to God, his ministry and his wife for 30 years and as time went on, he lost his focus. I’m sure he didn’t just wake up one morning and think, “Hmm, this would be a great day to cheat on my wife and throw my whole life down the toilet.” Nope, that’s not the way it works.
He probably got lenient, a little too careless here and there and eventually he was in over his head. We’ve all had moments of weakness, we’ve all faced trials that we were unprepared for; but how you respond to these weaknesses and trials is what will etch your name in history.
I don’t know this man’s heart and I’m sure not in the position to judge him, but I do know that his decision has affected far more people than just him and the woman he had the affair with.
There is no denying that it will have irreconcilable damage to his wife and children. Each member of his church is feeling the pressure to answer for his decision. I watched as news reporters asked congregational members their thoughts and feelings on the situation. It’s really not fair that they should be put in that situation. They did nothing wrong, and yet they are having to answer for their pastor’s sin.
It even trickles down to every self-proclaimed Christian. We are supposed to be the body of Christ, therefore, we need to be standing in the gap for each other and that includes praying for this man, his family and everyone involved in this ordeal.
It seems like Satan has a very simple plan to tear apart the church and it only takes a few components falling into place for this to start to happen. He loves to use lust, greed, pride and depression. He works skillfully in these areas and if he can get into the leadership of the church, then he thinks he has set his hooks in every member of the congregation.
Well, I’m here to let him know that just because he brought down one man, doesn’t mean that he has defeated that church. It was a black eye, for sure, but the other leaders of the church are banning together to take over the services and each member I heard speak was uplifting and still moving forward.
As Christians, we are going to stumble, we may even fall, but that doesn’t have to be the case. We have to keep our focus on Christ, and then all of the darts of the devil will seem like a small thing, even undesirable at times.
We need to go back to the basics. If this pastor had loved God first, loved his wife and kids second and loved his church third, then he would not have made the decision that led to this sin. Let this be a reminder to us of what is said throughout the Bible: Things done in darkness will eventually be brought back to light. Your crimes never just affect you. Your secret shames are going to come out and it will hurt those around you. So keep your life in line with what you want people to think of you.
Keep your name clean for yourself and for your family. It’s not our place to sit back and judge this man, but we do need to take what we can from the situation and learn the lessons being taught through it.
Love your God first and love your family second, and everything else will fall into place.