It was also a wake-up call for me to make sure I set stronger boundaries in my own life. A new resolution I've made was to never meet up one-on-one with a female anymore, no matter how much she may “need” counseling and even if it is in a public place. It may seem extreme, but as Rick Warren says, “I'd rather go overboard than be thrown overboard”. I've also renewed my need for my close friendship and to share life's challenges and struggles together openly and honestly.
Rick Warren recently published a podcast talking about how their staff deals with moral failure. It's a very helpful, practical and down-to-earth chat with fellow pastors. Listen to it here. There's a lot of valuable wisdom in this podcast.
I've also read something recently that was very helpful and convicting from Dallas Willard on the same topic. Here are some highlights:
"Those who experience moral failure are those who have failed to live a deeply satisfied life in Christ, almost without exception. I know my temptations come out of situations where I am dissatisfied, not content. I am worried about something or not feeling the sufficiency I know is there. If I have a strong temptation, it will be out of my dissatisfaction."
"The moral failures of ministers usually are over one of three things: sex, money, or power. That always comes out of dissatisfaction. Ministers are reaching for something, and they begin to feel, I deserve something better. I sacrifice so much and get so little. And so I'll do this. The surest guarantee against failure is to be so at peace and satisfied with God that when wrongdoing presents itself it isn't even interesting. That is how we stay out of temptation."
More than anything else, I write this as a war-cry because we are in a battle for both people's salvation and their sanctification. And those who serve on the front lines will always be attacked first and with force.
So I plead with you to pray for me and all the pastors and spiritual leaders in your life. Pray that they would be protected ... but also pray that their souls would find satisfaction and rest in God alone. As Willard also writes, "what we really need are preachers who can stand in simplicity and manifest and declare the richness of Christ in life." May that be the mark of God's servants in this generation and the next.
The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching: A Comprehensive Resource for Today's Communicators