In the Aftermath: When Clergy Falls, Part I

It leaves everyone reeling; a leader in the church has been convicted of abuse. It’s like being told you have a terminal illness or someone close to you died suddenly – it can’t be real, but it is. When you wake up in the morning and remember it’s like being slapped in the face. It is shocking and shakes you to the core.

Some people choose the false comfort of denial. Some people attempt to minimize the enormity of the situation by explaining it away – making excuses for why it happened. Some people attempt to reconcile all the broken pieces too quickly, trying to make the pain stop. These are all vain efforts to heal. In the long run, they only make matters worse.

But there are good things to come out of the ashes of a fallen leader. God has blessings in the pain.

One of those blessings is in seeing the face of God in ways we never have before. God is faithful. Always. And it is when we go through circumstances that seem impossible, moving through one day, sometimes one moment, after another, on our faces with God, that we learn the deepest secrets of Who He is. These are the times that mold and define us.

A secret I have learned in these hard days is the truth that some of the words we see in the Bible that describe God aren’t limited to certain circumstances. For instance, we know that God is our Redeemer. God worked through all of time to redeem man through the death and resurrection of Christ. He bought man back from the penalty of death and enabled us to have a personal relationship with God – something that was impossibly lost due to our choices to sin.

However, we have lost sight of the fact that God’s name tells WHO HE IS. God is our Redeemer. That is His name. It is Who He is. It is not Who He WAS only at the advent of Christ. It is Who He is all the time.

Because God is our Redeemer, He has a redemptive plan for all of man’s mistakes and failures. No, He won’t step in and undo what we have done. He won’t rescue us from the just and natural consequences of our actions. But in those consequences, in the brokenness, in the pain, and in the tomorrows He has a redemptive plan if we will just get on the same page with Him in His plan.

Our human perspective is to look at the ashes and mourn the losses of what should have been – with a finality that is short-sighted. Yes, some things will never be the same, some scars will exist for a lifetime, but God can use those scars to make something beautiful that would never have existed without them.

This is one of those amazing secrets of suffering and loss. We don’t want to have to go through these experiences, but God brings priceless treasure from them if we will let Him. We can’t foresee what that treasure will be, but we can rest in the certainty of His nature. He is our REDEEMER. He will not fail to redeem this circumstance.

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