10 big bad things happen when a minister commits adultery, and 2 little-bitty good ones.

“You have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (II Samuel 12:10).

A minister falls into adultery and it becomes public knowledge. This becomes a sad, sad day for everyone who knows him.

(And yes, I am aware it takes two people to commit this sin.  However, this blog is directed toward pastors and other church leaders, so the minister is the focus of our comments here.)

“I think we all should consider this a wakeup call,” said a colleague of a friend who had fallen into sin and lost his ministry.  The other ministers nodded in agreement.

It can happen to any of us. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Will anyone tell you “otherwise”? Oh yes.  He is called by various names such as Satan, the devil, Lucifer, that old serpent, and the slanderer.  Remember, friend–he’s not called the “accuser of the brethren” for nothing (Revelation 12:10).

Jesus called him a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

“Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12).  Beware of feeling this sin or any other sin could not happen to you, friend.

“If Thou O Lord should mark iniquities, who would stand?” (Psalm 130:3)
You know that you are just as bad a sinner as the adulterer, don’t you?  If you do not, if you believe that your sins are of a nicer variety and deserve less severe treatment from God, you have more problems than we can deal with here.

If anyone should be above the law and able to come and go sexually as he pleases, it ought to be the king, right?

One king of Israel seems to have bought into that myth.

When King David sinned with Bathsheba, and then committed manslaughter to get her righteous husband out of the way, he was in major trouble with God.  Second Samuel chapter 12 tells the story.

David received many surprises when God called him to account for his behavior.  He was surprised to learn that…

–God took his sin personally. “You have despised me,” the Lord said (II Samuel 12:10).  Later David prayed, “Against Thee and Thee only is my sin” (Psalm 51:4). We can beg to differ with that–and we do–but to the one struggling under that great load of guilt over his wrongdoing, it felt that way. In the same way, the Apostle Paul called himself “the chief of sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). Was he the worst? Not even close. But he felt that he was, and that’s the correct way to assess one’s own guilt before God.

-God took his sin as a rejection of His word. “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?” (II Samuel 12:9)

–The enemy took his sin gleefully. “By this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (II Samuel 12:14).  We can hear the enemies cackling, “Oooh, he was so righteous! But look what he’s doing.  He’s worse than us!”

–The sin David committed injured him permanently. “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house….” (II Samuel 12:10).

–While David thought his misdeeds were done in private, God meted out the punishment publicly. “Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun” (II Samuel 12:12).

We keep getting surprised by our sin. We are surprised that we get by with it as long as we do, surprised when we get caught, surprised that people were as hurt as they were, and surprised that God took our sin as a personal insult.  We are surprised that the price we pay for our sin is not the slight thing we had envisioned for spiritual misdemeanors but massive and far-reaching, as though God considers our transgressions as felonies deserving the harshest treatment.

When a minister of the Gospel commits adultery, he does the most stupid thing of his life.  No bad thing he ever does will have as far-reaching consequences as this.  He will live with the effects of this foolishness the rest of his earthly days.

Everything about it is sad.

There must be a hundred bad things that happen when a minister falls into sexual sin. God alone knows what they are.  But my observation is that when a minister falls and his act becomes public knowledge, these ten things happen:

1) HIs ministry is gone. Until he has undergone a period of counseling with his wife and receives the endorsement of friends with influence, his influence will be slim to none.

2) HIs humiliation is severe. The shame is a heavy burden to bear.

3) Those who believed in him and supported him feel betrayed. He could have told them from the first how mortal he is and how prone to temptation he is–like the rest of us–but still, they have been hurt. We can hear them saying, “We thought he was above that.”  No amount of explanation can salve the pain.

4) People whom he was trying to reach for Christ now have a convenient excuse to fall away.  ” I thought he was so Christlike,” they will say, as they lay aside the Bible and no longer consider coming to Christ.  Whether they actually did think that or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that the devil has taken the weapon he’s just been handed by a foolish servant of the Lord and is now battering the church with it.

5) His family is wounded, perhaps irreparably. Counseling can help and must be done.  The family can be restored, and in many cases will be “stronger in the broken places,” as the saying goes. But such seems to be rare, sad to say.

6) Atheists and others hostile to the Christian faith have a field day. Like the Philistines with David, these people delight in pointing out the hypocrisies of God’s preachers, particularly those who have been outspoken against sexual sin.

7) His future ministry–once it’s re-established–is more limited.  We are not saying God is through with him, only that how the Lord chooses to use Him will probably be different from the original plan and in a lesser way. However–and we emphasize this–God is sovereign and can do whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). If God chooses to reach the entire world through this one, He has the right.

But generally speaking, the future ministry of a “fallen and then restored” disciple is a miniature version of what it couuld have been.

8) Other ministers are tainted by being in the same profession as he. The next time some pollster asks people to name the profession they trust most, they will remember this and drop all ministers lower down their list.

9) The pastor’s victim has been wounded and her family has paid a price. Whether they know it or not. Compounding that tragedy, in many cases some will accuse her of being the aggressor.  No good comes from any of this.

10) The guilt from this will hound him the rest of his life.  When he’s 60 years old and the sin lies in the distant past, he will be saying, “Lord, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.” The Lord, of course, forgave that the first time he repented and asked. This sin was nailed to Jesus’ cross. God’s forgiveness is so total He says He actually forgets our sin (Hebrews 10:17).

But the memory of his deeds and the sorrow for the pain he has caused will never leave.

There is however, a little good news.  At least two good things can come from this tragic situation…

1) The pastor is going to find out who his friends are.  This is of course the worst of all possible ways to find that out, but you do learn it. 

2) The church is going to find out what it really believes.  And so, incidentally, is the minister who has fallen.

Every church talks a good game of grace. But only when one near and dear to the members falls into gross sin and rebellion does this  test reveal whether they believe in showing mercy and love to sinners.  As with “finding out who his friends are,” this is the most brutal of all ways to make this discovery.

Pray for your ministers. Oh, one more thing: If your minister takes extraordinary steps to guard himself from temptation, do not take it personally. 

A woman wrote recently saying that after her second counseling visit with her pastor, he informed her that he would like his wife to sit in on future sessions. She was offended, she said. “Why doesn’t he trust me?”  She indicated she will probably not go back.

It would have been simple for me to have told her, “It’s himself he’s not trusting.” But that would not necessarily be true.  He is simply being wise.  This is for the protection of everyone.  I suggested to the woman that she give it a try, to return to the pastor for at least two more visits, and see how it goes. She can always stop the sessions and find another counselor. But I would not be surprised if she finds herself connecting with the pastor’s wife, and forming a friendship with the blessings of Heaven.

Pray for our pastors. And support them whenever they take steps to protect their relationships, their ministries, the people around them, their families, and the name of Jesus.

 

 

27 thoughts on “10 big bad things happen when a minister commits adultery, and 2 little-bitty good ones.

    • I know we should not judge but these are men and women who think for God. They say God forgives they should show respect for our God. No they commit the sin and sit snugly pretending it is ok for me but not for you and I am speaking about Paula White and Benny Hinn.

  1. “You have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (II Samuel 12:10).
    Brother Joe, when I read this verse it made me think of how David a shepherd boy poured out his love for God through his faith and how God replied by protecting David from a Bear, Lion, Giant, Philistines, Saul and even elevated David to the King of Israel. David and God had formed a special relationship and David did indeed, through his actions, despise that relationship. Sadly we all are like David and through our actions break God’s heart. Thank you very much for your message because I see just how deep our relationship with God actually can be if we only obey.

  2. This hit home with me … because this IS me.

    I was a pastor. But I had an affair. My sin cost me my ministry, financial security, reputation, and almost my family. It was hell. But thanks be to God, my wife and I reconciled. We are a family again.

    I so regret my affair. It was wrong and selfish of me. Even though I am forgiven, it causes me pain and sadness.

    I am broke and struggling for work. I do not have many friends left at all. But I have my wife and kids. And my relationship with God is more real than before. And I have hope that one day, with God’s help, I will bounce back.

    I would post my name, but I am embarrassed. Please just pray for me. Please…

      • i have an experience also with my husband now. Nefore we are not married yet, but we have a woman minister who accused me that i have a bad spirit, ad she talks a lot of bad things to me and she had an affair with my Boyfriiend (now my husband) , She also told a bad words towards our head pastor, and now she caused a division to my former church, it is so painful that she is freely so proudly do whatever she wants to do and not confessing her sin, She didn’t know that my husband already confessed to me that she’s the one who bring in a motel, too bad they have sexual relationship, Please pray for us , especially we are so young couple to experience this kind of matter and to me also who just a baby Christian

    • You should be embarrassed but why you cannot hide your sin your sin lives in you and whoever you had an affair with. It doesn’t make it right. To me and alot of people you seem snug like wow I got away with my sin. How sad!!!! You call yourself a man of God . Read David and see what God thought of his sin.

    • How sad you hide behind your sin. Your works are like dirty rags it is written in the Bible. Too bad you cannot forgive yourself only God can what do you preach!!!!

  3. Good work, I think of Christianity as being a corperate faith that actions of both the lay and pastors leave a glorifying or degrading consequence to the gospel. I agree that it’s all about the heart trouble; lusting after sex with a woman as a natural instinct also turns ‘adultery’ We plead God’s grace and mercy for all sins have lesser or greater evil before God. Discuss other sins.

  4. Pingback: The Top 10 Leadership Posts I Read The Week Of November 18th | Brian Dodd on Leadership

  5. My wife is been having an affair with our Pastor and no one believes me but I pray that God will give me strength to overcome these evil, the church don’t believe me but they been having an affair for 8 years I don’t know what to do he smiles at me when I see him….

    • Brother, just keep on praying and trust God that He will do something and able, What they sow is what they will reap,,,They cannot mock God

  6. My husband is a pastor and he has a weakness for women he has been cheating on me for the past years and he has always denied it. Now we have recently found a church in Delmas now he is having an affair with the minister of finance in the church committee. I’m always crying and hurting but I feel as if God loves my husband more than me because even though he does these evil things..he is progressing in life. He is always preaching about people to stop fornicating and committing adultery… But he goes and commits adultery. When I tell him to confess he always says that I should ask God to expose him if he can

  7. Here am person comited adultery before marriage in sometime .even I know truth and serving God and preach gospel to students and serving in worship team and I have knowledge of bible truth and Lord speaks to me but now Am full of Guitly and started to smoking now because I don’t know what to do my life ia already worst no proper food and no good income am completely depressed but I was doing go sprital joinery but now I committed adultery ..I feel shame that I sin against father

    Is there forgiveness for me ?
    And will god punish me for my fleshly evil work I have comited ?
    Please help will God take away my blessings
    Please pray and write to what sprit of God say to you ..
    Help.me know

  8. My ex-husband was a UMC pastor. He had several affairs that I was unaware of until he came to me telling me he wanted a divorce (so he could marry his current girlfriend). I do not have words to express how heartbroken I was. He did not seek reconciliation and we were divorced about a year later. It has divided our family and two of my three grown children have taken their fathers side and blame me for his actions. He is still a pastor at a different church. I do not understand why God has chosen to bless him. I do not understand why two of my children dispise me. I do not understand why I am seemly paying the price for his sin, while he goes along his merry way. Why does God still use him? He has re-married and is very prosperous while I continue to struggle. I realize that this world is Satans world and we all sin. But what will God do about my situation?

    • Please know that God is not blind and no sin will be left unpunished when people do not repent of their sin. The word of God is very clear that we should not envy the seeming prosperity of sinners because it will not last. I would caution you to not be tempted to rebel against God by hardening your heart and turning bitter. God will never leave us nor forsake us but when we turn against Him, we leave His protection and lose the joy in our hearts. Ask for the Lord’s divine power of forgiveness and His strength to let go and simply live your life to the fullness of His grace. He is more than enough for you. Whom the Lord has set free is free indeed! Cast all your burdens on Him, especially your children and your emotional burdens and in His sweet time, all will fall into place. Stay faithful and patiently wait on the Lord while you do His will. God bless …

  9. I was a blessed man, a respected man, one God used many times to help show people the way to Christ. I was this and that and bla bla blah, Now I feel like I’m nothing!
    I allowed myself to get spiritually dry but carried on as if I was fine and had it all together. My alone time with God was just prepping for sermons and teaching. I knew I was sinking deeper and deeper but figured I had enough God left in me to be ok.
    I’m sad to say that I took my eyes off the cross of Christ and put them on another woman.
    I confessed to this lady that I had feels for her and that they had been developing for the last couple weeks.
    God was trying to warn me as I was allowing myself to drift but I had it covered.
    That one month, one private message what was just a few sentences, that I take full responsibility for, has changed my life. I never brought it back up after I told her but it was enough to end me. I never touched her or anything but that don’t matter when you a minister.
    This event led me to lie and try to make it go away so I could keep doing what I feel I was placed on earth to do.
    For a year and a half, I’ve put my loving wife through hell. I lost my ministry and a church I loved so dearly. There was So many people that me or my wife was able to say goodbye to. The pain I brought on her and the shame is not fair. She only deserves the best and I broke her. The horrible thing is that her friends were all at the church but she could not reach out for help because either they judged her by my actions or she was too ashamed to go to any of them. A small few reached out to her(Im so grateful for them), and fewer guys reached out to me.
    Again, I was one of their ministers and I’m supposed to be above that kind of behavior so I don’t blame them.
    I could go on and on but I’m sure no one wants to hear anymore from this joke.
    But if one of you see this and feel like praying for me and my family, Please Do!
    We are struggling to find our way and my heart is so broken for the pain I’ve caused my wife,the people at my former church and the lady that I betrayed.

    I cheated on my wife and my God with my mind and heart.
    God has forgive me and my wife is trying but I will never forgive myself.

    • Please may I ask that you forgive yourself. If God has forgiven you which I’m sure He has, take up your life and refuse to let the enemy take advantage of your wrong. The punishment of wrongdoing is not from God after forgiveness especially after the price of Christ but the work of the enemy. Until you forgive yourself you’re not truly forgiven. Please, we have all made several mistakes especially adultery but God in His infinite mercy will restore you. I pray you receive grace to see yourself the way the Lord sees you in the name of Jesus Christ. Please know that you can resist the punishment of sin especially if you have repented and God forgiven you. I tell you this, no amount of your suffering can pay for your sin, don’t try to accept suffering thinking in your mind that its because of your sin. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can pay for sin and He has paid for your sin in full. All you need to do is to stop the devil from taking advantage of you letting him know you have been forgiven. Then reclaim your walk with God. The only trouble with sin is when we refuse to repent! Confession is not repentance but once you repent, you’re restored. Although restoration may take a process but it is guaranteed. If you can get in touch please do and we can share more.

      • Thank you!
        It’s been almost a year since I posted this. That’s hard to believe.
        I am grateful for you taking the time to encourage me.
        Things at home are much better but we still working. Trying to keep the main thing the main thing, I work at a church but not in Ministry so at least I’m still around the church life.
        My problem now is I don’t really know who I am.
        I know my main focus is being a husband and father to my son. Which is a blessing to have and I’m so grateful. But outside of my home, I struggle. Not being able to preach or teach is a killer. I don’t even share my faith in Christ much at all now. I’m not ashamed of Him but am ashamed of me. I don’t know, it’s crazy!!
        But I know in time, Christ will show me the way.
        If anyone happens to see my post.
        Please guard yourself!! Don’t be too busy working for the King that you forget to live for Him.
        Take time for your personal relationship with Christ. Don’t take the path that I did because it is rough and will destroy who you are.
        If you feel yourself slipping then Stop and return to your first Love. Get help, confess to someone what is going on. I don’t want to see any other ministers lose their jobs because of something like I did.
        Prayers are needed for my family still.
        Praise God that He is not done with me yet.

        • A friend who went through what you did and lost his family, later got things right with the Lord and was ministering in a church in BR. I said to him, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the work you do for the Lord is far superior to what you did before.” He said,”I wasn’t working for the Lord before, but for myself.” God bless you, friend. He’s still got plans for you!!

          • Thank You Bro Joe!
            You are a stand up guy and I really appreciate you:
            We have met and you even sketched a picture of my wife and me. Good times!
            Keep up the good work!

  10. What do you do and how do you remain anonymous if you know a well liked minister has committed sexual sin with multiple women probably as far back as preaching school but especially currently as a minister? How do you approach the situation? Where do you start knowing that when it comes out the damage will be severe but more importantly, how do you help those he committed the sin with come forward knowing that he has gone from woman to woman to woman and has never been held accountable for his actions? How can he be preaching to live our lives one way but living his personal life another? I don’t want to be the bad guy but the way this minister has talked about sexual things and past encounters, he has WAY more experience/knowledge than he should if he is a celibate minister.

    Thank you.

  11. Listen. hear these words. The Bible says that adultery. a sin, but it also says you sin against your own body.

  12. I attend a pentecostal church in maryland. My pastor’s wife committed adultery once with a church member hen I joined the church newly. She did it again and the members knew about it. She pretends as if nothing bad happened and the husband should forget and accept her back with no repentance and remorse. Some people support her and say that the pastor should forgive forgeting what the wife did. They have two girls. The pastor is presently separated from her fearing that she might provoke him so he may fall guilty f the law. Some members believe the pastor and his vision for the ministry. The wife and her cabal are working hard on destroying and bringing down the ministry. Of course some members have already left the church. Now we who are on the pastor’s side are being talked about. What should we do? Continue with the pastor’s vision or leave the ministry? I have been in that ministry over 15 years.

    The wife committed adultery, not the pastor. Is it fair for people to be treating the pastor like that when the wife does not have any sign of regret or remorse. Is it against the christian doctrine for her suspension from the leadership role?

    Please pray for my pastor for God’s continued guidance and protection.

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