Sin has consequences. Some of the consequences are anticipated and expected, others are unanticipated and unexpected. The problem is, certain sins, when committed, have irreversible consequences that can change the course of a person's life forever.
Though this is true for anyone, regardless of their occupation, this is particularly true for a person in vocational ministry. The number of men and women who I know personally and whom I have seen from afar lose their families, ministries, and influence, within the Kingdom of God, because of a single bad decision is disheartening.
It's not that God doesn't extend grace. It's not that God doesn't forgive. It's not even that people don't forgive. It's just that certain sins committed by men and women in leadership positions in vocational ministry can cause a person to lose their ministerial privileges forever. The consequences of sin, especially for a ministry leader, are nothing to take lightly.
Being that I NEVER want to experience or endure such consequences, here is a list of all of the things that I can expect to experience if I allow certain sins to get the best of me. (Note: I do not write this list so that I will live in an unhealthy fear, but I do this so that the reality of the consequences of my sin can clearly be before me.)
- I will grieve my Heavenly Father who sent His Son to pay for the price for my freedom from the very sin I committed.
- I will break my wife's heart, cause her to question God's faithfulness, and lose her trust in me and my marriage to her.
- I will bring upon my parents a huge amount of unnecessary pain, sorrow, and heartache.
- I will letdown my younger siblings who look up to me and expect me to be an example of godliness and faithfulness.
- I will sadden my extended family members who have believed in me and God's calling on my life.
- I will disappoint the staff I lead and put their jobs and financial well-being at risk.
- I will inconvenience the pastoral team and place them in the extremely difficult position of having to lead the church in the aftermath of my sin.
- I will confuse, anger, and discourage many of the people in my congregation and cause a number of them to have a crisis of faith which cause many to give up on Christ and the local church.
- I will fail the church partners, denominations, and networks that invested in my success.
- I will give an excuse to the skeptics and unbelievers who stay away from the church, because of scandal within the church, to continue to keep themselves at an arm's distance.
- I will tarnish the reputation of the local church in the city of Oakland.
- I will invalidate the ministry of theMOVEMENT.
- I will disqualify myself from pastoring the church I've invested the last four years of my life loving and leading.
This is heavy. This is real. This is my worst nightmare. And...this is possible.
If the "right" sin is committed, the above consequences could, one day, become my reality.
But, the exercise of writing out a list like this provides me with a deep motivation to be vigilant about uprooting the current sin in my life and guarding myself against the sin that is "crouching at my door."
Writing out a list like this puts me on notice. Writing out a list like this keeps me "woke." Writing out a list like this causes me to take very seriously the consequences of indulging in the desires of my flesh.
My list is written. I am "scared straight."
Would writing a list like this be beneficial to you? What do you stand to lose if you do not get serious about uprooting the sin in your life?