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« The joy of the Lord is your strength! Here’s some comfort food for your soul | Main | Chucking the Deuces: Fred Hammond says there are some people ‘I have to say goodbye to’ »

What if your pastor gives into temptation like T.D. Jakes’ protégé Chris Hill? 5 ways not to be destroyed by it 

Dr. Chris Hill and his estranged wife Joy Hill (Photo Credit: TBN Africa/Vimeo Screen Capture/ EEW Magazine Illustration)Article By Lillian Boone // EEW Magazine Spiritual

Share Wrecking lives.

That’s an accurate description of the aftermath of Christian pastors’ indiscretions as it relates to members of their congregations, and all those who believe in, and support their ministries.

Many within the faith community that keep up with Christian news already know Chris Hill of The Potter's House Church of Denver left members crushed after stepping down from his post over infidelity. The former married senior pastor, who allegedly got caught up in an illicit affair with another married parishioner he called his “goddaughter,” has not only lost his church, but has split up his family.

The leader, personally mentored and endorsed by megachurch preacher Bishop T. D. Jakes, was officially outed by his now estranged wife, First Lady Joy Hill, in a shocking text message to members of the church.

In a recent statement, the ministry confirmed that the disgraced preacher had “tendered a letter of resignation effective immediately.” The notification, which was posted to the church’s Facebook page but later removed, continued, “Further, after several weeks of ministry, counseling and contemplation, Pastor Chris and his wife Joy Hill will be seeking a formal separation.”

Alleged mistress Shirnae McFarlane (Center) Pastor Chris Hill (Right) and Shirnae's husband --now separated-- Arthur McFarlane (Left) [Photo Credit: Obnoxious TV]

Hill’s story, though saddening and upsetting, is not unique. Countless shepherds, men and women, across America, and around the world, disappoint God and their following.

So, what do you do if your leader gives into temptation--because it could happen? How can you avoid being destroyed by it?

Here are 5 ways.

#1 Don’t confuse God and man. Sadly, when Christian pastors stumble, some members decry God and faith altogether as a result. If you do that, you clearly don’t get the most salient point of all: God and man are not the same. The Creator is perfect. His creation is not. The shortcomings of man are reflections of our humanity, but do not undermine His deity. God’s divine power is as strong today as it ever was to save us and empower us to live right. God’s word is true. He yet remains faithful, even if people are unfaithful to Him.

#2 Recognize that no leader is perfect. You’ll get your heart broken if you expect your pastor to get things right all the time. Some parishioners have a tendency to esteem their pastors more highly than everyone else. While shepherds over God’s sheep should live holy, just as we all should, they should not be put on an unrealistic pedestal as if they are better, or more equipped than others to please God. Call to mind the words of Jesus in Mark 10:18 where He said in response to a man that ran, knelt before Him, and called Him Good Teacher. He said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”

#3 Your hope and confidence should be in the Lord. If your pastor walked away from the Lord today, would it shatter your faith? If you answered yes to that, then your hope and confidence is in the wrong place. Jeremiah 17:7 NLT says, “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” God is the only one who will never let us down. No matter how wonderful the watchman (or woman) over your soul is, they are not on par with the Almighty. Shift your focus and place your affections where they should be, which, according to Colossians 3:2, must be placed "above where Christ sits on the righthand of God."

#4 Refresh your memory with biblical examples. As difficult as it may be to see an esteemed servant of God go down in flames, it is not a unique situation. Remember: The word of God shows us examples of the Lord's anointed missing the mark in several instances. Moses was kept out of the Promised Land because of his disobedience; King David was an adulterer and murderer; the Apostle Peter had trouble taming his tongue, had a fighting spirit, and he denied Jesus. The list goes on. There is nothing new under the sun. And though we should never trivialize or condone sin, we mustn't act as if it is unprecedented either.

#5 Be quick to forgive. If you are ever in the unfortunate position of seeing your pastor slip up, before you wag that finger, ask yourself, “Who made me God?” You are required to forgive. Only God is the judge. And no matter what you think or feel about the wrong that was done by your leader, according to 1 John 2:12, all of our “sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” The blood of Jesus covers if we are truly sorry and desirous of change. However, for willful sinners, who remain unrepentant, judgment awaits. Hebrews 10:26 NIV says, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left." Whether the perpetrating pastor is sorry or not, you concentrate on forgiveness of the wrongdoing and leave the rest to God.

While it always hurts when someone you hold to a high standard lets you down, you don’t have to be destroyed by it when you remember what Romans 3:23 NLT says: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.”

Again, keep the focus where it belongs: on the Lord.

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