It is a rare thing for a church to handle sexual sin the right way. Some of you may have experienced the heavy hand of a church or pastor. Some may have seen a leader or pastor fall to sexual sin.
I know of some churches that have done it the right way. They are Hall of Fame churches in my opinion! Here are some things I have observed about churches that do it right:
1. They are upfront with the congregation – Churches that do it right do not try to cover up or hide the sin. They do not dismiss the minister or person quietly. They realize that truth is better than cover up, even if it’s messy.
2. They do not share the details – Church members do not generally need to hear names, dates, and specific sexual details. Those should be shared with the right people (like counselors, and church elders).
3. They remind the church that we are all sinners – Sexual sin is no worse before God than other sins. It has different levels of consequences, yes. But it is breaking God’s standards for godly living. We all break God’s rules. We all have junk and need to deal with our junk. Some of us are in bondage to different things.
4. They take sin seriously – Churches that do it right rebuke wickedness. They call the person to repentance. They do not gloss over it or try to pretend its not serious. Our sin steps on the holiness of God and defiles us and His name.
5. They extend love, grace and forgiveness – This has to be the other side. Deal with sin seriously with one hand. Extend grace with the other. Churches that are doing it right surround the person, get in the mud with him, and help rescue him back to health.
Extending forgiveness is not the same thing as restoration or restored trust. Good churches understand that. They can forgive tresspasses, but consequences will still happen.
6. They invite others to prayer – A sexual problem in a church affects the whole of the church. Good churches call for prayer, not just for the individual or couple, but for themselves. Many others may be in bondage too. Trust has been broken, hypocrisy exposed, and wounds have happened. The church body needs healing when a member is caught in bondage to sexual sin.
7. They provide resources – So many churches fail here. Good churches have resources, counselors, or programs to help, or they go out and help the sexual struggler find them.
8. They develop a plan for restoration and oversight – Another major failure of many churches. Good churches deal with sin, then continue to work with the person or couple.