It breaks my heart and angers my soul to hear about the multitude of clergy who have fallen. From sexual abuse to sexual immorality, from financial misdeeds to marital infidelity, I often feel like every week we see a new clergy person fall. My heart breaks for them as sinful human beings (just like me) who fell and lost so much because of it. My soul gets angry because every one of them is one more hurdle I have to jump in my relationships with anyone who doesn’t follow Christ and many who do. I am lumped in with these people as a deviant, a predator, and a fraud, and it is all that much more work to prove to people that I am not so that I might get a hearing for the gospel in their lives.
We talk often of “falling” but seldom of the opposite, “to stand”. Yet that is the primary call of Eph. 6 – to stand. I assume you read it and when you did, you couldn’t miss this calling. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…”
The famed armor of God, a metaphor for a righteous life, obedient living, life with Christ, is there not so we can go attack the strongholds of hell, or so we can consider ourselves better than others. The armor of God is ours so that we can do one thing: stand. When we are tempted, we stand. When we are attacked, we stand. When we watch our churches fight over non-essential issues, and our denominations demonize one another, and our culture lure us into allowing anything at all, we stand. That is what God calls us to, gifts us for, and expects of us. Just to stand. And in so doing, to “not fall” and so honor the name of Christ and the reputation of the Church.