What to Do When A Minister You Look Up To Falls Into Sin

By Vladimir Savchuk | July 4, 2024 | 6 mins

What to Do When A Minister You Look Up To Falls Into Sin

A lot of Christians have faced a moment when a man or woman of God that they’ve looked up to, falls morally. This could be a father, coach, mentor, pastor, or leader. The awareness that they’ve fallen can deeply shake any believer’s faith. Here are a few ways that you can recover and remain strong when faced with instances like this.

Understand This to Remain Unmovable

1. Miracles Are a Sign That God Is Good, Not a Confirmation of a Minister’s Integrity

Often, when you find out that a minister you follow has had a moral failing, investigations and scandals surface, and your faith gets shaken or even destroyed. In these cases many might become distrustful, skeptical, and afraid, closing their heart to new leaders.

I experienced this at 16 or 17 when a gentleman God used in another country fell. I followed him, bought every book he had, listened to every sermon, and tried to pray and fast like he did. But then, I found out he was doing immoral things, and it shook me. You go from looking up to them to suddenly distrusting all leaders. This can settle into your heart, making you skeptical of every leader and afraid of opening your heart again.

This can be hard to understand because when we see people used by God for miracles, like prophesying, healing the sick, or driving out demons, we automatically believe that it is as a result of their devotion and holiness.

We tend to assume that they must be talking to God face-to-face every day, and they must be holy and righteous. However, that view is incomplete and inaccurate.

2. It’s the Devil’s Goal to Allow the Minister to Rise as High as Possible Because the Higher He Gets, the Bigger the Fall

I believe that the devil sometimes allows a minister to live in secret sin for a long time so they can rise to a greater level of influence and then cause them to fall, hurting more people. The more well-known the minister is, often the damage within the body of Christ is much greater.

The devil knows this and waits for the right moment to cause the most damage. When a leader with influence falls, it can have a massive impact, causing widespread distrust and pain among believers.

3. God Is the One Who Brings Hidden Things to Light

Another thing to remember is that God brings hidden things to light. Luke 8:17 says, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.”

We see in God’s word that He rewards what is done in secret, both good and bad. The Lord is patient, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. When leaders don’t repent, God eventually exposes their sin to prevent further damage.

4. When We Notice Unrepentant Sin in Our Leaders, We Can’t Bury Our Heads in the Sand and Pretend That It’s Okay

When you notice unrepentant sin in your leaders, don’t ignore it. Rather, address issues like sexual immorality, dishonesty, deception, denial of core doctrinal statements, bitterness, divisiveness, abuse of power, neglect of responsibilities, lack of self-control, and any lack of spiritual duties in a respectful way. When leaders act like lords by isolating followers and demanding absolute loyalty, it’s a cult.

When they control associations, living arrangements, food, clothing, sleeping habits, and finances, they’re not servant leaders but lords. If they manipulate followers via fear, they’re leading a demonic trap of manipulation, control, and witchcraft.

5. You Can Receive a Blessing from a Ministry Without It Being Contaminated Even If That Ministry Is Not What It Claimed to Be

Lastly, it’s important to understand that you can receive blessings from a ministry even if it’s later found to be corrupt.

If a leader falls, the blessings you received from their ministry was still from God. For example, if Judas gave a gift from Jesus’s ministry fund and later was found to be a betrayer, the gift was still valid. Similarly, if you were blessed by a ministry that later fell into scandal, those blessings were from God, not from the fallen leader and therefore, not contaminated.

How to Heal

  • Grieve, Don’t Gloat

When leaders fall, grieve for them instead of gloating. It’s should be a painful thing to see someone you admired fall. Allow yourself to mourn, but don’t rejoice over their downfall. We see in the Bible that Samuel grieved for Saul, and we should do the same for fallen leaders (1 Sam 16).

  • Heal with Time

Next, understand that healing takes time, but not just alone, with Jesus. Spend time in His presence and He will guide you to restoration. Don’t let betrayal turn into bitterness. Instead, release unforgiveness and move forward, trusting that God has a better future for you. It’s important to remember that just because one leader fell doesn’t mean all leaders will. God has still raised up good leaders and can use them to bring about healing to many.

  • Trust Slowly

Next, understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean instant trust. Trust must be earned over time. Respect can be given, but trust must be built, especially after it has been broken. It’s important to choose to forgive leaders who fall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean trusting them again.

  • Be Hopeful

Lastly, despite many ministers falling, it’s important to remember that many more are still standing firm. Redirect your focus to the leaders who demonstrate a godly character and consistency of good fruit rather than those who are merely famous.

Remember that God can restore what has been lost and bring healing and hope for a better future. Trust that God can raise up new, faithful leaders and restore your faith in His goodness.

Read: The Process of Forgiveness

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