MINISTERS WITH SEXUAL SIN...OR PREDATORY BEHAVIOR?
I want to be clear about something that I have discussed before in regards to ministers being caught in sexual sin.
I discussed this when everything came out last year in the Todd Bentley scenario. I look at things much differently when a leader or minister has an affair with someone, or there is CONSENSUAL sexual indiscretions, than I do if there is any form of sexual harrassment or predatory behavior from a leader. Both are still sin...but one is predatory and abusive, and we should see and deal with that much differently. Clearly there must be repentance and change in both scenarios.
Even the world looks differently on someone who portrays behavior that is considered sexual harrassment or sexual predatory behavior. Someone in business, education, or even government, is seen differently if they have an affair with a consenting adult (which is still seen as wrong), than if they sexually harrass or portray sexually predatory behavior towards someone.
When a person is a boss or leader and makes unwelcome advances towards someone under them, especially if they are much younger, this is seen as sexual harrassment. I have experienced this in my life several times, as well as many others I know.
Let's look at these definitions:
Sexual harrassment is "behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation."
"The term 'sexual predator' is often considered distinct from 'sex offender'. For example, many U.S. states make legal distinctions between these categories, defining a 'sexual offender' as a person who has committed a sexual offense. The term "sexual predator" is often used to refer to a person who habitually seeks out sexual situations that are deemed exploitative."
Clearly, we know this happens in the world, and yet even they know and recognize it as wrong. How much more should we in the body of Christ! We CANNOT continue to allow this to happen in the church! Our leaders must be held to a higher standard...regardless of how much they are gifted or anointed.
Someone mentioned in a comment that David sinned sexually, but he was still considered a man after God's own heart, and that God didn't forsake his redemptive plan for him.
Yes...I agree He didn't. David sinned, and he did do much wrong. BUT, when he was confronted by Nathan, he did not try to hide it, or excuse his behavior. He repented fully and then God restored. Let us also remember that David had an affair with one woman, and then married her. Him having the husband killed was a separate issue.
Again, I take it very differently when a minister has an affair, or has sexual sin, than I do when they portray sexual harrassment or predatory behavior. When a ministry leader sexually harasses young women or men who are young enough to be their daughter/son, who see them as a father figure and look up to them... this is exploitation. This is much different than even having a sexual affair with someone. One is consensual, and one is not. One is exploiting the fact that you are clearly a leader that is looked up to, and those under your leadership will feel as if they are pressured to do as you wish.
This is not "issues with women", or a problem with lust...this is predatory behavior because it is nonconsensual, and taking advantage of young women/men, who looked up to the leader in question like a spiritual father (or mother), so it is like abuse from a father and mentor to them. This takes years for these young women or men to get healed from, and even to see God differently. It can mess them up for life, if they don't allow the Lord to heal them.
We must stand up, even as those in the world have done, and say "No more"! We must stand up for the victims, and for what this has done to their lives. Without help, they will struggle for years, if not their entire lives, because of this kind of behavior. God says in His word that we are suppose to look after those who are the least, the ones who can't look out for themselves.
I don't care how anointed, gifted, or called someone is...when they display this type of behavior, we cannot let them by with a slap on the wrist, and let them continue in ministry. Our main goal must be to protect the victims, see that justice is done, and make sure this type of behavior does not happen again.
Does that mean they can never minister again? Perhaps. That should depend on those are holding the leader accountable for where they are in the healing and restoration process. Even if they do minister again, it should be years later, after they have shown sufficient change and repentance, and gone through the steps neccessary to make sure they are fully healed and delivered.
Too many times, ministers who have done these types of things, have been allowed to step back into the pulpit within a few weeks or months. Usually this is because they must get back to their ministry "job", and they cannot make it without the money that they are used to having. The "ministry" must continue. This cannot be the reason we allow ministers back into a leadership position. The ministry does does not have to continue, nor does the minister. Their behavior means they have forfeited the right to be a leader in any degree, at least for a substantial amount of time.
This cannot be allowed to continue in the body! It is against all that is moral, holy, and just, and I for one have had enough...and so has God! Enough of victimizing the younger ones who have been given to us to raise up in His love and admonition!
This will not stop, until we within the body say "No more!" We must demand that leaders be held accountable for their actions, and they do have to live with the consequences of such behavior. If we do not, we will be held accountable for standing by as many of "the least of these" are victimized and wounded. I for one...will stand up for those who cannot stand alone for themselves! #iStand #ForTheVictims #iStandForJustice 🙏⚖
Amanda Shiflett - Prophetic Reformer