Monday, November 05, 2007

Anatomy of a Fall - Pt 1

(This a continuation from my thoughts on Character Crisis in the Pulpit. )

The eventful revelation that a pastor is involved in sexual immorality is a stunning and troublesome revelation. How could it happen? Did it just happen overnight, was it entrapment, or was it premeditated?

In my experience in dealing with pastors and church people most often it is not a premeditated one night stand or long term decision. In fact, most ‘victims’ are surprised that it happened at all. “Sure,” they say, “their marriages had some clich├ęs but not enough to cause one to pursue an extramarital affair.”

So what happened and how did it evolve to a full blown affair? In many cases it began with a seemingly innocent enough “flirting.” I have talked with men and women who have had an affair with a person at work and it played out this way. Friends, laughing, flirting, discussing their marriages, and ‘bam,’ they are lying in bed in a motel with both parties disbelieving that they went that far.

Or, for a pastor or professional counselor at some point in a counseling session with a woman their eyes meet and there just seems to be chemistry. Nothing is said but something is happening that is like electricity between the two. I had an experience like that once early on in my ministry. I had been counseling a staff member a couple of times. We were sitting at a distance apart and had been looking at one another in the course of the conversation. But all of a sudden out of no where our eyes met, there was something happening and I knew it and so did she. Not trusting my flesh and looking for wisdom, I was reminded of Joseph and how he fled. In an instance, I said that our time today was over and dismissed her. I was shaking after she left. It was after prayer about it that I determined never to counsel a female alone again.

Nine out of ten times it begins with an emotional attraction which leads to an emotional involvement which leads to a physical affair.

EMOTIONAL - attraction --> involvement --> physical affair

What we fail to realize is that it is easier to fall into an emotional affair than we want to admit or even guard ourselves from.

Next post we will look a how it happens and how to avoid it.

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