In a humble person, legitimate power can be a good thing. People need leaders to accomplish many tasks, including guiding the faithful in churches and Christian organizations. We know power can be abused. Thus, wise groups establish checks and balances to limit the potential for the abuse of power. Senior pastors have power, which must be checked by strong boards and leadership teams empowered to speak up when they disagree with a strong leader. Too often Christians view dissent as questioning God’s anointed or view consensus as evidence that God’s spirit is working in the group.
Forgiveness, like the sabbath, is made for people. Forgiveness allows the victim to be freed from the burden of the past. Forgiveness does not mean setting an abuser free to abuse others. Forgiveness is not excusing an offense.
Sexually abused people may react to touch differently than those who have not been abused.
As we consider the detructive effects on the people involved in any leadership failure, let's not forget to help those who have been hurt. Recovering from moral injury usually takes time and involves support. Pastoral counselors and Christian counselors and psychotherapists may be needed when support from family and friends is not enough. We should also remember that some will need practical support when they have lost employment.
Pop, J. L., Sutton, G.W., & Jones, E.G. (2009). Restoring pastors following a moral failure: The effects of self-interest and group influence, , 57, 275-284.
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