Christianity

When a Christian leader fails

Over the past few weeks, I have been deeply shocked and saddened to read the reports about the late apologist Ravi Zacharias. As a broadcasting ministry (both here in the UK and with many of our affiliates across the world), we aired teaching from Ravi Zacharias for some years. In the UK, we stopped broadcasting these teaching programmes in 2015 (due to a change in focus for our radio stations) but when Ravi Zacharias died in 2020, we paid tribute to his life (as we knew it) on UCB Radio and on Social Media.

Today, as more about his life and unconscionable actions are revealed, our hearts ache for the devastation and pain this has caused both to the victims and to the many people who will also feel hurt and confusion to read of these terrible events. We continue to pray that God will bring the kind of restoration and healing that only He can bring.

These events have reminded me personally of how much we need God’s grace and wisdom in our lives as leaders. The enemy’s strategy has always been focused on three main areas: to steal, kill and destroy. This is why Paul reminds us of the importance of putting on the full armour of God – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”.

However, although we do wage war against an unseen enemy, this in no way belittles sin. Sin is sin and whether we like it or not, all sin has consequences. I am reminded of the story of David and Bathsheba. David not only committed adultery with another man’s wife, he sought to cover up his sin by murdering Bathsheba’s husband. Although it is very clear in Psalm 51 that David was repentant, he still had to pay the consequences for his actions. 

So as believers (and leaders), how should we respond when we hear reports like these?

1. Firstly, I believe that those who are confused and hurting should be our priority. If we do not know them personally, we can pray for them (God knows their names) and we can ask God to bring transformation, healing and restoration.

2. We can use reports like these as a ‘check up’ for our own ministries. Are we as accountable as we should be? Do we have proper structures in place to prevent misuse of power and misdeeds? If not, if you are a leader, can I encourage you today to put these structures into place. A crucial (practical) part of putting on our armour, is to ensure that there are processes in place to hold ourselves accountable

3. If we have sinned, we have a duty to confess this and put the matter right. We may even have to pay the consequences through loss of a job or status or in some cases, even the loss of family (as King David did) but we must also know that when we are truly repentant, God’s grace has capacity to forgive us. Our lives may never be the same again but we can know that in the sight of God, we have been forgiven.

In conclusion, let me encourage you as leaders to be very aware of what God has entrusted us with. He has entrusted us with the power to influence for good and to do that well, we must understand the full weight of this responsibility and make ourselves accountable, first to God but also to some good and trusted people. 

And if you are on the other side of the coin and have been the victim of someone else’s terrible actions and have been hurt or damaged, I want to remind you that God is a healer not just of our physical needs but our emotional and spiritual wounds too. He has not changed and is still in the business today of restoring broken lives. With the right support from good and trusted friends, prayer and counselling, God can once again restore ‘fullness of life’ to you, so that one day you too will be able to be a positive influence in the lives of others.

If you have been hurt by this or other actions, can I encourage you to share this hurt with someone. You could reach out to UCB’s Prayerline and the team there will pray for you and can point you to organisations which can offer help. You can contact them through our website at www.ucb.co.uk/pray

One thought on “When a Christian leader fails

  1. Thanks for your words
    I always find your posts on linked refreshing and a great ‘break’ form the regular fare.

    Not to mention being objective posts hinged upon God rather than relativistic fluff 😉

    Like

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