It is a fact that we, as humans, are always looking for a hero. We want to believe there is someone out there that stands for the truth and never falters or waivers. Someone that we can lift up and hold to a higher standard and trust that he or she will never fall. This is just our human nature to desire someone like that.
Often times we think of pastors and preachers like that. We expect them to always walk the straight and narrow and to cautiously guard against sin and never let it into their lives. Then when something happens and we find out that our "hero" wasn't as heroic as what we thought, we are extremely let down and hurt. We looked up to them and they let us down. We put our trust in them but they became untrustworthy. We held them to a higher standard but they fell. When this happens it causes us to be more cautious and it makes us build up walls around our hearts and less trusting of anyone.
I'm reminded of several examples in the Bible where mighty men of God faltered; Moses, Aaron, Saul, Peter, etc... But, of course the greatest example has to be King David, a man that God said was a man after his own heart. (...I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. ~Acts 12:22). I mean, David was a hero from just a young lad. Conquering the wild animals, slaying a mighty giant and saving the Army of God. God himself chose David to be the leader of His people. (I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: ~Psalm 89:20) But David was only human. David swayed under the great influence of sin and transgressed against God when he conceived lust in his heart and committed adultery with his neighbors wife and then had him killed. We can only imagine the number of people that felt betrayed when their great hero fell.
There is a passage of Scripture in Acts 10:34 where the Apostle Peter makes this statement: "...Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."
As I was meditating upon those words and the meaning behind them, it struck me that not only is God no respecter of persons, neither is sin. Sin effects every single person on the face of this earth and has ever since it entered into man in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Even sinned against God. Ever since then sin has been like an ugly, black cancer that has spread throughout the entire human race. It doesn't matter if you are the most insignificant person or one of the mighty ones like King David. Sin is no respecter of persons.
From a pastor's perspective, I can tell you that we are not immune to sin. In fact, Satan works overtime on the man of God, knowing that if he can possibly destroy his testimony and walk with the Lord that he can do the most damage. Sin not only damages the person that commits the sin, it damages each and every person that he or she is associated with; spouses, children, church members, friends, co-workers, etc...
So, what can we do when someone lets us down? When someone that you once greatly respected and admired and had your trust in has fallen? First of all, remember that everyone is human and subject to sin. Sin is no respecter of persons. It effects everyone from the least to the greatest. Don't run to Facebook or Twitter to post about them. Don't pick up the phone and start spreading gossip and doing more damage. Instead, turn to the Scriptures for the answers on what to do:
Pray for them: Remember that pastors, preachers, and leaders are constantly dealing with other people's problems and they often tend to neglect their own problems or put them off thinking that they will have time to deal with them later. Bathe them in prayer and pray that the Lord will give them strength to resist sin and temptation. Remember also what Scripture says: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." ~James 5:16
Restore them: This does not necessarily mean that they should be restored as pastor, depending on the circumstances and if they are disqualified from the pastorate, but it certainly does mean that we are to restore them back into the loving family of God and Christian fellowship. Remember what the Scriptures say: "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." ~Galatians 6:1.
Forgive them: This is often the hardest thing to do, however, the Bible is very clear on this: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ~Matthew 6:14-15
Love them: Regardless of their failures or the hurt they may have placed on others, we must love them. The Bible says: "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" ~1 John 4:20