Do you really love him?

Take the example of, say, a priest who is accused of abusing minors in his parish. (You can replace this scenario with a teacher, musician, politician or doctor, of any gender.)

He is a nice man, helpful to families in need, and supportive of parishioners. So it is difficult to imagine him doing something so awful. Many in the church will refuse to accept it is true. They can’t believe it of this man.

They are often the minority.

Then there is the majority. These are the ones who of course know that he most likely did it. That he is capable of doing it. But it doesn’t matter. “He is a good man,” they say. “God has used him mightily.”

“I don’t care what he does,” others would say. “Everyone has secrets. My life has changed in that parish. The words he speaks have given me comfort and clarity. He has changed my life and the lives of so many people.

“There was a time when I had almost given up hope, given up on God, almost destroyed by drugs. His words and his love saved me. And they have saved so many others that I know. What will happen to them if he is forced off the pulpit because of these ‘mistakes’?”

It’s an interesting argument to make. But it’s also an incredibly selfish one. Not just to those abused, but to the person you think you’re protecting.

You’ve just listed all the things that are good for you. But what about the person himself?

A ‘man of God’ who rapes, who cheats on his wife constantly, who takes advantage of those around him constantly is unwell. That man is a psychologically damaged person who needs all kinds of help – mental, emotional, and spiritual. Such a person is not capable of helping others without damaging some, and without damaging himself. The more power that person has, the less incentive he has to step down, find help, and be better.

If you really loved that man, a man locked in his own private hell who cannot escape to freedom himself, shouldn’t you want him to get help?

Shouldn’t you ask him, at the very least, to step down, go away for as long as it takes to find clarity, get healing and understanding for himself, bring light into the darkness of his heart, and then come back whole and restored?

Do you really love him if you’re comfortable with him damaging himself and others - just so he can keep exciting you from the pulpit every Sunday?