Yesterday I blogged about lessons we can learn from the fall of Pastor Gary Lamb of Revolution church. Today I thought about a conversation I had several years ago with John Maxwell, at the time Sr. Pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego. We were discussing moral failure and he stated that the root of this is always a character issue. Now I am thinking about how childhood impacts our character and who we are.
Every child growing up has basic emotional needs. These needs are put in the heart of each person by God. We are not only physical beings but emotional and spiritual. It is my responsibility to meet the needs of my children from the time they are born until they are grown. These needs include feeling loved, worthwhile, a sense of belonging, relatively free from fear, and relatively free from false guilt. Families should be living in such a way that the emotional needs of children are being met daily. The greatest responsibility given to Todd and I (other than sharing the Gospel with them) is for them to leave home at 18 with a strong, healthy, Biblical based self image.
Unfortunately in many homes parents may not be aware of these emotional needs much less meeting them. Parents can come from dysfunctional homes, have their own personal baggage and stress in life. Sometimes a father or mother may be so caught up in their own resentment, anger or issues that they feel it impossible to nuture their own children the way they need. Because a couple never saw a godly marriage modeled growing up they have no clue what a healthy marriage looks like.
A person can grow up and not really be aware of the emotional deprivations which stem from childhood. But they are there just the same. For example, a person may have many dysfunctional feelings that he is unaware of and he may throw himself into his ministry with great force, never realizing he is trying to meet those emotional needs that were never met. Of course ministry, marriage, relationships, career success, sex or money will never meet those needs in your heart. Until these deep issues are dealt with you will not be able to have the self image built on Christ that is necessary for effective leadership. Not to mention the ongoing problems that will rise up in every area of your life.
When a person falls morally, their actions may shock and surprise folks. But a professionally trained person who has been observing this man or woman could have predicted that it would undoubtedly happen sooner or later. When our lives are marked by childhood emotional deprivation, we will go to almost any extent in an effort to meet those needs. If a Christian leader is insecure or has other personality problems, he becomes a sitting duck for almost any sinful thing that comes his way.
Yesterday in my post Top Ten Lessons We Can Learn From A Fallen Pastor I spoke of the importance of getting real and knowing yourself. I suggested that a pastor see a professional counselor on occasion for check ups and evaluation. This is especially important in your 20’s and 30’s. It is critical to get any issues dealt with so that you are not headed for a fall. I saw my first counselor in my early 20’s and it was very beneficial. Desiring to be as healthy as possible I still include books on emotional health in my personal growth plan. One that I highly recommend is The Emotionally Healthy Church by Pete Scazzero. Even if you are not in ministry I highly recommend it. This book is often on the life coaching reading list that I recommend.
Are you headed toward a fall? What are you doing to maintain emotional and spiritual health?