Church leaders, men and women of God who are revered by many and not expected to be imperfect at all, continue to make headlines in numerous tabloids everywhere in the world. Mind you, it’s not for the right reasons for most. It is for the opposite.
Crawling in the walk of shame and facing the stern judgment of the public opinion this week is a Chiredzi-based pastor Mordicai Chikwanda of the Church of Christ in Tshovani.
Reports are that the cleric who impregnated his maid Oripa Mutaviri a few years ago and paid lobola has pleaded with a Masvingo-based paper, The Mirror, to leave him alone as he is also human and can fall into temptations.
Pastor Chikwanda confirmed the adulterous affair with his maid that resulted in a child in 2016 and told the tabloid he fell into temptation.
What stood out the most was the part where he advertently said it was not a crime he impregnated his maid.
“I can confirm it happened because at times as human beings we are overcome by temptations. Having a child outside marriage is not criminal and there is no one who should question that,” he said.
The matter surfaced in the public after the man of cloth did not provide for the upkeep of his child and the maid threatened to approach the church for help.
Chikwanda, however, has since accused a certain faction in the church of going to the press with information as part of a smear campaign to tarnish his image.
“I know this is part of the program to soil my image but l will retaliate and it seems they are now using the media against me,” said Chikwanda.
The issue has become so hot in the church that congregants are accusing the church leadership of sweeping the case under the carpet.
Elders at the church said the maid Oripa is now staying with her sister in Nyajena.
Now, Can We Talk About Human Pastors…
Well, pastors and teachers are the gifts of our ascended Lord to his church, so they are a great blessing to the churches and should be greatly loved and highly esteemed because of their work. They’re under-shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd.
But, it is an open secret that these shepherds walk not only to the church, lead prayers and go back to their homes to sleep. Like other humans, they also enjoy social attractions like soccer amid the high expectations from the congregation they lead.
Sometimes, we forget that these are men, too, and while that’s no excuse for their actions or sins, our job as the church is to pray for these men. How and whether they should be dealt with for their mistakes is up to their church or board, and this piece is not about whether or not they should be. We need to keep in mind that if God sent His only son to save us from our sins, He also came to save our pastors, too.
In Pastor Chikwanda’s case, his tendencies to be arrogant and have a temper up to the point of threatening retribution on his supposed ‘rivals’ are basic human emotions and reminders that he is a human pastor.
According to Expastors.com, a list of eight confessions by clerics showed that most pastors struggle with the same struggles that their congregants do.
They’re not “falling from grace” because they’re performing too many counseling sessions or preaching too much. They’re struggling with things such as not reading their Bible regularly, wanting to be affirmed, not loving their families enough, and putting themselves in compromising situations. Those are all things that we all struggle with.
What all this means is that our pastors will say things that make little sense sometimes. They will be tired and sad and lonely and maybe fail us sometimes. They’re not meant to be perfect and we’re not meant to put our hope in them.
The Bible makes it clear that the greatest leaders of God’s people were godly men but also men with all the frailties of other human beings. These are the people God uses.
Highlighting the prophet Elijah’s great faith, James wrote,
‘Elijah was a human being, even as we are’.
That being said, it is always sad and tragic when a pastor falls into serious sin. It is important for the Church to be able to pastor pastors who fall into serious sin and their wives and children.
It’s saddening when men whom God has called to be Ministers of the Gospel, and who have grievously failed, have disappeared from the life of our churches and lived in the spiritual shadows for the rest of their lives.
In my humble thinking, Christians need to realize that while seminary teaches our ‘papas and mamas’ how to study the Bible, it doesn’t teach them how to behave and properly conduct themselves in social settings.
Talk to any pastor and they’ll tell you they’ve met a lot of strange people in their biblical classes. They’re filled with weirdos who are super awkward and have no friends. But once they graduate seminary, they will apply for a position at a church and become a pastor. He’ll be able to preach and teach – but he’ll also be weird.
The bottom line, albeit, is, they should never use the moral fragility of humanity as an excuse for their actions or sins. Bigger than that, they should not force it down our throats, lest they appear arrogant and remorseless.
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