A careful reading of Galatians 6 gives those of us who are working with fallen leaders insight into what those individuals need: "Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:1-2).
What do fallen leaders need from those of us who are still standing?
1. Gentleness–harshness will not speed their recovery.
2. Humility–similarly, lording their mistakes over them will accomplish nothing.
3. Consistent love–to some degree, the baseline reason we all sin is that we don't feel loved and accepted. The consistent love we offer to someone who has failed can be a game changer. This also means we should not drop out of the process until it is completed.
4. Truth telling–Sin happens in the dark. We aren't looking to make the person
happy or avoid discomfort. The team or individual working with the fallen leader must have permission to speak the truth. This would include asking direct questions such as "Have you gone into any bars this week?"
Restoration is hard work and seldom follows a script. However, it is so worth all the headaches, time, and energy when a fallen leader repents and is restored. Luke describes it well: "There is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!" (Luke 15:7).
*Names have been changed.
Dorothy Littell Greco spends her days writing, making photographs, and supporting others along their God journeys. She and her family live just outside of Boston, MA. You can find more of her words and images at www.dorothygreco.com or www.facebook.com/DorothyGrecoPhotography.