MORALITY AND THE CLERGY
By Keith W Munday
A disappointing phenomenon of recent years has been the
moral failure of many Clergymen. These highly respected men of the cloth, the
supposed guardians of the community's spirituality and moral values, have
fallen into sexual sins of various kinds.
A Church leader is expected to exercise a strong
self-discipline. The adage 'Satan finds work for idle hands' is all too true,
but he is more subtle than that; he doesn't leave the busy man alone either.
There are ministers who have made the Ministry a 'cushy
number' and have become lazy. The majority however who are dedicated to their
vocation find themselves often over-stretched with their duties. They have
irons in many fires, and apart from the exacting round of finding regular
material for their preaching each week, they also serve on various committees,
and are generally on call 24 hours a day. They must also maintain their own
spiritual life and seek to live as near a normal family life as possible.
All this brings tiredness, and a tired person is a
vulnerable person. There is a classical case of this in the Bible. Esau had been out hunting and
returned home exhausted and very hungry. In that low physical condition he
readily forfeited his birthright and blessing for a mess of his brother's
pottage. His bodily appetite in this case was hunger. So it is possible for any
of us, including servants of the Church, when seeking to escape the tensions of
work, to find our defence thresholds lowered.
Everything we read or see, even unwittingly, is stored in
the sub-conscious mind, and later in an idle or careless moment the material
can be thrown back on to the screen of the conscious mind and so present
temptation. St. Paul's advice in the New Testament is very timely to help
dismiss such lodgements in the mind. He wrote, 'Whatsoever things are true,
just, honest, pure and of good report think on these things'.
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