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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(1). 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' (2).

Index to the topic
Morality and the Clergy
Some Safeguards
The Crux of the Matter
Marriage is honourable
Guidelines and Helps

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