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The Oversight of Ourselves

Fairly recently I received this in an email from a friend:

I have just recently found out that another friend of mine in the ministry has had an affair. How frustrating and scary! I really never would have thought that it would be this guy. This is the second friend in the past two years.

If only this was an unusual thing to hear. If you have been in ministry or training very long you have probably seen and heard this same sort of occurrence yourself. In addition to being heart rending as you consider the one who has fallen and his family, church, etc., it is also personally sobering- especially when it is someone you respected and never expected to do something like this. It scares you because you think, “Could I do this?” Of course the answer to any question about whether you could, possibly do any sin is “Yes.” As Calvin said, “The seed of every sin lies dormant in the human heart.” Or to quote Spurgeon:

“There is tender enough in the saint who is nearest to heaven to kindle another hell if God should permit a spark to fall upon it. In the best of men, there is an infernal and well-nigh infinite depth of depravity. Some Christians never seem to find this out. I almost wish they might not do so, for it is a very painful discovery for anyone to make: but it has the beneficial effect of making us cease trusting in ourselves”

We should take note of these things and see that they scare us well, that we might be delivered from self-assuredness and that we might be painfully aware of our desperate need for grace and the accountability of godly men- in short that we might be reminded of our desperate need for the oversight of our souls.

Richard Baxter referred to this as the oversight of ourselves. Pastors often do not have anyone else overseeing them. This is one of the benefits of plurality in leadership. Brother, if you are out there without any real accountability (read: people who will ask you hard questions and follow up on you) get some quick! For the sake of your own soul, for the sake of your family and the church you serve, for the sake of the name of God, find some accountability.

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