By Kevin Ezell
Unfortunately many of us have experienced that punched-in-the-gut feeling when we first hear the news that a close friend, ministry partner or respected peer has fallen morally. There is the shock and disappointment. There is the betrayal you feel because it was someone you trusted. And then there is the grief because of the devastation the family and loved ones are experiencing.
Throughout my time in ministry I have witnessed this more often than I care to recall. Each time it is an awful thing to walk through with someone.
As a pastor I developed a “Code of Conduct” for our church staff and I expected everyone to live by it. When I came to the North American Mission Board we made a few adjustments and implemented it here as well. I realize that not everybody’s work situation is the same, but I believe if you follow these rules and live by the principles behind them, they will help you steer clear of the disaster sexual sin will bring.
Here are the items in the code that address sexual morality:
- I will not view pornography.
- I will not show affection that could be questioned.
- I will be careful in answering cards, letters and email notes from the opposite sex.
- When counseling a member of the opposite sex, I will be sure another person is present.
- Other than my spouse or another family member, I will not be at a residence alone with the opposite sex.
- If married, I will not have a meal alone with the opposite sex, other than my spouse or a family member.
- If married, I will not be in an automobile alone with the opposite sex, other than my spouse or a family member
- I will pray for the integrity of other missionaries and staff members.
I wish I could keep everyone from making such huge mistakes. That’s not completely possible but I think we have the responsibility to put principles and practices into place to help ourselves and others avoid calamity. If we practice them faithfully and make them the habits of our lives, they will become guardrails to keep our lives from plunging over the cliff into moral destruction and chaos.
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.