One of the sadder aspects of ministry is watching people who know the truth; who have been taught the truth; who have served as leaders in the church; choose to knowingly and willingly walk away from the truth. In previous generations, I believe they referred to it as the sin of the high hand. Sad is their decision and great is their fall.
Eli was a priest in Israel (1 Samuel 1:9). His sons, who apparently served in the temple, were worthless men who abused their position to rob the people (1 Samuel 2:12-17). Eli mentored Samuel, who was called by God to be a prophet (1 Samuel 3). Samuel, in turn, had two sons who abused their position as judges to pad their own wallets (1 Samuel 8:1-3). Two generations of people raised under the roof of truth and ministry, and yet who knowingly and willingly not only walked away, but who turned to evil.
This heartbreaking drama is played out far too frequently in real life. It is seen in the televangelist who falls into the very sins he condemns. It is seen in the couple who had a ministry to couples in crisis, and yet whose own marriage fractured to the point of one party planning to walk away, knowing full well that church discipline will follow. It is seen in a church that has the outward reputation for strong Bible teaching, yet inside the four walls the staff is known for silo building, turf protecting, and simmering conflict. It is seen in the seminary employee who embezzles funds.
It pains me to watch people who should know better act as if they have lost their minds. It ought not to be this way!