In commenting on the life of Sampson in Judges 14 D.A. Carson writes:
It appears, then, that Spirit-given power in one dimension of life does not by itself guarantee Spirit-impelled discipline and maturity in every dimension of life. It follows that the presence of spiritual gifts is never an excuse for personal sin.
D. A. Carson, For the Love of God : A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word. Volume 1 (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998), July 31.
I think it is all too easy for leaders and their followers to excuse a leader's sin, when they are successful or when things are going good. In some instances it is malicious. Leaders take advantage of others by using their authority to live in sin. This summer I heard about a senior pastor that was having an affair and another pastor on staff got word about it and began to blackmail the senior pastor and have an affair with the same woman. How sick!!! That poor woman. That poor church. Those deceitful men used their influence and hurt people. What makes it even worse was that there were leaders in the church that knew about it, but said nothing because "things were going so good." In time it all came out, but it almost killed that church. It certainly damaged the witness of the Christian community that desired to reach that city with grace.
I have also heard of leaders using their positions to gain power in their denomination or other leadership bodies so they could gain a high paying job. It's just sin.
There is never an excuse for sin. If leaders sin, rebuke them. If they repent, you've won them back. Remember, repentance is not simply admitting wrong and feeling remorse. It is turning away and never again committing that sin. If they will not repent, leaders should be removed from their post for their sake, the sake of those they lead, and the sake of the name of Christ.
It is amazing how simple Jesus has made it for us to lead and live well. If we will simply love Jesus, love God's people, and love lost people and serve them with the love we've been given in Christ we will be spiritually consistent and be authentic leaders. We would do well to be reminded of Paul's admonition to Timothy about his life of leadership.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 Command and teach these things. 12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.