This post has been brought on by some recent events in the world of new church work – unpleasant events. Within the last week some spiritually tragic news has come out about a pretty well known church planter and some recent issues of immorality that have caused much grief to his family, his church, the other family involved and the list goes on and on.
Now the WHO, WHAT, WHY, and the HOW are not really of my concern at this point. The purpose of this post is not to rehash or discuss in an attempt to throw blame or to give grace or any of that – you see the names and faces may change but the story is as age old as mankind itself. This young man and the decisions that were made have affected no telling how many lives because of so much “internet chatter” it has stirred through so many social networking tools as blogging and twitter. My point is not to be “one more” jumping on the bandwagon to discuss these issues as much as it is for me to wrestle through some honest thoughts & emotions that all this has led me to consider.
Now some fellow ministers and even some personal friends of this man have written some GREAT STUFF in regards to it all, but I am not linking or “tagging” any of this because it is not my intention to discuss the case specific at hand, but to deal with some of the overarching things it has led me to.
Some of my first thoughts and reactions to all of this was once again (I say once again due to the regularity with which we see things like this happen in the Christian Leadership world) hurt, confusion, and sadness. And if I were pushed to be truly honest there was some anger. But before anyone decides that my anger was that of “righteous indignation” that only disguises my deeper desire to judge the people involved – as my father would say “just hold your horses” – yes SOME anger was that of “NOT THIS AGAIN – WHY DOES THIS TYPE OF STUFF KEEP HAPPENING – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING”. Then though the rest of the anger was that of – WHY IN THE WORLD DO I PERSONALLY STILL DO STUPID STUFF THAT EMBARRASSES AND HURTS my Heavenly Father! You see as one blogger put it “this guy simply got caught” – but what about US (because you see we can’t change what happened or go back for a mulligan – what we can do is take stock of our own lives & decisions and see where we may be falling short) – so what about US and more specifically ME!
So I find myself being angry at the ways (oh so many ways) that I fall short and disappoint God. But anger isn’t alone, there is also intense sadness, and I believe they really go hand in hand. A sadness because of the continual failing to live in obedience to many things that God has asked of me. But not only that He has ASKED, but also He has readily EQUIPPED & ENCOURAGED & EMPOWERED me to live in this obedience. Not of my own power and accomplishment (which is usually when I am struggling and falling the most while trying to live it out in my own power) – BUT the fact that He has created a system. A system in which we have been covered by the blood of Christ, and been given the gift of the power of the Holy Spirit – and yet so often – SADLY – I tend to not rely on that or turn to that power to overcome. Again I find myself shaking my head in shame & sadness.
Another honest battle wages inside of me as well – one of wondering. I wonder (but ever so silently as to not evoke thoughts of criticism from others that I am being too judgmental on one hand or far too liberal on the other), but I wonder – is part of this problem because we have erred too far on the side of GRACE?? What I mean is that we have come to a place in our obedience to Christ that we settle for a life of constant disappointment because “oh well we are human ya know – we are going to make mistakes and sin” – and then we just simply continue to rely on God’s love & GRACE to accept us back in???
The other side of the pendulum swing (and I truly believe that satan is the king of the pendulum swing – he desires us to speed hastily from one side of an issue to the other in so many cases) is where I believe many of us in the “Church” have lived for so many years. Leaders are to be held in such higher esteem and to a stricter account that once someone falls like this they are DONE – TOAST never to be heard from again. But is this right? But is this a good way to really get people back to a realization of the weight with which tragic situations fall on so many innocent bystanders and wreak havoc on many lives??
I am not completely sure of either of the answers to the questions on both sides of that pendulum swing – in my heart of hearts I know that I cannot FATHOM the deepness and generosity of God’s GRACE in this and ALL circumstances – yet at the same time I feel somewhat compelled to desire a stronger showing of a realization of the destruction and consequences when things like this occur. Oh what a fine balance this entails in dealing with matters of such sensitive nature. Truly again why I think it critical we remember that God is the ultimate judge & jury as well as healer & helper. So let us turn to Him for the methods in which we rectify these situations – let us allow Him to work and by NO MEANS get in His way. Let us pray for the families & friends involved for the damaged lives and the relationships to be repaired.
As I close I am reminded of a favorite passage of mine – Psalm 51 where David has been called out by the Prophet Nathan about his adulteress affair with Bathsheba that led to the murder of her husband and the death of their child. This is David’s sad sad song to his Heavenly Father. There are powerful words of anger & sadness, heartache & healing – and the line that really stands out to me is found in verse 10: first in the NIV
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
and then I would like you to see it from THE MESSAGE version:
God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
These words are a powerful teacher & reminder to me – That God is the God of creation – and just as He did in the very beginning of time when He created this entire world and we humans as a part of that. He can CREATE in me a brand NEW HEART – one that is PURE once again. I love that idea of a “Genesis” (beginning) week from the CHAOS of my life! Then David asks God to “renew a steadfast spirit” within him. Not only is God capable of giving us a fresh start, but also renewing our spirit to remain steadfast and firm to face the rest of life and the fallout and the consequences that come from the decisions of destruction we have made.
So let that be the prayer of my heart & mind and hopefully yours as well – “GOD CREATE IN ME A PURE HEART – AND RENEW A STEADFAST SPIRIT WITHIN ME TODAY” – Creation out of Chaos – YOU & ONLY YOU have done it before – and will continue to do so – will YOU do that now in my life and the lives of those affected by these recent events!