If I hear one more person say this or blog this or repeat this, I might puke. The recent embarrassmet comes on the heels of the “fall” of Ted Haggard, who was recently accused of having sex with a male prostitute and using drugs. Now, he says he didn’t use the drugs, just bought them. And he didn’t have sex, he just got a massage. Doesn’t matter, as a Christian, especially in leadership, we are supposed to be reproach. Regardless of what he actually did, it sure doesn’t look good for poor Ted.
However, I don’t understand what the rest of us are so worried about. Why should anyone else feel shame or be embarrassed to be associated with Ted Haggard. He’s human, nothing more. We are just as subject to falling as anyone else. I think the biggest lie Satan tells (and I’m borrowing this from someone else I saw say it) is that “it can’t happen to me.” The truth is that it can happen to ANY of us. We are all able to fall to sin. They don’t say that it “easily ensnares” for nothing. Sin makes you stupid and as a result, you do stupid things.
But my identity in Christ is not found in Ted Haggard, in Billy Graham, or even in my pastor. It’s found in CHRIST. And if I read my Bible correctly, CHRIST would be loving on Ted right now. He’d be saying, “Ted, tell me what happened. Get it all out. Tell me you’re sorry and lets move on.” He’d leave the filleting up to the media and anti-Christian groups. And if I’m not mistaken, Christ would kick anyone out of the room who showed up with no other reason than to tell Ted that he was a bad, bad man. The truth is, Ted made a mistake. He screwed up – big time. And because of his position, it’s a very public mistake.
I recently heard someone say that the most harmful thing to the cause of Christ is Christians. Not speaking just about moral failure of pastors, but about the reaction of those around the one who falls. The very ones who should be living their lives in love and grace because that’s what has been extended to them, but instead turn venomously against the person who needs them most.
I recently heard someone say, “Where are the men of God?” The Bible is filled with men of God who fell. David was called a man after God’s own heart and yet he fell more than once. We’re human. We screw up. I think the real men of God are going to be the ones who speak up and say, “HEY! This is a brother in Christ you’re talking about! Back off!” They are going to be the ones who hold their heads high and announce to the world that while this person messed up, God is still able to love him and restore. I mean, isn’t that the message that the world needs to hear anyway? That’s it not about living a perfect life that makes God love us? That He loves us in spite of our imperfections and wants nothing more than to HELP us to make it right?
It’s ok to be hurt, it’s ok to be angry. It is NOT ok to be embarrassed. If who we are in Christ is wrapped up in anyone other than Christ, we are in a dangerous place. Satan is watching this situation very carefully and looking for a place where he can get a foothold so he can cause someone else to fall. More importantly, God is watching and that’s a reminder to me that I need to watch my own mouth and heart very carefully!