There are some days that I just wonder about the sanity of people living in the public eye and making a stand of any kind. I question the size of my brain as I have tried to move forward with a past littered with me… being human. I am cautioned by some, encouraged by others, but quickly tiring from the negativity that I perceive, and witness from people.
I watch politicians get dissected by every organization that can get a sound bite or an attack piece printed. I see amazing and talented Christian artists, athletes, and other leaders being mocked and slammed for their stand in the world. It seems to be a right bequeathed to the world to analyze and question anyone who takes a stand, often without taking a stand of their own. It just makes me think that what we don’t need on top of the their hate is the criticism from the christian community. Might as well be stepping in the ring for a gladiator-like fight to the death, no Romans required mind you, just a crowd of Christians!
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)
What prompted this post? Many things over the last few months, but yesterday I listened to an awesome Christian song on YouTube, and then saw a comment below that said, @%*#! Christians. Oh I get it, there are a bunch of reasons to hate a Christian; hypocrisy being right there at the top of the pile. Can any believer ever make the assertion they haven’t lived one way and professed another? Probably not, though there may be a few examples out there. I certainly cannot.
So either Jesus came to create a bunch of robotic clones, to give us all these examples in the Bible for entertainment purposes only, or because we would struggle with the same stuff? We would be defeated by the same stuff, we would need redemption from the same stuff, we would need to occasionally be cleansed from the same stuff that sticks to us as we move about the Earth these few years we are given.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1,2 (KJV)
I have been trying to recover from my own failure. I am trusting God’s word and putting into practice the steps of recovery so that I can be fully restored. The issue is that people don’t really believe someone can be restored to like new and be trustworthy, and have their character be once again above reproach. Sorry if you disagree but that is the reality of it. You think you are a grace extender but you’re not. It is especially difficult to return to a leadership position, support is divided, I have backers and also detractors within the church. Oh everyone talks a good game, but when it really comes down to it, you aren’t going to take a chance.
What does this reveal? A few things. First, a lack of belief that God changes people and that we learn from our mistakes, and that God can take our story and turn it into a powerful foundational tool for future ministry. Second, we don’t trust it because we know ourselves. Our struggles remain, like a thorn in the flesh. We can’t seem to pray them away, plead them away or perform them away, so how could anyone else? Third, it’s OK to sin when you are a unbeliever but not so much after you are redeemed and absolutely not after you are a leader.
The most profound thing I hope to communicate to you is this. don’t do what I did.
Make good choices, keep long-term goals in mind, don’t compartmentalize your life, realize small sins lead to big ones, know that grace isn’t promised in this life from men, only from God. Ask if the sin you are hurtling towards in worth losing everything, your happy marriage, your God-given call, your peace and joy, and most importantly your intimate relationship with God. Don’t be intimidated by the religious spirit, if you need some counseling, get it! If your marriage needs work, do it! There is a stigma from some who think counseling is for someone who has messed up, WE ALL HAVE, get some help and avoid the pitfalls ahead.
But I say: Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even if it is your best eye!—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. Better for part of you to be destroyed than for all of you to be cast into hell. And if your hand—even your right hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Better that than find yourself in hell. Matthew 5:28-30 (TLB)
I feel as if my life has been sacrificed so I can speak this way to you.
I haven’t had the joy you have, the peace you’ve enjoyed, the healthy relationships, the satisfaction of functioning in God’s calling. So here I now sit, 18 months post failure, no one to blame but myself, pleading with you to make better choices than I did.
You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book. Psalm 56:8 (TLB)
Please hear me, you may still have time.