Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ted Haggard

Well, another very visible Christian leader has fallen. What’s disturbing and puzzling, for me at least, is the reaction from the Christian community. It’s puzzling because people seem shocked. But who of us, if we are honest with ourselves, can expect to not find sin in a brother or sister in Christ? Sure, it’s sad to find the kind of sin that is profoundly hypocritical; the kind that is preached against while at the same time being acted out by the preacher. And it’s sad because that is exactly what non Christians expect from us. Actually they seem more realistic about our fallibility than we are. But it’s especially sad because we ourselves seem to think that it shouldn’t have happened. Yet, if you and I are prone to sin every day of our lives, why not other people, even if they’re leaders?
It’s like we pretend that our future perfection is our present reality. It’s like we confuse how far God has brought us with how far we have yet to go. I know that if someone was to examine my own life, particularly my thoughts and motives they’d say, "Why would anyone waste their time with Christianity?" However, if they compared the today me with the me that existed before Jesus got a hold of me, they’d say, "I want Jesus in my life now!" It feels good to see positive improvement, but it should never detract me from how precarious my walk is today. "If you think you stand, be careful lest you fall."
Without frequent confession and accountability we wind up pretending to self and to others that we’re OK. We’re not OK! We’re desperate sinners. Without being honest with each other we’re not honest with God either; rationalizing, excusing and trying to hide our motives. How stupid is that?
For the love of Jesus and for the love of his kingdom we need to be especially honest before non believers about our present reality. We need to face the fact that sin corrupts every effort we make to follow Jesus. Should Christians be guilty of doing things like what this pastor has done? Never, never, never. Should it surprise us when it happens? No. Sadly, no.
Like flying a plane in a strong crosswind, even with the proper tack, regular course correction is necessary. Nevertheless, every trajectory we attempt, even the one’s directed by God and by his power will fall short of our target. For the sake of our witness, we need to quit pretending that we aren’t always prone to wander off target.

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