25 February 2007

Why the hypocrisy?

I'm listening to this musician who leads worship music. A few years ago he admitted to having an affair. Rightly so, he stepped down from his ministry.
With the help of other church leaders, musicians, and producers, he is again doing worship music, and has been for sometime.
The brokeness and mercy of God show through his music.

Another well known church leader, this one a pastor, needed to step down due to 'an affair' but he is requested to never enter the ministry again.

Why the difference? If we tell this pastor to never again do ministry, should we also not tell this worship leader to never again do worship music?

Or, what is better, and I believe the HEART of God, should we not help them in the process of healing and restoration to see if God leads them back to their calling?

When David fell in the Old Testament, he still remained king.

If I was someone on the outside looking in at the church, would I also not be turned away by Christians at the possibility that if I screw up, I would be encouraged to give up my dreams?

I'm not saying we should brush it under the rug, but maybe by encouraging someone to stay away forever, we are indeed brushing it under the rug after all. We don't want the messiness of restoration do we?

If Jesus didn't want the messiness of restoration, we'd all be screwed.



Mark H said...

Hi David,

You're looking for thoughts? Well I agree with you wholeheartedly. The Father's heart riddled throughout the Old and New Testaments is restoration. If that were not His heart then there'd be no cross. When we write people off because of one screw-up that we deem to be bigger than any of our own screw-ups then we're in a very bad place indeed - we're sitting under judgement instead of under life.

I think you've hit the nail on the head. We like to sort things out "cleanly" and quickly. Whereas our loving Heavenly Dad patiently endures the mess and heartache of restoration. And He wants us to be like Him.


Rupert Ward said...

David - good post. It has always struck me that the church often seems to be harder on sin that God does. King David that you mentioned in the post did far worse than most of us, yet never lost his position (yes there were awful consequences for him personally).

I sometimes wonder if the church imposes "punishment" on people, so they learn what a bad thing they have done ... where God seems more interested in restoring the person ... and that is firstly a restoring from our brokeness, towards a greater image of Christ, rather than our job / ministry / position.

Adam Gonnerman said...

Of course this is a double standard. If someone is a Pastor, and another is in some other area of ministry and both sin, the same opportunity for restoration should be afforded. Of course, nothing will keep a fallen minister from getting back up again, since no one fellowship has a corner on the church market. On the other hand, it is very difficult to find healing without support.

David said...

mark h, yeah I love thoughts!
Good word. Maybe, during this time of Lent we should look at our own hearts a bit more.

rupert, my wife posted a good thought on Johnny Bakers blog about how when we are hurt, we don't want to just do the forgiveness thing, we WANT others to feel guilty, to let them know how bad they really are.

adam, good point. God will restore. And usually, when allowed, that person, will be restored with a much sweeter presence and ministry-because out of brokeness, the oil of healing seems to flow. In spite of us.

paul said...

Ummm David, not that i want to tell you where your wife is posting, but i'm pretty sure it was Jason Clark's site ;)

i think the thing about the certain well known pastor you might be hinting at was that his confession was pretty much make me the scape goat - don't blame my church, my organisation, my theology etc - it was all me me me and not that someone somewhere the system might be broken.

I guess he fell on his sword in true evangelical i'm a worm stylee which probably meant everyone else thought great that's just him we can all carry on with out much in the way of wondering if they themselves were in some way responsible...

that of course is a bigger Q - when we sin and we all do, do we work through the process/consequences in humility and openness or do we just cover it up and hope no one knows until we get caught.

As someone who knows all too well about being caught up in a porn addiction and with a confused sexuality the most healing and helpful thang was just being honest and learning to start confessing and opening myself up to God to change me directly and through friends rather than wallowing in the guilt out on my own...

David said...

Well said. And yeah, thanks for correcting me. What would I do without you?

We seem to have this performance mentality in human nature that has invaded the church, that says "I must have it all together", especially if we are a Christian. After all, shouldn't we show people a 'better life' by not screwing up?

The result is putting on masks and being the very thing that Jesus confronted the loudest-hypocrasy.

And I'm guilty of it.

paul said...

I'm all for the church being about a process of Jesus sorting our lives out and having a better life as a result - i mean i wouldn't want to be stuck in the same long jam i was 5 yrs ago, on the other hand i'm stil struggling with a lot of stuff, some related some totally different - i think that is the real power/dynamic around church that people love and accept you and start the judging thang at home/with themselves first rather than with their neighbour - well at least some of the time...

John Lynch said...

Great post, brother. Right on the money. We live by truth and love... never just truth. Our understanding of "justice" has forgotten that.

To add another thought, do institutional offices carry different implications to "restoration" than being restored to organically participating in the body of Christ with gifts such as leadership?

David said...

Wow John great question. Almost something to post on as a follow up.

The short answer is 'yes'.
Look at Ted Haggard, which had to enroll in a 'program' to 'get better'. It's like the church said, "We love you, now please leave and don't come back."

That part isn't really the leaderships or congregations fault, but more so, the fault of the system. Out of all the choices available they picked the easiest one.

I'd like to think that if this happened with us, the easiest choice would not be ex-communication but a willingness to gather around and accept and love them through it. I agree that a stepping down from leadership would be in order...for a season...but with the purpose of supporting, loving, accepting, and healing, so that resoration within the community can happen.