Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thoughts I wanted to share about the Ted Haggard deal

I originally posted this on another forum I belong to, but it made me realize one of the biggest enemies I pray for all the time-ourselves. Our society. Our views on the world and Christianity that keep us from fully knowing and understanding Christ. Our eyes are so full of garbage and judgement and all sorts of stuff that shouldn't be there that we are not focused on Him. We desperately need prayer for ourselves, because condemning a man for his sins is not what Christ taught us.


Wow... I've been really pondering this since it (Ted Haggard's deal) happened, because the day after the news hit, I read an article where a woman was interviewed about it as she left the church. What she said broke my heart-she said that because of this man's actions, she will never enter another church again.

A few years ago, our pastor resigned due to an "ongoing sin" in his life. We never learned the details, but I watched as our congregation dwindled away... disillusioned by a man they thought was supposed to be perfect. They didn't even know what he supposedly did. He sinned.

And the thing that keeps getting me is that we forget-these people are human. They're on this pedastal for being pastors or worship leaders or whatever. We expect perfect, and our vision of God relies on who they are and what they do.

Um... NO!

The only perfect human being, the only perfect example of God was this guy named Jesus. And funny thing, he actually WAS (or is IS the proper way to put that?) God.

Do I think that as Christians, our lives should be transformed? Absolutely. But as some of you constantly remind me when I'm beating myself up for messing up or not being "there" yet, transformation is a process. I'm starting to realize that the transformation is not yet complete until we walk through those pearly gates and into the arms of our Father. Which means we will always be dealing with some sin in our lives, or more correctly, God will be dealing with some sin in our lives.

I think what saddens me most is that people like Haggard or my former pastor or every other leader in ministry who struggles with hidden sin is that they feel like they have to hide it. Why, as brothers and sisters in Christ, do we not have accountability with each other? Why can't we help each other through our struggles? Partly, I think it's our own pride, saying, "what will they think of me if I tell..." But I also think that in many cases, we've created a culture where we expect perfection. It's a cycle that feeds on itself-we expect certain behavior, and they feel they can't come clean because they know they don't meet our expectations.

Sin is sin no matter what. As the article that sparked this discussion pointed out, sexual sin is pretty obvious. But what about other sin? I am constantly (and still struggling with, mind you) being convicted of Matthew 5:22 "22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." Why aren't we in arms over pastors and leaders who do that sort of thing? Why aren't we shocked and leaving churches? Why aren't we outraged at the moral crisis in America?

It's okay to have other sins that erode at our hearts and our souls, but it's not okay to have sexual sin? That's not okay with me. And yet, that seems to be the message that America is eating up over and over. Is it any wonder that we're bombarded with attacks from nonChristians? From their perspective, we've made it abundantly clear that we won't tolerate sexual sin, and we loudly condemn anyone who participates in those immoral acts. And as long as we don't do those things ourselves, anything else is permissible. We can be a really terrible mean person, so long as we don't cross the big, bad sex line. What is wrong with us?

I'm glad to see this discussion, because it's been really running in my mind a lot lately. I'm outraged, and I've been holding it in, which is probably not a good thing. I'm not outraged at Haggard, but at us. I'm outraged that we're outraged.

Okay, I'm stopping, I promise. I keep thinking of more stuff and getting madder, which is probably not a good thing. Or maybe it is. I don't know. I feel like I need to do something, and I don't know what, and maybe that's why I've kept it bottled up. ARGH. I hate this. I need to stop stewing and start doing, or something. Yeah, I know. I should probably give it to that God guy, eh? ;)


I guess, or rather I hope, that while some people get weirded out with my openness, that I do so with purpose. I'm not ranting for my health or for the fun of it, but because I hope that when people look at my life, they see someone genuinely pursuing a relationship with Christ, and isn't afraid to put my garbage out there. What you see is what you get-or at least that's my attempt. You know about my homicidal tendencies, you know about my temper, you know about the mean thoughts in my heart that I fervently pray to be rid of. I'm not perfect, and I hope that my friends and fellow travellers on this journey, when they see me claiming to be, would smack me upside the head and tell me what a big fat dummy I am. Because I am striving for that greater prize. I hope that whatever I say or do and whatnot, that it would be an encouragement to others. We aren't perfect, but we are being made perfect. And it is only through the blood of Christ that it can be done. Take courage, fellow travellers.


Blogger MiPa said...

Amen! Amen! Amen! You have written so many of the things that are on my heart. I believe we need more accountability in the church. I actually had a pastor say to me recently that I talked about accountability too much. What? I know the darkness of my heart and my need for someone to hold me accountable. I am sad for Mr. Haggard's church. It is hard to face that our churches are led by real people, but it is so important for our individual growth to remember not to put people too high on the pedestal (and it makes it hard for them to seek help on that pedestal). Thank you for a wonderful post.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

Wow! There is so much here that I've been wanting to say. I think I'll just post a link to this on my blog, 'Messages From The Asylum'.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Danica/Dream said...

MiPa, absolutely! Not so much in the finger-pointing, "oh we're all such evil sinners" way, but in a way to encourage each other on the path.

Todd, glad it impacted you.

10:10 PM  

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