He was in a position of authority, of power and influence.
He abused that authority to receive sexual gratification from an innocent woman.
He tried to cover up his sin, first swearing others to silence. Later, after being confronted face-to-face with his error, he chose repentance.
Many didn’t understand his season of brokenness, nor how quickly he chose to go ‘back to work’ after another season of prayer. God, however, knew his heart….and considered him a man after His own heart.
He was David. Shepherd boy, adulterer, murderer, King.
A radical religious extremist spent much of his adult life persecuting, torturing, killing followers of Jesus. A terrorist to lead all terrorists, religious radical to lead all radicals. Feared so much that even the strongest men of faith in his town dared not confront him. Then Jesus pierced his heart and soul with Holy Truth, righteous fire, divine inspiration.
He was Saul, turned Paul, who became one of history’s strongest teachers of doctrine, life, and faith. By his own admission, he continued to have a ‘thorn in the flesh’ that was a messenger of satan sent to torment him greatly, even while he taught on living a holy life. He knew full well how much he depended on God’s great grace to continue serving his Lord.
And there’s the impulsive, hot-headed one who was so full of himself, he had the audacity to rebuke Jesus, prompting Jesus to say his actions were offensive and the work of satan. (Matthew 16:21-23) He made vows to be faithful even unto death, yet cowered in fear less than 24 hours later, denying his faith and his Lord with the language of a lost and angry man.
Yet God, in His great mercy, restored Peter and commissioned him to a critical position in the ministry of the early Church. (John 21:15-19)
Scripture is filled with stories of broken, sinful people whom God chose to love, restore, and use greatly for His Kingdom. History records hundreds of flawed vessels who were given Holy Spirit power to teach, inspire, and spark revivals.
What if we took the most vehement, angry, sin-filled moment of your life, and published it on the internet? Had it covered by national news services? Allowed those whom you have hurt the most, write what you had done to them…..so everyone could see? How many of you, of us, would still be in our ministry positions? Or how many of us would be removed because we were now a liability to the organizations where we serve?
We must have high standards of accountability.
We must enforce boundaries, guidelines, safeguards of life & behavior.
We must speak up for those who have been hurt, violated, victimized so they can find healing.
We must also refuse to use phrases like “they should never do ministry again”. If they refuse to repent, refuse to receive discipline, refuse to change their ways, then yes….they disqualify themselves from being used by God for ministry.
As ministry leaders, we must pave the way for repentance, reconciliation, and restoration. It’s the Scriptural way.
It’s the Jesus way.
Because Jesus uses the broken to accomplish His Holy work.
Broken people like me.
And like you.
Christ followers, don’t forget the grace needed to rescue you.
It’s that same grace that is available to absolutely every single person on the face of the earth.
Our God has grace for the broken, pours out forgiveness on the fallen, restores the repentant to positions of power and influence in His Kingdom.
Let it be said of us as well.