Almost daily one of my news feeds shares a story of something negative that some individual or group did who call themselves Christians. Lately, they have ranged from sexual abuse to adultery to a misuse of power. Whenever I hear these stories, these are the five words that go through my mind.
1. Sadness. It breaks my heart to every time I hear that a Christian has tarnished the name of Jesus by some sin. It doesn’t surprise me, evil is real and seeks to devour us. Humanity is sinful, and we chose to break God’s law repeatedly. Still – it makes me sad every single time.
2. Thankfulness. I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy in my life. I mean this in two ways. First, except for the grace of God, there go I. Honestly, I am one bad choice away from messing up my life and leadership. Two, I am thankful am forgiven. The sins I have committed are covered by the blood of Jesus.
3. Suspicion. When I hear stories of failure by Christians, I always check out the source. Frequently, they come from very non-Christian places from people who are trying to hurt the name of Jesus intentionally. The reason these stories spread like wildfire is that they damage the Church. It reminds me to be careful with what I share.
4. Reality. I have heard of three stories of different types of moral failure lately. All are terrible. Three ugly stories of sin doing damage. Honestly, that is three too many, but it is only three. When you consider there are over 300,000 Churches in the US alone. Those Churches represent millions of people, and that is just in this one country. The truth is that the vast majority of believers are living with grace and only a few bad apples make the news.
5. Goodness. For all the bad stories that make it to social media, there are thousands of positive stories that go unreported. One of the sinful situations I read about recently was perpetuated by two men in a foreign mission. It was disgusting. What the story did not tell you was all the good this organization did with its numerous volunteers besides those two evil men. Unfortunately, a group of Godly people feed, cloth, and educate thousands of people and we only hear of these two sinful men. There is far more good happening in the name of Jesus than evil.
I hate sin. I hate it in my life. I hate it in other people when it damages the cause of Christ. As long as men have free will, evil will exist. People will sin, and negative stories will circulate. I hope you will pray for Christian leaders so that they do not fall and also for the people who have sinned. I hope you will view these stories in the proper perspective. Otherwise, we will grow cold and cynical instead of reflecting the joy of the Lord into our dark world.