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I have to admit first of all, that I am late to the fray in regard to these recent 'scandals' that have come to light recently in Christendom. Actually that isn't even totally accurate because I have no intention of getting involved in the fray. But I am late for a very good reason. I didn't hear anything about either of these 'scandals' until late last week. I guess that's because I rarely watch Christian TV (although I do confess to stealing a glance at the "Gaither Gospel Hour" once in a while...please don't judge me). I'm sure Christian television is a wonderful thing, but I just think that it is probably not for me. So I heard about all of this through some colleagues at work...and then proceeded to do my research online.
I do have a few random thoughts to share for what they're worth.
It really ticks me off when individuals who call themselves Christians - and even worse for people like me...who call themselves Pentecostal Christians - make up grandiose ruses in order to profit from others who are spiritually hungry and seeking more of the reality of God in their lives. I mean what's up with that? Kick people in the face and tell them God told you to do it so they can be healed? Or make up a sickness to cover up a different sickness and then sell millions of copies of the song you wrote about wanting to be healed from your sickness? This kind of thing makes me angry.
Like in the late eighties when Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart and Marvin Gorman were up to their antics and I had to defend myself everyday at work because my colleagues would say "Hey, you're one of those 'pentecostals' too, aren't you?"
The carnal human side of me is good to go! Just give me a reason. I will wade in to that discussion and offer all kinds of pious and theological reasons why these people went off the rails and what a travesty it is that they have led so many astray. And just when I think my loser-bashing ability is really ramping up, I hear the still small voice of the Spirit say to me "Judge not, or you will be judged". Oh man! God you just have a way of ruining all my fun don't you?
"Judge not, or you will be judged." And the spiritual part of me remembers that life is a struggle, and that God knows all of my little secrets and all of your little secrets and that none of us really possess the piety or the spiritual prowess to point fingers with our hands over our mouths in mock shock and horror. There, but for the grace of God...you know how it goes.
"Judge not, or you will be judged."
It doesn't mean I'm in agreement with the things any of these people did. I have strong opinions about those things. And it doesn't mean that I'm trying to hide anything either. It means I've made a decision. I've decided to let let God defend his own reputation and let Jesus defend his church. He will do a much better job than me anyhow. Like he needed my permission! And it means that I'm 'working out my own salvation with fear and trembling' - like all of us should be doing.