No Grace For You
He learned that his name was on the hacked Ashley Madison list and in shame he took his own life.
If he had been a plumber or a painter…anything but a professional religionist, he might still be alive.
“He talked about depression. He talked about having his name on there, and he said he was just very, very sorry,” Christi said. “What we know about him is that he poured his life into other people, and he offered grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone else, but somehow he couldn’t extend that to himself.”
I would guess that he knew that even if his family extended grace and forgiveness to him…the church would not.
The church will tolerate all manner of abuses and even crimes from it’s clergy, but sexual sin will damn you on earth if not in heaven.
There are some to whom this red stain should apply…to the narcissist or serial adulterer who cares not a whit about the consequences his actions have on others.
Those men do not feel shame or the need for grace…for others, their lives depend on it.
We have not yet understood the age we live in.
Technology has made failure too easy, and for some, inevitable.
There was a day not long ago when you had to work at viewing porn.
There was no online, so it had to be acquired off line and you had to take purposeful actions to find it.
Now, in a world lived online, it pursues you and woos you everywhere and beckons you to one fatal click.
Real pastors…not celebrities or performers, but real pastors, are particularly vulnerable.
Many are world weary and on the edge of clinical depression…many have crossed that border and are simply depressed.
There are strains at home, strains in the church, strains financially, and too may days when they wish they had chosen another vocation.
We don’t write about them much, but they are the spine of the church and many of their backs are stooped.
Should they fall, they will not “be restored in a spirit of gentleness”.
They will be marked and scorned far and wide no matter the depth of their shame and repentance.
We will do so in the name of purity in the church even though some of the most impure leaders in it have been “faithful” to their wives and utterly unfaithful in other areas of biblical ethics and virtues.
I hate the sin of adultery and we know that God hates divorce.
We should care about the purity of the church.
We must in the same breath know that if there was no grace for John Gibson, there will be no grace for us…and we are as fallen as he was.
The truth is that there was grace to cover, but we hid it from him.
Hiding grace might be the greater sin…
There are many now who live in fear that their sins will be discovered…how do we prevent another funeral?