Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pastors, Christian Leaders and the Ashley Madison Thing

SHOCKED we are, yet shocked we should not be.
The history of our humanity, not to mention Christian Theology 101 (like, open and read the Bible), should tell us one thing — we are sinners, corrupt to the core, and only good are we because he who was crucified for us is wholly good.
If we judge pastors who have fallen in the Ashley Madison hack we fall, ourselves, into a contemptuous self-righteousness — yes, another sin for which we know is always there — a sin cloaked in pride. We should know what follows…
If we cannot see ourselves as having the propensity (including the motive) for enrolling with a site like Ashley Madison we’re fooling ourselves. I’m left thinking, “Phew, thank God I’d never heard of Ashley Madison,” though, having been on the betrayed side of an affair (not in my marriage), I can only say I have an aversion to marital infidelity. And I would much rather be hurt than do the hurting.
But I can’t fool myself. I have the capacity in my being to run astray. I do so often. God knows. He knows how wayward I am. Ashley Madison is our opportunity to stare at our own truth in the face of God — we each have a multiplicity of hidden sin that — but for the grace of God go we.
Even as pastors and leaders we must acknowledge the truth — we ought to be better than those we lead; pillars of ethics and morality. But if we don’t inculcate God into our heart, by continued daily spiritual observance of repentance, we have no right to be pastors and leaders.
Pride comes before the fall. And none of us can afford to feel glib about pastors and other leaders caught up in the Ashley Madison scandal.
Wisdom dictates one thing: that we ever more wed ourselves to the truth — for our own protection.
Wisdom dictates one more thing: that we see ourselves as capable of anyone else’s sin. Indeed, the Lord will not stop showing us our capacity for sin if we ask him. This may be our only protection.
The best way we can serve God in the midst of the Ashley Madison scandal is be there pastorally, understanding with compassion, another’s fall and the tremendous guilt felt and immense shame experienced by family and friends.
Ashley Madison ought to remind us how close we all are from a fall from grace.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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