Since the virility of a local pastor’s moral failure has already begun, for my part I would simply like to preempt whatever our initial reactions might be with a word in hopes that we would be kept from and inevitable temptations of gossip and self-righteousness and deception that have already begun to arise.
This crisis should be taken as an opportunity for pastors and Christian leaders to pray for and reach out to a large number of people whose trust has been broken in Jesus’ name–Lord, have mercy! But it is also an opportunity for us make haste to take our self-righteous high horses to the slaughter at the altar of humility–to be honest that it is but for the grace of God that we have not all succumbed in the same way in our behavior, since we have all succumbed in the same way in our heart. And according to Jesus we share the same guilt therefore (Mt. 5:27-30). But the Gospel with which we have been entrusted is nothing less than the announcement that God has shared that guilt with us–and forgiven it. And if Jesus can identify with my guilt at the cost of his blood, how dare I not identify with this man’s guilt at the cost of my honesty? I am guilty of lust, and I say so publicly today because I know that to deny my guilt is tantamount to denying God’s grace. If I evoke the name of Jesus, I do so because I have to, because I’m a sinner, because I am guilty and in need of grace. To deny that is to deny Him.
So let’s get over ourselves real quick and not be satisfied until all of that smugness about this failure has been mortified in our wicked hearts–until we can weep and not rejoice with those who are weeping today–lest we deceive ourselves and the world about the truth of sin and righteousness and judgment, enjoying a facade of innocence in a tomb of secrecy as regards our own complicity with the sin-list of Matthew 5, which will no doubt render us guilty of the unforgivable sin of Matthew 6. It’s one thing to sin in self-indulgence, quite another to lie about doing so while pointing with squeaky clean hands at another who’s sin has been exposed. But I need to warn you today that if you share the basin with Pilate, you can’t share the cross with Jesus.
Hypocrisy is the bread of the devil’s table. Let today be about another Bread and another Table. And for God’s sake, don’t pass the wine. For self-righteousness is wasted blood, and it’s not our blood to waste.
God, be merciful to me a sinner.