Back in the late winter, I read a report about a man I had considered a giant of the faith. This man wrote books, had a worldwide ministry and was a household name among believers. Sadly, the report confirmed rumors which had been swirling about the man’s “secret” life. He was a sexual predator, all the while preaching the gospel and contending for the faith.  It was not one isolated incident, rather it became his hidden lifestyle, with many victims.  I was shocked and shaken to the core as I read more and more articles about this man.  Scandals are not new to Christianity, they have always plagued the Church.  But always, when they happen, they leave us feeling confused, empty and brokenhearted.  This particular one left me feeling sick to my stomach. How could this be?  Was this faith-giant even a true believer?  Is there anything positive we can take away from this? Any lessons to be learned?  Yes, a few …

1.  Restoration is always possible and should be sought. Not that this man could continue in that ministry, but he could be restored to his family through godly counsel and sincere repentance. There also may be civil penalties and the guilty party must submit to those.  Sin is hideous. Grace is amazing.  Sadly, this man died before repentance or restoration was established. His last years were spent in denial.

2.  Any person who was truly saved through this man’s ministry is still truly saved. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

3.  It’s good for us to be shaken up when we hear of Christian scandals. It means we share God’s righteous anger at the perpetrators and God’s great compassion for the victims.  It means we understand that the Lord God desires His saints to behave like saints and that He is brokenhearted when we don’t.

4.  Even though it’s a sad witness when these things happen, they WILL happen. That doesn’t mean the words of the Bible are not true. It doesn’t mean that all Christians are hypocrites. The Church will continue, marching forward, until that day when we are caught up to be with Jesus forevermore.

5.  We are told to “look to yourselves lest you too be tempted”.  I’m pretty sure this man didn’t start out in ministry looking to become a secret pervert.  It happened because too many people trusted him, there was too much money available to him and too many people adored him.   He lost his humility. He started believing the lies. He fell into sin.
We should never think, “Ha! That could never happen to me!”  Instead, we should rededicate ourselves to the Lord every single morning, always working on those areas where we know we are vulnerable.
6.  Why is it that the Church needs human heroes? Jesus is enough. In fact, He’s way more than anything we could possibly ask, think, need or long for. We call men and women “giants” of the faith, but who are the true “giants”?  Is it not the man who farms his field or drives a big-rig or sits behind a desk for 8 hours and is faithful to his wife and teaches his children about the Lord? Or the woman who cares for her children, does grocery shopping for her mom and grabs her coffee and her Bible for a few minutes alone with the God of her salvation?  We don’t have to be the “Skywalkers” of the believing galaxy. We just have to be faithful. That’s all Jesus is asking.
                                                                                    Joyce Yearsley