Today, I became sickeningly disheartened by what is happening within the church. Believers are running to social media by the droves to add their comments about someone within the ranks of Christian leadership, who has fallen into some moral failure or innuendo. It reminds me of junior high/ high school…”did you hear about Sally? No, what? Well…”and the whispers begin. Before long whatever was said about Sally in that first conversation has been enhanced, added too, and embellished until it is so tantalizing we can’t help but share. It is better than Blue Bell ice cream. In the meantime, Sally is devastated because about 95% of what is being shared is untrue and no matter how much she protests, by this time, people believe what they want to. Social media gossip is a sick type of voyeurism. We live vicariously through it. It seems we can’t help but click on every morsel of someone else’s failure. What was once their story, becomes a part of us…now, WE would never do such a thing, but we do want to experience every single detail of what that person did. We wear our Pharisaical robes and prance around in judgement while lives are forever changed.
While we might think this only happens in secular society, I am talking about church people. The enemy has been on a rampage with leaders and recently many among us have fallen. The true is, WE placed them on a pedestal that was too narrow and too high for them to ever remain and when they fall we point and say, “See, I told you!”
Some of the failures are true, but there are also those who are innocently accused who have borne the same fate. We read massive reposting’s of what others have said about a person or a situation and often repost without researching the facts.
One example of an innocent person being maligned is about a popular woman Bible teacher. She had been seen talking to another woman leader whom a particular group considered a heretic. Immediately, this Bible teacher was called a false prophet, heretic and was said to be leading women down a dark path. They never sought the reason why this conversation took place and worse yet, they had never read nor listened to any of this teacher's teachings at all. They formed their opinions and condemned her. Christians, men and women, all over social media joined the throngs of those who were condemning. Let’s throw her out! When the facts were discovered to be different, it was too late, and the damage was done. Gossip.
Sometimes the rumors are true but we don’t know all the facts. Even if it is true that still doesn’t give us license to condemn. Last year a popular football coach was fired because it was discovered he was engaging in some immoral practices. This coach had stood in pulpits stating his love for Christ. Because of his Christian stand, the enemy place a target on his head and he fell. The church responded that there should be no mercy for him. Fact: Before this became public, he had already confessed this to his wife, who had forgiven him. Their lives were in process of being healed from his failure but when it hit the presses, his family was put in the limelight and all of them, including the innocent were destroyed. Many in the church sat back, smug, with arms crossed, stating he got what he deserved.
I could list more even more recent incidents but that is not the point of this message. The point is the church is engaging in massive gossip. Believers this is not to be. I am NOT condoning the moral failures of leaders. There is a higher standard for leaders, but It is up to God to take care of them. Jesus did that with the woman caught in adultery when the robed spiritual leaders wanted her stoned to death. He simply said, “Those without sin, cast the first stone.” (John 8:2-11)
We seem to want to focus on others, don’t we? It is so much easier than focusing on ourselves.
Let me ask you: What if you were held accountable for everything that has come out of your mouth the last 20 years? What if every place you have ever gone or the things you did for the last 20 years were blasted on social media? What if your own moral failings, which God had already forgiven, were sent out on Facebook? How would it feel? Yes, I believe that our church leaders should be held accountable BUT what I see happening can only be defined as downright gossip. Shame on us. We have not prayed for our leaders instead we are exceedingly glad when they fall because it takes the focus off our own failings. Perhaps we never liked them, so we relish in his/her demise. I literally became sick to my stomach last night as I heard conversations that continue to tear down other brothers and sisters in the faith.
Folks, we are not responsible for what will happen to those who have fallen and therefore should not become judge and jury. But we ARE responsible for what WE do in the Body of Christ. Paul stated it like this:
8 But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. 11 In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Let's begin to focus on the log in our own eye.