Last Sunday was a difficult and painful Sunday for hundreds of churches across America. According to Ed Stetzer in his blog, The Exchange, “as many as 400 pastors, deacons, elders and church staff members may resign this Sunday after their names surfaced on the list of users revealed in the Ashley Madison hack.”
Relevant Magazine reported that Stetzer said the number is based on “conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada.” Along with being a contributing editor for CT, author and professor, Stetzer is the executive director of LifeWay Research, and a well-regarded expert on church leadership. He is also the executive editor of the Christian leadership publication Facts & Trends.
All that to say, Stetzer is well-informed, and his number is likely accurate. Former social conservative lobbyist and Christian reality TV star Josh Duggar and Christian vlogger Sam Rader recently released their own statements, acknowledging that they were both users of the site, which facilitates adultery.
Two men have already taken their lives from the shame of being exposed. Hundreds of families have been broken.
And we have an opportunity to respond with extravagant grace tomorrow. If you are “surprised” with the news of exposure from one of your church leaders, let me invite you towards kindness.
Be the kind of person you would like to be faced with the next time you fail.
Yes, this sin is ugly and shameful and destructive. Precisely why Jesus came, to bring beauty and honor and restoration.
So let’s embrace this opportunity to extend God’s arms of love. Let’s be Jesus to those who have fallen. Let us stand with those who are currently failing in their marriages. Lets be a manifestation of grace to those who are addicted to sexual immorality.
Let’s be Jesus to our friends, and your enemies.
“Church is not an organisation you join; it is a family where you belong, a home where you are loved and a hospital where you find healing.” –
-Pastor Nicky Gumbel in the superb, Jesus Lifestyle.
God is everywhere, and He sees all things, so we are all constantly being caught in our sin. He knows all our failures and hypocrisies. And each and every single time we miss the mark, He remains lovely and forgiving and true to Himself.
As crazy as it sounds, this hack feels like an act of mercy. Now that these names are in the light, each individual has an opportunity to surrender. They can focus on their marriages and family. Because:
[bctt tweet=”Jesus cares more about your heart than your ministry.”]
Their time is now to be healed and saved and delivered.
And we can be part of their new beginning.
Or… we can be the voice of the accuser (and keep people as prisoners of their mistakes).
Now we get to choose.
Although, I think Jesus already chose for us:
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Jesus in Luke 6:37
*Read more in: What To Do With Secret Sin
And Share This Invitation of Grace with Others.