Ye Which Are Spiritual
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." (Gal. 6:1)
(Evangelist Jimmy Swaggert's Tearful Repentance)
I was just reading the news article and the commentary about the pastor in Alabama who confessed to sleeping with several female members of his flock while knowing he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS. Rev. Juan Demetrius McFarland in Montgomery, AL tested positive for the HIV virus in 2003. His condition advanced to AIDS in 2008.
I then read the article of the church leader who had the unmarried female members meet him at the beach and instructed them to get completely undressed so that he could intimately kiss each of their butts. He said this is how God would bring them husbands. Really? OK!
This and many other things like it are happening regularly among God's leaders at an alarming rate. All the while, the masses are leaving churches and losing their faith. One source estimates the settlements alone from the Catholic church sex abuse scandals are extraordinarily somewhere around 3 billion and climbing!
...and yet we are told that the sign of our spirituality is restoration.
We must have a clearer understanding of our responsibility to restore. When Galatians 6:1 says "ye which are spiritual restore," it does not mean to sympathetically and passively dust someone off and release them to go repeat their offense. It says we must be proactive.
Though many leaders are playing the "Don't judge me" card, and certainly we are not judging anyone in this article, the Scripture also tells leaders that we cannot "Give offense in any thing. Our lives cannot deliberately be the cause of others despising the faith or stumbling (II Cor. 6:3). The ministry cannot be mocked or ridiculed because of our carelessness in keeping our character in check. There must be a track of betterment that considers the Creator, the Created, and the Call.
Restoration is not coming immediately to the aid of another; it is laying out a track of standards and disciplines for compliance and true accountability. This will confirm if the commitment a leader once had they can long for again.
While we are so quick to come to the aid of the failing and the fallen, we cannot. We must also consider the damage done to the cause of Christ, the sake of the call, and the responsibility we have to say "Yes" to Him in ministry.
When a leader with character issues hides behind the bandage of repentance, the flawed character remains unchanged; it still must be repaired. The other side of repentance is remorse, restoration, and in some cases (lots of them), rehabilitation. The whole process should be sanctioned by accountability - the ability to have trusted "friends" to oversee the program of restoration to full duties in ministry if possible (Proverbs 27:6).
Many great men and women of God have jeopardized their own lives and ministries because of touching people who were unwilling to go through the process of restoration. Habakkuk 1:13 says God Himself would not touch sin. Why should we? It was Paul who said do not keep company with or even eat with someone who is willingly and knowingly committing illegal, unethical and immoral sin (I Cor. 5:11; II Thess. 3:14).
God's mercies ARE new every morning; His compassion does NOT fail, but we should stop trying to be "better than God." Do not be quick to embrace anything that is holding on to a pattern of detriment. The Word declares that "if we regard (attend to; not fully release) iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18)."
Let us pray that those who have once been Champions of the Faith will be fully restored to the place of God's former grace.
Bishop Allen Coleman
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