Tullian Tchividjian, Mark Driscoll and Rob Bell. Just saying those names on Facebook, Twitter, or in a blog can reciprocate some nasty comments. Why do we feel the need to list the sins of the people who once led us and now are on the “down and outs”? Please don’t tell me that it is church discipline because nine times out of ten, their church has already dealt with it and discipline is already taking place. Don’t paint yourself as a shepherd of God’s people while secretly you are unleashing your anger and justifying your pride in a particular area.
Sure, I understand that they are high profile and the potential for misleading others is great but I’m relatively sure that most of us already see that they have fallen from grace and are in need of help. Why isn’t our gut reaction one of prayer and sorrow rather than venom, pointing fingers and quoting Bible verses? For some reason a large contingency of us feel the need to kick them while they are down instead of praying for God to pick them up. I know that there are many people who aren’t as vocal as the ones that will spew hatred online, and I know for a fact that many pray for them and simply don’t voice it. To the silent few that diligently seek God in prayer and are humble in their approach, I would say thank you. Thank you for modeling Christ and for quietly living out His will. You are an encouragement to me and give me hope for the Church.
Still, it intrigues me that we are so quick to eat our own. The moment someone comes out publicly that their life is a wreck, we sharpen our dinner knives, get out the seasoning and set the table. Because it’s dinner time!!! Apparently we have been salivating and just waiting for the day that you would show yourself vulnerable and today is the day!! YAY!!! Time to sink our teeth in and vent our frustrations toward you. Gross. Why on earth do we do this!!? Since I’ve witnessed this over and over again, I’ve formed some opinions on why I think this happens. There are probably a multitude of other reasons but here are the ones that I see regularly.
Embarrassment – Embarrassment that we followed them for so long and, whether we would admit this or not, they became our focal point. Not Jesus. Sure, it was their interpretation of who Jesus is and was that made us really excited but the bottom line is that we told all of our friends about them, recommended their books and ultimately took our eyes off of Jesus, even if it was temporary. Simply put, that’s idolatry. Please hear me out, I’m guilty of this too. It would take me a while to list the people that I’ve gotten excited about and spent a lot of time talking to friends and family about, when I’ve spent very little time talking about why I’m excited about Jesus. Sure, most of them are writing about Jesus but it is surprising how little time I’d spend talking about Him and more about this speaker or author.
Justification – I believe that we feel justified when we go after someone; that somehow I am better than them because of this. Maybe you never liked them to begin with and here is your chance to voice why you were never a fan. What I would say to that is, poor timing. If you aren’t secure enough in Christ to find your identity in Him instead of being right all the time, you need to resolve that with God. God has forgiven all of us of much and because of that our attitude should change. Our changed attitude should result in an authenticity about our own sin and failures that is refreshing to others. If our attitude about our own sin and failures isn’t changed, it will result in us picking a fight online or going after someone with a ferocity that is disgusting to an onlooking world. If we can’t love one another, how can we possibly love others that are different from us?
Jealousy – If we are honest with ourselves, there is a little bit of jealousy involved. We guise it in a cloak of “Pastor’s shouldn’t be so flashy” or “Leaders in Christianity shouldn’t be famous” but the bottom line is we are jealous. We don’t see what the big deal is because what they are saying isn’t all that revolutionary. They are just packaging the message differently. “I mean, I say the same things in my messages every Sunday, why don’t people respond to it like they respond to his/her messages?” Pastor’s, we would never say that out loud but be real with yourself for a moment, you think that.
If you go through all three of those reasons, they are listed as sin in the Bible. Go through Galatians 5 and look at the deeds of the flesh. Jealousy and idolatry is in there. If you look at the chief sin of the Devil it was pride. I just covered all three of those reasons I’ve listed to you. Let’s be the church. That means that when one of us falls, we pick the fallen up. We don’t step on top of them to keep pursuing our own goals. We hurt for them when they hurt and pray that God will restore them. Let’s be like Jesus and enter into the pain and hurt and love others relentlessly.