Almost four years ago I wrote THIS post about my friend, Brad Johnson. The post included an open letter he had written to his church apologizing for the pain his affair had caused his church.
Yesterday, while sitting in my office one of my colleagues asked me a question about “search terms.” They were wondering how people most often find my blog. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at such stats, but I was absolutely shocked to see that almost four years later “Brad Johnson Affair” is still one of the biggest search terms used on Google to find my blog.
I think that’s so sad.
Why is it that we, as Christians, are so fascinated and pre-occupied with other Christians’ public failure?
Why do we LOVE to hate people who have stumbled?
Is it about revenge?
Does it make me feel better about myself?
Does focusing on immorality around me allow me to ignore the immorality in me?
The thing I tend to forget is Scripture is full of people like David and Moses who committed murder and embodied so many other character defects. And yet, God used them. Not only did he use them, they would become the heroes of our faith. The truth is many of the individuals God used throughout Scripture would have NO chance of ever being hired in any of our churches today.
Why don’t we have more leaders in our faith and in churches who have had moral and ethical failures?
Because we love to shoot our own. We love to hate people that have screwed up. We love the sensational scandal.
But let me say this. Giving up on people like Brad Johnson and the hundreds of Christian leaders who fall every year is not a statement on them. It’s a statement on our belief in God’s redeeming work.
Do you believe God can redeem Brad’s life and ministry? Let me ask a more probing question. Do you really WANT God to redeem Brad’s life?
Maybe the reason we don’t have more Brad’s and David’s and Moses’s leading in our churches today is because as a Christian community we’ve slammed the door on God’s redeeming work in the lives of people who have screwed up.
We’ve stopped looking into the eyes of the fallen and speaking redeeming, loving words. We’ve stopped telling them here is who you can become.
Old habits can change.
Old patterns can be rewired.
You can become the person God had in mind when he thought you into existence.
Who have you given up on? Who needs you to believe in them again?
*On a side note. I’m reading Brad’s new book The Four Laws of Forgiveness: How to Forgive Yourself and Others
and it’s blowing me away.