I stopped suddenly in the middle of the bridge as I walked across early one morning. The scene that met my eyes was completely captivating. The sun glistened through the thick layer of mist above the lake, creating a stunning silhouette of two ducks floating on the distant waters. Could life get much more ideal than being surrounded not only by natural beauty, but also by like-minded Christians? It’s incredible to see how quickly Christians from many different backgrounds can easily have fellowship . . . and how easily we can hurt, offend, and tear each other down.
Relationships have been wrecked. Congregations have been crushed. Ministries have been marred or maimed. Families have been fractured. Individuals have ended up consumed with bitterness. All of this we find happening in “good” Christian circles, primarily because of “good” Christian leaders (or just individuals) doing hurtful or selfish things. This is a very real issue for all committed Christians today, and especially for young-earth creationists. Sooner or later, just about every Christian is going to encounter leadership that lets him or her down and brothers and sisters in Christ that do hurtful things.
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and my mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” ~ Psalm 55:12-14
Whether we are dealing with those who are compromising, corrupt, or merely careless, it’s important to remember that the offender should not be our focus – our focus needs to be on the Lord and His glory! No, we should not ignore or belittle the damage they have done in the past and be naïve about how they might hurt others in the future. Just don’t let it control our lives and steal our joy in the Lord.
I know from personal experience that it isn’t easy to move on when a Christian leader you look up to does something wrong. The question is, did you look up to them and want to learn from them because you were seeking God’s wisdom, or theirs (more on this topic here)?
Just as the natural beauty around us is marred by sin (“the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain . . .” Romans 8:22), all of us have a sinful nature. But, just as God promises to make a new heaven and earth, so He promises to give each of us new life, cleansed from sin (an encouraging hymn on this topic here).