On Tuesday the story broke in the news, locally and nationally. Christians scoffed and said things like, "Here's another attempt to tear down a public figure associated with Christianity, and such obvious lies!" Everybody also noted the timing: one week before an important election.
Not surprisingly, on Wednesday man-on-the-street interviews agreed with statements of support from well-known names in the evangelical arena: the accusations aren't true, can't be; I know the man who stands accused; such a story is an absurd waste of ink...
Then Thursday. Suddenly, with no further denial or comment, the accused man resigned from his national post and placed himself on administrative leave from his local pastorate. It seemed like he was buckling under the pressure too early, not vehemently denying. Why, he should stay the course, confident that his innocence would be proven!
People felt that these drastic steps made it look like he was admitting guilt. It seemed that a tactical error had been made in what would turn out to be a public relations chess game.
Quite a puzzling error, though.
Late Thursday night came the unthinkable: an admission that some of the accusations were true.
Echoes of the acknowledgement took place on Friday, and hearts sank.
On Saturday a church panel asked for his resignation, given their findings, and he agreed and complied.
A letter from the former pastor was read to the congregation the next morning, and clearly this was no game, no tactical error had been made. An excerpt from the letter:
...The fact is that I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life...
Truly a lousy week.
Discussion turned to questions of how this secret could have stayed hidden so long, and wondering about the future of the man, his marriage, his family, his ministry.
Fervent prayers for his wife and children, family and friends, colleagues and congregants reached the heavens, and probably still do.
As they should.
And what of the consequences? Has this unfortunate incident, one man's sin, hurt the Kingdom?
Is that what's been bothering me so much about all this--damage to the Kingdom?
People fail, even Christian leaders. I know this sad fact of life.
People are forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. I've seen it, plenty, and have experienced it myself! Hallelujah!
Something kept bugging me.
As I sat at the computer and read the sad statement again, it finally hit me.
It was this use of the present tense: "...I am a deceiver and a liar."
No, pastor, no. Not if you've repented. All of the sin, including the web of deception, is forgiven together, when you're washed in the Blood of the Lamb.