Over the past year, it has felt as if each month has brought a new set of ground shaking revelations of moral failures within highly respected men in the church - not to mention the firestorm of news media surrounding Jerry Sandusky and the Catholic priest scandals. Those were foreign, but as this past year has unfolded, these moral improprieties have become a reality in prominent figures in my own life. It has been shocking and incomprehensible.
The more I tried to understand each of the individual situations, the more their stories paralleled one another.
People see ministers as infallible, unfailing, overtly-righteous, sinless, fearless, supremely wise and closer to God than they will ever be. In return ministers feel they cannot be honest with people about their shortcomings. While ministers struggle, wrestle and fall deeper into a pit of sin, their partitioners see only the facade of a man. Their position becomes their best mask.
The fear of admitting sin is far too great to allow for the complete transparency that is asked of the church. It is nearly impossible to be fully transparent with the church when the church would perceivably extend judgement instead of grace. The balance of sharing personal struggles is met with the joy of sharing personal victories. There is nothing more fearful than allowing your internal struggles to become a public spectacle.
It'll Never Happen to Me
Nobody ever thinks their wildest temptations will ever become realities. Left unchecked, what happens inside the deep recesses of the heart will eventually come to light. The longer those in prominent positions stay hidden, things that were never supposed to happen no longer become simple fantasies. Where there is a foothold, Satan uses the cover of an isolated lifestyle to work in the mind and heart of the tempted.
As the temptation leads to a lifestyle of sin, isolation is the only sensible reaction. Instead of freedom in grace, there are chains in hypocrisy. It is an endless cycle of acting and parading around as a whitewashed tomb. The longer the sin pattern continues, the deeper the soul goes into solitude - to elude everyone of who they really are.
I'll never understand why these things happened. It has wretched my soul beyond anything I have yet experienced. How holy men can fall so far into the pits of sin is something that wages war against the theology of my mind and soul.
I do know that isolation and seclusiveness lead to the worst of outcomes. As great as the pain may be, we must be transparent, we must be honest and we must be proactive in sharing the innards of our souls.