Jesus’ warns in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for [those who cause others to stumble] to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (NIV) No doubt, raping a child can cause their faith to stumble. And yet, Jesus follows with a command to forgive those who repent, even if they have offended repeatedly.
The senior pastor of Jackson’s church had this to say on his blog, “as a community of faith our commitment is to the truth. We want the truth to come out about this; even if that is painful truth. It is only from a place of truth that healing can take place.” See the rest of his blog here.
The truth does need to come out. That truth should be in order for goodness. How can the church use the Truth to bring healing and goodness? What does that look like? For Jackson, his wife, their two children, and the young student who has come forward with allegations of such a heinous crime?
Does Jackson deserve God’s grace? Does he deserve ours? Or do we cleanse the church of those who bring harm and move forward without them?
You may think me mad, but Jackson needs God’s grace and as Christians we are commanded to love him. But grace and justice are two different things. One does not cancel out the other. Jackson (I will not call him pastor) has proven that leaders in the church can fall as easily as anyone else. None of us are perfect. And we have all fallen. All of us. Comparing our sins against one another only takes the focus off the underserved grace God offers each of us.
I do hope the truth comes out. And if this man is found guilty of his charges, I hope he faces the justice he deserves and that he is never again allowed to be alone with a child. But I too need God’s forgiveness to be whole. I can compare my sin as much as I want, but on Judgment Day when we all stand in holy court, it will not be those who have sinned the least that face freedom and glory, it’s those who have chosen to receive God’s forgiveness. Am I crazy? What do you think?
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