This morning I watched a short segment featured on the Today show about Ted Haggard. He was the pastor of a very large church and president of National Association of Evangelicals, who admitted to homosexual relations and drug use about three years ago.
I had not kept up with this story after it broke. But after being reminded of it this morning, I was bothered by what his wife was saying. She said "So I realized that Christians are just people. They aren't any better than anyone else." Wow. That statement says it all, doesn't it. Are we suppose to be better, do we have some kind of high speed, more reliable connection with God? I don't fee like He is doing me any favors because I am a Christian. I feel safe, I know (from expereince) that following His advice is always better than the alternative. Do I still have pain and fear and worry? Yes. Those things don't disapear because of my Religous stance, it's an intimate relationship that is so hard to describe with words.
My other worry about this particular situation is the reaction of their church. They were kicked out. Really??? That is the best way to love as Christ loved? I agree that maybe he needed to removed from a postion of authority, but to kick them out! I don't think that is what we are called to do. They were saying "if you mess up and actually sin or have a real issue you need your church family to support you during, we will kick you out if we feel it is too dirty to help with".
I am reminded of DC Talk. The song "What if I Stumble" opens with these words:
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
While I realize that not all Christians behave that way, and I am not free from mistakes, it is so heartbreaking to hear of cases like this that catch big media attention and shed such negative light in our direction. So how can I overcome this hurdle in my own life? Well, I think by just focusing on God, knowing that I will fail, and trying the very best that I can to see others the way he sees them. It's hard. Some of those people have hurt me, judged me, treated me as if I am nonexistent, or said things about my children that were unkind. I am human with human feelings, the only difference is I have a relationship that some people don't. And that relationship is what changed me.