May 2, 2016
I’ve been writing a series on some of the controversial subjects that come up over and over with people who are opposed to Bethel or that misunderstand our position on certain issues. Check out my previous articles Here, Here and Here. Today we will talk about how Bethel deals with fallen leadership.
We have had a lot of leaders come to us for help, some of whom are very well known. We have dealt with most of these leaders secretly and have had great success watching God restore many of them. A few of the leaders that have reached out for help have had very public failures. Believing in these people in the midst of their crisis can look irresponsible or naive. This is especially true when we choose to confront them privately but empower them publicly.
Unfortunately, the Internet is filled with the stories of these few people who we love and are working with. The conclusion that people (who have no history with us) draw about us is interesting, troubling and hurtful at times. They often ignore our personal lives, our healthy marriages and our own effort to live with integrity, honesty and authenticity. Instead, every word, action or attitude that has ever been displayed by the people we are helping is attributed to our core convictions.
Have we done everything right in the restoration of people? NO! We have learned over the years that there are great principles that help to restore people, but there are no magic formulas that work every time. We do our best to love people and to discern whether or not their repentance is authentic. The problem is that some Judas’s look like Peters, and then again, some Peters resemble Judas’s. We do have a tendency to err on the side of Peters until they sell us out for thirty pieces of silver. Of course, by that time people are convinced that we are easy on liars and thieves.
What is our sin? Extending mercy to people who don’t deserve it? Trusting people who are still messed up? Maybe! Or is it that we give people hope who deserve to be punished? Probably! Are we too easy on sinners, don’t emphasize sacrifice enough, and refuse to acknowledge bad news as acts of God? Some think so. Or could it be that we are simple-minded and childish in our zeal to see God demonstrate His love and His fascinating wonders among us? Guilty as charged!
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