In last week’s column I commented on the frailties of secular leaders and encouraged us not to look to anyone but Jesus for real and lasting salvation. But church leaders are also, sadly, often just as weak and frail, as shown by the stories of heresy and ‘spiritual abuse’ that have hit the headlines this week.
The latter story hit Judy and I hard. The man concerned was a successful and influential minister, a great Bible teacher and an important mentor to a host of current leaders whom we respect. You can read or watch a full statement on the Anglican.Ink website.
The breaking of the story cast a shadow over the conference I attended this week. But we were reminded that whatever our emotional response to such events, the one we must turn to is Jesus. You may never have heard of this man or even read the story, but if you have ever been let down by someone you admired or who was in authority over you, the advice is worth hearing, and worth taking to heart:
In our grief, for ourselves, for others or for the reputation of the church, we must turn to Jesus. Our compassionate Lord understands our grief + shares our sorrows.
In our anger, when we cry for justice for the abused, we must turn to Jesus who sees all things, including every hidden sin, and who will, one day, judge justly.
In our guilt, for not seeing the signs, for falling for the lies, we must come to Jesus whose blood purifies us from all sin and washes away our guilt.
In our fear for the future, as one to whom we looked for advice and example has crumbled, we must look to Jesus our great High Priest and Chief Shepherd. He alone is without sin, though he was tempted in every way. He alone is always trustworthy, good and true. And his presence will reassure us in our time of need.
And in our panic, as we see the church and the gospel coming under attack, we must also turn to Jesus. He is the Lord of the Church, so all is not lost, however bleak things seem. Jesus promised that he would build his church and neither the gates of Hell, nor the sins of his servants, will not ultimately prevail against it.