The moment someone becomes noticed these days it seems to be the practice of the media to dig into their past. The primary purpose for this doesn’t seem to be validate the persons popularity, but to bring them down.
The media, whether traditional or social, wants to hold those we ‘follow’ to higher standards than they can follow themselves.
I saw a (satirical) headline the other day. It read “Prodigal son kicked back out after old tweet surfaces.’ As is so often the case with satire amongst the intended humour was a deep truth to be examined.
I for one am thankful beyond words that social media wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Not that I did anything illegal, just a bit stupid at times. I don’t wish to remember some of these things nor do I want anyone else to do so. At the time, even if I realised the error of my ways and stopped doing whatever it was, there were inevitably consequences. Some of these persist today. .
The beauty of being a Christian is that we have the same benefits as I do from being a little older than the ‘social media generation.’
My mum used to say, “confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation.” It really is. When I confess my sin, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 – emphasis mine)
Confession brings a cleansing that leaves us positionally right with God again, able to approach Him without fear, without risk of being banished. Once sin has been removed from our account we shouldn’t try and apply it again. It is done, it is finished.
The Psalmist reminds us that “as far as the East is from the West, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) If God has removed them that distance, who are we to bring them back?
We have no right to bring back the sins of others either. If a brother or sister in Christ did something, their accountability rests with God, not with us. If they have been forgiven by Him, reminding them of their past indiscretions is of no beneficial value. There are of course situations that we must take account of past misdemeanours. In the same way I live with the consequences of my actions, so must they. There are those that will be inappropriate for certain positions, but if true repentance has occurred, I believe, these people will understand this.
We seem to have a tendency in the church, certainly in the West to raise up leaders to lead us, only to discover years later that when they were younger they made a mistake. Someone talks to someone else and before we know it we are looking for another leader, just for the process to begin again. I’m not suggesting that we put up with continued sin, but if there has been true repentance, that should be the end of it.
Church, we need to remember the Grace afforded to us personally is the same Grace available for our leaders. Let us support them, love them and remind ourselves that a mistimed comment does not define their positional stature any more than it does ours.
I’m reminded of the verse in Luke 6, Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
I have enough to worry about with keeping my own life on track without worrying about anyone else. I suppose when I have me sorted, I can start on others.
I pray you do too.