In yesterday’s article we hear of the tawdry tale of two pastors going at each other in what can only be described as a bad episode of a Lifetime Movie Network movie. This wasn’t a situation where one pastor was heart-sick over the sin of another fellow pastor and he tries to help by “restoring him gently” [Galatians 6].
This is a tale of blackmail and intrigue, spying and retaliation. As tough as it is, try to set aside all the backstabbing and sexual acting out and focus on this: by the very act of one brother not loving another brother – even in the midst of sin, even if it required church discipline, these guys are apparently acting in opposition to God.
How many times have we judged another for acting in opposition to God over issues related to our own opinions about things such as politics or religious affiliations or even biblical interpretation? Haven’t we all lost friendships over judgments on one side or another about matters of strongly held but frankly personal beliefs?
Setting all bad behavior aside, neither of these men were able to act as ambassadors of Christ as they relate one to another. This is perhaps the MOST scandalous if not salacious part of the story. Let’s review: “Swaggart’s exposure came as retaliation for an incident in 1986 when Swaggart exposed fellow Assemblies of God minister Marvin Gorman, who had been accused of having several affairs. Once exposed, Gorman was defrocked from the Assemblies of God, his ministry all but ended. As a retaliatory move, Gorman hired his son Randy and son-in-law Garland Bilbo to stake out the Travel Inn on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge.”
Examples like this one give others the legitimate right to ASSUME that these two are standing in opposition to God. It’s sad, confusing, difficult to understand. Yes, it is spiritual warfare. And many would say that these are two “weak-willed” guys whom Satan tempted into sexual sin. But we could also argue that here are two guys who are not practicing what they preach in one of the most basic precepts of the Christian faith: love your brother as you love yourself.
Today, can we start there? How could we love more, judge less?