Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Even A Blind Squirrel...

I have been pretty hard on the institution of the Church on this blog.  I have been even tougher on individual Christians who I think buy into the message of the American church more than they seek to follow Jesus.  But today I want to tell you a story of a time we actually got one right.  It shows what can happen when we buy into the Jesus Revolution instead of the agenda of men.  It is far too rare an occurrence, but it did happen.   As my Dad always said, "Even a blind squirrel stumbles over an acorn every now and then..."

I have an old friend (and yes, it really is a friend. This story of failure is, for once, not about me) who over 20 years ago really messed up his life.  He was a pastor, a nationally known writer and speaker and a leader within his denomination.  He and I met through a mutual ministry and quickly became friends.  He was one of the happiest, funniest and most spiritually connected people I had ever met, and on the rare occasions we got to spend time together we just clicked.  I thought he had it all together.  So did a lot of other people.  Like most of us, he didn't.  Behind the scenes he was struggling with his marriage, and eventually had an affair.  He was caught in his office snogging his secretary- by another pastor.  Things went downhill quickly from there.  His marriage collapsed (and he married his secretary).  He lost his ministry (as he should have).  Many of his pastor friends deserted him (which was wrong).  But many of his Christian friends did not.  Many of us felt his pain and repentance and offered him love and prayer instead of judgement and condemnation.  He stayed in the church.  He had a pastor who helped him use his many gifts to help serve their congregation.  He worked for organizations that were not part of any church or denomination but that still served Jesus with their work in our world.  And slowly- ever so slowly- he began to feel accepted again inside the walls of the Church.

And that is when our blind squirrel found the acorn.  The Church- complete with as many judgemental people as you can find anywhere- began to accept him back.  The people and the institution had their eyes opened to the fact that this servant of God still had much to offer.  They realized that God was still using him in amazing ways.  We often speak in the Church of how our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God.  We humans sometimes forgive but almost never forget.  In this case, people got it right.  Despite (or in some cases because of what he learned) his sin, he is now one of the most respected spiritual voices I know.  He is making a major difference in the lives of believers all over the country.  So many times people like my friend never get that second chance because of Christians who cannot forget their sins.  I have known others whose gifts for ministry were never allowed to flourish again inside the church because of their sins- and in a few cases because of their supposed sins.  I myself did not know if I would get another chance at ministry- and then this blog came along. But the Church does tend to "eat it's own- bones and all."  In those situations Satan rejoices, because if we remove all sinners from ministry, who's left?  But in this case we see what can happen when the Church truly reflects the love, grace and values of Jesus.  We see that though we sin, we still have much to offer the kingdom of God.  Don't believe me?  Check out the bible stories of Moses, Jonah, King David, Peter, Paul and so many more.  There can be redemption and restoration in our lives.  That is what the Jesus Revolution is all about.  It is about remembering that all saints have a past and all sinners have a future.  If we- the Body of Christ- can remember that, then just maybe our friend the squirrel will run head-first into a huge oak tree.  Acorns for everyone!  For such is the grace of God...

Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3/08/2011

    "In those situations Satan rejoices, because if we remove all sinners from ministry, who's left?" Brilliant! -Keith Hopson, UK


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