Rousing Her Radiance: Day 17
Smashing the Serpent #1
‘If the Divine call does not make us better, it will make us very much worse. Of all bad men religious men are the worst.’ -C. S. Lewis
Church hypocrisy empowers the enemy to trick leaders into fake reparations. Put another way, the enemy employs Christians who fail to acknowledge and repent of traditional sins to break ground for exotic ones. Francis’ unbaptized desire to bless out-and-proud infidels is founded in part on closeted Church sins we deny and fail to purge.
That may or may not be Francis’ conscious motive. It is simply a spiritual principle. God gives His enemy some authority to wreak havoc on the Church when we deny our compromises. We lose both moral and spiritual authority.
The only antidote is outing ourselves and repenting. We must risk losing place and face if we don’t want to lose authority. A while back, a beloved friend and colleague at Desert Stream was caught messing around with at least two teen boys. It was awful. He poisoned the boys morally, wrecked his marriage, and scandalized our efforts. We already knew what abuse did to kids and families. And we knew what greedy hurt people do to capitalize on the crime.
No matter. We fired the friend, turned him over to the police, took full responsibility, and waited face down. We surrendered to Jesus and died to our right to exist. Legal advisors urged us to dissolve and regroup on a brighter day. No way. Jesus gave us life; He could take our life.
We spoke soberly and truthfully about what had happened. When people accused us, we agreed. Yes, we (our ministry) did that and yes, it’s awful. Nothing to expose when you expose yourself. We jumped through endless hoops. One lawsuit became another. We took strong medicine. We settled big claims (paid them off over years) and cried out for those we injured. We died and lived. We still walk with a limp to remember sin and Mercy.
Another form of hypocrisy involves winking at traditional sexual sins and demonizing rainbow ones. Father James Martin uses this often as leverage against those who are ‘homophobic.’ I agree up to the point that he leverages one sin—hypocrisy—to bless persons broken by a bunch of other sins.
‘Outing’ ourselves for sins of fornication, adultery, porn, messing with a man or woman’s heart in any way, etc. helps us walk in chastity, humility, and mercy. It empowers our claim that chastity is awesome and worth dying for. If we don’t die to ‘normal’ sins against chastity, we won’t live strong to champion holiness and wholeness for persons caught in exotic ones.
Two examples. A wonderful pastor that partnered with us in our early days of ministry had a big blind spot. He didn’t see how his messing with a string of women from the community hurt them. We did. And we knew that sin would disempower our efforts with more obvious sinners. He denied his sin and demonized us. We were asked to leave that community.
Similarly, an Austrian pastor felt outrage over a ‘gay’ man who was elected to the parish council; the cleric denied that man such a position because he was in a same-sex partnership and sought to ensure no such ‘person’ would counsel the parish. Until Pastor was ‘outed’ for having a mistress. He got off his soapbox and took a hard look at his ‘normal’ divides.
I hope he cleaned his house so he can champion chastity once again. Only this time with a little more humility and awareness that we are all disintegrated people. We smash the serpent by coming clean and asking friends to help us turn to Jesus in the whole of our broken lives. Then we can accompany fellow sinners onto sure ground.
‘Jesus, forgive our hypocrisies. Forgive also our misdirected counsel based on not dealing honestly with ourselves. Take us down to the end of ourselves so we can live to reflect Your radiance. Prepare us to help prepare a troubled Bride. Make us part of Her solution, we pray.’
‘Father, we thank You for Jesus who established the Church on a Rock against which hell will not prevail (Matt 16:18). We pray for every Christian leader to build on Her firm foundation of sexual clarity and integrity. Father, unmask the deceiver and divider of Christians and unite us in one Spirit. As weak members of Christ, we ask for truth to guide our pursuit of sexual wholeness, for grace to sustain it, and for spiritual power to transform us. May we reflect the chaste radiance of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16) to a lost and hurting world.’