It’s been 13 days and about 1300 miles since my last post. The past fortnight has had me in Tupelo with our friends at Trace Crossing, down with the Kevin Williams Band in a revival for FBC Brandon, MS. Tonight I’m writing from the Asheville, NC area, where I’ve been working with the Reveal Band in preparation for their student choir tour down on the gulf coast area (yes, still in great need from the effects of Hurricane Katrina).
But tonight I have been thinking about infidelity. You know… the act or state of unfaithfulness. It’s true that the infidelity of a well-known Christian evangelist has made the news in a big way. And the reaction to this bombshell has been alarmingly varied. Beyond the shock and disbelief, the admission of evangelist Rick Ousley of his lack of fidelity has shaken many people to the core.
My own reaction was alarming even to myself. I served with Rick for seven years. He’s been a friend and help to me and my family in ways too numerous to count. I, too, felt shock… and didn’t want to believe, and I’ve been alternating between sadness, anger, and fear. These emotions were nothing compared to what I felt when I read some of the recent blog sites that have sprung up. While there are a few voices advocating prayer and mercy for all, most of the voices are raised in anger, vowing to keep Rick from ever preaching again.
Should Rick be allowed to one day again present the Word? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that there is another issue that’s far more important to consider. With the angry mob demanding this and that, and disenfranchised Pharisees egging them on with words of what can’t and shouldn’t and must not ever be… I stop and wonder what Christ would say and do.
I know exactly what he’d do. With the crowd gathered for the kill, stones in hand… Jesus would kneel and draw in the dirt. You already know what he’d say, too. Let those with no sin whatsoever in their lives throw the first shot.
With my rock in hand, poised to throw, I think of the thousands of ways I’ve commited infidelity. Usually we think of this in regard to sexual relationships, and this is a biggie, with physical and spiritual rammifications and consequences beyond our initial grasp. But equally big in God’s eyes is our unfaithfulness when we look on someone or something in lust. What about being unfaithful to help and to pray for those in need? What about the infidelity of gossip?? Of failure to give to God the first fruits of our labor? What about setting myself up in the place of God as judge?? The list is as endless as the ‘moral failure’ in each of our lives.
There are no winners in this current mess, that much is clear. And only time will show the truth of how Grace will work in this situation and in the lives of all involved. But there is not one person on this planet that is worthy of forgiveness and mercy and grace.
But God extends it anyway. Even to those we don’t want to have it.
I think I’ll drop my rock now.
In His Mercy,