Thursday, July 20, 2017

how scandal hurts us

St Augustine talks to us today about scandal in the church in A Year with the Church Fathers. His points is that we shouldn't blame the church for having sinners in it. Of course there are sinners in it... that's the point. The church invites sinners to come and learn to be free from their sins. That process takes time sometimes.

He goes on to say that of course we're going to see evil people living right beside good people, as that's what Jesus told us would happen. The wheat and the tares grow side by side. Only in THIS field, the tares sometimes "magically" get changed into wheat.

I know that happened to me. God had mercy on my sinfulness, and helped me to be one of the good guys. He's still merciful with me when I sin. How can I not extend that same grace and forgiveness to others?

We need to remember that grace and that forgiveness when scandal comes along. Scandal is a great evil, not because of the sin that is being reported, but because of the spreading of that news. Telling everyone about the evil that one man has done doesn't just hurt that man, it hurts everyone who hears about it. It makes the world a lesser place. It hurts the faith of those who hear the news, especially if that person is a Christian. And if that person is a pastor or priest, then it makes it more difficult for those who struggle in their faith to trust in God.

So the next time we hear about some scandal in the church, let's pray for the people involved, rather than spreading the gossip of the evil behavior. Then we're helping the person who sinned and we're helping those who are struggling in their faith.

God, thank You for giving us wisdom in dealing with scandal.

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