I have received many calls, emails and tweets about my blog post yesterday. Many people have had great responses of grace. Go God- Let’s refuse to shoot our wounded. Church at the Bay is huge on Grace and BIG on obedience.
Gary Lamb was and is my friend – his sin will not change that. If you have not read what happened you can read it here. He has brought huge pain to his family, to her family, his church, the community, and the Body of Christ. Let me begin with this: God’s grace is bigger than any sin we can commit and forgiveness is always available. The challenge for my friend Gary and for anyone who walks a similar path is they have segmented their character and that will take time to rebuild- forgiveness is immediate- character rebuilding takes time. My prayer is for God’s healing for everyone involved. I am willing to help and encourage that process in any way I can. Church at the Bay is a church that exists to help people who have messed up – come back to God. So no one here throws rocks at people who have fallen- we can however learn some important lessons.
So the question is “how do we respond to someone who has fallen morally?” – I think several ways:
- Pray for ALL the wounded parties
- Understand confession is often in layers. Rarely does all the truth come out initially.
- Offer grace and forgiveness (not the same as restoration)
- Encourage some godly counseling
- Remember the rebuilding of character and trust takes time.
- Do not assume these people planned to blow up their lives – no one does, it happens over time as they let their guards down. Everyone of us has the possibility of the same behavior lurking within us.
There are some who have responded to this situation with- “I would never do that, I would not offend my family or the Father that way!” For those of you who respond that way I would say there are two things (at least) that you need to know about yourself:
- You are arrogant
- You are ignorant
I do think maturity means that the greater my influence and leadership the more I limit my freedoms. I often hear guys today say- “The Bible doesn’t say that is sin (speaking of some choice – that is in the wrong direction but not over the line of sin) I am free in Christ.” I understand and agree with your freedom, but I would recommend you ask a few questions that I ask personally:
- Is my behavior worth repeating?
- How would this look on the front page of the paper?
- Will it build or diminish the cause of Christ?
Again, wisdom demands that those of us who seek to lead big- choose to limit their freedoms. I am seeking to live a life that is worth repeating as I follow Jesus. I need all the help I can get- and my guess is so do you! Because of my friends failure I am redoubling my efforts in my personal life and accountability! We spent a good deal of time yesterday in staff talking about how we want to finish well. God help us!
Dan Southerland is a pastor who has helped several churches deal with the moral failure of a lead pastor. He has also been a guy who has played a part in restoration of fallen leaders. He did a message a couple of years ago in a similar circumstance. It became viral and many people saw it. I asked him for permission to post the link (it is no longer a public video) and he said yes. Please click on the pic of Dan and then press the play arrow. God used Dan in an amazing way in this message- you need to spend 25 minutes and watch it.Geoff Surratt writes an open letter here to pastors on the topic of moral failure it is worth the read. Let’s continue to pray for Revolution Church and everyone involved. .