Yesterday I analyzed and responded to some comments on my Facebook page that were typical responses Christians make whenever a discussion about a public figure and his/her sin is involved. But I saved this comment for today’s post. Let’s rock and roll.
Self righteousness is not a virtue. Neither is going from house to house (or Facebook) being a busybody. Does it give you pleasure to gossip about this family’s tragedy? Do you have no compassion toward Beall and the children? Do you have any idea the immense pain they must be suffering? Do you think Jesus would share a story like this? I am so shocked and astonished at the homeschool’s community response to this tragedy. Here is a family who has served us all day and night and shared the vision of Family life. Restored it for all alot of us. And as soon as sin shows up, we all act like we have no sin and become Pharisees! My husband was addicted to porn 15 years of our 22 years of marriage. This crushed my children and I. When he repented, we needed healing and love from our friends, not condemnation, guilt and gossip! Unfortunately, we went through this tragedy alone, without the church. I will never do that to anyone. Today is Good Friday. Are you all without sin and need of the cross? Do you not believe the teachings of King David or King Solomon? Were they not adulterous as well? Do you condemn them? How about Bathsheba, the writer of Proverbs 31? She too committed sexual sin. God forgave both David and Bathsheba and continued to use them in ministry. If God can forgive them, we too can forgive both Doug and Lourdes. Bathsheba admitted her sin, Lourdes sinned too. Please stop crucifying these precious families and spreading more lies, gossip and satan’s darkness.
Before I even begin to answer the various issues she brings up, I’d like to point out the covert abuse here. I’m assuming she is directing this at me as well as the homeschool community in general.
My main purpose in pointing out the abusiveness here is because she, in her own words, is “shocked and astonished at the homeschool community’s response.” This implies that she is not responding in the same way they are. It implies that the homeschool community has responded in an appalling way. A shocking way. Unlike her own response which she perhaps believes is more righteous. She says at one point that she would “never do that to anyone.”
She would take the higher road.
On the other hand she is claiming to know some things about the homeschool community and me. Here they are, either explicitly stated or implied:
- We are self righteous.
- We are busy-bodies.
- We take pleasure in gossip on Facebook.
- We have no compassion on Beall and her children.
- We act like we have no sin.
- We are Pharisees.
- We condemn King David and King Solomon.
- We are crucifying precious families.
- We are spreading lies.
- We are spreading gossip.
- We are spreading darkness.
These are serious claims, and how can she possibly know they are true? She doesn’t. Yet she claims them in a public place anyway. (There’s a bit of irony there too.) She’s perhaps still healing from the pain of being ignored by her local church family when she was seeking help for a porn-addicted husband. Nevertheless, she is still responsible for her own public communication. And if she is going to vomit on my public page, I will point it out for what it is: verbal abuse.
But if we clear away the rubbish, there are still a few things we can address. Let’s start with:
Would Jesus Share a Story Like This?
Jesus wasn’t a news reporter, but if he HAD come to earth as one, then yes, He would have done his job and shared stories like this. Because He wasn’t a pretender. Because He lived in the real world. Because this isn’t just a “story.” It’s real. It’s happening. It’s news. She’s implying here that this is some kind of blown up, make-believe gossip story. The kind you read in the National Inquirer. We could pretend it was, and wouldn’t that be all flowers and butterflies? But it isn’t.
Should We Ignore the Sins of Our Spiritual Leaders?
Because, after all, they’ve done so much for us. The least we could do is sweep their improprieties under the rug in the name of forgiveness and all that jazz.
That’s silly talk. Here’s what God says:
19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I Tim 5:19-20
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1
Let’s talk about Bathsheba
Do you think Bathsheba had a choice? Was it her responsibility that the King lusted after her, raped her, got her pregnant, and murdered her husband? (Read HERE for more insight into this.)
Young girls who are seduced, lied to, manipulated, emotionally abused, and silenced by Christian leaders (or anyone) are victims of gross abuse. Do we blame children who are sexually abused? Yet we blame young women who are abused in this way because they are older and “ought to know better.”
We must not put a beautiful, young, naive, vulnerable nanny in the same category as a mature, “godly,” spiritual leader of a church and ginormous ministry. When we elevate our spiritual leaders to the point of protecting them above protecting any other human being, we are worshiping them rather than worshiping God. I’m pretty sure there are some Bible verses about that.
Does God Forgive Unrepentant Sinners?
The short answer: No. The Bible speaks to this in many places – here’s one for starters:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
Repentance comes before forgiveness. Whether or not Doug Phillips has repented is yet to be seen.
Should We Forgive Unrepentant Sinners?
We should, but not for their sakes. When we forgive an unrepentant person, they are not free. We are. God wants us to forgive an unrepentant person for our own sakes, so we will be free from bitterness and anger. But if the offender refuses to repent, while God enables us to forgive them, He doesn’t require us to carry on an intimate relationship with them or pretend like things are “normal” between us.
We can forgive and show kindness, cordiality, and honor. But we can’t be close to that person. The relationship itself is broken until the other person repents.
In the same way, we can forgive Doug Phillips and his defrauding of the homeschool community (we can’t forgive him for what he did to that woman – that sin was between her and Doug – we have nothing to do with it), but that doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge the broken “relationship” between Doug Phillips and the homeschool community.
We don’t pretend. We don’t live lies. We are not children living in a fantasy world. And we don’t blindly and foolishly invite him back into our trust. We need to exercise mature discernment.
If you’d like to read a thoughtful, intelligent analysis of this whole mess, I recommend THIS article by Douglas Wilson.
And Now to Change the Subject
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