Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

My Photo
Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

From Forgiveness to Restoration

On January 27, 2010 I wrote an article called "Forgiveness Triumphs." Ever since, I have continued to follow the story about Ted and Gayle Haggard and their new work, St. James Church. Finally, I got Gayle's book, Why I Stayed last week from the library. It answered a lot of questions I had and filled in a lot of holes in the story. I believe it is right on target.

Like Gayle, early in my Christian walk I was taught that when ministers fell they could not be restored to ministry because of scriptures such as I Timothy 3:1-7. But as I look at those verses, if you take them without grace, no one could ever minister, for who never has any wrong attitudes?

When a minister falls though, there does have to be repentance and restoration, or the Christian walk becomes a mockery. God does deal with sin in ministry more severely than in the body because leaders are the example to the rest of us. But having said all that, ministers who repent need to have a way back--and who better to help them than those who know and love them? To be isolated from everyone adds unneeded punishment to the discipline God intended. From what I see in the Word, isolation is only for the unrepentant to bring them to that place of godly sorrow for the sin, not just sadness and embarrassment for being found out.

What must a repentant person needing restoration have? He needs friends who already know him and l
ove him to hold him accountable by relationship, not legalism, for it is not just wrong actions being dealt with but also the attitudes that preceded those actions. Friends and family are the best people to help here. I have heard and believe that often the mate is the one who knows best how and if their spouse is walking out his/her repentance.

If all this is so, what does restoration look like? First of all, restoration is a process to be directed by the Spirit of God. He's the One Who brought the sin out into the open in the first place, and only He can restore. So we need to have God involved in every part of restoration. This is His son/daughter He is dealing with, and everyone else needs to cooperate with Him.

How do we know the leader won't fall into the same sin or worse if the discipline is removed? We don't, but that isn't our problem. We just need to cooperate with God's plan for the individual, and the results are His. We need to trust Him. Anything else is operating in fear and punishment and will bring more hurt and pain to all those already wounded.

What will the end of restoration bring? It depends on God's plan for the person. The ones I am speaking of in this article may go back into ministry, having learned a whole lot about themselves, their sin, and human nature as it comes into contact with the grace of God. They will be better for the experience, as will those who receive them. Their ministry may look similar to what it was like before they fell, especially if most of what they did was birthed of God to begin with. These leaders will be much more compassionate than they were previously, however, having just met the God of grace in a deeper way than before. Their Christianity will be more vibrant, alive and accessible to those who know they too sin.
Isn't this what we want?

There is another question here, however. Why is this kind of forgiveness and restoration so hard for the Body of Christ to understand and implement? That is a subject for another day.

Labels: , , ,

0 Great Ideas:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered By Ringsurf