Remembering the Past {Pearl Harbor}

Remembering those who have fallen in defense of freedom for America and her allies.

The week I wrote this, a fellow laborer in the ministry {term used loosely} pled guilty as charged by a federal prosecutor, with his parents and brother standing by him.  Something wrong with this picture.

I knew this guy.  I worked with him.  He’s a year older than my oldest boy.  He’s a father.  A husband.  A son of respectable hard working God-fearing parents.  I liked him.  He’s a people person.  I sat under his teaching more than once, in staff trainings.  He appeared to love God.  His talk was good.  But his walk didn’t match, or at least he stepped off the path for awhile.

My purpose is not to name names or air dirty laundry.  It is not a private affair, for I learned of it through the news, yet no purpose is served in the telling of it here.  It sure is (was) bothering me, that is why I am writing.

One aspect of it is the lack of justice served by the court.  It happened over a three year period, being found out two and a half years ago.  Sentencing is not until February, two and a half months from the conviction.  It carries a mandatory two year sentence with no fine required.

The crime was mail fraud, fraudulently raising funds for the ministry, which paid for personal and family expenses.  The insurance company has paid most of it to the ministry.  He should have to pay something above the actual amount, shouldn’t he?  Plus he’s been working somewhere else (at least it appears that way on the internet) as if he didn’t commit a crime, and on bond, not serving jail time.

He’s in the pile with Whitey Bulger in my book.  He’s supposedly a believer, knows better, was eating with and rubbing shoulders with people from whom he was in effect stealing, no apology (public), no reply to the press, no mention of such from the president of the ministry, whose repeated comment was that this has taken an emotional toll, but has not, I repeat NOT affected or diminished our faith.

Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego

Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego

What can I learn from this?  Why even bring it up?  Because it is under my skin.  It keeps poking its head up every once in awhile.

I should have a humbler than rather than a holier than thou attitude.  I also stepped off the path for awhile.  I didn’t commit a felony though.  Does that make me better than?  No.  Does that mean I never will?  No.  Does the grace that covers my sin trump the grace that covers the felon’s?  No.  Does God love me more than He loves the felon?  No.

When I was in college, the president of our college, Ernest Pickering, announced in chapel one day that a brother had fallen.  He told us what church this brother was pastor of, but he gave no information as to the nature of his sin.  I’m quite certain the students from that church, and it was one of the largest churches from which we came, knew the details.  I have never forgotten that.  What I did not know, I did not need to know.  What I needed to know I was told.

Now while that brother would likely never be in a position to pastor a church again, he would have the opportunity to experience the grace of God’s forgiveness and restoration and fellowship with other believers, upon repentance.  He might even have a greater ministry for God after his fall.  Not from the pulpit.

And so we should pray for one another, in the falls of life.  Pray for a restored heart.  For a restored relationship with our God, and with other fellowlabourers.  Often the most difficult part of restoration is that it will be with an entirely new set of people, often in a new location.  Which necessitates a break with our past.

It is only our pride {I am preaching to myself} which grates against this break with our past.  We cling tenaciously to those things which we have done, our works, our wood, hay, and stubble.  When we ought to be clinging to the grace and mercy of a Holy God, Who in His grace and mercy has so much as allowed us to communicate with Him, to be in relationship with Him.

When I am reminded of this brother’s fall, I will also be reminded to pray for my companions in the labors of Jesus Christ, for their relationship with the Father to be restored, and for the glory of God to be preeminent.

Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego

Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego


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