The Christian community has recently watched in surprise, confusion and sadness as prominent Christian leaders renounce their faith or fall away from their beliefs because of moral failings. It’s important to remember that these people are humans, just like us. They are imperfect beings in need of a Savior. The inability of people to realize this need at any time in their lives is not the end of hope for them. However, it is also important to call this denouncement out when it occurs instead of ignoring it. When we acknowledge sin and doubt, we can try to discover ways in which to prevent the loss of faith altogether.
A key way to encourage leaders away from this sense of despair is to take taboo topics off the metaphorical shelf, lay them out on the table and talk about them. Often in our lives, sin is something that is hidden. It’s kept in the closet of our minds, shut away in shame. It is unseen, but that doesn’t mean it has no effect on our lives. Rather, when something is allowed to fester and go untreated, it only makes the condition that much worse. If we don’t seek help when we need it, we will find ourselves in bondage to our secrets and lies. Without the support of community and the offering of grace that we can find in strong relationships, we will be forced to face our demons alone. This often results in a loss of faith in God, because we believe He abandoned us to deal with our problems in isolation.
Christians aren’t meant to walk our spiritual life alone. Jesus made it clear that we are to rely on Him, as well as on each other. Battles cannot be won if we go into them by ourselves.
A way in which to avoid this isolation is to discuss openly our shortcomings and failings. If we have people in our lives who will listen to us confess our sins, it’s more likely that we will have the courage to rise above temptation in the future. If we keep our struggles secret, then we allow room for hopelessness to take root. And this is precisely where our faith in God is tested, and weakened. We shouldn’t be so surprised that people denounce their faith if they are facing sin and temptation alone.
There are so many topics in our culture that are seemingly off-limits. But it’s important that we talk about the ugly parts of life. The best way in which to do this is to have trusted people who will counsel us through our times of hardship. Without the ability to be honest about our sins and struggles, there is no clear path forward, and we are doomed to repeat the mistakes that got us to the starting point of destruction.
Lay your burdens down before your friends and before God, and allow the healing to take place.