A little while ago a friend of mine in ministry did something wrong – he sinned! The church he was working for asked him to step down from ministry and go find another job. I was sad for my friend that he had made a mistake, but more so for the church’s reaction. I wonder sometimes if people are too quick to come down ‘harsh on sin’.
Let’s consider Abraham. Twice (Gen 12:11-20, Gen 20) he lies about his wife Sarah. Twice Sarah is taken by a king. Twice Abraham is enriched by the king. Twice God intervenes to save the marriage. In these two stories, Abraham gets rich by lying about his wife. Was it a habitual sin?
I don’t think the lesson of the story is God wants us to lie to get rich! However, it does seem that God still shows his support and care for Abraham through bringing blessings out of his failures. It doesn’t seem like God is shaming Abraham. It doesn’t seem like God is undermining Abraham.
Now I know there are times where God is very strict with sin, in the Old and New Testaments. And sin is a serious problem. However it does make me wonder who much grace, care and support I give to people, whether in ministry or not, who struggle with a particular sin like Abraham did. Do I want to get rid of people who fall? Do I shame them? How does God want me to treat people who ‘fall’?