No. But God can. I know it sounds cliche’ but think about human nature for a moment. Human beings tend to believe that anyone who disagrees with them is a de-facto…er…moron. This has never been more true than it is today. In today’s political and religious climate there is a tendency to discount opposing viewpoints and point a finger of derision at the one offering them. And yes, I purposely include the “religious” in this issue because the church is setting an absolutely horrible example when it comes to how we ought to handle opposition. As the world looks on, they see church people criticizing each other relentlessly and it makes us look really, really bad.
Just a glance at social media shows us all we need to see. For example, when Perry Noble was removed from ministry due to his personal issues, I was not shocked (but extremely embarrassed) to read tons of really negative, judgmental, condemning, and unmerciful comments from readers. Sadly these readers were all playing the part of the righteous judge, sitting on their high horses decrying Perry as a false prophet, drunkard, and someone who is unworthy to ever hold a post in ministry again. They love to use phrases like “he needs to be held to a higher account”. Yeah, that’s true, but how about we read the scripture and realize that being held to a higher account doesn’t mean that if we fail, we are unredeemable. In fact, the message of Christ is that ALL (even pastors) are redeemable and the heart of a Christian ought to be one of sadness and hope for redemption toward any minister who in his humanness has a moral failure.
Remember Bill Clinton? Our nation was quick to pardon him and he was the leader of our country. But a pastor who sins? Well, he ought to be relegated to obscurity never to be heard from again. This is so sad. But I digress. This is but a symptom of a greater problem. Our nation is a nation of unmerciful, judgmental, and intolerant people…on ALL sides of the political and religious spectrums. We all love to talk a big game thinking we are truly on the side of the righteous. And because we are on the “right” side, we can with righteous indignation “call out” the evil, vile, disgusting, and wretched people with whom we sharply disagree. Yes they are idiots…we believe.
If our country is to be healed, if the division is to be mended, if we truly desire to become a nation of understanding people, then it must start with the religious. We must start setting a better example. It should start with how we treat exited pastors. It should continue with how we deal with Arminians and Calvinists. And our respect ought to traverse denominational and political lines. If we can’t do that, how can we expect the rest of the world to follow suit? After all, does the world set the tone for the church or does the church set the tone for society? Well, at the moment the world probably has more sway over the church than vice versa, but if we wise up, we can see that change. Good things will follow.