I’m Gonna Have To Enforce Forgivness In This One, Or Doing Laps in Murky Water

(Holy cow a 4 post week! And I just bought my first house yesterday, no less. Woohoo!)

So yesterday I mentioned Ted Haggard and I discussed how he left was forced out of the comforts of the wealthy megachurch he planted and is now hanging out with least of these in our culture.

And of course if you’re going to mention Ted Haggard, even if you’re simply referencing a fascinating point he made in a book a decade ago, its hard to ignore his scandal.

But I will ask this: what about forgiveness? You’ve likely all heard sermons about forgiveness is forgetting (or maybe you’ve heard that forgiving is not necessarily forgetting), and so I’m wondering if we are actually doing Ted Haggard a disservice by constantly mentioning his scandal. When is forgiving also forgetting in this instance? (That’s a rhetorical question, you won’t find a number mentioned in Proverbs on this situation).

Ted will carry this scandal around all of his days no matter what happens, I don’t think it’s our job to follow him around and make sure it is always on his shoulder. (And of course if we don’t hold it over his head, surely someone else will.) Some could ague that we don’t want the mistake to be repeated, and so we must always be reminded, but I’m not sure if that’s forgiveness.

Forgiveness is letting go. It’s letting that be in the past. And we are not defined by our past. That is cause for a hallelujah if I ever heard one.

Anyone who’s married knows not to rehash arguments you had three years earlier or remind the spouse of a mistake they made long ago. Does that apply here?

Ultimately I don’t think there is an answer for this. I could see some holes in never speaking of it again and throwing it to the ocean floor (yes a fairly obscure Christian rock reference), but I don’t think its necessarily healthy or beneficial to continue to make Ted’s name synonymous with a gay sex scandal. It is over, it’s in the past, and its time to distance.

I know I’m being muddy and non-concrete, but maybe that’s where this situation belongs.

I also know you don’t earn lots of blog fans by writing two posts consecutively in support of Ted Haggard. As I said yesterday, til the scandal hit I had never heard of the guy. I’m certainly not a diehard fan. I actually think he’s pretty cheesy. So I don’t mean to be Ted’s personal defender. But, I like grace, and I love forgiveness. I’ll stand up for those more than I’ll ever stand up for Teddy.

Should we ever just drop the whole “Ted Haggard, the pastor who hooked up with a male prostitute” thing? Can it be forgotten? Can it be forgiven?

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15 Responses to I’m Gonna Have To Enforce Forgivness In This One, Or Doing Laps in Murky Water

  1. Jeff says:

    Unless or until I get Alzheimer disease I don’t think it will be forgotten by me. The world didn’t make his name synonymous with a gay sex/drug scandal…..he did. He didn’t affect me in any way good or bad. I have nothing to forgive him of. I think forgiveness is a topic reserved for those he caused harm to.

  2. Newsboys.

    Forgive, yes. The problem is the authority that comes with being a leader / pastor. Sexual scandals indicate that the individual really has a problem combining that authority / power with their particular sexual proclivities. None of us are perfect, and no leader / pastor is perfect, however, I do believe that pastors who are truly aware of the harm they have done if they fall into sexual scandal should forsake the “robes” of leading a church and be willing to be a minister who is under the authority of someone else. Basically, I believe that Ted has disqualified himself for all time as the head pastor of any church. Is he forgiven? Yes, and completely. However, churches have a big responsibility to keep leadership accountable, and Ted has demonstrated beyond question that it is not wise for him to even counsel another man without a witness in the room, so there are serious concerns for the wellbeing of folks Ted might pastor.

    I don’t personally have a gripe with Ted, but I do not support his decision to start a new church as the pastor. Now, if he formed it and worked to put it together but allowed another man to pastor it, I think he would be in the right groove.

    Authority combined with problematic sexual tendencies has grave danger. To me, that’s bigger than whether a man has been divorced or not.

  3. Su says:

    Honestly, I never even think about him unless someone mentions him. I agree with Jeff– forgiveness is for those he’s offended.

  4. David says:

    The biggest problem that I have with this whole mess, is that they threw him out. I am not against them taking him out of a leadership role, but out? Where is the grace, forgiveness and biblical backing for that? (I would agree that if he continued to deny it, or was unrepentant, that is a different story – but that is not the case here.)

    I think they did it to save their good name, and in the process, they did not demonstrate Christ’s love, forgiveness or grace. And the most amazing person in this whole story is his wife.

    Churches need to have a path for people to be loved back to wholeness.

    Romans 2:4 The loving kindness of God leads you to repentance!

    Ted is my brother in Christ and deserving of love, not condemnation.

  5. jay @ bethegospel says:

    congrats on the house, i’m jealous 🙂

  6. Larry Hughes says:

    Well this is news to me. Been rather busy these last few days. I can only imagine that this is going to be splattered in the secular humainst news papers for ever. ” Another one bites the dust.” Is it just me that notices this or does it always appear to be sinful sex that is the down fall of people in powerful positions. Sex is a powerful tool of temptation in my view.

    Also consider Satan and his demons are partying like it’s 1999 again thinking they have corrupted another man of God through temptation. Considering Ted Haggard is only a man of the flesh, his weak point was going to eventually surface given enough temptation from evil sources.

    What he did was wrong and daming. Forgiving him? We should probably but no one will ever forget. He will wear the burden for his sin for ever in our eyes. However, it is up to God to pass judgement.

    In this sinful world, there are many temptations about from evil sources. Eventually, one will captivate you or I and we will possibly transgress to commit a sin. It wasn’t untill I became a believer that I ever realized the enormous and constant bombardment of temptations we are faced with daily in our lives. Only the strong willed and faithful will be able to resist. Besides Jesus, who else has that much strength and will?

    It only takes a second to do an action that will impact our lives for the rest of our existence here on earth and in the Kingdom of Heaven. How many of us can honestly say we are totally with out sin? Let the one with out sin cast the first stone of judgement.

    Sorry for getting off track here but I felt compelled to mention temptations.

  7. Angela says:

    It’s good to write blogs about things people are searching for. My old blog still gets hits on a post I wrote about Joel Osteen. I’d recommend blogging about him too.

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