(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?