As I come toward the end of my journey through Colossians I am deeply impressed by a part of the letter that frankly, I was just going to skip. Often at the end of Paul’s letters, he goes through this boring (or so I used to think) list of people thanking, encouraging, etc. I am discovering some “hidden nuggets” here at the end of this book that can speak very powerfully to us all.
I am sure you have seen the current sex and drug scandal involving Ted Haggard. I move between shock and heartbreak with every newscast that I see. I ask myself, “How did he get there?” I literally weep for Him, his wife, children, and wonderful church that he gave twenty plus years of his life building. I pray for them with deep concern and compassion. What is more is the even greater damage the cause of Christ as the ripples go out in a thousand unintended directions.
At the end of Colossians Paul mentions some names: “Onesimus, Mark-Barnabas's cousin, Dear Doctor Luke sends his greetings, and so does Demas” just to mention a few. These all were flawed men who struggled with sin, and at times, each other. Some of them quit ministry and some even walked away from the faith.
People who give their lives to Jesus to serve Him are under tremendous pressure and real satanic attack. Sometimes they go down in flames. Good men and women with strong desires to do good with their lives have something in common with the rest of us. Sin! Yes they (I) sin and often. AND this is nothing new. Sometimes they make it to the finish line and other times they don’t.
We all have our ugly moments that we are ashamed of. Each of us has the same propensity to commit destructive acts like these men and worse! I know that I do. What a private and personal hell Ted Haggard and his entire family must be in right now. We can take moments like these and allow them to teach us valuable lessons that can save marriages, families and careers.
“These are all warning markers—DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel— they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” I Cor. 10:11-12 (MSG)
Someone once said, “You are only as sick as your secrets”. Do you have some secrets that you don’t want anyone to know? Are you privatly toying with something destructive? Do you have something going on that you wish you could stop but you feel powerless? "Every day ... keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the glamour of sin." Heb. 3:13 (JB)
Let me encourage all of us to find someone we can be honest with-someone who we can pray with-cry with-heal with. God embraces broken people He always has and He will continue. So we don’t need to hide or pretend-not with Him and not with each other. The church can be that place but we need courage. It will take courage on someone’s part to dare to build with others an atmoshere of grace and acceptance.
I am reminded of God’s words to a man after the very first sin, “Adam, where are you”. I believe they are words of love that He still speaks today. I hear them. Please hear them with me. Let’s dare to come out from behind our coverings. Let’s overcome our shame and fear with faith that Jesus is who he said He was. He said that He did not come to condemn us but to save us. Still hoping to build an honest community,Chris