I know I will take some flack for this one… it is okay. I choose grace.
Recently, Mark Driscoll made a video for HIS church family (not everyone in the world, even though we all seem to want to see it). In it, he talked about some of the things going on with Mars Hill in "this season of the church."
My summation: along the way, he has made some enemies because of how he has conducted himself in banter on all kinds of topics from women's rolls to doctrine to contemporary issues to the treatment of some of his staff.
Let me state for the record - I think he was wrong for HOW he did what he did.
Many of those who are God followers have responded with "an eye for an eye". He deserves to be treated the same way he treated others. The "punishment must fit the crime." Tit for tat. However you want to put it, many who would say that they are motivated, awakened, and changed by the love of Jesus have responded in kind in trying to make sure that he understands the depth of the hurt and damage that he has caused.
The concern I have - the reason we get so upset at him for the abrupt words and positions that he has used over the years is that we believe that in Christ, no one should be treated that way - no one. Jesus says - even an enemy.
Now to the point - He is repenting, and trying to fix it. And the truth is, that takes a lot of character. No matter what any of us might think about him as a person, I admire that he has really exposed his mistake and been vulnerable about the whole issue.
So, I have a few thoughts I would like to share that I hope would help all of us who are in the Christian community with the chance to process this series of events with other believers.
- If you have been personally wounded and/or offended by Mark, I am sorry. I don't pretend to know what all has gone on in really any of the conversations and issues that have happened.
That being said, I am absolutely confident that airing dirty laundry on a social media is not in line with any form of how Jesus said that we who say we follow Him are to deal with conflict.
- Whether or not we believe that ANY Christian leader should be in a leadership position, it is the Lord who sets up kings and tears down kingdoms. I would submit David's conversation with Abishai concerning the chance to kill Saul in his sleep, "Who am I to touch the Lord's anointed?"
The fact is whether or not any of us thinks someone should be in a position of influence is of absolutely no consequence. God gave that person their position of influence whether I think it is a good idea or not. And my ability to come to terms with that says more about me and my relationship to God than it does about any leader. This is His world and He can take care of it in His way and His time. My job is to trust His story and be faithful in my own life.
Our task is to pray for those who are in that position because it is in all our best interest if they do well, not if they "pay for their mistakes."
- When we beat someone up for confessing sin, we keep them from wanting to confess again. The church is a place of healing and redemption, not a place of making someone pay.
And for many of you who are barking the loudest, you work in churches or are a part of church families where broken people (including you) come to church every week. If the response of anger and venom and vindication that is being portrayed becomes known to your people, it will not only shape their ability to respect christian leaders, but it will also keep them quiet about their own sin, even if it is not connected to the issue that is out front.
- "It is mine to avenge, I will repay says the Lord." Do you believe that?
I want to say again, I do not agree in any way with what Driscoll said in many places and how he said it was abrasive and terse to put it kindly. However, being Jesus in those circumstances has to mean that I do not hold the anger and pain of those things against him.
"For though he was reviled against, He reviled not." This is Jesus, and it should be you.
I am excited to see a Christian leader with the guts to at least admit that he has dirty laundry and that he is at least trying to clean it up. When was the last time we saw that happen? And if we don't lovingly forgive and show the grace we have been given, then we will keep that from happening in more christian leaders down the road.
And as a pastor, I know that I am not perfect, and that I need permission to be able to confess and repent without the fear of being ridiculed and demeaned. No one should ever agree with me sinning, but my hope is that we can begin to love and forgive enough that other leaders feel like they can get their junk on the table as well.
If you want to see Jesus do something amazing in the U.S., I think it begins from this posture.
Our response really isn't even about Mark Driscoll or any other single christian leader. It is about creating an environment where sinners get forgiven and people are set free. It is about all of us - especially you.