I read another blog called Stuff Christians Like, which is usually a humorous take on things church-related, such as how to tell if an American Idol contestant is a Christian. But he wrote a great post about church scandals and I wanted to share it with you. If you want to read the actual post, it's here. If you just want the highlights...
Here are the ways we Christians can react to scandals.
1. Remember it’s better to seed conversations for ideas than it is to chum the waters for sharks. Your words can change the way conversations go. Talk about things in a negative way, and sharks will come to join in the bloodfest. Be compassionate, and that kind of conversation will bloom. Try to create ideas with your words, don't chum the waters.
2. Attack the issue, not the individual. It's fine to attack the issues that come out during a scandal. Not okay to attack the person accused. When you fight an issue, you create a space for real change to occur. When you attack the person you add wounds to someone who is already beaten down by the consequences of their actions.
3. Don't gossip. When we get caught in lies we come up with crazy stories to explain our actions, i.e. Aaron telling Moses that he just tossed gold into a fire and a golden calf magically came out. So when we hear the crazy stories that people tell when they're first caught in a scandal it's tempting to gossip about them. Don't. The gossip will make the scandal and the hurt spread.
4. Live your life on purpose. People involved in a scandal never woke up and thought, "I think I'll wreck my life today!" Save the energy we use judging people who have fallen and invest that energy working on our own lives and faith.
5. Pray. We've got to pray for our leaders. We've got to pray for victims of scandals. If the allegations are true of a victim, they have been horribly abused in some way. If the allegations are false, their life is so miserable they'd attempt something like a fake scandal.
Anytime you have humans and power involved, you’ve got the potential to really mess things up. Scandals are going to happen. Incidences in the church are going to happen. I think this is great advice even if the issue that arises isn't technically a "scandal". We all need a reminder at times that we all sin. Unfortunately some sins are a bit more obvious than others or are made public. Just something to think about.