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Sunday
May132018

Throwing the baby out with the bath water

Quite a few years ago, a well-known pastor and author admitted to being unfaithful to his wife. He confessed and owned it and went through a restoration and reconciliation process.

As a result of this news, a Christian bookstore I knew of removed all of this author’s books from the shelves, refusing to sell them anymore. This struck me as strange then, and still makes me wonder even now as I am thinking about the situation. The question is: did this man’s sin invalidate all that he had spoken and written before the sin, somehow removing any wisdom to say anything further. It seems to me that the bookstore owner had thrown the baby out with the bath water.

Every once in a while (seems more so lately) we hear of a well-known leader who has sinned in some way and it becomes public. Even though the sin has been confessed and dealt with, some people will not listen to anything this leader says or writes from that point on. Are we throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

I once talked with a leader and suggested that he and his wife get together with another couple as they could learn from them. He mentioned that this other couple had done or said some things which he and his wife didn’t agree with and were upset over and they, therefore, were probably not open to meeting with them; even though there were lots of things they could learn by spending some time with them.

In this case, we were not talking about sin per se, but some offense taken up and an unwillingness to put it behind them and move on. Once again: baby out with the bathwater. What ever happened to Proverbs 19:11, “Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (ESV).

Because we don’t agree with someone’s opinion or view on something, or because they have a different doctrinal position than we do in a minor area, do we then take the next step and refuse to listen to anything else they may have to offer? Sounds foolish to me.

Let’s be honest, possibly most every leader has sinned to some degree in their life. These leaders make mistakes, have personality quirks, have doctrinal positions which are not in step with ours, have miss-stepped or miss-spoken on some issue. Do we now conclude that we can learn nothing from them from this point on? What ever happened to the biblical injunction to forgive, let it go, and not hold grudges?

So, what I have said to this point has to do with continuing to learn from someone who has been wrong, sinned or thinks differently than I do on some issue(s) and not dismissing them and what they have to offer going forward.

Let me address a corollary issue regarding people whom we should not listen to on some subjects.  It seems to me that just because a person is right or really good at something doesn’t mean they are right and really good at everything else: social and political issues, parenting and marriage, to name a few. We live in an age where famous people, movie stars, television personalities, musicians and well-know athletes share their thoughts on one subject and the other assuming that we should listen carefully to them and do what they say or follow what they think. They are trend- or opinion setters.

Should we listen to these individuals because they are famous in one area and therefore assumed qualified in other areas? I think not. Because Brad Pitt or Oprah Winfrey (you can legitimately add more whom you know of) are famous for one thing doesn’t make them an expert or qualify them to speak with authority on a number of other issues; but we are tempted to think so. Notoriety doesn’t automatically carry with it wisdom and insight on many of life’s issues and questions.

Be open to Listen and  learn from a  imperfect or fallen leader even though you don’t agree with what they’ve done or said in the past,  and don’t always listen to celebs as if everything that comes out of their mouth is the gospel truth. Famous doesn’t make right.

Whether it be a fallen leader or a famous celebrity, we need wisdom as to what is true or not true and be willing to follow the truth where it takes us. Fallen or famous is not the key, but the infallible Word of God which should have the last word. Scripture should be the lens we view things through in deciding what we accept or reject.

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