Rev. Ted Haggard, recently pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church of Colorado Springs, Colorado and President of the National Association of Evangelicals is another casualty in Christian leadership. He resigned his pastorate November 5th because, in his words, he was guilty of “sexual immorality.” Haggard took this action after publicly denying at least three times the accusations of an alleged lover who said Haggard had regular gay sex with him and had purchased illegal drugs. He has now owned his behaviors and is suffering very public consequences.
We should learn several things from this public fall from grace. One, “Don’t rush to judgment.” Haggard’s multiple denials and later confession should remind us that it takes time to sort out what really happened in any human drama. Two, “Check your facts.” Those who staunchly defended him without examining evidence were later embarrassed. Three, “We’re all human.” What Haggard did was immoral, deceitful, and, if he purchased narcotics, illegal. But no one is above temptation and no one is without sin, and “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Four, “Pray for leaders.” God commands us to pray for those in authority over us no matter what role they play, political, commercial, or religious. Five, “A fall from grace disqualifies one from leadership, not from life.” Haggard resigned his leadership positions, and he says he asked God and his family for forgiveness. He also asked us for forgiveness. If he is sincere he should be forgiven. What he did was sin but not the impardonable sin.
Haggards failure is monumental. It likely means he will never minister in a similar capacity ever again. Yet God is a God of second chances. Just ask the biblical Samson—and some day, ask Ted Haggard. And for that matter, ask any follower of Christ.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
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