The Lifeboat, The Fall, and Ted Haggard

5 11 2006

I must admit I’ve been pretty shaken by the whole Ted Haggard deal
that’s been all over the news lately. Not because I was a devoted
follower of Haggard but it’s always hard to see a leader in the Body of
Christ take a fall. Can you imagine what it must be like for the
members of that congregation to find out such news about a man that
you’ve respected and entrusted with your spiritual guidance? I can’t
imagine what it must be like to go to church one Sunday and everything
be fine and then come back the next Sunday and your pastor is no longer
there, somebody else is playing that role, and you now have to go
through the process of finding a new leader, all within a matter of
moments. And then I won’t even go there with his family and how they
must feel. And worse yet, how he must feel.

When I first heard
the news, I must say I was very dishearted. He’s a pastor for goodness
sake. What made him do something like that? And what made him think he
could get away with it? I felt like this instance just gave
non-believers more ammunition to turn against God and the church. And I
thought man, none of these leaders are to be trusted. If the head of
the NAE could do something like this, any of these pastors is likely to
do something shady at any moment. I guess I should just be suspicious
of everybody, whether they’re a pastor or not.

But the sad
part about it is that it’s true. No one can really be trusted. Even
pastors are mortal men and they are liable to do unwise things just as
much as I am. I’m not perfect and neither are they. We all need help.
You know, I don’t think we realize how detrimental The Fall really was
to human existence. It really did change mankind forever. The mind of
man is wicked, it is faulty, it is wretched, it is screwed up. That’s
why it must be renewed and reprogrammed. I don’t care what people say,
but that’s why I have to believe in Jesus because it’s the only way I
can have any kind of real hope for that to happen.

Donald
Miller has a book called "Searching for God Knows What" and in it he
introduces what he calls the Lifeboat Theory, basically saying that all
of mankind is living in a lifeboat and we’re all fighting to stay in
the boat so that we don’t get thrown overboard. So in order to avoid
this, we do all sorts of things to be liked by others and to be
important so that other people won’t get rid of us. There’s such a
longing in the heart of man to feel wanted, to feel accepted, to feel
loved that we often go through the most outrageous means to get that. I
mean think about it. Why do people REALLY get upset when someone cuts
in front of them on the freeway? In the grand scheme of things, is that
one car really going to make that person THAT much later? The reality
is that someone cutting in front of you on the freeway is an affront.
It’s disrespect. It’s someone saying that you’re not important enough
for them to respect your space on the road. And that, my friend, makes
you susceptible to getting thrown out of the lifeboat.

Us
Christians are not perfect. We are flawed. We sin. Unfortunately we do
things we shouldn’t do sometimes–even those that are supposed to be
the "best of the best." We are in the lifeboat, too, and we will do
what it takes to save our own lives and not get thrown out of the boat.
The only thing that separates us is that our silliness is forgiven
because of Jesus Christ. That’s love.

I think that we’ll never
get out of the boat until we stop pretending that we’re better than
others and that we’ve got it all together and acknowledge that we are
just as much prey to sin as much as anybody else. After all, even Jesus
told Peter that Satan wants to sift us like wheat. But we must learn to
TRULY govern our lives everyday by God’s love. Because if I TRULY
believed in God’s love, I wouldn’t get angry when people cut in front
of me in line. If I TRULY believed in God’s love I wouldn’t worry about
anything. Perhaps if Ted Haggard TRULY believed in God’s love he
wouldn’t have to feel like he needed to buy meth in order to get a
"massage." We ARE accepted. We ARE loved. By an everlasting God who
loves us unconditionally. A God who doesn’t want to throw us out of the
boat to drown, but rather wants to rescue us so that we can experience
a life free from the boundaries of this world.

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