My heart was burdened, saddened, frustrated and disappointed yesterday when I read the news about John Crist. You can find out the entire story and his own statement that he released here:
He struggles with sexual sin and harassment of women. I’m not surprised, because it’s normal for people to have sin.
Something I think Christians and people in general have a problem with is we find someone we like, that has a following and are “influencers” and suddenly they’re up on a pedestal for the entire world to see. When they fail, or a sin comes to light, it’s like we all fall apart and feel crushed by it. But why? They’re human, just like us. Or, like with Kanye West, we see his past, the music he produced and words he’s spoken and wonder why God would stoop down and rescue someone like that. It’s the same thing. Somehow we’ve placed a label on someone without seeing God’s heart for them.
But here’s the thing. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.” But the Bible also says in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.“
All of us. Every single last one of us. Me. You. The person in the seat next to you. Your neighbor. John Crist. Kanye West. Your pastor. The worship leader. Everyone.
Jesus’ purpose on earth was to come to heal, restore, revive, renew. I could sit here and talk about how awful John Crists sins are…and they are….and I feel horribly for the women who felt silenced because of his status. Victims of any type of abuse should never, ever, ever, EVER be silenced. End of story. But instead of sitting here talking about his sin, I want to sit and talk about mine.
I have anger issues. There have been times I’ve gotten depressed and pigged out on more food and chocolate than I should (gluttony). In my younger days, I was a chronic, habitual liar. Half the time, I didn’t know the truth from a lie. I judge people way too easily. I yell at my kids too much. I am not perfect. I have sinned. I fall short of God’s glory every single day.
But one thing that all of us have in common, including John Crist, Kanye West, and the people down the street from us, is the fact that Jesus died for our sins. He died for me. He died for you. And then He rose again, with resurrection power, imparting freedom from the chains that bind us so, so tightly. Just because someone is held in higher esteem, or has influencer status doesn’t mean they’re immune from sin, nor does it make them immune from the grace, the purifying love and power of Jesus. His grace is there to cover ALL of our sin.
Now, on a practical, less feel-good level. We have to humble ourselves before God and recognize our sin for exactly what it is. We can’t sugar coat it. We can’t look at it and try to word it some way that makes it better than what it is. We can’t just say the words, it has to resonate in our being, until it leaves us broken, crushed by the weight of our sin. Then we can bring those broken pieces to the feet of Jesus and ask His help to put us back together, whole, new and revived.
When I was walking through the habitual liar road, I heard my parents say what was wrong with me. I knew in my head what I was doing was wrong. But until I wanted change, until I was desperate for something to break inside of me so I could become an honest person, nothing changed. And then once that happened, the dams broke. I felt crushed by the pain I’d caused my parents. I felt crushed by the pain I caused to my friends and family around me. I finally found true repentance and then I had to walk it out. Change did not come overnight. Change didn’t just come from the snap of some fingers and a little prayer. It came from me constantly humbling myself and becoming painstakingly honest. Change happened when I would say things like, “I took the trash out 10 minutes ago,” and then correcting myself, “I actually took the trash out 7 minutes ago.” I found myself wanting to be so accurate with everything I said. I wanted each word to match the truth 100%.
All this wasn’t done in my own strength either. I had my Mom and Dad as accountability partners. I had my pastors wife as an accountability partner. I had a journal I’d write in every single day about each lie I told and how I fixed it, and if I hadn’t fixed it, I’d go tell my Mom the lie I told, then told her the truth. It was humbling. It was a walk….a journey to allow Jesus to create me into an honest, trustworthy person.
Last, but definitely not least, I had to pray, a LOT. Jesus became my best friend. And through all of that, true repentance and change came. I tried for years on my own to change. I tried to tell the truth, but it wasn’t going to happen in my own strength. It happened when I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and had to have HIM, Jesus, to help me change from the inside out.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It means we’re human in need of a Savior. It means we’re striving to be like Jesus, but because of our humanity, we will fail. It’s what we do with that failure that we find out if we’re really striving to be like Him, or if we just want to do things on our own.
Last word about John Crist; He’s a man. He’s fallen down. Let’s not kick the man while he’s down. Let’s not demean him. Let’s pray for him. Let’s pray that he finds true healing, restoration and renewal while he takes this time off to get counseling and help. And let’s realize our own sin while we are seeing the sin he struggles with right now. Just like the Bible says in Luke 6:42, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”