If you follow sports at all, you’ve probably read stories involving the word ” scandal ” more times than you can count in the last few weeks. Among other scandals, Major League Baseball’s latest performance enhancing drug scandal has a number of players marked for long-term suspensions (pending appeals). Men who once adamantly denied any wrongdoing and consistently claimed their own innocence have now seen evidence compiled against them that strongly suggests that they’re guilty. A problem that was once considered to be a thing of the past has resurfaced with a vengeance. Sound familiar?
We in the church have our own ” scandals ” of sorts. Consider the widespread destruction of pornography among men (and women, in rapidly increasing numbers). Consider pregnancies out of wedlock. Consider those who struggle with homosexual thoughts or desires. There are a number of sins that we seem to have (in some unspoken way) classified as ” scandals ” that will not be discussed. However, if we don’t discuss those sins, how will we ever help people overcome them?
Two of the major keys in the baseball PED scandal help us to gain a better understanding of how we can handle these undiscussed sins. First, some of the players claimed their own innocence and spoke harshly to any who accused them of doing anything that was against the rules. Because of their attempts at secrecy they got themselves into even more trouble and had more pride to swallow when the evidence came to everyone’s attention. Second, because the league is trying to sell a product, they have swept as many issues under the rug as possible and have tried to maintain a clean image in order to keep fans, no matter how false that image may be.
In the church, we have to have open lines of communication so those who struggle with sins and want to overcome them can know that they have brothers and sisters standing behind them, willing to help them overcome sin rather than scandalize them for struggling. Confession and accountability are biblical ideas that prevent us from being prideful in ourselves and the self-images we build up to be seen before men. Rather than compounding the sin by hiding it and being dishonest inwardly and with others about the severity of a sin problem that goes unchallenged, help must be sought and offered by those who can do something. Additionally, the church can’t look at the new temptations and challenges people are facing today and pretend that nothing is wrong. Are we a little unsure about how to approach some of these issues? Probably, because they differ greatly from some of the issues we’ve had to handle in years gone by. However, sin is still sin and the Bible is still sufficient to provide the answers men and women need to eliminate the sins that plague their lives. Let us not bury our heads in the sand but go boldly into a dark and sinful world with the truth, and let’s be sure to pick up those who fall along the way and look for help when we need it.