Found an interesting article yesterday written by the former editor of Contemporary Christian Magazine. It had been three years after Amy Grant’s divorce and the magazine wanted her to apologize for what she had done.
The editor, who was being asked by the publisher to write the article and ask for her apology, questioned the move.
An exchange from the article between him and the publisher:
“Who does she need to apologize to, Gerald?”
“Her fans. Us at CCM. And everybody she failed.”
The article is worth your time. But the topic behind it is also worth careful thought.
When one falls, to whom are they apologizing? David clearly stated after his sin with Bathsheba that he had sinned against God and God alone. However, it would seem that genuine sorrow and offering of a sincere sign of that sorrow to those directly offended would be appropriate.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I apologized to Cynthia for what I had done. I apologized to my daughters. I even wrote a letter to individual members of my church and told them I was sorry I let them down.
Was apologizing to the church for my adultery necessary? I did not commit adultery against them. I did lie to them, yes, and I apologized for that. But I had many tell me I needed to apologize to them for my adultery.
My sin was made public very quickly. By Cynthia, her family, and by the church. I don’t know if there’s a way around that. Pastors are public figures and when they lie and cheat, sin like that tends to get made public. However, there has to be a time when it stops being discussed by those who were not directly involved in the sin. When the sin itself and the discussion of it turns into gossip and unhealthy talk.
One could argue that my blog is the furtherance of this discussion. A fair point. But I don’t view it that way. I’ve tried to handle my story in a way that is from my viewpoint and how I perceived them. I’ve kept everything anonymous so that those involved wouldn’t be further effected.
There’s a time to discuss sin and situations when it can help others understand seriousness of sin. And there’s a time when it’s simply unhealthy, destructive gossip that seeks to tear down others.
For Amy Grant, I think the editor had a good point. Did she owe her fans an apology for divorcing? Was her private life the business of her fans? Probably not.
My situation was different in many ways. My personal holiness affected my public ministry. I did owe the church an apology for my failing in that way. Many were hurt. An article by Christianity Today states, “When a pastor falls sexually, his church responds like a wife betrayed by her husband, experts say.‘”
I am still in the process of asking myself the same questions I am presenting to you in this blog. Hopefully, someone will read this post and give me some interesting viewpoints on the matter.
Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s what this blog has been about since day one. The exchange of ideas. Whether it’s about Amy Grant or me, I’d be happy to hear it.