When the church hurts

Hello
Africa is a country that does always have the greatest experiences when it comes to international missionaries. We just recently had a scandal in my country where a missionary group has been accused of sexual assault,money laundering amongst other crimes. It’s a big case. How do I share the gospel when there are stories like this making headlines in the news?

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Hello @Mphiwe

Great and honest question.
I think Christian and Church itself has to admit that we can’t perfectly live out the faith we share and defend.

This is the heart breaking reality in Christianity, when someone has done ignoble acts, the whole brothers and sisters of faith are affected. To take it further, we in the Christian faith often forget to ask for forgiveness in behalf of these people who break their integrity and commitment in the LORD just to gain their personal agenda.

The greatest challenge in the part of people whom we hurt is they would assume once someone has break their trust, every Christian would do the same. There would difficulty to earn their trust again for us to share the gospel.

My practical advice for you and a reminder for all of us is when we share the gospel, let it be first SEEN in us before it is “heard.” And when we truly committedly to sharing the gospel to people, we have to accept the cost, to promote God’s agenda of saving people, not us gaining for our pleasure.

This is the hardest part of taking our commitment with God, when we say YES to holiness, we say NO to impurity. When we say YES to integrity, we say NO to ignoble acts. When we share the gospel, we live out the gospel.

I hope these help!

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@Mphiwe My heart breaks when I hear of things like this. @domingoosabel correctly wrote that sins done under Christ’s banner makes representing his name much harder. It is right for us to feel angry. James, however, reminds us that “judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13, ESV). Paul also reminds us that we do the very things for which we judge pagans (Romans 2:1, ESV). John wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8, ESV).

I think that James gives us some good direction:

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17–18, ESV)

This is how people see the gospel in us, as @domingoosabel wisely advised. Grieve with those who grieve, because Jesus grieves, too. Agree that our brethren sinned. There is no excuse for it. Make peace by showing how deeply hurt we all feel by these things. There may also be small ways that you can make some restitution by helping out with local projects or being a good neighbor–not to earn forgiveness, but to demonstrate the love of Jesus.

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First I would talk to someone about that case for gaining understandingto see what really is happening. Than I would try to contact the people who have been accused, if there were friends, to understand there very problematic situation and I would most importantly pray for protection ad guidance. Do not figure out how to tell someone the most important Message in the whole unending universe by your understanding. Just listen to God and do things with his help.

And show me some headlines for clarification.

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Hi @Mphiwe, this is a tough situation that you’ve described. It is deeply saddening to hear of stories like this, but I know they happen sometimes.

I have just a few thoughts to share with you on this:

  1. Keep pointing people to Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the most important person to keep talking about - John 14:6
  2. It may sometimes be appropriate to hear the thoughts of others about these sad circumstances, and to acknowledge that they happened. It is good to be open to discussion on these matters. When Christians rightfully attract criticism by their ungodly choices and bad fruit, remind yourself and others that your faith is not built on these human leaders and organisations but on Christ alone - Eph 2:19-22.
  3. If you continue to draw people to the truth of the Bible, and show them the infallible word of God, they can dig as deep as they like for a fault or lie and will never find it. This will draw them to trust the God of whom the Bible speaks - 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Matthew 24:35
  4. Continually pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you into conversations, and ask God to equip you to meet each person where they are. Do not try and do this in your own strength, and do not make it your responsibility to defend and justify the whole Gospel message. Whilst we’re called to explain why we believe what we believe (1 Peter 3:15) the burden doesn’t lie with you. Allow the Spirit to move before you do - 1 Thes 1:5

Bless you as you press forward in continuing to share the Gospel despite challenges and setbacks. Yes, there is darkness in the world, even sometimes sadly in Christians but Jesus is the light, and the darkness has not overcome him!

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I have experienced betrayal as well as fallout from leader indiscretion in the church. One event was so devastating that I fell into a deep depression and sought therapy. On the other side of it all I can say that the Lord’s hand was not only with me, but that He used these events to deepen my relationship with Him. I have developed a discernment about what is and is not safe in church settings, and am able to do so without guile or resentment. I share this to say that much of my healing came about by finding others who have been through similar trials. Bitterness is not inevitable, but one cannot heal and move on without growing from and through such pain. I have learned to enjoy being an ordinary man who is loved by an extraordinary God. One of the wonderful things about the Scriptures is that it is so raw and honest about its “heroes.” Ultimately Jesus is our only hero. Try to connect these injured members with others who have overcome their pain and, through it, love Christ all the more.

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