April 2021 Newsletter
A man committed suicide some years ago. In addition to the devestation that this caused his family, friends and the community, his widow discovered that he left her with huge debts. Several hundred thousand dollars of debt! She was forced to go to work, not only to survive, but also to pay off the impossible debt. She went from shock to grief to shock again, and then to anger… and then desparation. How could her loving husband leave her in such desparate shape?! I couldn’t imagine how she felt.
Until now. It wasn’t a spouse or a family member. It was a spiritual hero. World renown Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias died last May. What a loss! I wrote my feelings about him in our July CGM Newsletter. His writings and books helped me tremendously. I even bragged that I had breakfast with him once. Now the shock, the grief, the anger, the betrayal…
Accusations emerged that Ravi had sexually molested several women. I didn’t believe it. Many Christian leaders are routinely accused of all kinds of stuff. RZIM hired a law firm to investigate the allegations and clear the air of these rumors. The deeper they got into the investigation, the more evidence emerged that the “rumors” were not rumors. They were true! Ravi had a dark secret of sexual sins! He owned several massage parlors and he routinely went to them for “back problems.” Then he got very friendly with the masseuses. Then he got sexually involved. Then he paid them off to “keep quiet.” It just gets worse. How could Ravi do this to us?!; To his family?!; To the church?!; To the Lord?!
Several thoughts that I can fit on this one page:
-What Ravi said and preached was (is) true.
-What he did was sin.
-Sin always affects more than just the sinner. King David thought his adultery with Bathsheba would be just between the two of them. But then Uriah was murdered to cover the sin. The baby that was born died. David’s son, Amnon, raped his sister. Brother Absalom killed Amnon in revenge. Absalom tried to overthrow his own father, King David, and then was killed by David’s general, Joab. If you follow the path of sin and deceit seemingly started by David’s “private” affair with Bathsheba, it eventually leads to the loss of the Kingdom of Israel! All because of one night of sinful pleasure. I wonder what the fallout will be from Ravi’s secret life? At least King David confessed when he was confronted by Nathan the Prophet. Ravi had that chance when accusations surfaced in 2017, but he lied and denied. I believed him 🙁
I was a classmate of John Hong, a well known professor and evangelist in Korea. In a Bible study he asked the question: “How do you know you will remain faithful?” Six of us stared at each other. How could we know? John’s answer: “Surround yourself with holy men.” In other words, study God’s word AND be accountable to each other. Allow yourself to be questioned, challanged, “sharpened” by friends.
It’s called, “Accountability.” Where was Ravi’s board? Where was his accountability group? Where were the “Holy Men” in his life? Were there no signs of misconduct? Did he not have the bounderies that Billy Graham and Josh McDowell have set up?
– Never be with a woman alone.
– Always travel with a male friend.
– Never drive alone to or from the airport with a woman.
Chuck Colson, Chuck Swindoll and several others (including me) have a series of questions that they allow themselves to be asked every week in their Accountability Group: 1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising? 2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity? 3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material? 4. Have you spent adequet time in Bible Study and prayer? 5. Have you given priority time to your family? 6. Have you fulfilled the mandate of your calling? 7. Have you just lied to me? These seven questions are still no guarantee that I will not veer off the path, but they sure help.
I want to finish strong. I want to leave a clean legacy. I have every sinful tendency that lured King David and Ravi Zacharias and millions of other men throughout history.
Lord, may I keep myself open to your rebuke by being open to correction by my Accountability Brothers…