In a discussion recently, there were some people who were opining their various thoughts as to how the church is reacting to the latest revelation of Ted Haggard’s infidelity and his sexual relationships with men. Further, he frequently condemned homosexuality.
In this conversation, someone asked a very probing, and relevant question: “How would Jesus have dealt with Ted Haggard?”
I think this is a very, very valid question. What WOULD Christ have done in this situation? We have some very clear – and very different – examples.
If Christ were to have treated Rev. Haggard like he would have any other hypocritical religious leader in his day, it’s plainly obvious that Haggard would have been slammed as being a “whitewashed tomb” or in bed with that “den of vipers” that he mentioned from time to time.
Let me be clear on this – the fact that Haggard might very well be gay is NOT the issue. He committed adultery (repeatedly, it seems) and rabidly condemned the GLBT community. All the while, he was allowing himself to be elevated into a place of being one of the most fore front leaders in the evangelical church.
In my opinion, his sin wasn’t so much the gay sex as it was a clear violation of his wedding vows, and that he broke the covenant he made with his wife before God. Coupling that with his stint(s) with a male prostitute and another 20-something year-old man all while he CONDEMNED GAYS REGULARLY, is just another reason why I think Christ would have been equally harsh on Haggard if confronted.
What if Christ were to confront him as he did the woman at the well?
Jesus spoke softly to Rev. Haggard. “Why don’t you tell your boyfriend to come here so we can all talk together.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” Ted replied. “I’m married with children, Lord.”
“I know that you’re married, and you have slept with a male prostitute and have another male fling on the side.”
“Lord, why do you say this?”
Jesus smiled. He said. “Well, if you would let me heal you of the drug addiction, we can move on about how you’re lying to your wife and church”
“But I’m not..”
“Don’t go there, Ted. You know I love you. It’s time to tell your wife.”
“What should I do?”
“For one, stop sleeping with men. You made a covenant with your wife.”
“Should I divorce her?”
“That’s up to her.”
“Will she?” Ted asked.
“That’s up to her.”
“What about the kids?”
At that moment, hundreds of member of his church have come to stone him. He was outed by the prostitute, and now he’s at the mercy of the raving mob. They’re ready to stone the broken pastor…
“Just what do you people think you’re doing?” Jesus asked.
Jack Smith, the leader of the mob shouted. “We’re going to stone him. He slept with MEN!”
“And?” Jesus raised an eyebrow.
“But it says to put someone like that to death, doesn’t it?”
“Why, yes. So who’s completely without sin?”
“Well, um… didn’t you pay for it all?”
“Of course. But Jack, don’t you think I paid for Ted’s sins too?”
“Why… but… NO! He slept with MEN!” Jack’s veins bulged out of his neck.
“So you think my blood is too good for him?”
“YES!” He spat a little as he shouted.
“Well then, I guess I’ll just have to go back to judging everyone by their sins again. Why don’t we start with you, Jack?”
“But, Lord – you know I have cleaned my life up.”
“Yes, you did. And you gave me credit. And now you’re willing to kill a man.”
Jack dropped his stone and walked off.
“Who’s next?” Slowly, everyone else dropped their stone, and left in chilled silence. Jesus sighed and looked back at Ted, who had a tear going down their cheek. He panted with each breath.
“They were going to kill me,” he observed.
“What will I do?”
“Go and sin no more.”
So which would it have been? Would Ted’s humility have allowed him to allow the Lord to probe him as the woman at the well did? Or would his arrogance have forced Jesus to expose him as a liar and a hypocrite?
Please comment your thoughts.