Rather than joining the chorus of outrage, Christians should be counter cultural in showing love - even to those who have wandered far from God’s standards, says Steve Cox
Putting people on pedestals is so dangerous. One slip and the ensuing crash can destroy reputations, careers, even familial relationships.
The news of TV presenter Phillip Schofield’s sacking from This Morning, for lying about an alleged affair with a younger man is just the latest example. Yet many may wonder why so much attention is being given to this story. It wasn’t just the tabloids - the story topped the news at six on the BBC too.
May we be confident in the knowledge that no celebrity can come close to the one who is truly worthy of our adoration
What is so newsworthy about an illicit affair, or someone lying to their workplace superiors? Was there evidence of the alleged grooming of a minor, which would certainly make it a more newsworthy item? Or, perhaps, the answer lies a little closer to home, with you and me.
Mr Schofield’s fall from grace is, in part, a product of a culture that deifies TV and film celebrities to fill a spiritual void. When the subject of this national adoration transgresses, shattering a hitherto perfect image, many are left bereft and empty.
It is the same when church leaders, both home and abroad - whose teachings and books we devour - are suddenly toppled from their elevated position because of scandal, dishonour and shame. Our perfect picture of these towering, larger than life characters is shattered in what feels like a single moment of madness.
But why should we be so surprised? They are flawed human beings, who have fallen short of the glory of God, just like you and me. Yes, we might be overwhelmed with a genuine sense of sadness. We might express disappointment. But should we be shocked? And how should we respond to this story - and the stories of so many fallen heroes?
The gift of grace
As Christians, we have been justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to declare us not guilty and righteous before his high bar of justice. At the cross, we were forgiven for our sins, our acts of shame and dishonour. It was God’s declared intention; nothing to do with you and me, but an act of gracious, selfless love, for which we praise God.
In the process of sanctification that follows, may we be Christ-like promoters of a glorious gospel, encouraging each one of us to be channels of God’s grace. Help us, Lord, not to join the chorus of name calling and shaming, but to offer a love that is counter cultural and life affirming.
Let us pray for Mr Schofield; that he will know God’s declared intention for his life and genuinely repent, turning toward the one who is able to forgive and save. And let’s pray that each one of us will be channels of God’s love toward the many that have slipped from their elevated positions.
Help us not to join the chorus of name calling and shaming, but to offer a love that is counter cultural and life affirming
May we be confident in the knowledge that no celebrity can come close to the one who is truly worthy of our adoration; who will never slip from the highest pedestal.
May we find true spiritual enrichment and life in all its fullness, in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.