Sadly, she isn’t the only high profile Christian leader that we’ve seen make mistakes like this. My friend Richard wrote a great blog addressing that. But as I’ve thought about this I keep coming back to a simple comparison with Catherine and the example of Ted Haggard.
Ted was a Christian leader who taught those around him to hate others (whether he would acknowledge that or not). He taught them to hold onto truth only and at the cost of grace. He spent much of his time spent on things that he was against, only later to find out that those were his very own personal struggles. After the news broke of his mistakes, people turned on him viciously. While that was also sad, it really isn’t surprising to see how he was treated. He shaped those very people to treat people like him the way that they ultimately did. In the end he directly suffered from his own poor leadership.
Now contrast Catherine. She spent her time and energy spent on offering people grace. She believed in people that nobody else did. She led in ways that others shook their heads at in surprise (a woman leading convicts in prison?). Now comes the moment where we see how she will be treated. I pray that she has shaped people to extend her as much grace as she has extended to countless others.
It is time for the Church to stand up and offer Catherine grace and forgiveness as she goes back to the basics and allows God to heal her brokenness and restore her. No, I don’t condone what she did or think that there shouldn’t be consequences. But I think this is a crucial time for the Church to treat people like Jesus did.
So I officially stand by Catherine Rohr and extend grace to her and pray that she finds the healing that she needs during this extremely different time. I don’t know if she’ll ever read this, but if she does, I hope she knows that there are those of us in the Church that are ready to show how God brings restoration as we stand united together, even in moments of brokenness. So if you choose to offer grace and forgiveness, please leave a comment stating that you stand by Catherine as well. It is time to show the world a different side of the Church than they often see.
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