When I first came to our church here nearly 30 years ago, as I have told you previously, it was a mess. A mass of unconverted people who walked in sin and yet had been assured for years that they were surely fine Christians. One of those people was Randy.
Randy was a stalwart in the community. I was a newcomer, so even though people knew that Randy was no one they really wanted to associate much with, nevertheless they still gave him rank over me. That’s how these things work, as most of you know.
Randy was a liar. He was a fake and he was, well, a loser. He was a wannabe, putting himself off as a fine Christian, and yet he was anything but. Randy had connections though through other members of his family and he rode on their coat tails, seeking praise for himself yet never measuring up.
Well, as I said, Randy was a liar. I knew this firsthand because he lied to me. And it was a significant lie because in it Randy endangered the people in our church. When I told the church board about this, they blew me off. In fact, they acted quite upset that I would say such a thing about Randy. I was causing trouble for them, you know, just like a domestic abuse victim does when she reports her abuser church member to the pastor.
Randy eventually stormed out of the church one Sunday. Just before I began the worship service, he waltzed into my office, slapped a letter on my desk, and told me that I was going to have to find someone else to “carry on his ministry.” That “ministry,” by the way – if you can believe this – was to bring sex offenders from the local prison to our church services each week and leaving them unsupervised among us. Myself, the local police, and the prison officials put an end to this nonsense. How it ever got started I don’t know, but we told Randy it was over. So Randy wanted to get even. He quit, thinking he was dumping his ministry duties on us. Not real bright – there wasn’t going to be anymore “ministry” like this.
Well, the stalwarts in the church, including the church board members, were still Randy supporters. Here was a mess, as they saw it, that I had caused instead of just leaving things alone.
Fast forward now about 20 years. I received a phone call one day from a lady who had seen my book on domestic abusers hiding in churches and she wanted to talk to me. Turns out that, as we talked, I learned that she was married to – guess who – Randy. She told me about his abuse, how he ruined her economically, and other cruel ways he treated her. I could tell she was afraid of him.
And yet, THIS was the man who the church here 28 years ago, harbored. When his evil started to be exposed, what did the church leaders do? They protected him. Refused to confront him. And of course Randy, after he left our church, simply paraded on down the road to the next church where he was welcomed with open arms and lauded in later years as the most godly Christian anyone in that church knew. I warned the pastor about Randy. What do you suppose he said? You guessed it – he arrogantly told me that he was glad to have Randy in his church and that people often need to make a change and move on. And then I have no doubt that he went right out and told Randy I had called.
Christ sees it all. He walks among the lampstands of His churches. He sees. He knows. And one day it is all going to be broadcast for the entire universe to see and perfect judgment is going to be rended by the King of kings.