The Power of Redemption
In this editorial, Gerard Bonner puts forward a challenging discussion on the power of redemption. Universal in its application, and highly relevant to the Gospel music industry, not to mention mainstream, this topic is sure to strike a chord.
Gerard holds the position of Associate Editor here at GOSPELflava.com. He writes extensively, and can also be heard on Rejoice Musical Soulfood 100.9 FM, heard in the Virginia Beach area, where he co-hosts from 6 - 9 AM weekdays.
One of the most popular phrases in modern culture is "Keep it Real". In fact, this ideology has made its way into the world of entertainment, spawning talk shows and "reality-based" TV that has become society's most common form of entertainment.
Even social networks like Facebook and Twitter are all built on the concept of giving others the opportunity to peek into your life. The voyeuristic nature of our lives permits us to become enthralled in the lives of others with the intent of being more entertained than informed.
With that said, one must know that all lives have good days and bad days. In addition, all of us are plagued with issues and challenges that ultimately help us reach our destiny. For some reason, we tend to be a bit more forgiving relative to our own issues and challenges than to those who are in the public eye.
Over the last few years, we've seen a number of prominent artists and ministers publicly experience situations that have challenged the faith and belief system of many of their followers. More often than not, the public outcry is that these personalities are silenced and forced to endure some degree of punishment or consequence from a man-made governing body. The idea is that this form of punishment (whatever it may be) will somehow be suitable for the crime or sin that has been committed.
This mentality has not only prevailed amongst fans and supporters of our industry but has even become an adopted practice of churches and some organizations.
So where does the punishment of man end and the redemption and restoration of God begin?
It is important that we look to God to see how He dealt with those who faced challenges, setbacks, and even sin. This is where His finished work on the cross allows us to make that reconnection with the Father feasible and easily accessible.
Christ's way is SO simple. He didn't ask for us to seek the approval of each other, go before boards, or ostracize each other. He made the process for redemption and restoration very simple. With this one act, biblically, we are restored and redeemed into right relationship with the Father.
So what exactly is the role that on-looking believers are to play in this process?
There are a few instructions for us. James 5:16 (NIV) tells us "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (NIV) In addition, Galatians 6: 1-3 (MSG) reminds us "If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived."
The only reason we as the public need to know of the indiscretions of others is if we're being asked to pray or to forgive. With that said, why do we as believers give so many in the public eye such a hard time when it comes to the process of restoration? Reality tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. As long as we live as humans, we will sin. The difference between the believer and non-believer is that we have an avenue to return to the Father once we have sinned. That is through the finished work of Jesus Christ. A mere confession of our sins to Him activates His forgiveness and our restoration.
As the notoriety of artists and personalities continues to grow, opportunities to fall short abound. Fame has a price. There are often opportunities that are afforded to public personalities that many onlookers may never experience. With those opportunities come greater temptations. This is why those who seek public notoriety should really think twice. Do you really want cameras around you every day? Do you really want to be the subject of blogs and radio talk shows? Some can't handle the small gossip at your workplace or local church. Success on a larger scale could be detrimental to your survival.
Our jobs are to pray for those in the public light. Artists and personalities who represent the Kingdom face more temptations and opportunities to fall than you could ever imagine. What you see on the stage or in the pulpit, for many, is nothing compared to what happens behind the scenes. This year alone has seen artists endure rather public scrutiny for private indiscretions. In addition, the year has and will see artists return from these situations to places of prominence. Strangely enough, when secular artists undergo situational challenges, the world encourages and supports their comebacks. However, when the same types of comebacks occur in the Kingdom, believers can be far more skeptical and much less accepting.
Keep this in mind. By the time the story hits your ears and eyes, it's already old. Most artists and personalities in our genre are in some way connected to a local body of believers. Equally as important, they are connected to Christ. Consider how quickly you ask for forgiveness when a situation happens in your life.
The process of restoration is the same for everyone. If you can be forgiven in the blink of an eye, so can a public figure. The job of the believer is not to be the judge and jury. That position gets filled once we get to Heaven. Here on Earth, we are to be repairers and not destroyers. We are to build and not demolish. Don't struggle with an identity crisis.
As Christians, we are to be followers and imitators of Christ. Christ's mission was to reconcile the world to its Creator. That too is our job. We are to forgive and restore and allow the Holy Spirit to do His job.
As we watch redeemed artists and personalities stand before us, consider yourselves. Remember, you too are a product of redemption.
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