Just the other day (October 28, 2011) a former youth pastor at a large church in south Florida was sentenced to 28 years, 10 months in prison for sexual misconduct with a member of the youth group. He was 28 and she was 14 at the time of the crime.
This man did a terrible thing, deserving of punishment. I make no comment on any part of the case or the sentence.
What I do wish to mention is this statement from the corresponding newspaper article: [The senior pastor] said the church has had no direct contact with [the former youth pastor] since his arrest in November 2009, focusing its attention on helping the victim.
Certainly the victim and her family have needed, and will continue to need much help and care from their church community. But in a congregation of nearly 7,000, couldn’t someone be designated to support the young man involved? The absence of this seems tragic.
Jesus was called the friend of sinners. It was a title spit out in contempt by religious people who viewed involvement with reprobates as guilt by association, a soft stance on the law, and bad politics … perhaps similar to thoughts going through the minds of the leaders in the church mentioned above.
I’ve been a victim of sinful acts a few times, and I’ve known some who’ve been the injured party as well. Thank God and His people for being there at those moments of need. The instances in which I’ve been a sinner, however, outnumber any other situation a million to one. Fortunately a few humans, and one God who took the form of man, remain my friend.