Last night as a football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns was nearly over and the outcome decided, a player on the Browns, Myles Garrett, ripped the helmet off of the Steelers’ quarterback and hit him in the head with it. It was a terrible, vicious act. A brawl briefly ensued. It will be remembered as a sad chapter in this NFL season. Thankfully, Mason Rudolph didn’t appear to be hurt by the action
After the game, when cooler minds prevailed, Myles Garrett said he regretted his actions. I’m sure he does. But that does not negate the consequences of his behavior and no doubt the league will promptly suspended Garrett for a lengthy period of time.
It doesn’t take long for a thoughtless or mindless or sinful act to disrupt a lifetime of action. Sadly, I have seen this truth played out over and over again in the church. Pastors and laymen who have lived for Jesus in a weak brief moment give into temptation and their witness, reputation, ministry, and sometimes their family and the future are forever devastated. Like Myles Garrett, they regret their actions but it’s too late.
It’s not too late for God to forgive, but sometimes it’s impossible to repair the damage. Like Humpty Dumpty, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot make the situation right again. That’s the trouble with sin: it messes everything up. It doesn’t just effect the sinner. The ripple effects of sinful behavior can last years. Sin takes us farther than we ever wanted to go, and damages people more than we ever thought it could.
Leaders, pastors, board members are not immune to temptation (you know this truth, but it bears repeating). One brief stupid moment can ruin a lifetime of good work. Run away from temptation. Do not think you are strong enough or spiritual enough to “handle” the enticement of the evil one. You aren’t, but Jesus is. Stay close to Jesus!
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13