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Is it common to excuse sin like Robert Morris and Tony Evans?

Founding pastor of the 36,000-member Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, Robert Morris, tells his congregation on Saturday October 14, 2017.
Founding pastor of the 36,000-member Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, Robert Morris, tells his congregation on Saturday October 14, 2017. | (Photo: Screen shot via Gateway Church)

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). 

As I read the recent indiscretions of Tony Evans and Robert Morris, I looked at myself in the mirror and asked God two rhetorical questions:

“Am I like that? Am I capable of such a fall from grace?”

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I really did not need an answer as my spirit heard God replying, “Do you really need me to answer that?”

No, was my response, just thinking out loud, I guess.

A common thread runs through the lives of every human being since the fall of Adam and Eve — this propensity to sin and our willingness to resort to extreme measures to cover up our moral failings.

Tony Evans constantly reminds us that his distant foible was not a crime.

Robert Morris mentions his long-ago missteps was with a young lady, not a child of 12, and did not include intercourse.

Do you see something of a pattern here?

Nothing has changed. Ever since our eviction from the Garden of Eden, we have not created a new playbook to explain away our shortcomings and misdeeds. 

We continue to use the same old, tired three-step process. It did not work then and it still does not work now.

1. Evade responsibility and do whatever is necessary to conceal wrongdoing

David, Uriah the Hittite and Bathsheba should come to mind. If you recall, David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. He was one of David's mighty men, so loyal that he would give his life for his king. The adulterous escapade resulted in Bathsheba becoming pregnant and panicked David ordered Uriah from the battlefield with the intent of making him drunk so that he would go home and sleep with his wife and, voila, the whole messy, stinking episode would disappear like a puff of smoke.

Well, things did not work out as planned and David subsequently sent a note to Joab, his field commander, to instruct him to set Uriah at the front where the battle was raging. He would then retire from him, and he would be overwhelmed and killed. To add insult to injury, David sent the message to Joab by the hand of Uriah.

As you would imagine, a holy God could not allow this despicable atrocity to go unrecognized and unpunished. You can read a full account of this dreadful occurrence in 2 Samuel 11 and 12.

2. Minimize participation in the sinful transaction and pass the blame on someone else 

Adam chastised God for his sin of eating the forbidden fruit by declaring, “The woman you gave me, gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.”

Eve replied, “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.”

In Exodus 32, we read that Moses delayed his coming down from the mountain after communing with God. The children of Israel decided to make their own God to lead them. They enlisted Aaron, Moses’ brother and first high priest of Israel in the effort to construct this golden idol. He instructed them to use the gold that God had caused to fall into their hands after He had paralyzed the Egyptians with fear. The Egyptians were so anxious to be rid of the people who had brought the plague of the death of firstborn upon their land, that they gave them everything of value in their houses to hasten these people out of their land.

As he came near the camp, Moses heard the singing and saw the dancing as the people reveled in their wrongdoing. After completely and utterly destroying this abomination, in disgust and disappointment, Moses turned to his brother and asked, “What did these people do to you that you have brought so great sin upon them?”

Aaron's excuse: “Do not be angry, my Lord. You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So, I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

There is something worth noting here. 

Often, we are so overwhelmed by our desire to sin that we ignore or become oblivious to the deadly consequences that will befall the people closest to us. The Israelites and Aaron placed Moses between them and the wrath of God.  

Moses desperately returned to God on the mountain and declared, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin — but if not, then blot my name out of the book you have written.”

3. Seek to become the victim

Distract from the principal victim in the case and make the injustice and inconvenience visited upon your life the main focus. Engage other people in your efforts to accuse the accuser. Highlight all the positive things in your life and note your noble contributions to society. Denigrate and dismiss the person trying to hold you accountable as a scourge on society, a gold digger out to ruin the life of a God-fearing innocent man or woman of God.

Do you see any examples of that type of behavior?

We can be very objective and clear-minded when pointing out the sins of others and how they should humble themselves and follow the dictates of Scripture. But we can't follow that same process when facing our own sins.  

Look at all the men in the news today and those of the past. How many can you cite that follow this admonition?

"Stop trying to prove you are right. Just say you are sorry and move on.

How wonderful life could be if all God's children could find and develop the courage to utter three simple phrases:

I was wrong.

I am sorry.

Please forgive me.

These are healing, miraculous words inspired by a God who is full of compassion and mercy.

Yes, there will be consequences.  Yet the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us. We all need to remember everything in this world is temporary and fleeting. In eternity, there is more at stake than our present discomfort.

Livingstone Knowles is a husband, father and prison minister with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. He pens a regular column called Just Thinking. He is also the co-author of HOLA America: Guts, Grit, Grind and Further Traits in the Successful American Immigrant and the online course by the same name.

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