If you ever wonder whether God really gives a hoo-ha or is paying attention to what’s going on down here, I got news for you: He is. How do I know? Simple. Jerry Falwell Jr.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to lambast Mr. Falwell like a lot of people are doing. Nor am I going to attack those who follow Mr. Falwell. If anything, we should pray for hm, and his family and his followers to not lose faith in God even if they have lost faith in him.
But to my initial point, here is how the Falwell Jr. scandal proves that God is keenly aware of everything. And more so, is prepared for it. And even more, more so, proactively deals with it.
In case you don’t who Jerry Falwell, Jr. is, let’s just say he is a prominent figure in the Evangelical Christian community who has taken a fervent stand against improprietous sexual behavior. This is important because Mr. Falwell has been the target of various rumors and accusations that would run counter to his public persona.
Before we continue, again, let me express that I am not making any judgement as to whether the rumors and accusations are true or not.
The latest controversy involving Mr. Falwell is an accusation that he and his wife had a long-term relationship with another man that, at least, involved sexual relations between the man and his wife. It is also intimated that Mr. Falwell participated in the relationship in the form of watching those sexual acts. Mr. Falwell has admitted his wife did have an inappropriate relationship with the man but categorically denies being involved or ever participated.
As a result of all of this, Mr. Falwell resigned as President of Liberty University, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the world.
Okay. So, there is the set up. A prominent evangelical Christian leader, thought of as one of the preeminent figures in the fight to restore family values and publicly rallied against the immorality of pre-marital sex and same-gender relationships (sexual or otherwise) who was destroyed by allegations that personally, he was involved in the very things he decried.
Now, here’s where God comes in. If you have been keeping up with the daily gospel readings the past few days, you will know that they have been focused on Jesus’ accusations of the Pharisees and scribes as being hypocrites.
In Yesterday’s gospel, Jesus say, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
Similarly, in today’s gospel, Jesus goes to on to say. “You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
Here we have the scribes and Pharisees. Two groups whose beliefs were highly based on the law and the traditions of the fathers. This would stand to reason based on Jesus’ words. It was tradition to cleanse the cup and dish before a meal. But Jesus says both the outside and the inside must be cleansed. If the outside of the cup is clean, but the inside contaminated, whatever goes into it would also become contaminated. Of course, we all know that Jesus never says what he means, but always means what he says. In this example, they (the scribes and Pharisees who, in turn, are two-thousand-year-old place holders for you and me) are the cups and dishes. And if we are not clean inside, it doesn’t matter if we are clean outside because it’s what’s inside that determines our spiritual health.
This theory applies to the quote about the tombs. But Jesus takes it one step further by stating that “…outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” We’ve gone from Jesus talking about objects to him directly referencing people – the world.
Now, let’s put the two together. Jerry Falwell, Jr. is the cup and tomb. Righteous on the outside, but on the inside, immoral (allegedly). Jesus warns us that we are to be moral inside first and, as such, outwardly, our righteousness can shine.
But, it’s not just that the gospel details a specific situation that can be applied to today’s world. Look at when this specific section of the gospel was emphasized. Over the past few days. Just as Mr. Falwell, over the past few days, has had to deal with these scathing indictments. Doesn’t it seem as though God knew all this was going happen and had, at the ready, the words that were needed to be heard right then and there.
Not only was God there for Mr. Falwell with scriptural guidance, He was also there for his wife and for this other man. And for his children, and for his followers. Those who looked up to him. Those who believed in him. Those who had faith in him and who now may be confused, discouraged or disheartened regarding their own faith.
Coincidence? No. I have come to learn there is no such thing as coincidence. It was Godcident. And that, I am Godfident of!