Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spiritual Lepers

In the time of Jesus, lepers were treated worse than animals. They were shunned and often chased out of the community. To such extent, that quite a few leper colonies were set up outside the towns and cities. In these remote places, the lepers depend upon each other to survive. The close family members would bring foods and thus these rejects of society survived in their remote abodes.

Another thing that the lepers had to do was to put on torn clothing. This was not because they were too poor to wear better clothing, but it as a sign of repentance. In ancient Israel, the people had the concept that leprosy was a punishment from God for certain sins in the leper's life. Therefore, the poor lepers had to live in perpetual repentance.

Today, there is a group of men and women being treated in similar fashion. These are the spiritual lepers. They may at one time, be church leaders or even pastors of large congregations. However, because of their carelessness and most probably stupidity, they fell into sins. Once they are exposed then immediately, they are cast out among the spiritual lepers.

Very few of these former ministers or church leaders make a comeback to normal ministry or Christian life. Those who are blessed with caring church survive and thrive well in their service to God. Others are ignored, rejected and tolerated at best. There is hardly any ministry that helps these one-time servants of the kingdom to return again to the fold.

Being a fallen but restored pastor, myself, I understand the struggles. It seems like every time, I meet former colleagues and fellow ministers, I have to put on my tattered clothes and shout, "Unclean, unclean!" It could be my imagination or guilt that triggers such thought.

Today, my ministry among the spiritual lepers is more important than ever, Why should I allow the devil to destroy the lives of these servants of God who had made grievous mistakes and commit serious sins in their lives? So for those who feel that you have been marginalized because of your previous sins, please understand that God is more loving and forgiving than you think. As long as you have repented of your sins, you, like all others, have been imputed with the righteousness of Christ. You do not need to go around with a guilt-feeling and shout, "unclean, unclean". You are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and it is powerful enough to clean you thoroughly. If there be any judgment made upon you now then that judgment will be made upon Christ. You belong to Him and no one else.

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