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Falling from Grace
Attending church is a means for millions to fellowship with likeminded people, study the Bible, and get closer to God. Often religious leaders facilitating spiritual development fall short in behavior and words. Sometimes its shocking. Sometimes its criminal.
Part of Bible verse John 8:7, says ‘So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone...and this is when we ourselves must practice what is preached. Man is flawed. God is not. But how can you restore your faith when it seems many pastoral leaders fall far from grace?
For example, Creflo Augustus Dollar Jr., leader of mega-church, the World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga., has a congregation of about 20,000 members. The married Father of five reportedly owns luxury vehicles, a private jet, a million-dollar home, and thousands in clothing and jewelry.
In 2012, he was arrested for physically attacking his teenage daughter after they allegedly argued about her going to a party at 1 a.m. The child allegedly told police that her pastoral dad strangled her, threw her to the ground, and hit her with a shoe, with her 19-year-old sister corroborating the accusations. Dollar was charged with simple battery and cruelty to children, then released on $5,000 bail.
And in 2010, Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia was publicly accused of having had inappropriate relationships with young men and specifically, a abusive gay relationship with a teen in a new book published in 2013. Bishop Long’s wife filed for divorce in 2011.
Adding to the public relations nightmare, allegations of a financial scheme came to light as members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church lost close to $1 million collectively in a Ponzi scheme. Members have recouped some of that money in a civil suit involving Bishop Eddie Long and Ephren Taylor.
Another hefty fall from grace was with Pastor Jamal Bryant and involved an extramarital affair. It became public and believed to have been the catalyst deflated his congregation and destroyed his marriage. Today, Bryant is an outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter. But the sordid affair took a toll on his health, and his family.
Bryant lost his marriage, and many of his 12,000 church members. Today he and ex-wife, Gizelle Bryant of Real Housewife of Potomac fame are said to have a cordial relationship.
5 Strategies to Restore Your Faith
- Pray. Ask God to give you strength, courage, and comfort.
- Talk about it. Confide in trusted friends, family, and local ministries.
- Find a Hero. Seek out others you admire and interact with them. Read a book by an admired person.
- Go on Holiday. Get away. Whether its a vacation or staycation, take some time for yourself. Recharge and rejoin.
- Do Something. Volunteer. Get involved in activities to help others. Focus on the good you can do elsewhere.
And for the record, here are more ways to restore your faith when everything goes wrong.