I think sometimes when “great” men fall, we often vilify and discount anything good they may have done in their life.
I recently read of the confirmation of Ravi Zacharias’ transgressions and it broke my heart. He was always someone I thought of as a person of integrity and an amazing apologist for intellectualism in Christianity. So many good things for the Lord that he did. So many lives changed. It made me sorrow to think that his unconfessed transgressions could very well change hearts against the Lord instead of for.
As I pondered these things and wondered at them and how great men often fall to “great sins” I thought of David. David was a “man after God’s own heart.” He was the author of so many Psalms and the subject of God’s favor and delight. But David was not perfect. He was often deceitful and angry, and we all know of his “great sin” with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. Murder! David was caught in his sin, Nathan shamed him publicly and severely! The punishment was severe as well. But here’s the thing… God still used David. We still cite him as an example of a man to aspire to. His Psalms show us the depths of his despair, his anguish. But they also show us the depths of God’s love for him. And forgiveness…ah, forgiveness. Such a misunderstood concept. We often think, how can God forgive such a selfish, hypocritical sin? Does this mean that it was okay for him to sin this way? Lord, no! Consequences still stand. Names are tarnished, trust is broken, people are hurt, punishment is given. Just look at David. Not only did he lose the new life of his child from Bathsheba, but his other children saw his acts and were warped by it as well. Can you imagine how he may have lost the trust of his captains and friends as well? What would Jonathan have said to him if he still lived?
But because of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness, I have hope. Hope because from a broken life such as David’s, came so much good. So many Psalms that we sing, that give us strength, that give us comfort. We see a humble shepherd made great, and who birthed a nation, the forefather of our Savior! We see a man made obedient, in spite of himself.
So I think about great men today who have failed, or even regular guys who have failed. Can God make something beautiful out of the brokenness of their lives? Ravi Zachariah brought thousands to the Lord, speaking many times of God’s grace and forgiveness of sins. Could he have been speaking to himself as well? Does his sin sadden and anger me? Absolutely. But the power of God is greater than sin. Jesus forgave the very men who killed him, as they were killing him. How much more then can we see the good and the whole, even in the life of the broken.