How many of you have admired someone? What were those reasons? Was it their character? Their lifes achievements? Their political policies? Their teachings? Most of us have people that we have well and truly put on a pedestal and would follow them into the trenches, because we respect them and believe in them.
History is flush with men and women who have been held in high esteem by the world’s population, and at times we think that these people could do no wrong! Until they fall, caught up in some scandal and all of a sudden that person we respected so much, that person whose words we held onto as gospel truth is no longer that beacon of hope and trust we once held onto.
When this happens, it is absolutely heart breaking, to see people we hold in such high regard fall, is a devasting experience for all.
A fallen giant
For most of the Christian Apologetics community we are all up to date with the scandals that surround the late Ravi Zacharias. When this was first brought to my attention, I absolutely denounced it. It was slander! This was the enemy trying to bring down the legacy of a true general of the Christian faith. Many people thought as I did.
Ravi Zacharias was a beacon of hope, integrity, faith and truth for so many Christians, the beauty in which he communicated the Christian world view in seminars and debates, was so pure, so eloquent. He spoke with humble authority that slew his opponents and brought many to faith. His work, I would say has had the biggest impact on me wanting to become better at Christian Apologetics.
Then a statement confirming details of alleged sexual misconduct by Ravi Zacharias released by RZIM late last year hit me like a truck. I was grieved, heart-broken, and as I shared this story with fellow Christians who hadn’t heard about any of this, their eyes told the tale. I was angry at his behaviour and saddened for his victims.
A race well run?
What are we to do about this, how are we to react? This was a man a lot of people looked up to, who taught these absolute truths of how we should run the race, how we should live our lives for Jesus, how we should equip ourselves to defend the Faith.
If Ravi Zacharias couldn’t do it, what chance do we have? After much soul searching, I weirdly felt a sense of comfort from Ravi’s fall. I will not glorify his sin, and he should have suffered the consequences of his actions here on earth, but Ravi’s fall cemented in me the need for Jesus in my life.
How many of us are the same in public and behind closed doors? Just like the Apostle Paul struggled with the ‘thorn in his flesh’, we too, struggle with fleshy and sinful desires of our fallen nature.
I won’t stand here in judgement of Ravi, but his actions were unacceptable. This is the reason for the body of Christ to gather around each other and pray for each other, that we do not fall to our body’s sinful nature.
Who was keeping Ravi accountable? Are you surrounded by friends who are merely ‘yes men’ not willing to ruin the friendship by offering a heartfelt rebuke? Brothers and sisters, we are at war with our bodies every single day, we need Jesus, every day, and we need each other every day to help us keep each other on track to finish the race well.
While we should always respect our leadership and those we hold in high esteem, remember, they are human and are prone to make mistakes. Jesus sits on the throne, not Ravi Zacharias and not your church’s senior pastor. Pray for them, but they are not our example – only Jesus is.
So I mourn the downfall of a man who did so much for the faith, his books and seminars are still great for learning how to defend Christianity, but his actions have now undoubtedly caused great harm to his ministry, and because of this I will continue to seek Jesus in my day-to-day life as my absolute standard; I will search the scriptures and seek God, because when our leaders fall and chances are they will, Jesus never will.
Jarred is an HPE and Mathematics teacher on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he is married to Haley and has three beautiful children Chelsea, Nathan and Ryan.