I just read a story and watched a video provided by the Christian Post about a 28 year old school teacher, Alicia Gray, who “plead guilty to charges of second-degree sodomy, second-degree sexual abuse and being a school employee who has had sexual contact with a student younger than 19, after she was charged last February.” The headline reads, “Church Rallies Around Teacher Who Had Sex With Student, Films Video of Her Asking for Forgiveness“.
Not surprisingly and right on schedule, some Christians have taken up their stakes to crucify this young lady and her church, Deeper Life Fellowship, for the way they handled the situation. I have grown weary of how some are so quick to pass judgment on others hearts, seemingly having the eyes to discern the hearts of those who do not meet their standards. A breeding ground for such graceless activity is among so-called “discernment circles” of the interwebs. Much of what is out there these days in terms of “discernment ministry” is akin to the gossip found in tabloids. It not only cultivates Pharisaical attitudes, but takes ones eye off of Christ and the joy and hope and peace He brings to each of His children. This is evidenced in the way some are more inclined to express what they don’t like in Christendom more than the riches and glories of Christ the Lord has so graciously given us in His Son.
The comments I have seen regarding this story range from the church not being a genuine church to Gray not showing genuine repentance and thus still being dead in her sins. After watching the video at the above link, I came to a different conclusion that may go against the grain of the gossiping “discerners” out there. Here are my thoughts as posted on facebook:
I am seeing this article posted, with folks doing what they often do best: passing judgment on this church and this young lady for what they perceive to be a lack of church discipline and lack of genuine repentance (according to their standard). Here are my thoughts as shared elsewhere:
Who is to say the church did not confront her in her sin, albeit lovingly? That they didn’t say, “we instituted church discipline” does not mean they didn’t do so. It may be they came alongside her in love (which is how church discipline begins, with the hope of forgiveness, repentance, and restoration), talked about the evidence of her not being a Christian, and further church discipline was no longer necessary as she repented and trusted Christ alone for salvation.
I clearly heard in the video that she had confessed her sin, she owned up to it, didn’t make any excuses for it, [asked forgiveness] and expressed conversion in the best way she could as an infant Christian. It seems like her conversion took place months ago, so why should she or must she express a degree of remorse on a video produced months later, to a degree that you find acceptable? She stated she is changed, she has a new identity in Christ, she’s not who she once was, and she recognizes she does not need to live up to man’s standards. I heard her trusting in the blood of Christ alone, who washed away her sins, and she is no longer under condemnation.
Yet, I see people out with pitch forks and desiring to see her church condemn her as the naysayers condemn her until they would see an acceptable level of what they consider repentance. My encouragement to anyone attempting to judge the heart of this young lady, and the church that came alongside her to love her to genuine faith, examine their own hearts for passing judgment as the likes of Monday morning quarterbacking.
It is shameful, and instead of passing judgment from the sidelines of faux discernment, pray for her, her church, and those she sinned against. She clearly desires and trusts the Lord will use this for His glory and for the good of His people, so I encourage you to join her in that.
For anyone with a genuine desire to rightly discern the situation and the context in which this video was made, just take a look at the church’s statement of faith. As one will observe, the Gospel is clearly proclaimed along with faith and repentance being the fruit of regeneration:
We believe that those who repent and forsake sin and trust Jesus Christ as Savior have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and have become new creatures, delivered from condemnation and recipients of eternal life.
If you have judged the heart of this church and young lady based on your standard, you have some repenting to do if this church practices what it preaches, which it seems they do.
I for one rejoice in what I have seen take place. This young lady was a wretched sinner who did what came natural to her as a sinner. Her life was one of disgrace, transgressions, and guilt under the just condemnation of a holy God. I have no reason to not accept her testimony of the riches of God’s grace applied to her life by the blood of Christ, and would encourage each of you who were once as she was, consider who you once were:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
I am thankful for the grace the Lord showed Alicia Gray through her church, who came alongside her to see her reconciled to the God of peace through Jesus Christ our Savior. May God also give you grace and compassion toward those who need His grace and deliverance from the bondage of their sin, and may you rejoice when He does.
Here is the video for your convenience: