the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

The “Minister” With AIDS
October 14, 2008, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I received an email today entitled “Atlanta Minister w/ AIDS – Please Read & Spread the Word!!!!!” My first thought was, “How did he get AIDS?” Then I began to think about all the Pastors and the horror stories I heard about how they’re unfaithful to their wives and just thought to myself, “This one messed with the wrong person.” Then I go on to read the email and discover that he’s not a Pastor (I had assumed the word minister and pastor were interchangeable in this context) but he was actually the chairman of the Deacon Board at his church.

I’ll sum up the email in a few sentences for you. This man was dating a woman whom he said he loved and cared for but would every now-and-again would see another woman he wanted to “hit it”. So they would sleep together and he would let these different women know that he had a girlfriend and this in his mind made everything ok. One of the women he slept with gave him the HIV virus and as of 7 months ago he now has full blown AIDS. He also mentions a few times that he’s been saved and tithing for 7 years and that he’s a God fearing man and a good man. After much reflection it occurred to me that I had assumed that all these things had happen while he was saved and not beforehand. So I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that all these things happened years ago when he wasn’t saved and now he’s cleaned up his act. But it got me thinking…

I’m thinking about how people are incredibly good at doing one thing in church (or around church people) and leaving and doing the polar opposite. I think we get in a very dangerous place when we know that what we’re doing is wrong and yet continue in our sin patterns (In other words, when we ignore the Holy Spirit). I can honestly say that there have been issues in my life where I knew the right thing to do, or I knew the wrong thing to do and I did it anyway because it made me feel good temporarily.

I also think it’s a shame that there are people serving in ministry, and in some cases leadership positions, who are dealing with this type of sin (fornication). Now, no sin is technically “greater” than any other, however I think there are sins that can carry more tangible or visible consequences, in this case it could be anything from STDs and HIV to an unwanted pregnancy and/or abortion. I think it also shows weakness and lack of leadership when these “moral failure” type issues are not addressed and allowed to be swept under the rug. Being one who serves in a leadership capacity, I understand that God will judge me more severely because to whom much is given, much is required. I can only imagine if someone who was under my leadership came to me and told me about a moral failure. I would have to look back and reflect on whether I had adequately done my job.

I love what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:3,4a, “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.” Let that be how I live my life… where no one would stumble because of my foolishness. But in order for that to be the case, I must understand that the choices that I make are about more than me and what I think or feel is right for that moment. I must think beyond myself and think about what someone else might say if they saw me making a particular choice


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