|Formerly Christian band Under Oath|
Even more outrageous was the hate and vitriol Chamberlain received from the Christian community at large. Chamberlain recounted how he was reviled and attacked during his very public bout with addiction. Here is a revelation: Christians struggle with sin, just like everyone else, and before you get all self righteous, would you be willing to share your Saturday night activities, Netflix watchlist or internet browsing history with your church leaders? Jesus said it best, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone."
Of course, there is the debate as to whether or not Chamberlain, now a self proclaimed atheist, was ever actually a Christian. The theology behind that question goes way deeper than a simple eternal security conversation. Laying theology aside for just a moment, my immediate concern here is how can we better serve those who struggle within the Body of Christ?
Chamberlain's story is not isolated nor rare. I am routinely meeting people who have been shunned or alienated within the church because it is easier to trim the fat than to actually get involved in people's lives. I have personally served in a church where the spiritually needy were shoved aside, or even out, while those who contributed were lauded and supported, even when they were of questionable character. I myself experienced the same isolation, in that church, when my commitment to my family was criticized as interfering with my commitment to that church.
The Church must do better to serve those within who struggle. We must consider each member a vital part of the Body of Christ and relate to their personal struggles and setbacks the same way we would tend to a broken or pained body part. If we were as quick to sever body parts as we are to sever struggling parts of the Body of Christ, we would all be in various states of amputation and not functioning well at all. Yes, there are times when a diseased body part must be removed, but always as a last resort and after all method's of treatment designed to save the part are exhausted. It must be the same within the Body of Christ. How easy is it to cut someone off when you do not consider them vital? What happens when you are the one struggling and deemed unnecessary because you are no longer contributing? The Spencer Chamberlain's are vital and the church is now without his unique role.
Perspective is everything. Seeing one another as vital members of the same body will go a long way to helping us love the way we are commanded in scripture. 1 John is a great place to learn the type of sacrificial, others centered love God expects from His children. Jesus said, "they will know you by your love for one another." Let that sink in for a minute... Where would Spencer Chamberlain be today if he experienced this kind of love from his so called brothers and sisters in Christ?
When you see your brother or sister struggling, remember Spencer Chamberlain, consider where his isolation led him. Pray you would be part of the solution and not the problem. See your struggling brother or sister as a vital part and think how you would want to be treated in a similar situation. Pray for Spencer Chamberlain that he may reconnect with a Savior whose people let him down.
Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!