You can’t read these chapters and not realize how serious God is about unrepentant sin. He punishes – without mercy – the unrepentant heart.
I read the official statement and investigative report from RZIM, the apologetics and evangelistic organization started by Ravi Zacharias. I will say that personally, Ravi’s influence has helped me to think about and define what it is I believe according to Scripture. His radio program, books, lectures and debates have encouraged me to never take what I hear at face value, but to test everything through the lens of God’s Holy Word. The man knew the Bible.
So reading that the accusations against him are true, and even more depraved than what was initially thought has been shocking to say the least. How? Why? I am angry and sad.
The RZIM organization, according to their statement, is accepting responsibility. They ask for forgiveness, not absolution.
The thing that hit me is that, in hindsight, there were signs. The people who worked with Zacharias had questions. But they rationalized Ravi’s behavior, trusted what he said, and went as far as discrediting his accusers because, after all, Ravi was their founder, a seemingly godly man, a man who knew the Bible better than the rest of us.
They couldn’t, or wouldn’t, believe Ravi could commit such awful sins. But the investigation reveals that this renowned Bible expert lived a very sinful private life. I only hope that before he died Ravi, like the thief on the cross, humbled himself and accepted the grace Jesus died to give him. If he didn’t, according to Scripture he knew so well, Ravi’s hell is more agonizing than we can imagine.
Here’s what I believe God would have us see here: He is serious about sin no matter who is sinning. And unrepentant sin is judged without mercy.
We can criticize the RZIM organization for not recognizing the signs. But are we guilty of ignoring the signs in our own lives, in the lives of our family members, in the lives of fellow believers, pastors, and teachers? Are we any less guilty of rationalizing certain behaviors than RZIM has been?
Let this be a wake-up call. If Ravi’s sin had been confronted, dozens of women could have been spared the harassment and abuse. Ravi could have repented years ago. His victims, family, friends, and the cause of Christ might not be living with the aftermath of such a devastating blow.
But I wonder what level of pain we are inflicting as well, when we turn a blind eye to sin? We need to see sin as God sees it. We need to hold each other accountable. We need to address it today, before more time passes, before more people are hurt and more consequences are faced. We need to call sin sin and, if a person refuses to repent, separate ourselves from them. We don’t do anyone any favors by ignoring sin.
If we can learn anything from the Ravi Zacharias scandal, we should see the need for calling for true repentance of believers. We (not the unsaved) need a revival in our hearts and in our churches. We (not non-believers) are too often guilty and need to confess our own sin.
We can’t continue to ignore the signs. We can’t continue to allow sin to co-exist within God’s Holy Church. We need to not only know what the Bible says, but we need to live accordingly, and demand other believers do the same.