I begin first with an analogy from the physical realm. There’s a business idea out there that some businesses out there are “too big to fail.” There’s even an investopedia definition of this economic term:
“Too big to fail” is the idea that specific businesses, such as the biggest banks, are so vital to the U.S. economy that it would be disastrous if they went bankrupt. The government would provide bailouts to protect creditors against losses and enable managers to retain their high wages and bonuses.
Of course the idea of “too big to fail” is a dangerous mentality for those in the leadership of these big businesses, because there is less incentive for them to do the right thing and more incentive to take irrational risks because there’s always a safety net of the American tax payer. In the end we pay for these business mistakes instead of the businesses and the business leaders.
This leads to a corollary that there are some people who are “too big to jail.” For instance, recently Green Party’s candidate Jill Stein have pointed out how Hillary was ‘too big to jail’ in email case. This isn’t just with Hillary Clinton, its been true with other federal government bureaucrats too.
I believe many Christians believe there’s something wrong with the mentality of “too big to fail” and “too big to jail” in the examples mentioned. But when it comes to the spiritual realm of Christians, some have adopted the very mentality that they reject in other sphere.
In the Christian world, the mentality is that there are Christians who are doing God’s work or some Christian ministry that are “too big to nail.” That is, there’s the assumption that some people are so needed and used by God, they are above criticism. Above being pointed out for their sins. Christians might not use the term “too big to nail,” but they use the term “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.” The person in question is doing the Lord’s work. But then there’s serious issues and sins. Why do we assume they are still the Lord’s annointed as oppose to the person Jesus described in Matthew 7:21-23?
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
As seen from the words of Jesus, Jesus weighs the practice of lawlessness as serious enough more than the miraculous ministry that the person could point out.
But maybe you’re among those Christians who agree that there’s something problematic of saying “Touch not the Lord’s annointed.” But then you still have a pet preacher or Christian discernment talking head or blogger…and when problems are pointed out of that leader, you say, “Yeah, but…” You start thinking “We need that guy to point out error.” Or “We need that guy, or where else will I get the truth?” Again the mentality of “too big to nail” come up again.
No Christian is too big to be above correction and the discipline of the Lord. No Christian celebrity. No theologian. No Christian leader. No preacher. No pastor. No teacher. No elder. No deacon. No evangelist. Sometimes the way sins are exposed, it seems that the verse is true, God’s judgment begins in His Household. We can never look the other way or not lovingly confront someone just because we think that they are too important to the Lord’s work. We must be biblically faithful and not just pragmatic.
Readers, we have seen the danger of the mentality of “too big to fail,” “too big to jail,” and “too big to nail.” Yet we must also remember that there’s no sin that’s too big to be nailed to the cross. We are all sinners. I’m a sinner, this post is not a holier than thou. We all need God’s grace. We all need to seek God’s forgiveness of our sins through God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. If we trust in Christ’s work on the cross for our sins, He counts no longer our sins against us. Those sins are not counted against us as an impediment against our walk and relationship with God. But that does not mean there your form of ministry remains the same if your sins are serious enough for removal of certain kinds of ministry. Our walk with the Lord is more important than what we do for Him. Sometimes our work for Him can become a greater idol than God Himself.
Those who think they are too big to nail, please see the examples of Scriptures. The temple was big, but not too big to be destroyed. David was the man, but not a man that God wouldn’t discipline. Peter was the leader of leading apostles, but was not immune from God sending Paul to confront and plead. Please be renewed by the Scriptures, please hear the criticisms and prayerfully consider if it is true. Please confess and repent and discover anew God’s grace.