It was reported that the founding pastor of the world’s largest mega church is being charged with embezzlement to the sum of 12 million US dollars.

It is not a good time to be labelled Christian.

Photo: Flickmor
Photo: Flickmor

David Yonggi Cho, founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church, has been sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling 13 billion won (12 million USD) from his church funds.

While this is terrible and devastating news for the Yoido Full Gospel Church, it is bad news for the rest of us. This is bad news for Christians. Have you noticed when the famous and well known Christians do something wrong, all Christians get a bad wrap. Suddenly we are all embezzling or we are all guilty of cheating on our spouses.

There are times when being a Christian is a bad thing. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are.

So what do we do? How do we move forward after a PR catastrophe like this?

We should handle things like this with a sense of humility.

Humility isn’t our go-to response when someone hurts us, damages our reputation, or makes us look bad. Normally there is a lot of pride and self righteousness. When we hear that someone embezzled 12 million US dollars, we often react like this:

“I would never do that.”

“You’d never see me in a position when I would take advantage of people like that.”

“I’m glad I’m not a terrible person like him.”

Either you have said these words, you’ve thought them or you have stood in the crowd when they were declared.

However, these are not Christ-like responses.

Paul reminds the church in Rome.

“…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…(Romans 3:23 NASB)”

It may not be embezzlement that you are guilty of, but guaranteed you are guilty of some sin. Maybe its lying, an addiction to pornography, drug abuse, theft; take your pick, you have sinned.

All have sinned. All of us are guilty of committing it.

To twist a quote, we are all filled with a thousand sins, so tread carefully. You are not as innocent as you think you are.

While this David Yonggi Cho’s sin may seem obvious, be careful that you don’t hit someone with the beam in your own eye. We have sinned and shouldn’t be lording over people when they stumble and fall.

Rather we should humble ourselves and realize we are just as capable of something this bad. We are all able to damage the name of Christ and Christians with one bad decision.

“…for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…(Romans 3:23 NASB)”

When Christians hurt our image, when someone does something that makes our name a bad label, we need walk about with a great sense of humbleness.

Photo: Roving I
Photo: Roving I

After we have started to walk with humility, then we can do as Jesus taught us.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12).”

In the small, but powerful book The Grace and Truth Paradox, Randy Alcorn shares this story.

Wesley Allan Dodd tortured, molested and murdered three boys in Vancouver, Washington, fifteen miles from our home.

Dodd was scheduled to be hanged…shortly after midnight, January 4, 1993.

At dinner that evening, both our daughters…prayed earnestly that Dodd would repent and place his faith in Christ before he died. I agreed with their prayer…but only because I knew I should.

I stayed up and watched…one of [the TV news reporters] read Dodd’s last words: ‘I had thought there was no hope and no peace. I was wrong. I have found hope and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gasps and groans erupted from the gallery. The anger was palpable. How dare someone who has done anything so terrible say he has found hope and peace in Jesus?

Shut up and go to hell, child killer – you won’t get off so easy!

The idea of God’s offering grace to Dodd was utterly offensive.

And yet..didn’t Jesus die for Dodd’s sins just as He did for mine?

I’d imagined the distance between Dodd and me as the difference between the South and North Poles. But when you consider God’s viewpoint…that distance is negligible. In my standing before a holy God, apart from Christ…I am Dodd. I am Dahmer. I am Mao.

My sins and yours [were] nailed Jesus to that cross as surely as the sins of any child killer, terrorist, or genocidal tyrant.

[Yet] Jesus came full of grace…’From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another (John 1:16).’

Once Randy Alcorn realized that he was as bad as Dodd, once he humbled himself, he was able to offer forgiveness. Alcorn realized that he had been the recipient of blessing after blessing, grace after grace, forgiveness after forgiveness. And so was Dodd.

When we understand that we are just as big a sinner as Dodd or as David Yonggi Cho, once we have realized the level of grace extended to us, we can move forward to forgiving one another.

We extend to others the grace that has been afforded to us. God has shown us greater mercy and forgiveness, that while we were still sinners, still caught up in the world, God offered us forgiveness. He died for us that our sins would be absolved, removed, destroyed.

God forgave us our sins, and now implores us to do the same.

When a brother or sister in Christ sins, our reaction should be forgiveness.

It should be a loving hug, a welcoming back into our community despite what they have done.

It should be the attitude of our lives, a moving past the point of indiscretion, and not lording the sin over anyone’s head, or shoving our self righteousness down their throats.

It should be a lifestyle choice of always being ready to say, “It’s okay. We all mess up sometimes.”

Why? Because we understand that we have been shown grace and now we will show it.

Christians should be living and exuding forgiveness on every level and in every situation.

Even when a Christian makes us look bad, or does something to hurt the name Christian.

We should always react with forgiveness.

The saga with David Yonggi Cho continues with news always coming out about the conditions of his prision sentence and how other Christians are reacting to the news. Whatever happens this is how we should react when Christians give the rest of us a bad name, with humility and forgiveness.


One thought on “When Being A Christian Is A Bad Thing

  1. Yep u r correct. We have ALL sinned. There is also no degree of sin. Paul said that if he was guilty in one point of the law that he was guilty in them all, and having had been a Pharisee prior to his conversion, I would imagine Paul knew a very good bit about “the Law.”

    Just as I wish for mercy, so may others, regardless of their “sin.” I mean, ONLY God is my judge. I’m very glad He is a merciful God. And I am happy to believe that I am His beloved child, and in me, I wish Him to be well pleased….

    Heck, if he really, really meant it when he may have asked forgiveness, I have no doubt that God would have forgiven such a horrible life as that of Hitler…or Stalin….or Mussolini…and the list goes on….how about Dahmer, Gacy, Bundy??? I do not believe that God plays favorites. Sin is sin, and repentance is repentance. Further, let us not forget that just asking for forgiveness is, in and of itself, AN act of repentance.

    Nope, none of us are better than another. GOD is THE great equalizer as far as mankind goes. He made us after all….and in the end, it is but HE who will determine our eternity.



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