When Man becomes Judge – Eddie Long in the spotlight

Personal Thoughts

EddieLong(1) It was the afternoon of thursday Sept 23rd, one of those rare days when I decided to watch some afternoon TV. I started with Oprah at 4pm, immediately following was the local evening news. The first story that flashed was about the lawsuits that had been filed earlier in the week against Atlanta based mega-church pastor Bishop Eddie Long alleging that he had had improper relations with young men whom he should have been mentoring.  In the same news article, they showed images of him visiting his 1.4 million dollar home that day arriving in a dark window tinted SUV, his wife following in a BMW as they sneaked into their home, quickly closing the garage doors to shut out the news media. An overwhelming feeling of disbelief and sadness came over me as first I imagined the pain his family would be going through, and then I started to think – "wow, how could he do this to young men who looked up to him? What a betrayal." Then I went on to thinking, "what if he is innocent?"

A 3rd lawsuit was to be filed by another young man the next day, alledging that Long had sexually abused him on several occasions including while they were on a trip to Africa.

Although this incident has sparked a debate on homosexuality especially because Long was a strong voice against this behavior/lifestyle, the million dollar question remains: Did the Bishop use innocent, voiceless young men to satisfy sexual fantasies in the closet, while publicly denouncing homosexuality? (had the Bishop become the hunter who preyed on the sheep he was supposed to be protecting?) OR is this just an attack against a man of God using the very thing he stood against as the ultimate tool to damage him and bring down his ministry?

Be reminded that Bishop Long became Pastor of New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia (in the outskirts of Atlanta) in 1987, with 300 members at the time. Over the years, he built it into an internationally recognized mega church with a membership of about 25,ooo. He counsels heads of states, he is known to be the spiritual leader for celebrities, his sermons are run on major christian channels worldwide and he has a following that loves and looks up to him, tightly bonded by his influence as spiritual godfather to God's flock.

Charismatic, yes! Criminal … unknown. During these past days despite all the speculation about this incident that has rocked society and the black church especially, with this man of God being tried in the media and pictures surfacing as proof of his guilt, I have personally refrained from passing any judgement as much as it is satisfying to sit on the high chair of judgement for 3 main reasons:

1. 1Chronicles 16:22 – "touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm." Is Long truly annointed? Well, I would say Bishop Long is a man of God, because he is a teacher/pastor of the Word, a shepherd of his church for all his teachings are bible based. Whether he is real or not, whether he is guilty or not, as christians, let's give God an opportunity to be the judge. Because our God is able, if Bishop preyed on these young men, he will be surely found guilty and this ministry built on a false foundation will be restructured to fit the principles of Yahweh. If Eddie Long is innocent, he will be vindicated and his accusers will come forward and recant their accusations before the whole world for the simple reason that the Word in 1Chronicles 16:22 stands true.  The truth is known to God, Eddie Long and those young men. None of us could possibly tell.

2. John 19: 6: When the chief priest and officers saw Jesus, they shouted 'Nail him to the cross! Nail him to the cross!' Pilate said to them, 'Take him and nail him to a cross. I see nothing wrong with him.' Jesus-fallen

The court of public opinion is a dangerous place to be tried. I remember the time when Michael  Jackson was dragged through courts, lost millions of dollars, lost his health, and wept publicly over accusations made against him that he molested young boys, the very children he wanted to give so much to, and to be surrounded by. Years later, long before he was declared 'not guilty' in the court of law, Jackson had already been tried, persecuted, and sentenced in the court of public opinion. That was a lesson learned, never to be forgotten.

3. "I have been wrongfully judged, and so I hesitate to judge others," Lema

Have accusations ever been made against you that you knew where false but which evidence presented by the perpetrators to an un-informed judgemental public proved otherwise? Leaders, active members of society often suffer this demoralizing, painful and often lonely experience … wild accusations thrown at them, a dissection of their lives and motives by the general public.  How about in your day-to-day interactions with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers; have you ever been misjudged, wrongfully accused? Let's just say you were in fact 'guilty', did you wish for forgiveness and some understanding? Such experiences teach us to not rush to judgement of another. Although we are often forced to take positions, to express opinions, let's be guided my principles of love. It's a learning process, especially to me.

And so, although the Eddie Long's story is hot and juicy at the moment, the wheels of time will turn either in his favor or against him. To those who feel hurt, outraged, curious, answers will come with time. Let's remember that there are people and families that are suffering because of this and let's be kind.

Here are excepts of Long's address to the 10,000 gathered at his church New Birth Baptist this morning:

"I have never portrayed myself as a perfect man, but I am not the man that is being portrayed on the television. That is not me! That is not me!"

"I am not going to try this case in the media. It will be dealt with in the court of justice."

"I have been accused, I am under attack. I am not a perfect man, but this thing I am going to fight. I feel like David against Goliath, but I have 5 rocks …"

May God help us all!

7 Comments

  1. Well said Lema. “Love covers a multitude of sins” Be it that of Bishop Long ( if he is guilty) or those young men( if they are coking up a story), instead of judgement can we show love? Can any of us really throw the first stone on either of those parties? Are their sins “worse” than our little lies, half truths, gossip, pride…?
    Yes as a Man of God he will need to be accountable if the accusation were true but either way, he and his family as well as those young men and their family need God grace and mercies like the rest of us
    Let’s take a page out of David’s book. Although Saul was “guilty” he was still God anointed and David chose not touch him and Let God deal with him. By not doing that are we not committing also a sin? or it is okay because it is a “small sin”

  2. Hmmm, powerful. Now u got me thinking – If Saul of all could be left alone, who really deserves to be ‘touched?’ That’s an even deeper angle I failed to look at. Thanks for shinning the light, girl. They and us deserve His grace and mercy!

  3. I am of the same opinion Marie, we should focus more on God’s word that is thought by this man of God and how he continue to win souls for God’s vineyard. We see this in the world today and the media likes stories like this because they make them sell. I strongly believe that God’s love and mercy shall prevail in this issue. If I was to talk to Bishop Long, I would tell him keep on moving for God will arise and your enemies will scatter.

  4. Great post Lema! Ok. We will stop judging Mr. Long. He did nothing wrong. Even if he did, we will keep our mouths shut.
    But can you write a separate blog post on a “man of God” sending pictures of his tight and bulging muscles to young boys? Thanks!

  5. lol. Sis Nic, was just giving my ‘2 cents’ to face2face readers. But that sounds like a good article. Would u like to write it? This is a learning experience for all of us. Honestly, no offense intended … inspired by my personal experiences, was throwing in a bible-based word of caution. That’s all.

  6. Lema, you are welcome. I always marvel as how quick we are to talk about people in position, yes the bible says that they are going to be held accountable, but to God. He knows the hearts! If not how could we explain that the “murderer” and “adulterous” David is the only one in the Bible God refers to as ” the man after his own heart? “. He looks at the heart and we can see that of Bishop Long or those young men for that matter.
    Nicoline, I love your sense of humor! lol! I am curious to see how you would address that aspect though. There is so much you can look at!!!

  7. It is interesting that this case of Bishop Long is being revisited now. We as christians know that ” all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” We are cautioned to not judge so as not to be judged. Judgement and vengeance is of God who has reserved it for the end of time when the purpose of each act shall show their eternal meaning. Thank you saying that God considered David, a sinful king, a man after his heart. His forebear Abraham was considered God’s friend because of his faith. If you have been to a modern court of law you will understand legal justice is far from just and may not necessarily be perfect and fair in spite of the rigors of due process. How more street justice or the court of public opinion. Imagine Paul a persecutor becoming the greatest champion of Christaindom – amazing grace!God also justifies the sinful and downtrodden he calls.Galatian6:1-2 adminishes that we restore the sinner ever so gently.Let us show understanding and moderation in these cases. Thank you.

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