There are mistakes and then there are big mistakes. A small mistake...
First of all, it's important to say that sin is sin. Telling a lie is just as wrong as cheating on your partner. One could argue that no sin is bigger than another, as long as it's a mistake and not a lifestyle. For a lot of us, Jesus is our ultimate inspiration, and rightly so. He walked the earth obediently without committing a single sin, and sacrificed himself for us all. We are able to live life with purpose because of his perfect example.
Jesus dying on the cross in our place ensures that we can move on with life but it doesn’t mean life is easy. There are trials and tribulations that we have to overcome and we should consistently want to better ourselves. As well as looking to Jesus for guidance, it is perfectly acceptable to find inspiration from the way others live their lives. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela are people who have gone down in history as extremely influential role model's but it’s important to note that they weren’t perfect.
Everyone makes mistakes and as humans we have the tendency to categorise them into ‘big mistakes’ or ‘small mistakes’ but they’re all mistakes none the less in God’s eyes. This doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing when our favourite role model falls short. In fact, for some of us, it’s devastating. Israel Houghton shocked the world when he announced he was divorcing his wife of 20 years because of him being unfaithful to her. He received supportive comments and judgemental comments, so it begs the question, how should we react when our favourite Christian role model makes a big mistake?
God is full of grace and mercy and he is the answer to all of our needs and wants. He is able to restore the broken hearted and He truly cares for His people. Why don’t you pray for God to pour out His love and forgiveness on all the people involved in the situation? Ask God to help your role model through their troublesome times. Our natural reaction can sometimes be to cast judgement or gossip, but we should always endeavour to make prayer the first thing we do.
THINK ABOUT YOUR STRUGGLES
Ultimately, no human is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. You may not struggle with cheating on your spouse but the chances are, you struggle with something else. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if people judged you and wrote you off after every mistake you made. When your role model disappoints you, why don’t you think about your weaknesses and how hard it is to overcome them sometimes? That will enable you to show grace, compassion, and understanding to others.
REMIND YOURSELF OF THE TRUTH
Often, when our favourite Christian role models make a mistake, some of us decide to boycott them or to stop supporting anything that person ever did. We need to remind ourselves that the truth is still the truth. Our role models are just hands, feet, and mouthpieces that God uses to spread His word and His love. We were never supposed to be praising the role model. (We’re supposed to be praising the God the role model was telling us about). If a role model said ‘God loves you’ and made a mistake after that sentence, the sentence is still true. Regardless of the mistakes people make, the truth of Jesus will always remain.
LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES
A wise man learns from the mistakes of others. When you see the effect a mistake can have on a person, their friends, and their family, let it inspire you to learn from where others have gone wrong. What got them into that position? What were the steps that had to be taken in order to make the mistake? Think about the potential pitfalls your role models may have faced, and trying toput barriers in place so that you don’t have to experience the same things.
SEND THEM AN ENCOURAGING MESSAGE
So many opinions and views are shared over social media. We live in a world where most of our role models have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the list goes on. It’s likely that if a public figure is exposed or has controversy surrounding them, they’ll be getting quite a few negative and judgemental messages. Why don’t you go against the grain, and send a message of encouragement. Let them know you’re praying for them and wish them well.