I attended Anderson University from 1989-1991 before heading off to Furman. While at Anderson, I met a guy named Perry Noble. We weren't best friends, but I was around him several times. After I left Anderson, I never saw Perry again. But I followed him online while he started and served as the pastor of Newspring Church.
Earlier today, it was announced that Perry's ministry has come to an end at Newspring. Apparently he has abused alcohol, and that created further problems. I don't know any more details, and that's ok with me. It's none of my business, and I would rather not know.
But there are some things I do know....
Perry needs our prayers. We should lift him up to the Lord and ask for His healing during this hurtful time. Only God can fix this, and God is who we mostly need to talk with about it.
Perry is no worse than you and me. We all are sinners. We all do wrong. Some people drink too much. Some people gossip. Some people have an affair. Some people are full of pride. While different people do different things, all people sin one way or another. So none of us should look down on Perry. I know I won't. The way I see it, we all are sinners in need of God's forgiveness.
Perry needs friends who care about him. While everyone faces consequences for doing wrong, everyone also needs someone to love them and stick with them. A true friend will stay with those who fail and do wrong. A true friend will say, "I still love you anyway." Perry needs that, and so do we.
Perry needs help rather than condemnation. I'm glad to see that he is already getting professional help with his struggles. That's a smart move! Whenever we see someone struggling, let's not kick them while they're down. Let's not shoot our wounded. Instead, let's make sure they get whatever help they need to get back onto their feet. Let's help them get well and live again.
Finally, let me address Perry: Perry, I know there is a chance you may never see this. But I do wish you well. And I love you as a brother in Christ. Right now, you're hurting. But my prayer is that God will comfort you, your wife, and your child. And I'm sure you're probably beating yourself up a little bit too. Believe me, I've been there. I know what shame and regret feel like after failing morally. But let me remind you of this: God, who still loves you, is always willing to forgive you. He can wipe away your sin and help you move forward. I don't condemn you. I don't look down on you. And I don't judge you. Not at all. But I do wish God's very, very best for you. I love a good comeback story! And my desire is to see a good one in your life. Hang in there man. Look to Jesus. Love your wife and kid. Remember that better days are ahead for you in Jesus! P.S. This experience does not define your whole life. It's only one season. So move on and do something great, with God's help, in the next chapter of your life's story.