*An introductory note: I am aware of the gravity of this suggestion, and that as a public Christian leader I am putting myself in the crosshairs here. However, if ever I do fall into sin (God keep me from it!) I hope that someone loves me & the Church of Jesus enough to put the following into practice.
A most sinister lie with which the Deceiver has confused many is that it is more gracious and merciful to keep things in the dark when dealing with disciplinary action. Admittedly, this plays into our own preferences, does it not? It is far easier to let sins fade quietly; to not speak openly because of the embarrassment and shame, both for the one who has sinned and for those of us associated with him/her.
I have heard numerous stories about pastors, ministers, or public leaders caught in flagrant sin who were quietly dismissed, presumably in hopes that there wouldn’t be a fuss. The congregation and public observers are left to wonder why. Theories are formulated. Rumors grow. The original sin of the individual, coupled with the sin of the leaders who did not heed 1 Timothy 5:19-21, brings even greater brokenness to the situation. It is incredibly difficult to face the hammer-blow of openness about sin, but the poison of uncertain whispers is far, FAR more destructive and dangerous.
What is desperately needed in these situations, however difficult and painful it may be in the doing, is this: to bring open clarity & rebuke to the sins of public leaders. It is not to be done lightly, but is commanded in the case of those who are leaders (cf. again 1 Timothy 5:20). When leaders have acted in ways that dishonor their position, those who have been under their authority need to know. When a leader’s actions bring harm to those he has been called to steward, those harmed must know.
John 3:20-21 is a pertinent set of verses for us to consider:
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what has been done has been done through God.
To allow sin to remain in the dark is not kind, nor gracious, nor merciful. It is sinful.
To bring sin into the light, where the holiness of God can be displayed in our response to sin, and the grace of God can be displayed in His response to the sinner – THAT is gracious and kind.
Louisiana College Board of Trustees, do not miss the opportunity to heed the wisdom of Christ. If in your meetings you discover that Dr. Joe Aguillard must be held accountable for recent actions, do not be deceived into thinking that a quiet rebuke, or a general/non-specific public reprimand will be easier or more kind. It will only allow the poison of sin to remain.
Open clarity and specific reprimand is what is needed when the sins of leaders have harmed those in their trust. This is the only way for healing to come.