First of all, I want to extend my sincerest sympathy to the women that were victimized by his sin and although it sounds almost cruel to say, which infuriates me, I want them to know that there truly is healing and freedom from your trauma. It is found in Christ. You were victims of a broken man, not a wrong message. It is only the knowledge of the truth that can set free and truth can only be found in God’s Word. I understand what it is to be betrayed on this level and I know how much it hurts. I’m not minimizing your pain. However, there is a way out of this trauma and it is found in the healing and restoration that only Christ can offer.
Secondly, I am appalled, sickened, and disgusted, but not surprised. After all the years I spent in the ministry, I’ve about seen it all. In the eyes of the world, and many Christians, his entire ministry has now been discredited, which is not fair or at all true. His ministry was not some big conspiracy to fool believers. Let me explain.
Ravi had a gift from God. We have all been given gifts. A gift. Not an inborn talent. Not something he “learned.” A gift given from God that God uses in the man. So when he ministered truth, it was the truth contained within the gift that moved in the hearts of men and brought them to salvation. God uses imperfect vessels. If He didn’t, there would not be one minister on this earth. And we must also remember that when God uses any of us, He is using an imperfect vessel. As imperfect vessels, ministers are subject to all the same trials and temptations that come to every human who has ever made a decision for Christ. And for ministers, those temptations are often strong and intense because the devil knows that if he can bring down a shepherd, the sheep will follow and the name of Christ will be dragged through the mud in the eyes of the world, hindering it from coming to salvation.
A gift can take a person to many places, but only character will keep them holy in it. A gift is given. Christian character is built. A gift is free. Character is costly. Unfortunately, Ravi did not stay close to the Lord in his personal life and allowed himself to become impressed with the gift that God had given him more than he was impressed with the giver. “Pride comes before a fall” but it wreaks its havoc in our lives very slowly and cunningly. And with pride comes the deceitfulness of sin that allows one to compartmentalize and justify sin in their lives. I was not surprised by his responses to those who did try to confront him. His justification of his sin just shows you how deceptive sin can become in the life of someone who once knew the opposite to be true. It’s as if an alien has invaded their body and taken over their minds. They become a stranger to themselves but they’re too blinded to see it. Before you judge, you must remember how formidable our enemy really is. He deceived Adam and Eve while they were in a perfected state. Dealing with us in our imperfection is an easy task for him unless we stay close to the foot of the cross of Christ and the voice of the Holy Spirit. I'm not making excuses for Ravi's actions or his refusal to repent and come clean but I do have an understanding of how something like this could happen. I do have compassion for Ravi as a human being. Hurting people hurt other people. And when we can look at another human being from this perspective, it does allow enough compassion to help us in our own forgiveness journey.
Don’t allow the devil to steal the good things that you gleaned from his ministry. Truth is truth no matter who is speaking it. When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned, there were some preaching the gospel from impure motives. Instead of calling for them to stop, he was glad that the message was going out, even if from impure motives and through unrighteous messengers. Throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, is not going to benefit us in any way.
My saddest thought about this whole sordid tale is the thought that after a lifetime of ministry, many years which probably were legitimate and functioned within the confines of a holy life, that it is quite possible that Ravi did not go to heaven. He did not understand the sin nature. He did not understand the power of the Cross of Christ to set one free from that nature and to bring victory into everyday life. What a waste and a very sobering thought. Of course, many Christians gossip and backbite all their lives too, and according to scripture, if they don’t confess and repent, will have the same end. Let’s not get all self-righteous. There are no “little” sins. There is no such thing as a little white lie. It is true that some sins have more far reaching, more destructive consequences, but sin of any kind will keep us from heaven. “Be not deceived, God is mocked. Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” No sin goes undetected, and as we plainly see, can even be disclosed after we are dead.
Instead of judging Ravi, I have taken this time to examine my own heart. It is God’s job to judge Ravi. I can only remember that there, but for the grace of God, go I. None of us is exempt from falling into the worst, most horrible sin. And it is those who say that it could never happen to them that are at greatest risk of it happening. We are only as strong in this world as we are strong in our intimate knowledge and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must maintain a close, loving and listening relationship with Jesus. Sometimes this is much harder for those who seem to be on top of the world than for those who are walking through a deep, dark valley. Ravi had praise and accolades coming from all directions and in his humanness succumbed to it's appeals.
I pray for his victims. I pray for his family. I pray for those in his ministry who do truly and obediently serve the Lord. This is a travesty but more common than most would like to think. We must pray for each other, but we must especially pray for those with public gifts. I often thought that if people prayed for their Pastors as much as they talked about them and judged them, there would be way less of them falling from grace. Ministers are just men with a gift. They didn't receive that gift because they were extra special in some way. God is the giver of gifts and He gives them to whom He chooses. Never assume that your Pastor does not need prayer. I can assuredly tell you that he does! And please, don't pray about him, pray FOR him as if your life depends on it, because it may.
It is too late for Ravi to repent, if he didn’t, or to make amends. I commend his ministry for not only having these accusations investigated, but doing what they can to help the victims although anything they do will fall despairingly short. Only Christ can make this right for the victims and for His family. I pray they all find healing.
As Christians, we are called to follow Christ. We don’t follow Christ through a man or a gift or a denomination. Each of us has a Bible. Each of us has the privilege of prayer. Never put a man on a pedestal because it will surely someday come crashing down. No minister is without his own set of struggles, temptations, and problems. That does not lessen the gifting of God in him, unless God, because of sin, causes it to diminish. So when you hear a preacher and he ministers to you, thank God for the gift, not the man. Acknowledge God, not the man. Praise God, not the man. This will not only benefit you but the man of God as well.
After writing down my thoughts, I came across an article written by Dr. Michael Brown concerning this subject. I thought his insights were very perceptive and redemptive. Take some time to read it. It will help those of you who are struggling. I pray that for those of you really struggling and questioning your faith or the Lord because of this, that my words have at least opened a little door of understanding that will help you.