Grace and Accountability…

This last week there has been a lot of discussion on social media related to the financial challenges currently facing my faith denomination. Because these events have impacted many people through job losses, these discussions have been anything but hypothetical! There has been anger…pain…questions about how on earth this could have happened…worry about the future…

There have been calls for grace…to wait until we have more information about what’s happened. There have been suggestions that we give folks the benefit of the doubt.

And there have also been sharp calls for calling people to accountability…to hold someone (or several people) responsible for these events.

I don’t think it has to be an either/or. I think there is room for both.

I don’t know all the circumstances…and I don’t know if I ever will.

But I also know that those who lead my faith tradition are human beings–not perfect beings. They are going to make mistakes–although hopefully not again these drastic mistakes! But they also have personal issues that they have to deal with, and sometimes those situations get in the way of what we expect of them as leaders. And so I need to give them grace…just as I would hope to receive grace.

At the same time, I believe that it is important to hold church leadership accountable. We trust them to make wise decisions…to act with integrity. And when the results of those decisions create situations where budgets and staff have to be cut so drastically, I believe it is appropriate–and necessary–to hold them accountable.

This doesn’t mean that I am suggesting finger pointing or accusing individuals of malfeasance. I’m not.

But in order for there to be healing, reconciliation, and a way forward for members to begin regaining trust, we cannot ignore this situation. If we can grant grace to leaders–and yet also ask for (and receive) accountability from then–then…and only then…can we begin to move forward.

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