Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia died early Sunday morning, and the rest of us are left arguing about all that made him good, and for some, all that made him bad.
He was great. No, he wasn’t. He was fake.
I am reminded of Scripture where Jesus declared, he who is without sin cast the first stone.
And I was warmed by this from NaShelle Green: “I’m so grateful God is NOT like us, and that none of us have a heaven or hell to place anyone.”
I’m just glad, despite my shortcomings, and even my sin, that God knows me completely; that there’s no guessing and that he’s always fair and just in his judgment.
I understand why the judgment of Bishop Long was so fierce. Claims that he had used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce four former members of his church into sexual relationships surprised us all and was given to a lot of tongue wagging.
The 2010 lawsuit by Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson was later dismissed and Long settled out of court. He continued to deny all of the allegations.
But speculation about Long continued long after and was made worse when he appeared in public last summer for the first time nearly half his original size. Long never publicly disclosed the nature of his illness, but a statement released by New Birth Sunday morning said the pastor died after "a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer."
Donna Goodman told me her family lived for 12 years down the street from New Birth, worked out daily in the church gym and taught healthy living class for his church members.
“Sometimes the greatest healing is spiritual even if the body dies,” Goodman said. “I pray he and God made it right!”
When it’s all said and done, that’s all that matters.
What we say about Bishop Long won’t count for much. What matters, in the end, is God’s judgment.
On the Sundays we set aside to take communion, our congregation reads from a popular passage that admonishes us to examine ourselves.
That seems like a reasonable place to leave off here.
Instead of judging Bishop Long or anyone else, let us first examine ourselves.
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