I was recently looking around the internet of some video of defamed christian comedian Mike Warnke because though he is a complete out and out fraud and liar, at least he was funny. I came across a video of him where he had just recently appeared on Jim Bakker's latest TV show broadcast from Branson. They were making small talk and then they said something that caught my attention.
They talked about how all their friends had left them when they "walked in the valley" and only Jesus stuck around to help them through.
They are both full of shit and here's why:
As you remember, Jim Bakker was in charge of a huge media broadcast and televangelistic empire. He also owned a big christian themed theme park. All this until he screwed a 21 year old church secretary. That and the tax evasion and the truth about how much money he and his wife were taking home from the ministry ended his tenure at PTL and landed him in prison.
Mike Warnke may or may not have a more dubious history, it's hard to tell. Claiming a conversion from satanism, Mike started a ministry based around his comedic tellings of personal anecdotes and some Bible stories. Mostly he could be described as a huge liar who is responsible for most of the fear of demons and satanism known in American Christianity today. The problem was, he was not collecting money for a rehab facility for victims of the church of Satan, no such facility existed. Although there wasn't a high profile sex scandal accredited to Mr. Warnke, he did marry five different women, not because of the biblical ground of infidelity, he was the adulterer. His end came from a Christian magazine's expose detailing how his claimed personal history was false, his stories untrue, and his money came directly from the pockets of his followers.
When I think of walking in a valley, I think of dark times in my life when I felt far from Jesus. I remember times of depression and listlessness. What I do not consider walking through a valley is lying, cheating, and stealing my way into prison and disrepute. That's called being a filthy bastard. And while Jesus loves filthy bastards too, he intends that they should admit their failings, ask for repentance, and change their life. I'm not so sure that Mike Warnke has done that. And Jim Bakker will always have done what Jim Bakker did.
Yes, when you do bad things, really bad things, and drag all sorts of people into it, your friends will leave you. But don't act all persecuted. The Bible talks about people forsaking you because of Christ, not because you're a bastard. If you are a bastard, your ass deserves to be left all alone in the cold. We can forgive you, yes, but forgiveness is not forgetfulness. Just because I forgive you does not mean I should let you back in my house. Just because you have paid your "debt to society" does not mean that you have paid your debt to all those you wronged and hurt and took advantage of.
So walk in your valley, and may Jesus be with you, but don't complain when all the people you were a bastard to won't talk to you anymore.