Jim Bakker is a good man, there I said it. Yeah, he had the whole PTL scandal and I am not excusing his actions but when people are face to face with grace it changes them. This is the very thing that happened to Jim Bakker.
If you remember anything about the late 80’s you probably remember the scandal that rocked Christianity to it’s core. The ‘Golden Boy’ Jim Bakker lost everything because of an extra marital affair and was then arrested for fraud. I wasn’t even a Christian at the time and I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember thinking ‘that holy guy who asked everybody for money on TV got caught’. I thought he got what he deserved.
Fast forward 20 years. To tell you the truth, I haven’t thought that much about Jim over that time frame, I mean who could blame me, it’s been a long time and after all I do have a life. So it was a bit of a surprise when I hit play on my ipod to listen to a sermon by Jim’s son Jay and Jay flipped it up on me. He introduced his old man, and Jim stepped up to the mic in a smoked filled bar (Jay pastors a church that meets in a Brooklyn bar) to preach a sermon that would stir my soul.
He spoke about how for the first time in his life he understands grace. He goes on to explain that he has only been ‘living in grace for the past three weeks’ and it has radically rocked his world. He describes how he always thought he had to measure up, for the audience, for his family, for God. He never understood that he was ultimately loved and there was nothing he could do about it. Nothing he could do to be loved more, and nothing he could do to be loved less. He was a man who preached to millions and didn’t even get it. He was bound, and then he found freedom!
I can see why people flocked to hear him speak. His voice quivers at just the right moment and he is so transparent he is invisible. It is a wonderful thing to see a man restored. We all make our mistakes and thanfully, grace is the gasoline of life.
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that our God is in the forgiveness business.