The Eddie Long Scandal: It Looks Like A Duck And Quacks Like A Duck
The Eddie Long scandal is a very disheartening one for many. There are but a few effective spiritual leaders that are getting through to the masses to the extent that people are changing their hearts, finding healing for their hurts, and ultimately changing their lives as a result of receiving the Word of God in a powerful, yet simplistic way. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Eddie Long was a prominent spiritual leader, highly esteemed, religiously sought-after, and wise in the pragmatic teachings of the Bible. His uncompromising, unadulterated, unwatered down approach to teaching the Bible is what acclaimed him as a no non-sense, Bible teaching, preaching man of God. So what happened?
The recent charges brought against Bishop Long in September 2010 by four adult males are very serious and also criminal in that it is being alleged that the sexual acts began when the young men were just teen-aged boys. What are we to believe? These allegations have divided many people across the nation and abroad, not just Christians since Eddie Long is an international public spiritual figure. Unfortunately, many Christians have gotten so caught up in this scandal that we have taken our eyes and hearts off of God and His Word and have focused upon what Bishop Long did or did not do. Of course everyone has their own convictional opinions and can justify why they feel the way they feel about this situation, but as Christians we have to always resort back to the Word and what it says. First and foremost, we must be careful about what is spoken out of our mouths when criticizing or condemning another because our own words will come back upon us.
Judge nothing before the time, before the Lord does come, who will bring to light, the hidden things of darkness and will manifest the counsel of the hearts. (1st Corinthians 4:5)
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. (Proverbs 24:17-19)
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
BUT IT LOOKS LIKE A DUCK AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK!
Yes it does, and we have always heard that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then more than likely, it is a duck. Yes, I know what it looks like in the natural. Sometimes, what appears to look one way in the natural, could have a totally different reality in the spirit realm. We as humans naturally rely upon what our eyes see and what our ears hear, but truth, like cream, always rises to the surface after it has run its course. Rumors about Eddie Longs sexually have been floating around for years. The rumors were more prevalent in the Atlanta area where the Bishop resides but they have nonetheless been out there for years. When you are doing the work of the Lord, you will be attacked spiritually and naturally. It is written in the Word: …in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33).
In the Bible, Joseph was accused of trying to rape Potiphars wife and was put in jail for something he did not do, but God continued to bless Joseph, promote him, and ultimately vindicated him. Daniel was placed in the lions den for praying to his God after the decree was set that no one should pray to any God other than the Kings God. Daniels heart was pure. God delivered him, blessed him, and promoted him. Jacob was pursued by his brother Esau for taking the birthright of the first born. God delivered him and made things right between him and his brother. All throughout the bible, when people were falsely accused, God eventually revealed the truth, vindicated them, and set things right. Perhaps he will do the same for Eddie Long if his heart is also pure and he is telling the truth, as these men were. However, we cannot do wrong then expect God to step in and make things right. Life is about cause and effect. Effect follows cause and night follows the day. God does not punish; His law does. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1st Peter 2:20). Lets review the facts:
- Bishop Eddie Long has frequently and consistently preached against and denounced homosexual behavior. In fact, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has referred to him as “homophobic” for his stance against same-sex partnerships.
- He has ministered “homosexual cure” programs to recruit gays and lesbians for what he called “Sexual Reorientation” conferences and his church offers an ongoing Out of the Wilderness ministry to help convert homosexuals into heterosexuals.
- In September of 2010 four adult males accused long of sexually molesting them when they were teen-aged boys and into their adult hood. The claim was that Long placed the men on the churchs payroll, bought them cars and gifts, and took them separately on trips to destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad, Honduras, New Zealand, and New York City. The lawsuits stated that Long would teach the Holy Scriptures to justify his sexual activity with the boys.
- Long adamantly denied the allegations and is quoted as saying, “I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply.” He said that he was going to fight the case until the end: “Like David, I have only five stones, and I havent begun to throw the first one.”
- Documents indicate however, that instead of fighting, as Long said he would do, he settled the case for 25 million dollars. Dr. Boyce Watkins from My Black World states,
What began as a $2 million agreement to settle the case for each of the four men quickly rose to $5.5 million for the respective plaintiffs, the source said, only because Long refused to publicly admit guilt.
The men are to divide $2.2 million equally and then receive $400,000 in payments until the money is paid out over the next 20 years, the source said. The final figure comes to $22 million for the four men and $2.8 million for the plaintiffs attorneys.
The church had already been paying these four young men $40,000 annually each before any charges were filed, the source said.
Those are the documented facts. Considering that we are talking about a man who is very vocal, extremely convictional, very outspoken about homosexuality, gay marriage, and men stepping up to take their rightful places as men in the homes, in society and in the church, doesnt it seem uncharacteristic for someone of his caliber not to defend himself with every fiber of his being, the very thing that he is so publicly and vehemently against but being accused of doing? There comes a time in life when you have to take a stand for what you believe in. If not, you will fall for anything. Some things are not worth fighting for, even when you know that your heart is pure and you are innocent, but some things are worth taking a stand for. One would think that Bishops Longs reputation, his image, his credibility, and his authenticity would be worth fighting for with every fiber of his being, but shockingly, he has not taken this stand, so what are people supposed to think?
There are religious leaders who have reached high spiritual altitudes in the heavenly realm and through their teaching and preaching have blessed the masses. As a result of
this, many people have given their lives to Christ. Since the Word says, Your gifts shall make room for you, these spiritual leaders are reaping the material and monetary benefits of using their gifts. It has been said that Bishop Long is renowned for his extravagant lifestyle. He drives a Bentley, has a nine-bathroom mansion, drew millions of dollars in salary from his charities and ministries and enjoyed the benefits of traveling the world, conducting keynotes speeches, rubbing shoulders with presidents of the United States, mixing and mingling with superstars, popular rap artists and reputable actors and actresses and living the life of a King. However, when one gets so high on the pinnacle of success they are the most vulnerable to fall hard. Pride sneaks in bringing arrogance and a preeminent spirit that makes one think that they are gods in their own right. Unfortunately, people no longer come to worship the true and living God, they come to worship the Bishop, the other god. And because of this distorted thinking, the little god believes they are going to make it in the kingdom because of their mighty accomplishments for the kingdom, but fail to realize that the, “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” Meaning that they can be so caught up, obsessed with, and all engrossed in sin, but still manifest great things for the kingdom. What is the result of this? “Many will say unto me in that day, Lord Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out many devils and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:20-23).
DOES LOYALTY HAVE LIMITS?
Eddie Long has strong and loyal supporters, but how far will one go to prove their loyalty? To perdition? Yes, forgiveness is warranted for everyone, but how can you forgive someone for
something they are denying they did? As members of church congregations, we must be very, very careful of who is speaking over us and what spirit they are walking in because what is on the head, will be on the body. If you have a head cold, your whole body will ache and feel the effects of the head. It is the same in the natural realm. If the head, the spiritual leader is sick, the whole body will feel the effects of it.
Crimes against children and the elderly are the worst crimes to commit in my personal opinion. Stealing their innocence by using spiritual authority and manipulating the Word of God to exploit them is very dangerous. As we therefore have this ministry, let us walk in faith, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every mans consciousness in the sight of God. For if our gospel be hid, it is hid unto them that are lost, in whom the god of this world, has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ should shine unto them. (2nd Corinthians 4:3) Are we spiritually blind?
One very prominent pastor, in defense of Eddie Long is quoted as saying, “If youre from that church…and you Trying to join here, I dont want you to join here! You need to go and join where you are supposed to be. I dont want you here. That is my friend that is my brother in the Lord.” How disheartening, cruel and not to mention unchristian-like for a spiritual leader to say to people who may have been bruised, betrayed and deceived. You are telling them that you dont care how they feel, you dont care if Bishop Long has perpetrated these crimes against children – even if it is the child of the person trying to join your church? All you care about is that he is your friend? Would you say that same thing to someone who was victimized in the exact manner that Bishop Long is being accused of, but the accuser wasnt your friend? Would you have the same position if Bishop Long allegedly sexually molested YOUR OWN children?
By virtue of the words that this pastor spoke in defense of Eddie Long and against the members of his congregation that may leave to come to his church, he has set certain causes in motion that will manifest with exact precision to parallel what he has put out in the atmosphere. You pick up a live wire when you say such things, so expect a shock. Many people have been hurt as a result of these heinous accusations, starting first with the victims and this is the stance you take? Shameful! It is sometimes better to keep quiet if what you have to say is not fruitful, life-giving, or encouraging – especially as a preacher! The victims: their manhood has been significantly challenged. Psychologically and mentally, they are understandably confused. The members of the congregation do not know what to truly believe or what to do for that matter and Bishop Longs family and friends are caught in the middle, let alone humiliated, disheartened and hurt. Let us not forget the mothers of the boys who trusted Bishop Long to provide fatherly male guidance they did not have. Speaking as a single mother of a soon-to-be teenage boy, I would be devastated to say the least if it were me who trusted this man to lead and guide my male son in the right direction and provide mentorship, but instead, he sexually abused my child. I would question my own judgment and decision making. Needless to-say, much healing has to take place on various levels and in so many directions.
PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL
Bishop Long has fallen. However, as long as the blood runs warm in his veins and there is still breath in his body, he can repent, be delivered, and get healed if he is guilty of what he is being charged with. But as long as he continues to act as though nothing has happened, refuses to address the situation honestly, and continue to embrace pride and arrogance, healing can not and will not take place. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
a broken and a contrite heart, these O God, You will not despise. (Ps. 51:17). Is Bishop Longs spirit broken? Is his heart contrite? Has his humility kicked in? Has he repented if he has done wrong? That is the only way that God can restore, heal and bless again.
When you hear stories of preachers, politicians or other prominent leadership figures who have fallen from grace, it is not because of one thought acted upon. In those cases, the fall was only the finished product, the outworking, the end. The person allowed an impure thought to enter their mind. As it entered a second and third time, they welcomed it, fondled it, and entertained it. Each time the impure thought returned, it grew and became stronger until at last it attracted to itself the opportunity for it to manifest into action. That original perverted thought, which was nurtured and cultivated gradually undermined the persons character. No-one is so strong that this can not happen them. Remember – YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT! Everything acted upon always originates in the mind first. If you analyze every thought, you wont have to worry about the actions because if the thought is good, the actions will be good as well.
In closing, I want to say that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.Before we condemn, let us consider the things that we have done that we hope no one finds out about. We have all sinned. What needs to be done in this case is sincere prayer for this man. If he is innocent, as he says he is, the truth will be revealed. If he is guilty of the charges, then let us pray that he and all who are involved find healing and deliverance. We must use discernment to determine the true essence of a thing. God will reveal the truth about a situation, person or circumstance when you seek Him for the answer. Truth, as cream, always rises to the top eventually.
~Dr. Mia Y. Merritt
Dr. Mia Y. Merritt is an educator with over 17 years experience working with students as a teacher, Assistant Principal and college professor. Dr. Merritt is a published author of eight books on the subjects of personal development, self-empowerment, motivation, prosperity and adult education. Dr. Merritt has a Ph.D in Organizational Leadership, a Masters Degree in Exceptional Education, and a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. She is a life-coach and keynote speaker who travels the country giving keynote addresses.
Dr. Merritt is the President/CEO of M&M Motivating, which provides services in teen/youth training, corporate retreats and seminars, and staff development. Please visit http://www.miamerritt.com to learn more about Dr. Merritt and/or M&M Motivating. You may also reach her at 1-866-560-7652.