For those who know me, I have been (and still am) proud to call the "Freeze family" personal friends. They are a family of love, faith, and conviction and the Coach is no exception. One of my godly pastors put it this way, "Most men, if not all people, are one dumb decision away from complete and total disaster. Some just have a bigger platform." Sadly, Hugh's platform was huge, the fallout large, his enemies and fair weather friends are having a field day, and the entire saga is sad. My love and prayers continue for this family.
Please don't get me wrong, I am not defending his actions (whatever they ALL were and no one outside a small circle really knows) and I know that stepping down and moving out of the spotlight was needed. We cannot condone what he did or dismiss the consequences that follow, but here's my hope: that we learn a better way to handle the 'fallen-ness' of man as well as the 'fallen man'. We tend to throw the fallen man under the bus, berate, and forget him. It seems that this culture gloats when a person of notoriety falls or fails, and yet it is made worse when the fallen person attempted to live life in a way that pointed people toward the Lord. Coach Freeze impacted a large number of people in the right way. Today he suffers, because of a bad decision, embarrassment and humiliation, the likes of which most of us will never know . That said, my prayer is that he will not leave his spiritual foundation, repent before the Lord, give attention to self and his family (which I have little doubt - has already happened), and allow some of his believing friends to assist him in restoration. Galatians 6:1 expresses it something like this, "If anyone of you finds one who has fallen into sin, let you who are spiritual restore the fallen brother, keeping watch on yourself lest you are tempted." The following verse is sobering, "If anyone thinks he is something, he is nothing, deceiving himself." Christian friends should come to the rescue and assist one who is fallen.
A friend of mind who lives less than an hour from me went through a difficult time many years ago. In one of our conversations which followed this soul-wrenching time, he said to me, "When you get in the middle of a struggle, you quickly discover who your friends REALLY are." The principle of scripture is, 'if you want a friend, be a friend'. A true friend walks in when everyone else walks out, he/she doesn't 'throw you under the bus' when you mess up, but perhaps goes under the bus and drags you out.
In the 1980's a well know evangelist fell into sin and shame, ultimately going to jail. I shall never forget the day of this announcement because another evangelist felt it 'his duty' to go on the night shows to condemn the fallen man. Ironically, 6 months later the judge because the judged as the second evangelist fell in a sexual crisis..
My prayer is this: Through this crisis in the life of one we have admired and marveled at these past years and now find ourselves saddened, disappointed, and even confused, I pray that we begin to 'learn' a new way to deal with the 'fallen brother.' I have already heard the sad statements about the Coach, but for me, if I can help I will. I believe that helping the fallen brother is our call, while it may not be the popular thing, it is the right thing.