A Prayer for Matt Pitt
by Jonathan Haefs
1 Corinthians 12:26a, “If one member suffers, all suffer together…”
Today…my heart is broken. Today…I am hurting. Today…I hurt with my brother, Matt Pitt.
I pastor a church in Birmingham, Alabama…the place Matt Pitt calls home and in which he has ministered for many years. Matt was a young man with a troubled past who came to know Jesus in a manner that resembles the testimony of the apostle Paul. One moment Matt wanted nothing to do with Jesus, the next moment he couldn’t stop telling people about Jesus.
He began meeting with friends in his parent’s basement and over the course of a few years, this meeting grew to thousands of teens meeting in arena type venues. Many people have opposed Matt, criticized his ministry, and made shameless jokes about everything from his theology to his physique. I must ashamedly confess that I am not guiltless in this matter.
Last year, critics felt justified in all they had ever said as Matt was arrested for impersonating a peace officer. He plead guilty and there were minor penalties (primarily probation). Then, last night Matt was arrested for similar charges and apparently tried to evade the police in the process.
Today…my heart is broken, but probably not for the reasons you would think.
It is not broken because of what Matt may or may not be guilty of, but because I went to bed last night and awoke this morning to a social media explosion among Christians discussing the issue. The content and condemnation of these posts is what has broken my heart.
I am not writing this post to defend Matt’s innocence. Honestly, I feel that when it comes to the response of Christians to this incident, his guilt, or the lack thereof, is irrelevant.
Here is our brother in Christ amidst suffering. It doesn’t matter if people from the outside are inflecting it upon him or if it is self-inflected…it is suffering none the less. When one part of the body suffers…ALL suffer together.
Our task is not to add to Matt’s suffering through our words of condemnation…for his guilt or innocence is not ours to decide. Our task is not to add to his suffering through our shameless joking…for this is no joking matter. Our task is not to add to his suffering through feeling justified for our criticisms (past or current)…for he is our brother.
I will be the first to admit that I do not agree with everything Matt has done within his ministry. My own philosophy of ministry is very different from his. My teaching methods and thoughts on discipleship are nearly opposite of what I have been able to observe concerning the basement.
HOWEVER, no matter how much I may disagree or differ with Matt Pitt’s approach to ministry, I do not deny that he is my brother in Christ. We are a part of the same body, and when he suffers. I suffer!
Our task is to suffer with Matt as we pray for his guilt or innocence to be rightly determined and that he be strengthened for the consequences. Our task is to suffer with him as we pray for his family and those to whom he has ministered. Our task is to suffer with him by encouraging him that the body loves him and there is grace greater than all our sin.
Please join with me brothers and sisters to suffer with our brother Matt Pitt. Please join with me to be the body of Christ. Please join with me to pray, love, and extend grace as it has been extended to us.
I pray for my brother Matt. I cannot imagine the feelings going through his heart and the thoughts going through his mind. I pray for peace. Grant him trust in you no matter what lies ahead.
If he is guilty, Lord I pray for a conviction in his heart to confess his sin and repent knowing that you give grace to the humble, but resist the proud. And, Lord if he is innocent, I pray for clear evidence and a quick release.
May he rely on you while he finds himself in such a place of suffering. May you surround him with brothers and sisters who will suffer with him. No matter what, I pray that through Matt’s words and actions you will ultimately be shown to be great, loving, and glorious above all!
In the name of Jesus…Amen.