Speaking to the press after the court decision, Smollett claimed to be "a man of faith" and doubled down on his claim of innocence.
"I am a man of faith and I’m a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives, or the movement into a fire like this. I just wouldn’t," Smollett said. "Now I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistake: I will always continue to fight for justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere."
"I am a man of faith, and I am a man that has knowledge of my history, and I would not bring my family, our lives, or the movement through a fire like this."— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 26, 2019
WATCH: Jussie Smollett speaks after charges against him are dropped. https://t.co/Id9kl0AfIa pic.twitter.com/lh8V8J7AHY
"Regardless, Smollett tried to weaponize moral rightness to get his way, and we shouldn’t forget — legal charges or not — he’s guilty and should be held accountable for that," Goins-Phillips declared.
By declaring himself a "man of faith," Smollett set himself up to be held to a standard that his actions simply don't satisfy, Goins-Phillips continued: "For the believer...there is no loophole; there is no divergent strand in the perfect thread of holiness. We are responsible for all our decisions, good and bad, and their outcomes, good and bad."
"The Ten Commandments don’t come with an asterisk and our sanctification as a result of Jesus’ finished work on the cross doesn’t come with reservations," he continued. "There is no way to justify immoral behavior, yet that’s what Smollett and his sympathizers are trying to do."
"Smollett is a hypocrite; so am I and so are you. The difference here is Smollett got caught before being allowed to get away with it," Goins-Phillips argued.
If Smollett had truly intended to spark a national discussion about racism or injustice, Goins-Phillips states that he gave up every inch of moral high ground when he did so with criminally dishonest means: "...He nullified his own moral standing — martyring himself for his own selfish gain — to start a conversation about the very morality he eclipsed."
"The Smollett saga should serve as a cautionary tale to all who have observed it," Goins-Phillips says. "The ends alone do not justify the means. Only that which is morally right justifies the means we use to accomplish our goals, no matter how righteous they might be."
However, even grievous sin and error can be an opportunity to remind ourselves of the aspects of the gospel that address our sin, God's holiness, and our desperate need for our sins to be covered. "Each of us is, like Smollett, guilty," Goins-Phillips concludes. "But those who are in Christ can rest assured we have been justified and our penalty has been paid."