A quick scan of the major news media sources reveals that scandals involving infidelity and immorality are being exposed almost daily.
It seems that no one is immune including athletes, coaches, politicians, teachers, and yes, even more than we would like to admit, the clergy.
Careers and lives are ruined as families are ripped apart in the aftermath of a series of poor decisions by leaders who thought that it would NEVER happen to them.
Some of these decisions were caused by giving into temptation from simply being worn out from pouring out into others without refilling the tanks.
And yet, not everyone who is tempted needs to give in; there is a way out.
I’m thinking of Joseph (in the Bible). Let me refresh your memory from Genesis 39:6b-12 (MSG):
“Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master's wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
Did you catch that? Joseph, instead of giving into temptation to have sex with this woman was able to FLEE!
How? GRACE. There is always GRACE to assist us in fleeing:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Whenever I feel particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation, I find it helpful to review what effects my action could have:
· Grieving the Lord who redeemed me.
· Dragging His sacred name into the mud.
· One day having to look Jesus, the Righteous Judge, in the face and give an account of my actions.
· Following in the footsteps of these people whose immorality forfeited their ministries.
· Inflicting untold hurt on my spouse and children; losing their respect and trust.
· Destroying my example and credibility with my children, and nullifying both present and future efforts to teach them to obey God ("Why listen to a someone who betrayed us?").
· If my blindness should continue or my spouse be unable to forgive, perhaps losing my spouse and my children forever.
· Causing shame to my family; especially when asked to step out of ministry.
· Losing self-respect.
· Creating a form of guilt awfully hard to shake. Even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
· Forming memories and flashbacks that could plague future intimacy with my spouse.
· Wasting years of ministry training and experience for a long time, maybe permanently.
· Forfeiting the effect of years of witnessing to my family and reinforcing their distrust for ministers that has only begun to soften by my example but that would harden, perhaps permanently, because of my immorality.
· Undermining the faithful example and hard work of other Christians in our community.
· Bringing immense pleasure to Satan, the enemy of God and all that is good.
· Heaping judgment and endless difficulty on the person with whom I committed adultery.
· Possibly bearing the physical consequences of such diseases as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, and AIDS; perhaps infecting my spouse or, in the case of AIDS, even causing their death.
· Possibly causing pregnancy, with the personal and financial implications, including a lifelong reminder of my sin.
· Bringing shame and hurt to fellow pastors and elders.
· Causing shame and hurt to these friends, especially those I've led to Christ and discipled:
· Invoking shame and lifelong embarrassment upon myself.
I’m not sure where you are at today or why you’ve read this blog. You may be in a state of transition because you haven’t fled when given the opportunity. Instead, you gave in and you may be wondering; “Is there any hope for restoring me back to health and wholeness?”
I can heartily state; “Yes, there is hope that a broken life can be restored again!”
Need some help?: http://riverofhopeministries.org/wordpress/pastoral-restoration
All Scripture is from English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.