Many of us have been following the recent sad story of Ted Haggard. Haggard, who has been serving as the President of the National Association for Evangelicals as well as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, has admitted to sexual sin. A statement regarding his dismissal from the church was released by the New Life Church. Yesterday, a statement written by him was read to the congregation. You may wish to read the statement for yourself. A statement by his wife, Gayle, was also read. You can read some of the most recent developments in the Denver Post.
Again, this is quite a sad story. Like many of you, I have watched as all of this has unfolded. For me, this becomes a reminder to remember words from Scripture.
"So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall" (I Corinthians 10:12).
How do I think about this sad news so that my relationship with Jesus is strengthened?
1. I don’t want to be overly confident about my own walk with Jesus. I don’t want get to a point where I am no longer "watching out." Such an attitude on my part would be terribly naive. Yet, there are men and women who seem to think they are "above" temptation. That is dangerous.
2. This reminds me to be faithful in the "little things." Most people I have talked with through the years don’t wake up one morning and decide to commit some act of sexual immorality. Most people I know began making some very unwise (at best) or even downright foolish decisions. An inappropriate e-mail. A conversation that was out of bounds. Playing with pornography, etc. I want to live in such a way that there is nothing hidden. That begins with the "little things" like e-mail, cell phone conversations, etc. So many people I’ve known compromised in these "little things" long before the train wreck.
3. Eighteen years ago, Leadership Journal published a list of consequences compiled by Randy Alcorn. This list was entitled "Consequences of a Moral Tumble." I recall reading these and then adding to this list. Periodically I have reflected on this list. "If I commit sexual sin, here are some of the consequences…" I have thought about the impact that might have on my wife, my two daughters, and now my son-in-law. I have thought of the impact on my friends. I have thought about the impact on the church. Occasionally thinking about such consequences reminds me that my decisions and my life impact people I care about.
4. This story is a reminder of my own need for godly relationships with a few other godly men. I am thinking about a few friendships in which we talk about our relationship with God — with honesty. Far too many of us live in isolation. (Far too many ministers live isolated lives. We may live without any real sense of accountability.)
5. I am thinking right now about the importance of humility in my life. I have been married for 28 years and have never been unfaithful to my wife. HOWEVER, it is very important that I not be prideful about that. I don’t dare say that as a boast. That is by the grace of God, and future fidelity will be by the grace of God. So, I want to live with humility before God.
6. Finally, I need to stay very near to Jesus. Every day, I need to think about the treasure I have in him. When I get lax about this treasure, it is very easy for my heart to drift. I can begin to place a greater value on other things. So, I want to guard my time in prayer, Scripture, and other disciplines that move me toward him.
I realize there is much to be said about this story on a number of levels. However, in this post, I primarily wanted to reflect on my own life. What do you think? Is there any reminder here for your own walk with God?
May God have mercy on us all.