The pastor who said quit FB or resign was involved in affairs himself. Should our past stop us from ministering?

The pastor who told his church leaders to either quit Facebook or resign their leadership posts has created a buzz again when it was discovered that the good reverend had an affair himself–with his wife and a male church assistant!  As I understand it, the threesome was ten years ago, so it predated Facebook, and even though they participated together, it would be considered sexual impurity.  Then in 2003 there was a criminal case against the male church assistant, and that is when the facts of unfaithfulness came to light.

In my article as Portland Infidelity Examiner, The Pastor, Facebook, and Threesomes,  I did examine two relevant topics that have been intertwined: Is Facebook really the CAUSE of infidelity?  Should the pastor’s past unfaithfulness make any difference today?  In summary, my conclusions are no and no!  No–Facebook does not cause infidelity and we would serve married couples MUCH more effectively by teaching them how to be faithful, how to honor their commitment, and how to affair-proof their marriages by restarting Love Kindlers and ending Love Extinguishers!  Facebook is not the CAUSE of infidelity–infidelity is a symptom of a much greater illness in the marriage.  And No–what he did in the past and repented of has been forgiven if he confessed his sin.  If it’s forgiven, it is gone and irrelevant to the topic at hand.

BUT that the concept of forgiveness brings up a really tender topic for me that I’d like to address right out loud.  One of my good friends, The Holy Handmaiden, recently wrote a post about being Inadequate, and the two of us have been going back and forth a bit about how we both feel less that suitable to do what we’ve been called to do!  Like Moses, we sort of tell God, “But…but…but  I stutter!  You can’t want ME to go talk to pharaoh!”  Of course our heads realize He is the Almighty God and He’s arranged our lives precisely so we are the vessel He can use, but when it comes time to actually do it…well it can be intimidating.  Especially in my line of work, so many times people say to me, in a somewhat ‘holier-than-thou’ tone: “How can YOU teach people about infidelity and marriage.  You were divorced!  You haven’t had a marriage that lasted for decades” and you know what?  They’re right!

Here’s the truth.  I’m no more perfect than any of you.  In fact, I can say that I’ve had times in my life when I messed up BADLY!  One of the reasons my ex and I did divorce is that I married a man who was not a Christian–mainly because he was cute and because I liked him and didn’t want God to tell me what to do!  And the price I paid for that outright disobedience was a divorce and losing my family.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure you can all identify with looking back on your life when you were ‘young and dumb’ and realizing “Oh yeah–that was wrong.” Ideally God wants us to grow up in godly households where our parents stay married,  where we learn to obey God, where we marry other Christians, and live our entire lives to His glory.  But in the USA in 2010, pretty few of us come from homes that aren’t broken; we weren’t ‘young and dumb’; we have happy, stable, committed, loving marriages; and we have served God our whole lives.  (Just a note–even MOSES didn’t meet that criteria, and I’m telling ya, God used that man!)

So I have not lived a life that pleased God.  I’ve also paid the consequences for my choices.  And you know why I am still absolutely 100% convinced that this is what God calls me to do?  Because as Christians, part of our central doctrines is Forgiveness.  Our faith recognizes that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and that would include Pastor Miller’s past…and mine.  Our faith also recognizes that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just  to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)  We ALL sin!  So if we sincerely repent, ask God for forgiveness, and demonstrate a change toward godly behavior…then guess what?  It’s in the past, forgiven, and irrelevant to the matter at hand!   Yes, I suspect a person who has been happily married for decades, who understands the concepts of Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers, and who teaches what covenant really is by their life may have a better life witness of those concepts.  After all–they’ve lived them!  But lots of people who persevere in their marriage, do so without husbands loving their wives, wives respecting their husbands, or using their marriage as a mirror of the kind of relationship the Church has with Christ too.  Living together for decades without divorcing is also no guarantee either, I’ve discovered.  Sadly, many of the people we talk to have been married 20 or 30 years or more, and if they neglect their marriage, it can still end up in divorce!

Noah got drunk and laid naked in front of everyone. Jacob got his daughter-in-law pregnant because he thought she was a hooker.  Moses, murdered a man for hitting a Hebrew.  Ruth spent the night with a man who wasn’t her husband at the place that was known for sexual immorality.  King David killed a man so he could commit adultery with his wife.  Even the apostle Paul murdered Christians before he became a Christian.  And God USED THEM because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  2 Cor. 12:9 says “But he said to me,’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me .”  I join with the Apostle Paul in stating right out loud that I’m inadequate so that Christ’s power can rest on me..  Thankfully I serve the Lord God Almighty and He is more than adequate!

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