Hello Great men of God!!
I have been listening…reading and re-reading your entries. Many of the entries bring back a flood of emotion from some very dark and sad days in my life…they scare me to be truthful and honest with you…because I see myself in every one of them. I see where my life used to be, I see and re-live how pornography, adultery, and sexual addiction tore apart my life, my family and my relationship with God.
It opens wounds which have been hard to face again…the rawness of where some of you are, where I was and the shame that trapped me for so long…I truly am touched by your openness, your sharing and your honesty…it has touched me much deeper than I thought when Craig asked if I would write this blog…I have thought back to the darkest time in my life…times when I would talk to God and tell Him…God I love you, I just hate your people…
We all have times we remember. Maybe it was when the shuttle blew up or maybe it was watching as the second plane slammed in to the World Trade Center or maybe it was that moment when you watched your son or daughter come in to this world…
I remember where I was when the call came to me. It was the church where I was an Elder and they said “Steve we need to talk to you right away”…I remember where I was, I remember the weather outside, I remember the time of day and I remember thinking how many months I had been so afraid; how I had been praying to God “Please God deliver me from evil, show me a way out”.
As I walked in to the church I was called in to the Executive Pastor’s office, He said “Steve, we have received a call from Pastor Ted Haggard at New Life Church and he believes you are leading an immoral life”. They were correct…I was having an affair and someone in Pastor Ted’s congregation had brought it to their attention. I lied to them and told them it was not true, went home and told my wife that, in fact, it was true and then returned to the church and admitted to them the truth….I walked out of that church in shame…I would not attend church again for almost 10 years.
I received a letter about 30 days later saying since I had not worked towards reconciling my marriage the church was “revoking my membership”. In my church, where I had attended and served for more than 10 years, at a time when I needed them most, they stopped sending the bulletins, the cd’s of the sermons and told me I was not wanted (my words)…I was so ashamed. They never knew the time I had spent in those 4 weeks with a gun in my lap…putting it in my mouth and trying hard to pull the trigger…the pain and the anger and the shame…how much I hated myself, how much I needed them.
Understand this Great men of God…I was wrong, not the church and not the people…but for 10 years I carried around the hate and I blamed others, I blamed my wife and I blamed God. I blamed every one except the right one, ME.
I did what I did which caused the church to do what they did…I am responsible for my actions…but why did it take so long for me to realize this? The answer is Shame. I could not face it…I had failed and I lived in a world (my world) where failure was weakness…I could not walk back in with all the perfect people, which is exactly what satan (I don’t capitalize the “s”) wanted me to think and he kept me separated from those great people for almost 10 years…
I guess I was raised to judge, I thought that was who God was…floods, cities turned to stone, 40 years in the desert…It was the God I was raised with. If you were Catholic you were wrong and I was right! If you were Mormon you were a cult and I had to save you or rebuke you. How did I learn this? How did I miss for so long who Jesus really was and why he came?
Those of you who have felt betrayed by church and Christian people have found this ministry of XXXChruch where we celebrate our weaknesses and find out who God really is…Thank you God for the work you are doing through Craig Gross and this church and these great men and women.
I am finding increasing numbers of churches who are beginning to admit that we all struggle with something. A few have the guts to actually talk about porn in the pews…Yea God!! Seek out these churches, get involved, share your weakness…for in your weakness God is made strong!
We have a lot of work to do and God needs to raise up His army. satan will continue to beat us with the shame stick, but God is a God of love and through Him we can all find serenity, peace, joy and the love of other’s who share their weaknesses.
ONE LAST THING…when I went back to church in Colorado Springs I decided to attend New Life Church and I found a Great man of God…an incredible man of God…a man who had a passion for Jesus Christ….a man who 10 years earlier had called my church…a great man by the name of Pastor Ted Haggard.
I sat in church that day as they read Ted’s letter…I sat and listened to the “Overseers” in the days and weeks that followed about how Pastor Ted “would never be a Pastor at New Life again”. I actually had someone say to me “must feel good to see him get his after he turned you in”…I simply replied “No, not at all. I doubt there is one feeling or one emotion that Pastor Ted had that I could not relate to”. The sadness for me was in the reaction of the church. (If you don’t know the story of Pastor Ted, Click Here)
I am not here to judge New Life Church but Pastor Ted Haggard was and is a Great man of God…but he is just a man with struggles and hurts, just like all of us. If by chance you were to read this Pastor Ted, I want to say thank you for setting me free and thank you for all I learned from you as my Pastor…You are truly a Great man of God..please do not hang your head in shame. I look forward to your continued work in God’s army and would be proud to serve with you!
Love you all, Great men of God.