You are a Pastor. Your secret has come out. Whether it’s because you were caught, or you finally spilled it yourself…

Now your family knows… Your church knows…. Your staff knows… Your Elder Board knows… Your friends know… people know… facebook and twitter knows… God has known all along…
And you are…

Possibly relieved the secret is out.

You may have lost your family, friends, ministry and so on – or maybe not. Or maybe you have a group of people around you picking you up and supporting you in your recovery.
What now though? Either way – Thank God that the darkness is in the light.  Yes, I did say to thank God for the brokenness that you now find yourself in. Am I crazy… well sometimes!

But the way that God has used and invested in people who were broken since the beginning of Creation, and will in the future, is amazing – and should be encouraging. He is waiting for you to come and return to Him. Through your brokenness, He is waiting to do a new thing with and in you. Whatever the length of the journey or the consequences to our actions because of this addiction – God is not done, and you can be used. There is hope; you can be restored in Him.

It’s true though, it may not ever be the same as it was – actually it shouldn’t be, you can be different now. Some will lose their families or ministry jobs, etc… for life depending on what happens (and obviously for that – we should mourn and hurt over the consequences of our choices) – but you are not useless to God, or to your neighbors. New life can come out of the ashes. You can be different going forward…

I was 21 when all my secrets really came out. I was serving as an Assistant Pastor in a great new church plant and on staff at another church. There I was at 6am, broken from a horrible night of struggle with porn and sexual issues and calling the lead pastor of our church plant to confess and repent, and later in the day sharing with my supervisor at the other church all my struggles as well. The Bible says we are all sinners, but I was convinced no one was worse than me, that I deserve everything bad for how disrespectful and non-God honoring I had treated women in the past and what a mess I had made of my life.

I had a different response from both of those men than a lot of guys experience when their stuff comes out. They both committed to a long and difficult journey of walking with me, holding me accountable, picking me up, showing mercy and grace to me – but most of all speaking and modeling Christ’s love to help me heal and change not just my behavior, but to be more like Christ in all areas.

Here’s the beginning of sharing a practical part for you (I hope)… if your secrets are out, it probably pretty difficult at the moment, but embrace the brokenness and turn from it. Rest in Christ. Read the Word. Find an accountability partner. Find people who will walk with you. Pray to the God who loves you and has been waiting for you to come home – let Him enter your journey.  Apologize to those who you have hurt and offended. Regardless of the outcome, humble yourself before your God, and those you have hurt. Seek out counseling.
Get up, and walk in a new life.  Be doers not just hearers of the Word. That doesn’t mean you won’t trip up again… but it should become less and less frequent as you truly take hold of Christ’s words and power in your life.

Be honest. Be humbled. Be broken. Be in Him…

“…And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside
Once again I thank You,
Once again I pour out my life…”
(“Once Again” lyrics by Matt Redman)

“…Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all…”
“Jesus Messiah” lyrics by Chris Tomlin”

I am humbled by His mercy. I know my life is broken mess, but has been taken by God and restored. God has been and is my rescue – my hope for a new and changing life. It’s all I have to cling to… it’s what I want.

* In my posts to come, I am going to attempt to expound on the practical points that I briefly laid out about above (ex: What does it mean to rest in Christ, How to find people to walk with you, How do you go about apologizing to others, etc…).  So come back as we dive into those practical steps next…