Friday, June 28, 2013

Why do we talk about such "private" matters?

It may seem strange that Amy and I choose to talk about our marriage and adultery so publicly. We could have kept this a secret since we are new to New Albany. Honestly, in some ways, we would rather not talk about it. One, because it is uncomfortable and painful. Two, we know it's not something many people are comfortable with and may "reject" me or us.

Neither of those reasons is enough to keep us silent, though. God has done too much for us and in us. He is the hero of our marriage, and we believe other couples need to hear some hope for their own marriage!

Back in Clinton where we were living, it was no secret at all. Many there knew all about it and were right there with us when it came out. It was very public, and some people were ready to stop hearing about it after a few months. I don't blame them. It is painful and should never have happened in the first place. The destruction I caused still lingers today.

When Amy and I got married in May of 1997, we never thought we would experience "for worse," at least not this way. I knew I was capable of adultery since it ran in my family, but I vowed I would never do that. However, I went down roads of betrayal that surprised even me. I didn't deal with the inner shame or temptation I felt. Instead of bringing it "into the light," I let it "thrive in darkness."

Sadly, silence is what usually keeps sin active and reoccurring. "Evil thrives in darkness" but God "works in the light." Exposing sin and bringing it into the Light is what breaks the cycle of sin and shame.

Adultery among Christians is clearly growing and becoming more of a problem. I have heard many stories of churches facing this problem with their ministers or church members. Sadly, many of them don't do the hard work of recovery and restoration, either because those caught up in the adultery refuse to get help, or the church rushes through the process to get "back to normal."

Silence on this issue will only keep the problem alive and growing. To me, it needs to be addressed openly and without shame. Children need to be taught the dangers of the internet and have boundaries put in place. Teenagers need to have healthy boundaries in dating, internet use, sexual purity, and more. We as adults, need the same thing.

Paul, from the Bible, is a great example of someone who used his sinful past as part of his testimony of God's goodness. God brought Paul (formerly Saul) out of a life of sin and used him to do amazing things for His kingdom.

Paul was not secretive about his past. Everywhere he went, he brought up the fact that he used to kill Christians. He thought he was doing good things for God. He was an elite "religious" leader of his day, very educated, and led the way to trying to silence and destroy Christians.

He even reminds people that he approved of the stoning/killing of Stephen, a Christian martyred for his faith. He says in Acts 22:20, "And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him." He not only approved of his death but stood guard so those killing him wouldn't be stopped.

Wow! He was gut honest about his failures. He even calls himself the "sinner of sinners," the worst of the worst. He wrote much of the New Testament and discipled many other Christians. The same man who used to kill Christians was being persecuted for being one.

My point is that Paul could have kept quite about his past but didn't. He was not proud of his past, but he didn't deny what God had done in him and for him, starting with Acts chapter 9. God took him out of his sinful ways and brought him into His light and will. Paul knew God was the hero of his story and determined to tell the world about Him.

Why do Amy and I talk about this so openly? Because someone needs to. We don't want to hide from it (as if we could) and hinder the good that God can do through us and around us. We feel that remaining silent on this issue would be a denial of what God has done. He has proven faithful to us and shown us grace, mercy, hope, peace, strength, and so much more.

We don't want to ever come across to people that we have it all figured out. We are far from that. However, one thing we know is that God is HUGE and MIGHTY and can do far more good than we give Him credit for or can imagine. Adultery recovery is slow, painful, difficult and uncertain at times. However, God is right there with us and carrying us each step of the way.

This is part of our story now, whether we want it to be or not. Therefore, we hope to keep writing new chapters that reflect our obedience and love for Christ, while helping others have the courage and hope to do the same. 

Luke 19:38-40
 "When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

   “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
   “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

"I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

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