Before You Have an Affair

I’ve been inundated recently with inquiries pertaining to clergy moral failure. I’m not sure why so many calls, but it’s happening all over the country. Perhaps it’s because I co-authored a book titled Preventing Ministry Failure and thus people make inquiries based on a Google search. It seems almost epidemic this summer as if the enemy is pulling out all the stops tempting our spiritual leaders from every angle possible in these last days. It’s not unusual to field a phone call a week from a church or minister grappling with the fallout and trying to put life, marriage, family, friendships, and churches back together. Many hope for easy and painless solutions, in reality there are none. The road towards restoration is long, tedious, painful, unpleasant, and stretching.

Here are some things to consider or consequences to rehearse before you cross the line:

Flee from all appearances of evil. Don’t entertain the thoughts or step into the vehicles that fuel the desire or the attempts to engage in inappropriate behaviors. Place boundaries, do heart work, and enlist a mentor or best friend that you can talk about your struggles with. See a licensed mental health professional with a heart for people in ministry. Share your struggle and seek wholeness before you act out inappropriately.

Remember your wife, children, parents, in-laws, and extended family. The people, who love you the most, will be disappointed the most. Your inappropriate actions will crush their world, expectations, hopes, and dreams for the future. Your inappropriate actions will take them on a journey they never signed up for to begin with. Think about looking them in the eyes and seeing them filled with disappointment and disillusionment. Imagine telling your children about your inappropriate behaviors. You don’t want to go there.

Remember those you’ve influenced and are influencing. Think about the people who are engaged in your ministry and who have bought into the vision to make a difference in your community. Imagine looking them in the eyes and seeing their disappointment, disbelief, and disillusionment. Imagine being called and labeled a fraud, an adulterer, a hypocrite, a liar, and a cheat.

Contemplate the disappointment. The people who love you, respect you, and walk with you will experience an excruciating disappointment. Your selfishness will ravage their lives. Your actions will call them to question faith, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Some will quit church, some will quit serving, and some will never trust a minister again – because of your inappropriate behaviors.

Consider the ramifications of being shelved for a season or even permanently. All of your training, ambition, goals, and dreams all placed on hold or permanently erased. You’ve worked all your life for this ministry only to have it taken away by a selfish act.

Consider the long and difficult road to rebuilding trust. Once trust has dissolved, it takes a major working to rebuild it in a relationship. It will take years for your spouse to trust you again, if you even remain married.

Finally, nobody gets away with secret sin. Secret sin isn’t secret for very long. They may be hidden for a season, only to be discovered at some point. Don’t buy the lie that nobody will know, because they will. Then everyone will know. Think about it being in HD on the big screen for everyone to see, witness, and judge.

Perhaps you’ve entertained inappropriate thoughts and behaviors – DON’T. Steer clear of behaviors, which lead to moral failure. Rehearse these considerations and consequences. Perhaps one of these will keep you from falling and acting on the temptation of inappropriate behaviors.

One thought on “Before You Have an Affair

  1. Tim G

    As one Pastor shared “it’s selling out CHEAP”! For a quick thrill that is over and done, the pain will effect more and last a life time-the pain is never over and done.

    Great post!

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