My in-laws, Susan and Gary. They are two of the wisest, humblest, above reproach people I know.
Three years ago I was in a fog of temptation.
I was having a hard time in my marriage, and I started flirting with another man. By the grace of God, and by what I believe was Him providing a way out of the temptation, my husband asked me if I ever thought about cheating on him.
I told him I had thought about it.
It was his question, that had arisen after reading the book, Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough, that led to us having one of the best, most honest conversations of our marriage. And after that conversation, it was as though I was shakin’ out of the fog. My eyes were opened and the temptation was gone. Light had pierced the dark.
But ya’ll, I could have fallen astonishingly.
“She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly…” Lamentations 1:9
Now another story…
About four years ago I was slandered by someone who believed things about me that were not true. Instead of talking to me about her misconceptions, she talked to others. There are people out there now who believe what she said and will always have a bad view of me. At the time this was going on, I was angry, and confused, and completely taken off guard. I tried to contact the person to clarify; no response. This was a fellow believer, and yet she would not talk to me about the offenses she believed I committed. I considered taking to my blog to defend myself. I’m sure I got a little passive aggressive on Twitter. I did write a general post about slander. But at the end of the day, after much prayer and wise counsel I decided to keep quiet and let the Lord be my defender. Nothing came of it and life moved on.
“Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.” Proverbs 20:22
Why am I telling you about these things? Because nearly every day I see the church being taken down in one form or another. I see leaders falling, and I see people accusing, and I see real offenses committed, and I see potential slander. But above all I see that there is a big target on the church, the people of God, by a real enemy who wants to take us down. And I know that sometimes we take ourselves down, because it almost happened to me. And I know that none of us gets a pass when it comes to temptation, and some of us have fallen astonishingly. I also know there are wicked people who do wicked things and call themselves Christians. If only there was no sin, so confusion, no falling, no hiding.
But there is something we can do. There are some things we can do. Here is a start…
Pray for Those in Leadership
I am sometimes guilty of pettiness, gossip, and jealousy. I see certain leaders, and instead of being for them, I take offense, I disagree on certain things, and I sometimes think and talk badly about them. Any choice morsel will do. But by the grace of God, no more. I will be for those who bear witness to Christ, especially those in leadership.
Together, we can pray for leaders and encourage them and believe the best about them. Let’s pray for them to stay low, to be humble, to be wise and to put that wisdom to action; and let’s pray that they will be delivered from temptation. We can pray that they will be encouraged daily to keep on, to keep their eyes on Him, and to live above reproach by faith, grace, humility, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Give the Benefit of the Doubt
When we read or hear something about someone, let’s not automatically believe it. Let’s do our research, ask the Lord for clarity and wisdom, and give the person the benefit of the doubt until we find out if they are guilty. Let’s not gossip. And when we do, because we have untamable tongues, let’s ask for forgivingness and begin again.
“Treat others the way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31
Be Above Reproach
The enemy wants to take us down.
As believers, and particularly those of us in leadership, we must be above reproach. We must be on guard, on alert, and walking with our eyes wide open. The enemy is just waiting for an opportunity to devour us. And devour he will, and in this inter-connected age, nearly nothing will be kept hidden.
I always say this, and I’ll say it a million more times: we can begin again.
So you messed up. Okay, get up, ask forgiveness, get low, and move forward. It will be a waste of your life to stay in shackles because of your sin. Repent. Start over. Live a quiet life if need be. But again and again He gives us mornings and mercy to begin new.
It is never too late to make your fall a fall to the knees.
And friends, pray for me? Pray for me to be humble and wise and to resist temptation and to be above reproach? I always want to stay low.
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