This post may not seem like it is for everyone. But I would definitely say that it is. Christian or not, there are some principles here that I think are really key.
The statistics of people in full-time ministry who have a “moral” failure are really staggering. Moral failures usually just refer to adultery (which this is funny to me, because all sin is a moral failure). Why does this happen? Why do so many pastors become the statistic? But let us move beyond pastors and consider the marriages and lives of the average church person. Or what about even the lives of those who are not into church.
A friend was asking me about a marriage that ended because of an affair. As he was talking, he said to me, “did you have any idea?” And although I had concerns for this couple, I did not see this coming. It seems that in many of these situations, the bomb does drop out of nowhere. But of course, this is not the case. The bomb was conceived in thought. Pieces for it were put together one at a time. There were times where the bomb was thrown away. More pieces were acquired and assembled for a new bomb. There was contemplation about releasing the bomb. And so on…my point is that almost always there is a process before the destruction. So the perception that a person just acted all of the sudden is just not reality. So what happens.
Here is what I am convinced of. I believe very few people, both Christians and non-Christians, have a person or group that they are willing to be fully honest with. I believe the root of the problem is that people do not have “load bearing friendships.” We lack people that we can go to that we do not fear will judge us, hold the information against us, behave arrogantly, fire us (in some cases), condemn us, walk away from us, attempt to fix us, etc. Who can we go to that will listen? That will offer advice and counsel if we need and want it? Who can be trusted with the worst stuff about us? Who really wants to hear that your marriage is crap? Or that you are addicted to porn? Or that you have no hobbies with your spouse? If we do not have these friendships, then we just internalize everything. We end up not talking about the junk until the bomb is about to go off or has gone off.
This gets elevated in church life. Christians often pretend like church is the one place where there is no sin or where there should not be any sin. I could blog about just how foolish this is and just may some time. People think every other marriage in the church is fine. Everyone else’s sex life must be great. It is obvious all these other wives enjoy time with their husbands. And even if I do want to talk about my stuff or have the guts to do it, as soon as I admit my issues, I am toast. I will never be able to lead or sing or serve or fill in the blank at that church again. So people risk their marriages, rather than their reputations. Until a church has a culture where we can talk about our sin, our real sin, the big messes, we are just a bunch of religious people playing pretend. I long for the day where more and more people have real relationships with others where they can ask them to bear the load of what they are truly dealing with. I believe this is necessary both in and out of the church to avoid some major family bombs.