Our church is stunned right now. We’re walking through one of the most difficult challenges our body has ever faced. One of our own, one of our respected leaders, has confessed to hidden sin. A beautiful wife and young daughter, coupled with a life of immorality and years of deception, all carefully hidden under a “godly veneer.” We are reeling from the pain and sense of loss. The destruction is deeply personal and the shock visible.
We’re trying to make sense of it all, but it makes no sense.
Sin’s cycle of destruction never makes sense.
How can one who appeared to follow God, to be a sincere follower of truth, to know and love God, and even be in the position to lead others in worship of God . . . how can that one be leading a double life?
How can that happen?
How do we process what has happened?
This event needs to be a spiritual wake-up call to all of us. It definitely has been for me. It has given me an even greater understanding of the pervasive and deceptive nature of sin—even in a believer’s life. You may struggle with the question of how a “believer” can go that deep into sin for such a prolonged period of time . . . but the real question is:
How have I not fallen captive to that level of deception as well?
Or have I, but the sin is not as easily recognizable?
The very nature of sin is self-deception. We clearly see the process in Genesis 3. In the beginning of this young man’s life of deception, he first determined that he didn’t want to let his parents down, didn’t want to hurt them, so he crafted a “good boy persona” that allowed for strong outward compliance and an appearance of “godliness.” By his own admission, he wanted to experience God in the way he saw others experience Him, but he rarely felt like God was connecting with Him, so he erected a barrier of resentment toward God and any seeming “spiritual growth” he experienced came through mimicking the spiritual examples in his life.
How can this level of deception occur?
When an individual develops a hardened heart toward God (for whatever reason), they are extremely vulnerable to temptation. Without a strong love for God, we have no reason to turn from our selfish desires.
The progression of sin always begins in the heart: James 4:1–4
As we yield to our selfish desires, we develop a greater taste and even hunger for sin. As we commit that sin, it begins to enslave us; we are under its control: Romans 6:12–14
The longer we go in darkness and deception without confessing our sin and seeking out accountability and help, the greater the stronghold of sin becomes in our lives, and the more lies of the enemy we believe. Rather than developing the mind of Christ, we begin to take on a mind of deception.
For those who are affected by the destruction caused by the sinful individual, this kind of horrific event can only be processed through the grid of God’s sovereignty.
We must cling to God’s truth as never before. God’s purposes can still be accomplished, even taking what was meant for evil and using that to bring about His glory in the situation (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20).
The only thing that is holding my heart and mind in check is the truth of God’s sovereignty.
This did not take God by surprise.
God brought this to light.
God grants the gift of repentance and grace for recovery.
God can get glory from the most horrific events when hearts yield fully to Him.
We can’t trust the individual who has lived a lie for years, but we can trust the God that is at work in his life.
Trusting and praying for this fallen brother. Will you join me?