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The Road to Redemption

I shared with you in June how our church was in the early stages of grappling with a leader’s public confession of sin. Although we’re only five months into this, it has been a long road. But we are watching God do a redeeming work.

I’m so grateful to those of you who prayed for our church and this precious couple during this season. Since many of you joined me in the early stages of this process through prayer, I feel like you should have an update on what is happening now.

We’ve watched this young couple take some difficult steps in this process. It involved a change of jobs, change of homes, downsizing financially, months of intensive counseling, and a process of accountability. These were fruits of repentance that were necessary and that helped in the recovery effort in practical ways.

I believe God is turning this heartbreaking situation into a platform for His glory to be seen.

When God’s people seek His face, when we truly desire to see Him glorified, He is faithful to uncover hidden sin. That is when we’re faced with the decision of how we’ll handle what He uncovers. When we turn toward Him in repentance (even if it’s only slightly at first), He more than meets us there and provides the grace to press on in obedience.

Too often when someone confesses their sin, I think the Church is so ready to move on and many steps are skipped in the process. 

The offender needs to feel and understand the gravity of his sin and if he doesn’t walk through any of the consequences of that sin, we’ve shortchanged him and the process of recovery. He also needs help with removing things from his life that may disrupt the pursuit of purity. It must be his choice, but he needs to grapple with the reasons to deny himself from indulging in previous activities.

Remember what drastic measures Jesus described:

[box]If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matt. 5:29–30)[/box]

Of course, we know Jesus wasn’t talking about literally severing arms and gouging out eyes. Jesus was using hyperbole to make the point that we need to take serious measures to reduce the possibility of temptation. One who is early into the journey of repentance, is not going to have much spiritual objectivity or wisdom for deciding how to navigate this road, so it is vital to have a network of mature believers involved as a “recovery team.”

The body of Christ needs to provide the fallen individual with accountability and should surround him with the help and support he needs (tomorrow’s post will deal with that).

Has God taken you down a road to redemption?

Can you share some of your story with us today?

Image courtesy of Keerati/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

11 Comments

  • Carrie DeLong

    I could certainly share some gnarly details about my past sins – the kind that anyone would say, “Yeah, that’s horrible.” You know, what Christians consider ‘the big ones’ that are largely related to outward, obvious behavior. However right now God’s dealing, pretty uncomfortably, with the sin of ingratitude in my life and I just spent the weekend in my hometown where I had been ‘the independent single girl’ for many years. This is a place of GREAT temptation for me, because ‘homesickness’ can easily mask itself into ‘what might have been …’ or ‘if I’d only just …’ However this weekend, I saw lots of beauty; the gorgeous Fall foliage and God’s creation, spent precious time with my family in a place that’s so culturally different than where I live every day. I loved it, but I was also extremely uncomfortable remembering the mistakes I made and a couple of times I was really tempted to spend some time ‘where the grass was so much greener’. I’m glad you called this ROAD to redemption, because I actually turned my car around once this weekend because I knew that driving to my destination by a particular ‘road’ would only cause me to wallow and introduce the temptation to reminisce a little too freely. Instead, with my little boy in the car, I audibly thanked God for the life we have ‘NOW’ because it’s enough and HE (Jesus) is more than enough. Every. Tiny. (and trust me, that was a tiny one) Victory. reminds me of the redemptive journey I’m on… where outward obvious sins are concerned, but just as important to God, the attitude of my sinful heart that needs GRACE every day. Love reading your blog, as always, friend.

  • JD

    This was good. I am currently involved in trying to restore my marriage. My husband who has confessed his 3rd affair this past June has been involved with me in counseling at our church for the past 4 months. He had moved out and still hasn’t come to Godly repentance. He has shame and self pity. The church leadership has dealt with this so amazingly but we’re getting to a point where I may need to consider putting up boundaries with my husband so that he has the chance to experience the full consequences of his sin with the hopes that this would leave him back to the Lord. This is such a difficult decision and one I’m seeking prayer and counsel on. We’ve seen growth in my husband during this time, but not true heart change.

    On the other side, the Lord has worked on me so much during this time. I’ve been dealing with my own sin and have come to lean on the Lord in a way I haven’t before.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Carrie ~

    Thank you so much for this personal peek into your world. I’m so thankful for the transformation God has done in your life and the work He’s continuing to do! Thankfully, there is no condemnation in Him for past sins (Romans 8:1) and He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9), but often those things haunt us or rise to tempt us again. But, I love that you reacted as a beautifully fierce woman this weekend! 🙂

    You didn’t allow the enemy or your flesh to get the victory! You grabbed on to the Hem of God’s will and you didn’t let go!

    Your words here will be an encouragement to other readers and they always bless me, thank you precious friend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dearest JD ~

    I am so sorry for the painful season you are walking through. It sounds like this has been a long, hard road for you, but I am so thankful you are committed to restoration. God’s heart is one of redemption and He is able to make all things new! If you didn’t read Wednesday’s blog, I hope you’ll click over to it (pasting the link below). I include some steps that you might find helpful. I’m so thankful that your church is taking an active role in counseling and providing biblical direction.

    I’m pausing to pray for you and your husband now. May you experience deep peace, hope, and comfort from our gracious Father. He is able, He IS able, to bring complete healing (Eph. 3:20–21). I pray that your husband will have his eyes opened to the gruesome reality of his sin, that he will be repulsed by it, but will be drawn to the beauty of Christ’s holiness, and will fall deeply in love with Him! That is our only hope for victory over sin: loving Jesus more than we love our sin.

    Here are links to a few posts you might find helpful, you might also read the comments below these posts, some were written by men who’ve struggled with infidelity and they were helpful:

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=4119

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=3291

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=3696

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=3699

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=3702

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=3705

    Praying for you, friend ~

  • Justin Schalow

    I am so glad to hear this positive report! Please pass our love on to this family. You have spoken in true wisdom here. Our purity is under attack in just about every faucet of life and we must be diligent in guarding it (check out the statistics at http://www.purelifeministries.org). A wise theology professor told me once: “Acknowledging the safeguards you have in place to protect you from yourself is not weakness, it is wisdom.” I find the story of redemption in this family very encouraging. When so many, even in the church, would have given up, they have chosen to walk the hard road of perseverance. My family and I will continue to pray for them as often as the Lord brings them to mind.

  • Justin Schalow

    Please pass this resource on to your husband for me, a brother who now has victory over sexual sin because of the overwhelming love of our Savior. It is an easy read and is helpful in addressing assurance of faith. I have learned that one that can knowingly subject himself to sin again and again has a heart problem. And with all due respect, there is nothing you or the church can do to aid that, other than pray fervently and give the Lord time to work.

    J. D. Greear. “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to know for Sure That you are Saved.” (2013), B&H Publishing.

    Additionally, I would highly recommend the “overcomers at home” program through Pure Life Ministries. I would suggest that you speak to your husband and church about possible participation in this program. He may be reluctant, but it will change his life. There is some cost associated, but I am sure that the church would be willing to help if needed. My church funded this program in its entirety for me and through this program, for the first time, I was able to understand Godly sorrow and soften my heart to the devastation my sin was causing. Here is their website: http://www.purelifeministries.org

    What a Savior!

    -Justin

  • JD

    Justin,
    Thank you for these resources. I will look into them. Yes, we know that it is only the Lord that can change him. He’s open to meeting and hearing truth each week and we pray that the Lord do a work in him and lead him to Godly sorrow.
    I’ll check these resources out.
    Thank you!
    J

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you so much for continuing to pray, Justin. And thank you for passing on helpful resources to others on the blog! I just passed on that J.D. Greear book to a young woman in our church–good stuff! 🙂

  • Justin Schalow

    Glad that the Greear book came in handy. God has really blessed him with some great teaching abilities. I found this book helpful in learning how to share my faith with others. Miss seeing you guys every Sunday. God willing, we will be back in town around Christmas time. Would love to link up for a coffee if you and Leroy have time.