Friday, September 02, 2005

A Very Sad State of Affairs

Sunday, as I entered church, someone took me aside and said, "Before you go into the service, there is something you should know. There has been a moral breakdown in our church".

It never crossed my mind that I would ever hear something of that nature; especially regarding members of our church staff. This church is relatively new; it started about 2 years ago and has been growing by leaps and bounds. The staff members have been so dedicated to establishing and serving this church congregation; it boggles my mind to know that two of those people (who are leaders in their respective positions) have done something that could jeopardize the church, to say nothing of their respective families.

I feel betrayed; I had placed my trust and faith in these people, and they have let me down. I realize that is a selfish thing to say - this affair is not about me. God has forgiven my many sins; which have been too frequently committed and not always sufficiently regretted. Shall I deny my forgiveness to these two, knowing that God has already forgiven them their sins? All I can say at present is that it will take a lot of time for me to heal.

When two people commit adultery, they are guilty of sin on more levels than just betrayal of their spouses. They lie about their actions or their whereabouts, they break their wedding vows, which are made not only to each other, but to God as well. In this particular case, they bear false witness, meaning they do not practice what they are preaching every week. How can you do that and continue to plan church services and purport to be a person who loves God?

The majority of us have ample opportunity to be unfaithful to our spouses. Most of us (I hope) do not act on those opportunities. Many of us stop to consider the devastation of our spouses, and almost more importantly - what it would do to our families, our children and our parents, to know that we are so weak we cannot resist temptation? Of course, we are tempted. Of course we fantasize about other men and women, but we do not act on those fantasies, or at least, we should not.

In my opinion, this case is worse than most - since their actions have not only had an impact on their families, but on everyone who attends the church and especially the staff. There are at least six children involved in these two families. How can it be explained to them? Children who are being brought up in church in the way that they are; almost totally immersed in the Bible with the ethics and morality that teaches us, will have a harder time understanding why their parents aren't living what they are supposed to believe in and what they preach. What terrible role models you have become for your children; especially the girls, who will have learned that men cannot be trusted to remain faithful.

Earlier this week, I was writing a post (not published yet) about the loss of innocence; about the time we come to full realization that the world is not as rosy as we once thought, when our parents, teachers, friends or politicians fall off the pedestals on which we have placed them. I thought that had happened to me in childhood, but today I find myself thinking it has happened again, and I am immensely sad about it. No one is perfect; not me, not you, and obviously not our religious leaders. But to my mind, it sure hurts a lot more when they show the world their imperfections. If you are so inclined, will you please pray for our church and its leaders?


20 comments:

Michelle said...

Hi Judy! Michele sent me. Being let down and disappointed by anyone is difficult, but it's extremely traumatic when the betrayal is by someone you had total and complete faith in. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes and some of them are huge ones. Luckily for all of us, God forgives and so should we.

Yaeli said...

Hi! I'm sorry to hear that such a thing has happened in your community. It is just another reminder of how human we all are, which is something I think we often forget in this age of technology and playing god.

To err is human.
To forgive, divine.

Michele sent me. :o)

Gerbera Daisy said...

It is very hard when you feel betrayed by people you care so much for.

yellojkt said...

michele sent me.

My kids math teacher last year was having a not very discrete affair with another staff member. He has a very small child at home. While consenting adults often make bad selfish choices, many people do not even consider their status as role model in their chosen profession.

I pray that everyone involved at your church will put the needs of their children ahead of their sef-serving desires.

dena said...

If there is one thing that sickens me, it's an act of adultery.
Yes, everyone is human. But I find adultery to be the most selfish act possible. Yuck!

michele sent me today, but I stop by anyway.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

That's a tough one, Judy. I never much thought of it, but should we hold church leaders to higher standards than we hold ourselves? I just don't know. But I DO know you have a great capacity for foregiveness, which you will use.

srp said...

I know firsthand the aftermath of adultery. My daughter still pays the price even 18 years later. She and I both have issues with trusting men now. Through the years I have known of other church leaders who have given in to temptation. It hurts so many people. I will pray for your church.

Billy Graham once told an interviewer that he had a policy of NEVER being alone in ANY room with a woman other than his wife. He told him that eveyone is subjected to temptation. God helped him resist but ultimately it was his responsibility to keep himself out of that situation.

utenzi said...

Hi Judy. Michele sent me.

I can understand a little of your disappointment, Judy. But we're a species that screws around at the drop of a hat. It happens--and a lot more than most realize. Witness that DNA study amongst Mormons a decade back. THAT did shock me since they seem to much more moral than the rest of us.

moonbatty said...

Michele sent me.

Great post. I'm sorry you're going through this. :(

Growing up, I rejected the Christian church for much this reason. There were two churches near my house--one Baptist, one Methodist. The "spiritual leaders" at both churches were lying cheating wife-beating bastards. The congregation had a fair share of the ethically unappealing as well. It took me a long time to realize that this wasn't what Christianity was about. That it wasn't just "sin and be forgiven", which was what I was exposed to.

So in addition to all the reasons you listed in your post, they're also damaging the name of Christianity in the process, and perhaps closing eyes and ears to the Bible. I have to wonder... Why don't these people understand this? It's the same gripe I had with Clinton. If you're going to cheat, if you're going to lie, if you're going to be sexually immoral, don't do it while you're in a public position. It damages everyone that you're associated with.

srp said...

I know firsthand the aftermath of adultery. My daughter still pays the price even 18 years later. She and I both have issues with trusting men now. Through the years I have known of other church leaders who have given in to temptation. It hurts so many people. I will pray for your church.

Billy Graham once told an interviewer that he had a policy of NEVER being alone in ANY room with a woman other than his wife. He told him that eveyone is subjected to temptation. God helped him resist but ultimately it was his responsibility to keep himself out of that situation.

Weary Hag said...

What a tough situation Judy. Best wishes for a speedy forgiveness.
It's always so disheartening to lose faith in our fellow human beings. Oldhorsetailsnake has a point ... perhaps sometimes we put people on too much of a pedastal and thereby have overstated expectations?

mercuryfern said...

I’m sorry you are feeling so betrayed by all of this. My response to such situations is usually pity, though. Life is complicated, I don’t ever know what anyone else’s consists of. This is from an atheist who long ago elected not to idealize anyone, so I guess our differences here are likely indicative of larger cultural ones.

I do share your disgust at the many daily lies that come as part of the adultery package. To me, those have always seemed like the bigger betrayal than any sexual dalliance.

Hoping your community can find healing and forgiveness.

Oh, and Michele sent me.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

I just have one question:

WHY DID THEY TELL IT?????

~Cathy~ said...

We had an incident with the priest at my church a couple years ago. :( I don't ever want to go through that again. BTW, Michelle sent me

Vicki said...

I will Judy. We went through this last year at our church and the church really hasn't recovered. The pastor is gone, the church has had a previously retired interim pastor and the congregation has been divided in their loyalties. Which ultimately led us to transition over to another church- it went on just too long with no relief in sight. I hope that your church handles things better.

Carmi said...

Sadly, adherence to any religion has little correlation with moral strength. How often do we see pious individuals attend church, then as soon as the services finish they're right back at their nasty ways.

Sorry, religion and morality extend far beyond dogmatic repetition of prayer in a building. And having a religious title or position doesn't seem to make a person less likely to violate the basic principles of humanity.

Sad.

Dropped in from Michele's this morning. You always make me think.

poopie said...

Unfortunately ministers have an alarminly high rate of adultery, I guess because people are so trusting with them. I've seen it many times...tough situation.

Nickle Annie said...

Hi Michele sent me.

I'm so sorry that you are going through this right now. ((((HUGS))))

Suburban Turmoil said...

When I was a young teenager, one of my church youth leaders left her husband (another youth leader) for her boss, with whom she'd been having an affair. I was devestated and disillusioned, but not by God. By men.
I haven't read The Purpose Driven Life yet, but I believe it's that book my husband was referring to when he said that he loved the part that stated that if you are active in your church, you will inevitably be disappointed in it at some point. He said the church is still a group of men and women who sin and make mistakes- and part of being a member is dealing with its failings and disappointments and trying to do better. I hope the youth in your church can sit and talk about the situation and what went wrong- and how men, even religious men, aren't perfect. It helped me a lot to be able to talk about my youth leader with other leaders in my church and to sort it all out. Good luck!

Peri said...

wow, thoughts and prayers for your church!!