The Slow Fade


202254_3439 Throughout history those that we held as famous and virtuous have fallen from the pedestal that we put them on.  We are not supposed to put people on those pedestals in the first place but in all honesty, we do.  Even the most mature Christ-Follower in their heart of hearts held Rev. Billy Graham to a higher standard than their neighbor in the church pew beside them.  Thankfully he is one example of a “Hero of the Faith” that never fell from his lofty status in Christendom.  Not that he never sinned, but that he never sinned as publically as others.  We all sin, no matter how mature and pious we are, sin still enters our hearts and exits through our actions. 

I am reminded of a couple of pedestal dwellers that have fallen recently, one person that achieved his lofty status through the game of football and one that attained his lofty status through leadership in the church.  Steve McNair and Ted Haggard.  One a high profile quarterback, the other a high profile pastor.

200px-Steve_McNair_2007-08-10

Steve McNair was shot and killed on July 4, 2009 by Sahel Kazemi, his mistress girlfriend, who then shot and killed herself.  According the The Huffington Post his wife, Mechelle, had no knowledge of his relationship with Sahel.  Steve hid his relationship from his wife as well as most of his friends. 

 

 

Ted HaggardTed Haggard, the former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Co, founder of Association of Life-Giving Churches and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006, resigned or was removed from all his leadership roles in November of 2006.  He admitted to soliciting a male prostitute named Mike Jones for sex and methamphetamines.  Soon after he entered counseling and as of the beginning of this year is still attending it. 

Both of these men, I am sure, started their rise to stardom with good intentions and good morals.  Both did amazing things for their respective areas of influence on the field and in the church.  But both fell quickly and publicly.  How did it happen?  Could it have been prevented? 

How did it happen?  It happened the same way all sin happens, slowly and almost unnoticeably.  In the Old Testament the weight of sin was on the physical performance of a sin but in the New Testament Jesus revealed a new way to look at sin.

But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.  Matthew 5:28  (The Message)

20-23He went on: "It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."  Mark 7:20-23  (The Message)

Those things done in the secret place called your mind, the thoughts that no one but you and God know about, that’s where it starts.  That is the beginning of the end. 

Think of it this way, you get a very small thorn in your foot.  Allowing that thorn to remain in your foot brings infection.  Left untreated the infection spreads and eventually you are rushed to the hospital and told the only way to save you is to remove you’re leg.  Sinful thoughts act the same way, like a small thorn in your heart a lustful or prideful or any other sinful thought pierce your heart.  And just like the thorn in your foot, if left untreated it begins to poison the rest of your heart.  As time goes by more and more destructive thoughts begin to infect your heart.  Eventually, like the infected leg, the infection in your heart must be removed.  Sin becomes public.  You become a mannequin on display for the world to see.  Your reputation is destroyed, you life in ruins.  Why?  Is God punishing you for your sin?  Is this His revenge? 

No.  No!  And again, NO!!!  This is not revenge, this is life saving surgery.  God doesn’t care about your reputation at this point anymore than the doctor cared about the infected leg.  It has to be removed for healing to begin.  This isn’t so much about discipline as it is restoration.  All God’s discipline is done with love for restoration and healing. 

Could it have been prevented?  How do I keep all that from happening in the first place?  Paul gives us a statement that most of you have probably heard for many years.  He says,

We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.                         2 Corinthians 10:5b  (New Century Version)

First-  Our responsibility is to train ourselves to look at every thought that enters our mind and then decide if they are acceptable or unacceptable.  If they are good, neutral or evil.  Once we decide, we accept or reject. 

Second- Find someone that you can go to and confess your sins to.  “What???”  Yep, I wrote it, find another living, breathing person to confess your sins to.  It talks about this in JAMES.  I have one, he has been my closest friend since before Jr. High.  We know each others weaknesses and we know each others faults, and we hold each other accountable when we do something we shouldn’t. 

Third- Pray, pray and pray some more.  The more time you spend with God the less time you spend looking at and listening to things you shouldn’t.

And finally, read your Bible.  The Bible is a handbook to getting through life.  Everything we need is contained in the 66 books that make up God’s Word. 

Here is the inspiration for today’s post.  It is a song by Casting Crowns that my Accountability Partner put on his facebook page.  Take a few minutes and listen.  You’ll be glad you did.

Slow Fade, by Casting Crowns


Did you like this post? Did you hate it? Please share it with your friends and leave a comment. I would love to read your thoughts and opinions.

Questions? Don’t forget to visit the Questions??Questions?? page and let me know. I will try to answer it the best I can. No Quantum Physics or Time Travel questions please!

I’m not Einstein!

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