Sunday, June 17, 2007

One of the R words

In a moment, I will tell you of the miracle I saw today.

There are a lot of re words associated with Christianity: redemption, renew, repent, reconcile, recompense relationship...

Today's word is restore.

A man was introduced as our new pastor over the Men's Ministry and received a standing ovation. There were tears of joy.

The last time this man stood front and center of our church was about four years ago and there were tears then too. Tears of pain.

Sandwiched between those two appearances were many more tears of each variety as this man, our church, and God worked at bringing back a faithful servant to the position where he could minister again.

There is a saying among churches when it comes to Christians who stumble and struggle with a season of sin in their lives: We are the only army that shoots its wounded.

In this man's case, at least, the saying was proved wrong.

Four years ago this man--pastor, former Bible professor, husband, father, grandfather and friend--stood before us and confessed that he had been brought down by the scourge of Internet pornography.

As we tearfully listened, he recounted how this sin had come to dominate his life and pull him away from God. He was open and honest about his weakness and his inability to control his desires. He apologized. He resigned.

There's another re word.

An amazing thing happened after that day. He and his family didn't disappear. People didn't shun him, they hugged him. His daughter continued singing on the worship team. He got another job.

And God got to work on bringing him back to where he could minister again. The man worked on getting his mind back from the images that stole his thoughts and blocked his ability to connect with God. He worked through issues with his wife and family. He worked with the leadership of our church. I'm sure he prayed. A lot.

He experienced restoration.

What a glorious moment it was today as he stood in the same spot where he was previously a broken and defeated man. His confession and admission of failure that day was the first step down a long road to where he stood today.

I am sure glad we didn't shoot him.


Rodney Olsen said...

Internet porn is one of the nastiest cancers attacking our society today.

I'm so glad that there is a growing number of ministries tackling the issue and helping to restore those caught by addiction and those spouses who have been betrayed.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

We really need to do something about it. I heard that there was some talk of giving all porn a new extension: instead of .com or .org or whatever, it would be .xxx or .porn. I don't think it will happen, but it would be nice to make it somehow harder to find. hey, thanks for dropping by!

Sharon said...

Just proves that everyone deserves a second chance. And forgiveness is the seed that makes us all a better person....

Internet Safety Queen said...

Hi UNG..

How ironic I visit your website today. Interesting post!!!

Internet Pornography is something I am obviously very interested in. The addiciton aspect of it is also alarming and does not only impact men, but women as well.

I am so glad your congregation welcomed back, and forgave, this broken man. What courage it must have taken for him to tell everyone something so personal, private and humiliating.


Irene said...

What a wonderful, uplifting story. I have been a part of a congregation that shot its wounded and unfortunately know that being able to come back and into a position of leadership into the same group like this is sadly rare. How blessed he is, your congregation and you that it follows the Biblical principles of fellowship, forgiveness and restoration.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Internet Saftey Queen: That is a coincidence that you came by today! I am puzzled though: how do women become addicted to pornography; they aren't wired that way, are they?

Irene: Yes, we really have a great church. Every church is full of hurting and broken people, but too often people think everyone is perfect.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Saftey Queen:

Reading your post I see that you said women are affected by porn, NOT that they also become addicted to it. I agree wholeheartedly that it affects them. It is not a harmless thing, that is for sure.