Sexual Misconduct vs. Redemptive Pre-Activity

When our kids were much younger, Bonnie and I would practice a pre-activity talk with Amy and Scott prior to entering an outing or event where they might be tempted to misbehave. In essence, we talked about what we were about to do and the consequences of poor decisions. Most of the time our children made us proud! I think the pre-activity talk made the difference as they were empowered to redeem the moment and not yield to behaving badly.

Honestly, I think church leadership needs to have more pre-activity talks. I have had too many experiences hearing about, ministering to, or mediating conflict centering around leadership misconduct - specifically sexual misconduct.

The following letter comes through Don Byers, a friend and a wonderful part of the family. Don writes, "I share this unusual blog from a fallen pastor because such repentance appears to be the exception these days, rather than the norm."

Open Letter to the Elders and to _____________ Church of ________________ in the State of _______.,

One year ago today, I spoke for the last time at _________ Church. For the first time since ________, I have gone a year and have not spoken in a church, not served in a church, not volunteered in a church, and have not been asked to...just months ago, I began attending a church again (sit in the back, head down, anonymous.)

It seems like the one year mark would be a good time and place to write this letter. I am so sorry for the pain and emotional upheaval my life and actions have caused you and the precious bride of Christ.

I'm sorry for the deceptions, the irresponsibility, and the sin of adultery that came from my life and infected others. I assume full responsibility for my actions with no excuses and no rationalizations.

As you can also attest, this has been the hardest two years of my life, with this past year especially crushing. With the help of our Lord, a dear Christian counselor, some medication, and a few close people in my life, I am seeing light at the end of a self-inflicted tunnel.

This is not the life path I would have chosen for myself or dear one wakes up and decides, "Today I will destroy my life and do harm to those around me." This path was a gradual one with many calls from God to stop, which I did not heed. HE was faithful. I was not.

The Bible says that when sin is fully formed, it yields death. So much has died in and around my life. What I cling to these days is the belief that God specializes in resurrections. He brings life to places there was once death.

_______________ Church, I loved you; and in many ways, served you well. My legacy, however, is one of failure and sin. I can't undo that.

I can only walk with Christ in authenticity--no longer hiding imperfections and failures, but living truthfully--honestly and with integrity (inside and outside matching). Will you see sin in my life? Yes. Am I striving to grow in Christ? Yes.

What I MUST do is offer this public confession, my sincere apology and my heartfelt request for your forgiveness.

With Sorrow...and yet with hope,

(signed) ________________

Pre-Activity Questions: If you had an affair, how would would you write this letter? How would you fill in the blanks?

As I read the letter, I could not help but think of an activity that Dr. James Cecy uses in his profoundly sobering conference on sexual purity, Ambassadors of Purity. This is one of the best conferences I have ever attended. Dr. Cecy does an excellent job communicating the harsh reality of sexual misconduct. He says, "If you decide to have a sexual affair, you better make sure it is the best sex you have ever had . . . because it will cost you the most."

To drive this point home, he uses a pre-activity to bring the notion of falleness to reality. He invites the attendees to ponder the devastating results of immorality. Dr. Cecy asks everyone to do the following assignment using names and stating specifics, "If you were caught in the act of sexual immorality, what would be the effect on your relationship with your Lord? Your family? Your spouse? Your church? The community at large? How might it hurt you physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially and economically?" Then he asks, "Considering all the consequences, is it really worth it?"

Thoughtful pre-activities can redeem us from the post-activity's devastating results and brokenness. Pre-activity can create the blessedness and wholeness of no-activity.

Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."