I have never heard a pastor confess to having struggled with porn.
Today was one of the most refreshing declarations of truth I have ever heard.
For why seek a God who cannot free you from everything that deadens your spirit and keeps you from enjoying true fulfillment and joy?
And yet, so few pastors I've ever met have pointed to anything in their lives that suggest real struggle, real sin. Sure, they tell a few self-deprecating stories about being impatient with their wives or worried about this or that. But it's not like you ever hear about their problem with rage or terror in the night. You never hear of anything that they would be truly ashamed of.
Maybe most of the time, we like it like this. We like to pretend that the sainted among us have found heights of holiness that surpass our human frailty: and by putting the clergy on pedestals we stay justified to scuff around in the mud below.
So when my trustworthy pastor describes, without drama and without self-loathing, a chapter in his life when he was mired in a dark and ugly trap, it was a beautiful testimony of God's restoration and freedom from shame and guilt.
I cried on the way home. I realized that though I know I'm forgiven for sin in my past, I'm not truly free from it. Every so often I wander down that prison corridor of old memories and end up in another cell of shame, guilt, regret, and pretense. When I felt myself exhale just to hear someone trustworthy claim a life without a limp from past sin, I realized that there are old hurts in me yet to be fully healed.
I know there is no magic bullet, but hearing a testimony to God's freeing work in someone's life was one of the most hopeful and challenging messages I have heard in a long, long time.
As publicly as my pastor was willing to share is as publicly as I wish to thank him:
Thank you for allowing your journey to be an inspiration for those of us also on this path toward freedom in Christ. Your beautiful marriage, your humble and matter-of-fact honesty, and God's transforming power in your life is like a huge and brightly lit light shining dimly into the prison I wander. I see it and realize there is more.
Much, much more.
It is for freedom that Christ sets us Free.
I look forward to finding what lies beyond the squeak of these cell doors.
Truly, thank you so much for putting aside any kind of ego or concern what others would think, or fear of being judged to speak truth today.
Thank you for being willing to say, "Come on, friends! This way toward more light!"
A fellow traveler along this beautiful path