Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Counting the Cost of Sexual Immorality
Have you ever considered the effects of your sexual immorality - especially if you're serving in any sort of ministry capacity in a church?
Author and teacher Randy Alcorn sat down and came up with a list of effects. When he was going through a time of temptation, or knew he would have to face it, he would take out the list:
Personalized List of Anticipated Consequences of Immorality
* Grieving my Lord; displeasing the One whose opinion most matters.
* Dragging into the mud Christ's sacred reputation.
* Loss of reward and commendation from God.
* Having to one day look Jesus in the face at the judgment seat and give an account of why I did it. Forcing God to discipline me in various ways.
* Following in the footsteps of men I know of whose immorality forfeited their ministry and caused me to shudder. List of these names:
* Suffering of innocent people around me who would get hit by my shrapnel (a la Achan).
* Untold hurt to Nanci, my best friend and loyal wife.
* Loss of Nanci's respect and trust.
* Hurt to and loss of credibility with my beloved daughters, Karina and Angela. ("Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?")
* If my blindness should continue or my family be unable to forgive, I could lose my wife and my children forever.
* Shame to my family. (The cruel comments of others who would invariably find out.)
* Shame to my church family.
* Shame and hurt to my fellow pastors and elders. List of names:
* Shame and hurt to my friends, and especially those I've led to Christ and discipled. List of names:
* Guilt awfully hard to shake—even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
* Plaguing memories and flashbacks that could taint future intimacy with my wife.
* Disqualifying myself after having preached to others.
* Surrender of the things I am called to and love to do—teach and preach and write and minister to others. Forfeiting forever certain opportunities to serve God. Years of training and experience in ministry wasted for a long period of time, maybe permanently.
* Being haunted by my sin as I look in the eyes of others, and having it all dredged up again wherever I go and whatever I do.
* Undermining the hard work and prayers of others by saying to our community "this is a hypocrite—who can take seriously anything he and his church have said and done?"
* Laughter, rejoicing and blasphemous smugness by those who disrespect God and the church (2 Samuel 12:14).
* Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the Enemy of God.
* Heaping judgment and endless problems on the person I would have committed adultery with.
* Possible diseases (pain, constant reminder to me and my wife, possible infection of Nanci, or in the case of AIDS, even causing her death, as well as mine.)
* Possible pregnancy, with its personal and financial implications.
* Loss of self-respect, discrediting my own name, and invoking shame and lifelong embarrassment upon myself.
Alcorn's Blog entry