Friday, December 19, 2008

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Ted Haggard. Just writing that name brings a whole bunch of thoughts to my mind (as it probably does you as well if you've been in the evangelical world in the past 5 years).

He was the pastor of a huge church in Colorado and president of the National Association of Evangelicals. That is, until he was accused of paying for sex from a male prostitute and using meth. He admitted to "sexual immorality" and said that he "really did sin."

What made all of this even more "news worthy" than just one of the several other ministers who have been busted for some devious act is that the NAE, and Ted Haggard especially, had been so outspoken and condemning of homosexuals and fought for "family values." The public image wasn't one of grace but judgment. So, it was no big surprise that when he was caught doing something he had so publicly preached against, he was judged publicly and humiliated.

Honestly, this whole story breaks my heart...on many levels. First, what he did was sin. He struggled with sinful actions. He continues to have that temptation. There is an article on MSN today about him and a new documentary coming up in January. You can read the article here.

I don't think there is any question in most people's minds that he was engaging (at some level) in highly risky, inappropriate, sinful behavior. I get that and agree with that.

However, I view what he did both privately (inappropriate/sinful/etc.) and publicly (preaching against homosexuality, family values advocate, public judgment of others, etc.) as symptoms of the problem. The root of the problem here is that he was believing/is believing lies.

In this current article, he says, "The reason I kept my personal struggle a secret is because I feared that my friends would reject me, abandon me and kick me out, and the church would exile and excommunicate me. And that happened and more."

His fear that he was unacceptable affected all of his actions. To cover up his insecurities, he was more bold in speaking against others who lived differently/unbiblically (not sure if that's a word but I'll use it anyway). :)

I don't know where Haggard stands with Jesus. I don't know if he's been redeemed and made a "new creation." However, I do know that regardless of any of our struggles, in Christ we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). So, if he's a believer, he's a new creation and completely accepted by Christ. All of his needs are met in Him. He may always be tempted by certain sinful behavior, but he isn't stuck in choosing them. He's been set free (Galatians 5:1).

However, believing that he's unacceptable because he struggles with sin that looks and sounds gross, he acting to cover it up...most likely believing that something was wrong with him. That's what we all do. One of the most profound truths I learned through "Be Transformed" was something like, lie believed as truth will manifest itself as truth. In other words, when we believe a lie, we begin to live as if the lie is true. Others will respond to our actions in ways that will reinforce those lies (because they see the action, not the initial lie that lead to that action). When others respond to the lie, we receive it and believe that it must be who we are.

So, we think we're stupid. We put on a front and act stupid. Others call us stupid and treat us stupid. This reinforces the lie. Or, we think we're an incredible gift to the human race. We walk around confident in our own abilities and successes, thinking we've done it all by our charisma. Others are drawn to us and encourage our egos. We receive these responses as reinforcement to the lying belief that we're awesome.

I'm not saying that Haggard didn't do anything wrong, but it's just a clear example of how believing lies can affect/destroy our lives. No matter what he's done, if he's a believer in Christ, he is still holy, blameless, righteous, perfect, and complete in Him. However, he's not experiencing freedom and life because he isn't believing that he is free and alive in Christ. Christ truly is the Source of life, but if we're living as if this life is up to us, we're not experiencing Him as the Source for our life.

My thoughts are a bit scattered over this story about Haggard, so I'll end with this. The saddest and most revealing part of this story is the last sentence of the article. It ends with a quote of Haggard. He says about himself, "At this stage in my life, I am a loser."

He has completely identified himself by his mistakes/sin/actions. In Christ, we are no longer known by our actions but instead by our union with Him. Until we realize who we are in Him and who He is in us, we will manifest self-effort in our lives...because we're believing lies about who we really are and who He is in us.

Only Christ transforms, and He does so by His Spirit renewing our minds with His Truth. My prayer for Haggard is that he will find his worth, value, acceptance, love, and life in Christ. My prayer for the church is that she will fix her eyes on Jesus, the beautiful groom and object of her affections. And in so doing, see the root of the problems around her, not just the actions. I think we'll begin addressing our culture differently when we see the lies believed, not just the behavior of those around u...including ourselves.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Yesterday, the whole family went to pick our oldest up from school. It was fun having us all there when she walked out of her class. Then, we loaded back into the car to head home. The ride home was not quite so fun. Our oldest (A) and middle (S) weren't getting along and there was a bunch of whining and complaining taking place in the back seat.

When we got home, I told them it was enough and that it isn't a value in our family to treat people the way they are treating people. I realized by the look on A's that she wasn't having a good day. She and I walked in the house together while everyone was still unloading. Then...

A had barely walked in the door when she threw her body on the ground and started weeping in a little ball. I sat down and asked her to tell me what was wrong. She came to sit in my lap and proceeded to say:

"I'm sad. I've had a bad day. Nobody at school was nice to me. No one wanted to play with me."

She told me no one wanted to sit by her or play with her with they went outside to the playground. She also said that one of the other girls in her class would come to her and yell, "I'm mad at you!"

For A, this is devastating. Later, when she was talking with Dani, she said that she was trying everything to make this other girl happy but she just kept saying she was mad at her.

This was all just heart-wrenching for me. We sat on the ground and cried together for a couple minutes and then tried to move on. However, the rest of her day was affected by all of this.

It's hard watching one of your kids go through difficult things.