Learning from Ted Haggard

David Klinghoffer shares his thoughts on what we can learn from the downfall of Ted Haggard. Here are my own thoughts.

  1. Watch what you pray for. I’ve read that the Sunday before the accusations came out Mr. Haggard had prayed for “deception to be unmasked.” It was, though perhaps not in the way he expected his audience (God? his congregation?) to understand the request. Prayer is inherently dangerous. God is looking for space in our lives – a point of leverage – to accomplish his work. Prayer, even with unintended consequences, can give that point of leverage. God’s not out to “get” us – though there’s likely plenty of people to gloat when we fall. God’s objective is our health and holiness.
  2. Recognize sin as a deadly danger, not just in the abstract, not just for other people. If we truly believe sin is a danger to us, we’ll take some protective measures against it. Billy Graham recognized the dangers early on and instituted measures to prevent sexual sin in his own life.
  3. It’s dangerous to think of one kind of sin (homosexual practice in this case) as the worst sin. If in our race to name the worst sin all we did was condemn others, it’d be bad enough. But what happens when we identify that “worst” sin and then find it in ourselves? We find it harder to tell ourselves the truth about our sin. Our self-defence mechanisms come to the fore since we don’t want to be known as the “worst.” One would think that if this reaches our consciousness we might realize other folks might not like the “worst” label either.

Update: Here’s some commentary from Gordon McDonald at Out of Ur. McDonald has personal experience with moral failure – and recovery.

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