the cost of sexual immorality

Governor Mark Sanford’s sin of sexual immorality that has been recently publicly unmasked has had devastating consequences for his family, his staff of employees, his state, and for people who admired him from a distance as a straight shooting morally upright conservative politician.

It is yet another example of the truth of something my preacher repeated many times from that Harold McWhorter song: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay and Sin will make you pay a price far higher than you ever intended to pay.”

Twenty-five years ago, Randy Alcorn and a pastor friend listed the consequences in their own lives if they gave in to lust. He has a post with the list up.

I vividly remember meeting with a man who had been a leader in a Christian organization until he committed immorality. I asked him, “What could have been done to prevent this?” He paused only for a moment, then said with haunting pain and precision, “If only I had really known, really thought through and weighed what it would cost me and my family and my Lord, I honestly believe I would never have done it.”

About twenty-five years ago, while pastors at Good Shepherd Community Church, my friend Alan Hlavka and I both developed lists of all the specific consequences we could think of that would result from our immorality as pastors. The lists were devastating, and to us they spoke more powerfully than any sermon or article on the subject.

Periodically, especially when travelling or when in a time of temptation or weakness, we read through our list. In a personal and tangible way it brings home God’s inviolate law of choice and consequence. It cuts through the fog of rationalization and fills our hearts with the healthy, motivating fear of God. We find that when we begin to think unclearly, reviewing this list yanks us back to the reality of the law of the harvest and the need both to fear God and the consequences of sin.

An edited version of our combined lists follows.

Go read the list. Maybe make it a starting point for creating your own version of it. Maybe sit down with your spouse and work on the list together so there is no doubt about the havoc you would be wreaking.

Randy is right that there is something clarifying about facing the actual real life consequences of an action instead of allowing yourself to proceed in the fog of rationalization. The time to take positive action to prevent a problem is right now before there is even a cloud on the horizon suggesting a storm is coming. Use the clear weather to get your boat ready for the storms that will inevitably hit.

HT to Challies.

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