Recently, I received a call into my Heal Your Servant conference call line. On the other end of the phone, there was the voice of a broken and frightened man. He was sobbing uncontrollably—so much so that it took over five minutes for him to gain his composure enough for me to understand anything he was saying.
He then began to just systematically break down his sexual sin. He stated that when he was a little boy, his dad was very dominating and abusive toward him, his mom and his sisters. The only time he would receive any accolades from his father would be when he acted out with verbal aggression toward his mother or sisters. His father claimed to be a Christian man and always quoted Scripture that emphasized man’s dominance over women.
At age 9 or 10, the man found a stack of his father’s pornographic magazines in his garage. He regularly visited the magazines, being ever so careful to replace them just as he found them when he was finished.
He gave his heart to Christ at 18 and began his studies to become a minister. He is a pastor today. In his voice, I could hear his passion and love for Christ. I could also hear his deep sorrow and regret for the sin that buffets his flesh to this day.
Though the man learned to disagree with his father regarding male dominance, he has always struggled with lust. He has been able to camouflage it. He got married and in no time began a series of affairs. Though to this day he has never been caught, he has come close several times. His wife has had her suspicions.
The man is currently involved in an adulterous affair with an acquaintance of his wife. He is beginning to feel as if everything is unraveling.
He was somehow directed to my ministry website, and reality struck him when he watched the video and saw the picture of Ted Haggard.
His statement to me was, “I don’t want to end up like Ted Haggard.”
I began to express to him that Ted and I have been friends for some time now and that Ted and Gayle are doing better than ever today. Because of Ted’s honesty and contrite spirit before God, he has tapped into that same grace that Jesus exercised to the first 12. Ted is in the greatest place he could ever be. He serves a merciful God. He is married to a fabulous woman who has recently written two amazing books. He is pastoring a wonderful church that is walking in applied grace, and he is surrounded by those who love him.
The young man began to sob once again. I invited him to allow me to walk with him past his sinful trial. I encouraged him to contact a friend who is an expert in this arena and watch what the God of grace will do.
Grace. This seems to be current buzzword in the body of Christ—or is it? Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding this subject. Books are rolling out as fast as the presses can print them. Cotton collects on the corners of a pastor’s mouth as he preaches on the subject. Articles are written every day, yet today’s church is still in chaos.
Some claim an exaggerated emphasis on the subject and warn that its teaching is leading many into sinfulness, debauchery and "sloppy agape."
Others have limited its meaning to a simple salutation, cute acronyms such as “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense” and clichéd statements such as "unmerited favor."
As the Holy Spirit moves this subject to the forefront, the church as a whole seems to possess a lack of understanding of the word and concept.
As a freshman in college, I had a professor who made a memorable statement: “Any intellectual discourse must begin with a definition of terms.” We must define grace and develop a working definition of it in order to gain clear understanding of what it is and how it is to be applied.
What is grace, and what does it truly look like?