Sunday, February 01, 2009
Why I Admire Ted Haggard
A couple years ago when Ted Haggards hypocrisy and sin was exposed I was shocked, angry and outraged. Like most evangelical Christians I saw his problems as personal hypocrisy. I watched some of his appearance on Oprah the other day and applauded as the queen of day time TV's attempts to demonize the church were turned back and rebuffed by Ted's insistence that he had "greatly sinned". Oprah seemed to want to blame the church for taking a stand against his sinful behavior- even disfellowshipping him. Ted said it was his doing and for the "protection of the church".
Now I will be the first to admit that I don't understand how someones sexuality gets that confused (though he confessed that he had been molested as a child). Neither can I excuse obviously premeditated pursuit of a homosexual sex and drugs. But I can and do admit that I admire Haggard for owning his sin. When he was first exposed he lied to cover his trail of sinful behavior, but he is finding freedom these days in not blaming others for his sin but, instead, owning his "perversion".
I have watched men and women of God fall into sinful behavior over the years. A few have owned their sin and found healing. But many have blamed the pastor or the church or the deacons or the lack of mentoring or the lack of 'real' friendship for their own sin. Those folks never find freedom in Christ- they become bitter whiners and complainers who blame others for their own behavior. Ironically, in their weird psychological need to blame others for their sin they doom themselves to be ever trapped in the memory of events that were their own fault. The cycle of sin and blame another never stops without confession of sin and owning our dysfunction. When someone sins it is because they are "drawn away by their own lusts". Period.
When we disown our sin, we "make God out to be a liar" and our efforts to vindicate our selves prove to the watching world that we are not even as righteous as Ted is. I pray that Ted will find freedom from the sins temptations and thoughts that haunt him. I applaud his desire to face squarely his sin and to recognize that he has forfeited a right to work in ministry. But I also pray that ministers in the church, and Christians in general, will learn to confess their sin when they fail and find healing for their souls.