Uggh Part 2

Yesterday I referenced Geoff Surratt's open letter to pastors regarding the temptation of sexual sin. I know way too many guys personally who have fallen in this area, and am absolutely determined not to be one of them. While I have a keen sense that the heart (including my own) is deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9), I feel confident you'll never read my name in the newspaper so long as I continue the following practices:

1. I am never alone in a privately with a woman who is not my wife. Not in a car, not in a house, not in an apartment, not at a park or a hotel or any other place where people are not around. Never after hours at the church office. Never before hours at the church office. If you keep this rule alone, you're in good shape. Most people don't have sex in public places, especially with people who aren't their spouse.

2. I am never alone in public with a woman who is not my wife. I don't have lunch appointments with women alone. That's stupid. I don't run errands with a woman who is not my wife. Forget the temptation; I don't need the perception.

3. I over-communicate any perceived exceptions with my spouse and boss. Don't get me wrong, there are no exceptions to the above rules. However, twice in my ministry I have shown up early for appointments with multiple women to find that all but one were running late. In both cases, I put my stuff down, excused myself from the table, walked outside and called my wife and boss to let them know the situation. I don't have to have an affair to ruin my marriage and ministry; I just have to be accused of having an affair to chisel away at the trust of my wife and boss. They need to know about any perceived exceptions to the above so that they don't ever have to worry.

4. Someone knows where I am at all times. I never "sneak away" during the day. My administrative assistant, or someone at the office always knows where I am going and with whom. Though I may simply announce "I'm off to lunch" to most people, at least one person in the office always knows where I am going and with whom. If I am working somewhere other than my office, someone knows. Yeah, it's a pain. But it doesn't touch the pain Gary Lamb's family is feeling right now.

5. I have tough friends. I don't ever get offended by people asking me if I am being faithful to my wife. I don't ever get offended by friends who ask me the tough questions about what I'm thinking or doing. I've got a couple of friends both inside and outside my church who know me well enough to know when I'm lying, and don't shy away from the tough questions. If you don't have friends who know you well enough to know when you are lying, you need to find those people and teach them how to tell when you aren't being honest. Poker players say "everyone has a tell." You do too, and you need friends who can spot it.

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm a guy, and I'm susceptible to temptation. I'm not immune. But I also love my wife. More importantly, I love Jesus and don't want to do anything that would cause people to think I can't be trusted in anything including what I've said about Him. The above 5 steps haven't made me invincible; they've just put enough guard rails up to keep me from "falling" into sin. If I go there, I'm going to have to walk there willingly or jump; I've tried to make it impossible to "fall."


lisa said...


Jaye Helm said...

What about slapping guys on the butt after softball and saying, "Good game" ? Where does that fall in ?

I'm kidding, good post Chris, this is great for all of us, not just pastors.