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Down but Not Out


by Grace Bellingham

Dynamic men can get into terrible trouble. Do you know the kind I mean? Fun loving, always ready to say yes to someone’s desire to go have fun or get involved with a project – his own or someone else’s; the kind of man that is full of energy and enthusiasm, who makes anything fun. This particular, fun-loving man was a dear church member. I got to know him and his beautiful wife from the day they came to our church. They were born again so easily; their hearts were united with ours from the first visit and remained so for more than twenty eight years.

The day he came to my office early one morning looking so defeated I thought his world must have come to an end and was hesitant to find out how. He confessed with tears in his eyes that he had been having an adulterous affair with one of the woman in our congregation. She was also one of the most dynamic women in our church. By the way, their common link was that they were both dynamic soul winners. They both had a passion for the lost and seeing them brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They worked together a lot and had grown to be family friends after a few years. They had many occasions to be together for good reason. But at some point the reasons for getting together went from good to bad to worse.

He was so defeated, so sorry, so guilty and so afraid for his wife, his marriage, his children and his church life and ministry. Oh, how pleasant sin seems for a season; but, oh my, how all of a sudden it becomes like death, sudden death.

Thank God that in Jesus and under the protection of His church, mistakes that knock you down don't have to kill you. For the Christian, death, burial and resurrection is a very real part of our lives. What God is doing is exposing sin for the sake of our repentance and His cleansing. "Under the mightiny hand of God" is a time to repent and earnestly seek the deep cleansing that sets us on the path to holy and righteous living.

This man did come to great repentance. Throughout the ministry time that we had together life-long areas of deep rejection and his almost demonic need of approval were exposed. He saw clearly what led him into making such disastrous decisions and how he gave himself the space to break his vows and treat God, his wife and his church relationship so treacherously.

In the midst of the church we can be brought to the very edge of destruction and God will meet us there within the safety of the boundaries He has set and bring us back into the fellowship of His Word and His Spirit, if we allow Him. In the context of church life God has made provision, through repentance and restoration for great error on the part of His sons and daughters. Though we start out as sinners, saved by grace, to the salvation of our souls from eternal condemnation, we ever remain saints, standing in His grace and mercy within His church for the rest of our lives.

This fiery, soul-winning man was cleansed, healed and continued to live a dynamic life for Christ with a greater understanding for life and people than he ever had before. His particular situation did not call for a public confession, his wife was spared the sorrow and humiliation and his children still to this day have nothing but respect for their father and a healthy, spiritual understanding of marriage vows and the trust that is built into a good marriage. The church is a place of safety, and sometimes things are better left unsaid for the sake of the greater good that comes out of it.

The life lesson learned by all involved with this man’s choices was that though you can get knocked down very hard, you are not out because of the mercy and the great grace of God to give repentance, cleansing and restoration.

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