Ted Haggard, a leader in the National Association of Evangelicals until 2006, and former pastor and founder of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, appeared on Oprah yesterday. On the show, he was still a very confused, fallen man. This was his first television interview since the scandal broke out about his paying for gay sex and crystal meth. Mr. Haggard told Oprah why he had kept this secret part of his life. “It was the first time that dark area of my life I’d worked so hard to fight against was coming to the surface,” he said. “And to say it, and to talk about it, was so shameful and shocking. Even to me.”
Here’s the bottom line. He sinned. He’s sorry. He’s trying, it appears to work it out with his wife and family. He lost a lot of ground. Rightfully so. All sin has consequences. I hope and pray now that the darkness is exposed and he has repented, Mr. Haggard finds the freedom in Christ he longs for. More importantly, I see a beautiful picture of grace, or certainly an opportunity for grace for him with his family and especially his wife. This story is a Hosea and Gomer story. God turns it around. This is not simply about a man denying he is gay. This is about a wife who loves her God and trusts Him to save her family and to help her exemplify the Christ-like behavior of forgiveness and redemption. I’m going to be honest with you. I think she made it look a little too easy yesterday on the show. I have no doubt she’s had a lot of dark nights of the soul, too. But God has given her the ability to forgive, to continue in a marriage, to redeem a man. Mr. Haggard said he would have probably killed himself, but for the fact that his family stood beside him. Thank God for grace.
Now it’s our turn to stop standing in judgment for people in shoes we have not walked. I don’t like what he’s done to his beautiful wife, his family, the thousands who went to his church, to Christ Himself, dragging His Name through the mud. But we are all sinners. And if we desire grace, we must extend it. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” If God forgives us the way we forgive others, I pray for extravagant mercy. This is a hard one for that family. Please stop and say a prayer for them now, especially as so much darkness is exposed.
Did you all see the show? What did you think? How do you reconcile this with our faith and with your own heart for the people he hurt?