Pastors have a high calling as they are called to serve God and shepherd the flock. Although MANY statistics have been reported, it would be irresponsible to claim those stats as “scientific” or absolute. After all, GOD is in charge and He can do ANYTHING with NOTHING.
There are a few themes that seem to be consistent with being a Pastor and for his wife and family. Expectations (both from the congregation and personally) are high, unrealistic and can lead to complete loneliness. Many pastors and their wives share that they have no “true” relationships with others because it’s difficult to trust people. Many have been hurt when they people they thought they had a friendship with, shared personal information or tried to use the friendship to “get their way” or get the “inside information” on the church. Pastor’s wives often feel neglected or that the congregation comes first.
Satan has had a field day taking advantage of these hurts and with the accessibility of the internet, the “anything I want to do is okay/no one has to know” and lack of communication or intimacy between married couples, adultery is at an all time high – both men AND women. Pornography, sexting and lack of self-control has unfortunately become so common place that it now seems that EVERYONE is doing it. The struggle is REAL.
So what happens when THEY are struggling with issues all the rest of us struggle with every day? Who do they go to? Who can they trust? Where is their support and accountability? Most suffer in silence.
One hurting Pastor’s letter continued:
“She told me that she had been secretly talking to a man in our church and that they would text each other and it had gotten to the point where the messages were becoming intimate. At first she wouldn’t tell me who it was.
Then she admitted it was the husband of the couple we were friends with.
I felt like I was being ripped in half. I wanted to kill this man. I am not a jealous person but I was out of my mind with jealousy. I haven’t felt that kind of pain in my whole life. Pain and heartbreak but anger, too. So much anger.
Here I was outraged by her having the desire for another man and I’m having the same desire for another woman. I wasn’t thinking about my wife or her pain. I even split hairs because I didn’t “act” on my attraction but she did. She was intimately sharing her heart with another man. What a hypocrite!
The couple left the church, per my request and we agreed to go to counseling. I’ll admit my heart wasn’t in it. I was mad. I can’t lie and pretend that I wasn’t. I was mad at my wife for what she did. I know that it’s not all her fault but I wanted to blame her. She let someone else in! That gutted me.
Every time she’d open up about her feelings that the other guy made her feel, I would get enraged and say hurtful things. She and I had no shortage for spiteful things we lobbed at each other.
I felt like a failure. Satan made sure that I didn’t forget it, either. ‘I wasn’t enough to keep her satisfied and what kind of a Pastor can’t keep his household in order?’
And all the while this was going on, we were raising kids, leading a church and trying not to let anyone know the truth. It’s hard when you’re the one that is expected to counsel everyone else and you’re having your own problems.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I was more concerned about my position as a Pastor in the church and what people would think if they found out.
My wife was angry and withdrawn more then ever. Everything felt out of control. Our lives were falling apart and I felt like a fraud. I knew the words to tell myself. I’d said them for years as a Pastor but I couldn’t begin to know how to fix this for us.
I finally confided in a Pastor friend of mine and we began meeting every week and praying. He told me about you and suggested that I check out your story. He said that you had a powerful testimony and ministry about forgiveness. He specifically mentioned a few of your articles and that I should read them and watch your video WITH my wife.”
His hurting wife’s letter continued:
“When he shared that he almost kissed a woman from the church…the woman who I thought was my friend…who’s husband I had been secretly talking to, meeting with and had told me he was in love with ME and wanted a life with me, I felt like I was going to throw up. I blurted out my confession and watched as his face fell.
He kept asking me, “Who is it? Who is it?” I couldn’t get the words out. Finally I said the man’s name and I knew that my husband would never love me again. I will never forget that look. There was hurt but mostly anger. And if I were honest I was angry at him for wanting to kiss her. I thought, “What does she have that I don’t have?” I was angry at her for being what he wanted.
They left the church. We never spoke again. No one at the church knew and I waited for people to find out what a horrible wife I was every day. Nothing spreads faster then gossip in the church. To my surprise no one said anything.
We tried counseling but every time I tried to tell my husband how I felt, he got angry. He wouldn’t listen to how I felt. I blamed him for not loving me the way that he should’ve. He loved others more then he loved me. We were mean to each other.
It got ugly. I was angry at him but mostly angry at myself for being stupid enough to put myself in that kind of situation. I think the worst part for me was what I felt about myself…that I wasn’t enough for my husband, that I was capable of turning my back on the vows that I made.
I felt worthless. I was ashamed and all I could think about was what a horrible person I was. I felt like the reason that my marriage was bad was because I was bad and I didn’t deserve forgiveness at the same time hating my husband for not loving me. I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t see any way to salvage our marriage.
There was too much hurt. I felt hopeless.”
Crud…everybody’s got it! It’s the emotions left behind from when we’re hurt by another human being.
Satan doesn’t want us to deal with our crud. He wants us to stay STUCK. If we’re stuck in the pain, we are not FREE.
There are 3 things that Satan will use to stop us from dealing with our crud.
#1 Blame – Blaming everyone else for our choices.
#2 Guilt – Carrying the guilt instead keeps us from being able to move forward.
But the most difficult one that I’ve discovered in all my years of ministry is this.
#3 Inability to forgive – It’s easier to hold on to the anger that way we’re always one up on the person who hurt us.
So what do you do when you’ve been hurt so deeply but you have also hurt someone else?