The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

This post is kind of a part two from my One Year Later post earlier this week. I want to qualify my words again because it is so important to remember. I write primarily as a form of healing. I received tons of positive feedback from my last post. It is my most read blog ever but please know that I do not write to receive praise. I am encouraged when someone is helped through my words but I lived in the world of seeking to please humans too long. I write primarily to express what God is teaching me so that a) Jesus is lifted up, b) people are reminded of our continual need of His grace, c) healing can take place, and d) someone who is following the path I took might second guess their decisions. 

In light of everything that has happened, let me share with you some of the good, the bad, and the ugly (although I am going to mix up the order - sorry Clint Eastwood). I will be candid.

THE BAD 

When I think about the bad, I am reminded of my own sin and my continual need for repentance and forgiveness.  God has been teaching me a lot about repentance lately. Repentance is such a heart issue. It is so personal. If you doubt its intimacy, just read the Psalms. The struggle with repentance is that no one one knows your heart and everyone seems to know what repentance should or should not look like in your life. That's why repentance is primarily between the sinner and God. That being said, repentance also manifests itself outwardly. One of the evidences of repentance is seeking forgiveness from those you have sinned against.  I have been in the process of asking forgiveness.

I hurt a lot of people. I sinned against a lot of people. I am not always sure who deserves an apology and who does not. And I have also learned that regardless of what you say or do that it may or may not be enough for the injured party.  People will question your sincerity, your method, your words, your motive, and just about anything and everything related to this difficult process. That's why ultimately the person asking forgiveness must do what God calls us to do and leave the results to Him.

However, there are certain people that I sinned against who I believe deserve a public (and private) apology. I have asked for forgiveness from many of these people and most of them have extended me that grace. I also understand forgiveness is a process and I am learning to trust God with that process.

God. Above anyone else, I sinned against God. I sinned against the God who gave me life. I have repented of my sin before Him and asked for His forgiveness. Thankfully He is the God who forgives completely and fully without reservations or limitations. 

Starla. I was married to Starla for 20 years. I betrayed her in more ways than one. I violated our marriage covenant. I sinned against her.  There is no excuse for what I did to her.  I will live with that reality for a long time. I have asked for her forgiveness. 

My Children. I sinned against my kids. I failed to be the father God called me to be in their lives. I live with the consequences of my sin against them every day.  Their grace and forgiveness toward me in spite of me blows my mind.

My Family. God blessed me with a great family. I hurt them deeply and sinned against them. They have extended undeserved grace to me.

Ashley's Family. I sinned against Ashley's former husband Dean. I sinned against her dad, mom, sister, and brother. I sinned against the family who raised her in a godly home. I should have respected the sanctity of her marriage and her godly heritage and I did not. 

Grace Point Church. God entrusted me with an incredible vision that became Grace Point Church. God allowed me to be a part of an incredible journey and see a lot of people become followers of Jesus through Grace Point. I will always be a part of the Grace Point story. Yet I violated their trust. I sinned against them. I failed them as a leader.

Grace Point's Staff and Leadership. God allowed me to work with incredible people at Grace Point. I led many of them to Christ and was able to be involved in the spiritual journey of all of them. And I betrayed them. I sinned against the staff and the elders. I betrayed their trust. I failed to protect my heart and turned my back on them when they tried to reach out to me.

My Mentors. God has placed some incredible people in my life. Many great men of God invested in me and the vision God placed in my heart. I sinned against them.

My Friends. My life journey has taken a crazy path. God has allowed me to have many friends in many places around the country. My sin hurt them. 


My sphere of influence. God allowed me to impact people that I do not even know personally. My sin hurt many of those people. We had a huge testimony in the community where Grace Point exists. My sin hurt the name of Jesus among many of those people.

Ashley. I sinned against my present wife Ashley. I allowed myself to get involved in an adulterous relationship with her. It took me quite some time to realize that I needed to ask for her forgiveness. I heard an Andy Stanley sermon that really helped me understand the necessity of this step.  I have done so and it has helped us take some huge steps in the healing of our own relationship which started on a faulty foundation and requires the redemptive grace of Jesus.

I know there are many others who I hurt deeply who are not included in this list. I wish I could sit with each person face-to-face and ask for their forgiveness. But I can't. So to all of those who have been hurt by my actions, know that I am sorry for my sin. I ask you to forgive me. I pray that you will keep your eyes on Jesus the One who will never sin against you or let you down.

The bad is bad. Sin is. Thankfully Jesus forgives, heals, and transforms the bad for His glory.

THE UGLY

Adultery is ugly. Divorce is ugly. Sin is ugly. Consequences are ugly. There is a lot of ugly in situations like this one. The lies. The deception. The gossip. The secrets. The slander. The shame. The guilt. The finger pointing. The labels. When things like this happen, the ugly gets really ugly.

My heart had grown really ugly before my sin was exposed. I was in an ugly season of life and as a result I made some decisions that were self-centered.  Without getting into all of the ugly details, I did not trust God to do the impossible. I did not trust God to heal my marriage. I did not trust God to work in my heart and life.

I chose the ugly and I live with the ugliness of my choices. Thankfully God has a divine way of transforming ugliness into beauty - of taking our sinful choices and redeeming them.

THE GOOD

I hesitate to post the good because I do not want it to be misconstrued but I do believe those who are living in the bad and ugly need to know that God is able to bring good out of our wrong. I mention the good only because God is good and He is responsible for any good that has come out of the bad and ugly. Here are a few good things happening in my life.

God is healing my heart - I have written plenty on this already.

A job that allows me to focus on my relationships. Split custody is ugly, but God has provided me a job where I am able to be home 3 1/2 days a week with little or no obligations. I can drop off the kids at school and pick them up. I am able to spend quality time with them. In spite of the ugliness, God has provided some good when it comes to spending time with my kids. I love them deeper than ever.

My second chance marriage. I want to be very careful to avoid unnecessary hurt. Let's be honest here: our marriage did not start off in a God-honoring way. Every odd is stacked against us. We know the statistics for second marriages and they are not pretty.  And because we are so aware of the stats, we are extremely God-dependent and determined to make the most of the second chance God has given us. We can't change what has happened. Our present life is our new reality. We can't go back. But what we can do is surrender our hearts and marriage to God and live in the truth that grace bridges the gap. Grace is bigger than statistics and it is upon that truth we will stand.

There is so much that is unfair about this entire situation. My heart hurts for those I have hurt. Although many view me as strong, prideful, confident, and arrogant at times, the truth is that God has broken me. I weep over my sin and those affected by it. No one knows the depth of my hurt. And yet, as the Psalmist so vividly describes over and over, God is my eternal refuge and strength. He is my solace. And He is working to make all things new. 

God redeems humans. He redeems broken lives, sinful hearts, damaged relationships, and selfish choices. He redeems the bad and He redeems the ugly.  And He uses both for His glory.

So there it is in a nutshell: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  All three are a part of life and all three are an essential part of this tapestry that we call life.  

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