My guilt, your punishment.

There was a news story last week about a pastor who said Facebook was harming marriages by being a portal to infidelity. He gave married leaders of his 1000+ member church an ultimatum – get off Facebook or resign.

Three days later, the pastor was in the news again. Seven and a half years ago the pastor gave testimony in a criminal case (not against him, and later dismissed) in which he admitted to a sexual affair involving himself, his wife, and a married male church assistant. This happened on multiple occasions, and on some occasions, the assistant’s wife was also involved.

Okay, we all have past sins, and most of us have past sexual sins. Pastors, being people, have the same kind of baggage, and if they have repented, dealt with it, been properly restored, and moved on, then it’s in the past. HOWEVER, this may be yet another case of a leader trying to limit others because of his or her past or current sins or temptations. Leaders with lust issues often make too big a deal about “appropriate female attire”. There is no shortage of anti-homosexual leaders who have been caught in homosexual affairs, and similarly there’s no shortage of anti-porn or anti-homosexual crusaders who are caught with a prostitute, or in an adult bookstore. Then you have the Christian leaders who committed adultery telling you that adultery does not allow one to divorce (Jesus was wrong on that one I guess.) The list goes on.

However, this blog is not about leaders, it’s about marriage. Thing is, it’s not a leader thing, it’s human nature to vilify your hidden sin, and to try to form rules to keep others from the sins with which you struggle. We also others are guilt because we are (see Lying about yourself makes you worse) and punish others for our sins on the assumption that if we gave into the temptation, they have given in too. This is why people who are having or have had an affair will accuse their completely innocent spouse of an affair, and why a parent assumes a child is doing something they are not. No evidence is needed other than the individual’s own guilt.

Are you doing this to your bride? Are you doing it to your children? If you are a leader, are you doing it to those you lead? If you said yes to any of these, then just STOP IT! No really, knock it off, you are hurting people, and if it’s your bride you are hurting your marriage. Please don’t let your sins, lust and temptations dictate how you see others, what you think others are doing, or how you try to influence others.

About that poll: I’ve not gotten around to commenting on the very poorly done (I expect better from the Pew Research Center) and even more poorly reported (that part is no surprise to me) about marriage being “obsolete”. As Lamar Tyler has done a masterful job on this, I will point you to his article “6 Out of 10 Americans Say Marriage Is Not Becoming Obsolete and Other Things the Media Won’t Tell You“, add a hearty “Amen brother!” and be done with it.

Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:


The Quest for Understanding the Whole-Hearted: You really need to start with the 21 minute TED talk mentioned at the top of this post. It has one or two mild curse words, but it’s well done and worth the time.
How Viagra Works: A Woman’s Primer: A humorous Q&A with a Urologist. If you have ever wondered …

Black and Married with Kids

Four Phrases to Add to Your Marriage Today: Adding these to your marriage, if you mean them, would certainly lead to good things!

Donald Miller

Living From our Squirrel Brain: Is your squirrel brain driving your bride nuts?

Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

Emotional Capital: A good explication of this concept. In one rendition of my “The sexual reality of most women” post of yesterday I discussed this idea as it relates to sex.

Marriage Gems

Add a Little More Joy to Your Family’s Holiday: This is along the lines of my post last Thursday, with some good ideas on how to make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable. Watch Lori L’s site for more posts along these lines.

The Marry Blogger

Dancing in the Minefields: I’ve linked to this music video before – if you missed it, it’s worth checking it out

Project M

The Trouble with “Nobody is Perfect”: A great, fun post. (And no, Kathleen has not met me.)

3 Comments on “My guilt, your punishment.

  1. I would agree with what your saying about punishing people for past sins. Also though Facebook is definately a threat to marriage. A recent poll talked about on a national talk show said that over 60% of married people in America admitted to feeling jealousy over their spouses facebook posts/interactions. After dealing with facebook in our marriage for over a year and thinking/talking about it, My wife and I decided to delete our accounts. Facebook was an unneeded stress and distraction on what was really important in our lives. Our marriage and our family.

  2. I really agree with you when you say we tend to punish others for our sins because of our guilt, and than we’ll sometimes assume other people are guilty where we are.
    but what about being overly cautious in an area because you have fallen there and thus you know just how painful and destructive it is and you don’t want to see them go through that? I think this is sometimes buried in the guilt, which makes it tricky.
    Any thoughts?

  3. @Meaghan – Yes, it can get complicated, and sometimes there are good reasons. The problem is when there is a mix of good and bad reasons, as this will almost always result in pushing too hard.

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