Wow, what a terrible few years you must have had. You were running from the truth, running from your friends, and fighting against yourself. You must have felt very alone, angry and remorseful. The worst may finally be over. You will be castigated and hated for a while, but that energy will not last too long. Confession takes the sting out of that hatred.
I want you to know that I understand you. Of course I am not a professional athlete, and have never performed on a world stage, but I know what it feels like to face unrealistic expectations. You were expected to be superhuman in your feats of endurance and strength.
I am a pastor, and I thought I was expected to be superhuman in my morality. Just like athletic failure was never an option for you, moral failure was never an option for me.
Just like you, I found out that I was human and incapable of meeting those goals of perfection. And just like you I cheated.
I am not going into details (everyone who needs to know about my past does know), but I did things pastors should not do. And I lied to cover it up. The more I lied, the worse I felt. I knew the whole thing would come falling down one day, and I just couldn’t face that day.
Finally, I did the unimaginable. I told the truth. What I found was even more unimaginable – forgiveness. My family, my friends, my community and my God all forgave me.
And I found something else that I never imagined. God never intended for me to live up to unreachable standards. He lived up to those standards for me. He fulfilled his own requirements on my behalf. God loves me for what Christ has done. I don’t understand why. Thankfully, I don’t have to understand it to enjoy the freedom it brings.
This knowledge has transformed my identity. When I confessed, I faced a reality. I was never even close to the role model I believed I was. In fact, I was quite a jerk.
But I was a well-loved jerk. My friends told me often, “When I met you, I thought you were awful, but I love you now.” Their love gave me to courage to face the truth about myself. And in facing the truth, I found grace.
Lance, I was not a good person who cheated and lied to cover it up. I was a liar and cheat pretending to be a good person. By facing the truth, I have been changed. God is now making me into a better person, an honest person. He is making me into the man I thought was.
Lance you have been healed of one kind of cancer. I hope grace will now heal you of your cancerous lies and your self-obsession. Who knows? If you find grace and get healed again, maybe you can once again inspire millions to be healed.
From one liar to another, Grace and Peace
Ricky Jones has spent the past two years as a church planter and pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before that, he was a campus minister with Reformed University...