Bo Sanchez - Light of Jesus Community

A collection of inspiring articles written by Bo Sanchez. Be nourished and live a fantastic life.

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds

The Fall of Rev. Ted Haggard by Bo Sanchez

November 2006

Will I Be Honest Today? It’s The Question That Will Save Your Soul.

I don't know if you've read the news.
But Rev. Ted Haggard is all over it.
We don't know him very well here, but he's one of the most famous evangelical leaders in America.
Before I describe the scandal, let me tell you how big he is in the US.
His credentials: Senior Pastor of the 14,000 member New Life mega-church he founded 20 years ago; and the President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)—a 30 Million strong organization in America. He was even named by TIME Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. He's a 50 year old married man with five kids.
But last week, Mike Jones, a gay prostitute, accused Haggard of hiring him for sex. For the past 3 years, Jones said that Haggard would get his services "about once a month". And he said that Haggard even used shabu to heighten the experience.
At first, the pastor denied the allegations on TV, saying he didn't know Mike Jones and that he was faithful to his wife.
But when the voice recording Jones presented proved to be Haggard's, he changed his story. He said he bought shabu from Jones but never used it—and that he only got a massage from Jones. He said he bought the drugs because he was tempted but threw them away.
But finally, the truth came out.
Haggard has finally admitted to sexual immorality. In his words, "The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true…"
His church board has dismissed him as Senior Pastor.
Ted Haggard wrote a farewell letter to his church. Let me quote a few lines…

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach…
Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them…
When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

Ted is not the first to fall.
In a shocking 1983 doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, he reported that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner.
On the other side of the religious fence, we've read about the sex scandals of Catholic priests accused of pedophilia and sexual abuse towards women. So far, 800 priests are undergoing trial and 232 priests have been removed from pastoral work in America.
Why do I write this blog?
Because Ted Haggard and I are alike.
(In one sense, we all are.)
No, I'm not homosexually oriented.
Nor have I had sex with anyone other than my wife.
Nor have I ever taken drugs.
But how many times have I covered-up my own sins?
How many times have I tried to polish my image and made people believe I'm holier than I really was?
Let me say something controversial: Ted fell not because he used a male prostitute. Or that he took drugs.
He finally fell because he wasn't honest.
Jones said Ted used him for three years.
That's three years of cover-up, three years of dishonesty.
In my book, Your Past Does Not Define Your Future, I told everyone that I was addicted to pornography and sexual fantasies, and to this day, I'm always tempted to go back to my old addictions. These temptations will remain until I get buried six feet under mother earth. (Okay, to be sure, wait for two minutes after the last shovel of soil is placed over me.) In the book, I shared about how I was sexually abused as a child (yes, also by a religious leader when I was 13 years old). And how this destroyed my self-worth and warped my idea of sex.
You know what?
Writing about my weakness became my salvation.
I became honest.
And honesty saves us from more sin.
No, I'm not saying that everyone should now write a book about their weaknesses.
But we should have a small group of people that know our sins.
And I've realized that it can't be a one-time honesty.
Only daily honesty can save us.
For example, I have a spiritual director. (Hi, Fr. Steve!) We're supposed to meet every other month, but when things get busy, guess what's the first activity I postpone? (Sorry, Fr. Steve!)
Thankfully, I go to confession regularly to my other friend priests.
Sometimes, it's so shameful to say the same things over and over again in confession—"Father, I've fallen again to sexual fantasies, pride, laziness…" Sometimes, I'm tempted to hand him a Xeroxed copy and say, "Same as before Father…"
But that's not totally true.
Over the years, I've seen a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy, can't-see-with-the-naked-eye, microscopic improvement in my fight against sin. Perhaps I don't sin as much. (I sinned 3,566,929 times last year. This year, I sinned only 3,566,928 times.)
Aside from confession, I also have two groups of men that I open my life to: The elders of my community, Light of Jesus, and the Kerygma Preachers. We meet twice a month for prayer, sharing, and friendship.
But even that, it's all up to me to be bring up my inner garbage to them.
Because it's so tempting to say, "Everything is A-Ok," or to focus the conversation purely on my ministry success and not on the inconsistencies of personal life. Because I'm sure Ted Haggard had these accountability relationships. He just didn't use them.
Again, because honesty is a purely internal decision.
No matter what external structure you have—a spiritual director, monthly confessions, accountability small groups—at the end of the day, it's still all up to you: Will you be honest today?
Being honest has helped me hang-on to holiness.
Yes, I intentionally use the word "Hang-on".
Because I feel as though it's a thread that's keeping me faithful to God.
At anytime, the thread can snap—and I'll be another Ted Haggard. (The difference between Ted Haggard and myself is a thread. Just a thread.)
It's terrifying.
But that terror is good for my soul.
It reminds me to be honest today.
And the next day.
And the day after that…
Because if one morning, I face the mirror and can't say I'm an honest person, then that's it.
The thread has snapped.

For more inspirational articles by bestselling author Bo Sanchez, visit his website at, practical soulfood for successful people.


Post a Comment

Bo Sanchez's Official Fan Box

Kontera Tag