A number of years ago, Randy Alcorn wrote a little sidebar called, “Consequences of a Moral Tumble,” in a magazine titled Leadership. I’ve carried it with me since 1988. Trust me, if you review such consequences regularly, your lust will take a backseat . . . but it still won’t go away. He writes,
Whenever I feel particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation, I find it helpful to review what effects my actions could have:
§ Grieving the Lord who redeemed me.
§ Dragging His sacred name into the mud.
§ One day having to look Jesus, the Righteous Judge, in the face and give an account of my actions.
§ Following in the footsteps of these people whose immorality forfeited their ministries and caused me to shudder: (list names).
§ Inflicting untold hurt on Nanci, my best friend, and loyal wife.
§ Losing Nanci’s respect and trust.
§ Hurting my beloved daughters Karina and Angie.
§ Destroying my example and credibility with my children, and nullifying both present and future efforts to teach them to obey God (“Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?”)
§ If my blindness should continue or my wife be unable to forgive, perhaps losing my wife and my children forever.
§ Causing shame to my family (“Why isn’t Daddy a pastor anymore?”)
§ Losing self-respect.
§ Creating a form of guilt awfully hard to shake. Even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
§ Forming memories and flashbacks that could plague future intimacy with my wife.
§ Wasting years of ministry training and experience for a long time, maybe permanently.
§ Forfeiting the effect of years of witnessing to my father and reinforcing his distrust for ministers that has only begun to soften by my example but that would harden, perhaps permanently, because of my immorality.
§ Undermining the faithful example and hard work of other Christians in our community.
§ Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the enemy of God and all that is good.
§ Possibly bearing the physical consequences of such diseases as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, and AIDS; perhaps infecting Nanci or, in the case of AIDS, even causing her death.
§ Possibly causing pregnancy, with the personal and financial implications, including a lifelong reminder of my sin.
§ Bringing shame and hurt to these fellow pastors and elders: (list names).
§ Causing shame and hurt to these friends, especially those I’ve led to Christ and discipled: (list names)
§ Invoking shame and life-long embarrassment upon myself.
(Taken from Randy Alcorn, “Consequences of a Moral Tumble,” from the Winter 1988 issue of Leadership Magazine. Used by permission. Related articles may be found at his website at www.epm.org, or visit his blog at www.randyalcorn.blogspot.com)