Monday, November 06, 2006
Learning Forgiveness From Gayle Haggard
I posted on Saturday about the allegations raised against Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Sunday a letter of confession and resignation was read to the congregation of 14,000 in which Pastor Haggard admitted that most of the allegations were true and that he was guilty of immorality.
How does someone who claims to have the power of God in his life fall to such heinous sin? I tried to address that question in my post.
Today I’m reflecting on the published response of Ted’s wife Gayle. As a leading voice in the women’s ministry at New Life Gayle felt that she needed to say something to the hundreds of women that she had taught about how to have a godly marriage.
Remarkably Gayle said, “I’m so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.
“What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death ‘do us part’. We started this journey together, and with the grace of God we will finish together.”
How can a woman that has been betrayed by a husband who has apparently been caught up in drugs and gay sex for 3 years, continue to love that man? How can she forgive him so that she remains committed to be married to him for the rest of her life?
I suggest to you that is the power of God. Forgiveness is a choice. Commitment is a choice. Even love is a choice. Though feelings are powerful forces in our lives, the power to choose is greater. Gayle has chosen to forgive, remain committed and love. Her testimony is that it is God’s steadfast work in her that gives her the power to make those choices.
Will she be able to persevere, especially if additional sordid details and stories come out? I don’t know. If she continues to effectively lean on God she will. Gayle Haggard is drawing from the very same power that Jesus did while hanging upon the cross and praying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”