How hard is it for a woman in ministry to fall into sexual sin such as adultery? Easier than you think. How many are tempted? More than we know, because no one talks about it due to the shame that surrounds the subject. The problem with the lack of a safe place to be honest about these struggles means there is an opening for the underground schemes of immorality to take the lives of great leaders in our midst.
For that reason, I am about to tell you about my own struggles with temptation to sexual sin in leadership, in an attempt to bring out into the open what many feel they need to hide. I have told my story openly at women's conferences and retreats, but I told myself I would never write about it due to the fear that my story would get into the hands of those who could destroy my life. I realize now the deception shame has. It tells you that if you keep your secrets, you are safe. Oh but friend, you are far from safe in secrecy. You are bait. I pray my choice to be brave and put my story out there will give you courage to tell your story if you are struggling, and the brave courage to listen to a soul in torment without judgment if she approaches you.
I have always told my husband that it wouldn't take a tall, dark, handsome man to lead me astray—only one who would pay attention to me if times were rough at home. Because my husband and I are such opposites (who truly complete one another), our "becoming one" has produced much friction over the last 14 years of our marriage. There have been seasons of enjoying the fruit of our endurance and seasons where we could hardly face one another. Add two young boys, one who has behavioral challenges, and home sometimes becomes a hard place to be. Interestingly, both times I have been tempted toward adultery have been when times have been hard at home and just before I've been on the brink of a breakthrough spiritually, with my family, or in ministry. I can say I've never committed the act of adultery, but both times, overcoming the temptation was extremely hard.
The first time was when I was writing my book, Culture Rebel. I clicked well with a man in my sphere of work. I was struggling with my thought life. All I could think of were Jesus' words "You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). Those words haunted me. I knew I had to get a grip, but the force of lust was strong after my heart and I was becoming weak from fighting it.