Listening to the John Gibson show in my office (via iTunes) they brought up the following story:

After days of assuring the public he was firmly in control after admitting a scandalous affair, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford detailed other encounters with his Argentine “soul mate,” dalliances with women before her, and his struggle to salvage his 20-year marriage.

Sanford, who last week used a televised news conference to throw himself on the mercy of the public, state leaders and his wife, chronicled his affair and tortured emotions in interviews with The Associated Press Monday and Tuesday. This time, he said, he wanted to “lay it all out.” (read the rest)

If you thought this man lost his mind before this, this is further proof.  Why in the world would you lay all this out to an AP reporter?  This is stuff he needs to be sharing with his pastor or marriage counselor.

I called into the show, something I never do, so if you were listening I was “Shane from Iowa.”  I didn’t get to say everything that was on my mind, but I’ll share my thoughts here.  If I were Mark Sanford’s pastor this is what I would say to him (not necessarily in this order):

  • Shut up (I’d say it in a pastoral way of course), stop talking to the press, stop giving out details to people who don’t need to know details.  All you are accomplishing is embarrassing your wife and four sons.
  • This woman you met in Argentina, she is not your soul mate.  Put that out of your head right now.  You made a commitment to your wife, she is your soul mate.
  • Resign you need to focus on your family and marriage and you lost your moral authority to lead.  Getting out of the public spotlight will be a help for you as you seek reconciliation.
  • In the interview (mentioned on the show, but not in the article above) you mention you said to your wife, “I’m trying to fall in love with you again.”  Are you in Jr. High school?  (Again, I’d be more pastoral).  You should know by now that love is a decision.  You choose to love even when you don’t “feel” like you are in love.  We all have those days, it has to be a choice.  Love is something we do, if love is nothing more than a feeling you haven’t progressed past adolescence.
  • Repent – turn from this back from this sin.  Let’s call it for what it is – you turned your back on Jesus Christ.  You sinned.  This woman became an idol in your life.  You need to return back to your first love which should be Jesus, then your wife and kids.
  • Repentance means you will have no further contact with this woman.  It means you will do whatever is necessary to seek reconciliation with your wife.  Beg, plead, win her back.  You certainly do not deserve it, and she will have every right to be furious with you.
  • You will need to work hard at rebuilding trust with your wife.  Turn in your passport.  Let her check your email and cell phone records.  Let her know your complete schedule, etc.
  • Make sure you are in an accountability group, and are seeking individual counseling and then couples’ counseling.
  • Put up hedges in your life to avoid this temptation again.  You obviously crossed the line way before you had sex.

If he refuses to repent, seek reconciliation, counseling and accountability then he choose to end the marriage, not Jenny Sanford.  While she seems like she is willing to reconcile, and I commend her for how she has handled this, she shouldn’t be a doormat either.

Wish I had a chance to say all of that on the radio today, but there you go.  Still continue to pray for the Sanford family.

8 comments
  1. In my experience, the adulterers and cheats it's been my misfortune to have to deal with as a pastor have all been self-centered, self-loving brats hiding inside adult bodies. If they had any common sense, empathy, ethics, or self-control, and if they made decisions on principle instead of their lusts (mental lusts, not just physical), they wouldn't cheat. I'm glad that his wife isn't taking this like a patsy.

  2. You may be right about a lot of cheats. But I have had first hand experience with one (thankfully not my husband, but the husband of a friend). And as I said in another comment, this was a pastor with his own sexual addiction struggles. He was extremely repentant, and now works with men that struggle with similar sins.

    While I think that the Governor is making a bigger fool out of himself with each work he says, there are those out there guilty of sexual sin, that are truly repentant.

    Are we not all sinners? Even as Christians, we all struggle with sin, we just don't all get caught. Or is that just me?? And is not all of our sin a result of our lack of common sense, self control and so on??

    I just wanted to make the point that there are some that are truly repentant of sexual sins.

  3. I haven't dealt with many repentant adulterers yet. My experience has been with people who barged forward, against conscience and reason, and wrecked their marriages, their homes, and their kids. They respond to intervention with extreme pride, argumentativeness, or hiding (e.g., not picking up the phone, disappearing, not replying to e-mails from concerned friends).

    I know that even exceptionally good people can have affairs, under certain circumstances. King David did. He was confronted with loneliness, circumstantial opportunity, the power and freedom to do it, and an enthusiastically interested other who made her availability known. But inside it's that “flesh” — that lustful self-centeredness that we all have — that is the engine that drives us to break our promises. If we weren't sinners we wouldn't get addicted. But do our senses ever return? I've only known one case where the person got serious about their immorality problem, and it was only because the spouse finally quit putting up with it and left.

  4. That just about covers it all … he needs to shut up. Your points about repentance and this “soul mate” business are right on the money.

    Nothing to add, just support for a great post.

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