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Sender's name: Wesley

Brother John,

I have a question that is difficult to ask, but I will go ahead with it:

In the past few months I have had a strong feeling or "calling" that I should become a preacher.  This not the difficult part.

The difficult part is that in years past I have not been the Christian I should have been...ultimately that I committed adultery about four years into my marriage.  With support from our fellow Christians, and with much prayer ourselves, my wife and I stayed together.  We have now been married twenty-one years.

I know I have been forgiven, and I know from the Bible that many others (particularly David) were forgiven and went on to be strong leaders.

What I am struggling with is my value as a Christian, in light of this past failure, and how I would be received by anyone who might know of or learn of my past adultery.  Should someone with my past even consider responding to this calling? 

Thank you,




I should remind you that God does not call perfect people.  Some of what you may be feeling may stem more from pride than a sense of failure.  When we come to grips with who we really are, and who Christ really is, there is no need to feel guilty or to beat ourselves up over it.  We sometimes expect from ourselves what we are not capable of, otherwise, Christ would not have needed to die.  Rom 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Pride beats ourselves up over this.  Humility allows ourselves to come to Christ and let him lift us up.  Pride tries to lift ourselves up and leads to shame and guilt.  Christ came to set us free from sin and guilt.  It is gone not by our doing, but by his doing.  Pride will try and hang on to it because pride feels like it needs to do something about it.  Humilty recognizes that Jesus is all sufficient and joyfully accepts his gift of forgiveness.  Pride tries to cover up.  Humility lets it all go.  Spend some time meditating, journaling, and considering this in prayer.


God does not call perfect people.  I know ministers who have been in prison before, I know ministers who have been divorced.  I know ministers who used to drink and party.  I know ministers who used to be into drugs.  But Jesus turned their life around.  God has taken some of their past struggles and used them to minister to others who are going through what they have went through.  Look at the Apostle Paul.  He was responsible for the deaths of many Christians.  Yet God used him in a mighty and wonderful way. 


Your past failure does not matter.  What matters is Christ.  Consider carefully the words of Paul in this passage:


"More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:8-14)."



John Telgren

P.O. Box 452

Leavenworth, KS 66048


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