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Around The Sun: Humiliation

Steve Harrison faces up to a day of humiliation and mental anguish.

Yes I was living by double standards. I was feeling shallow and meaningless. I wanted to love and be faithful to both the church and my wife, but I had serious needs that were not getting even remotely satisfied.

I still preached every week but sometimes cried my eyes out at the hypocrisy I felt in my heart. I wanted a clean slate, a fresh start. I longed to ask the congregation to help me, but the thought was way too scary. They looked up to me, holding me in high esteem. I was their ultimate idea of a Christian family man. Although I announced in sermons that I was far from perfect they said they wanted to be like me. I looked good, talked good, but inside I was coming apart. I didn't know which way to turn.

I pleaded with God to release me from my misery.

One Saturday evening two men from the church's leadership group came to my home. We were close, but not that close. I was desperate. After an internal struggle I told them what was going on. I confessed my failings, giving them the sordid details. I asked for their help. We prayed together. I said I wanted to confess everything to the entire church the next morning. They agreed it would be a good cleansing of my soul and an aid to the healing process.

On the following morning I stood before the congregation of 60 people and told them I had sinned before God, the church and my wife. I had been unfaithful. I begged them for their forgiveness, and asked God to forgive me. Then I sat down, hanging my head in shame.

Tongues clacked.

Then one of the men who had been to my home got up and, to my horror, elaborated on my wrong-doings. He said the truth needed to be revealed. He described me as a depraved and twisted individual, saying I was a good talker but everything I had ever said should be discounted. I was a wolf in sheep's clothing.

He pointed his finger at me as I sat, shrivelling into my chair. I was longing for the ground to open up, or lightning to strike me. His condemnation continued for a long time.

After what seemed like an eternity I got up and staggered to the door. Tongues wagged. Accusing eyes stared at me.

I got into my car and drove away.

In my heart the church had always represented forgiveness and acceptance. Now it was pain and misery...

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