Before our counselor would see us again this year after the Christmas break she wanted us to meet with our pastor. Specifically, she wanted us to discuss what we were looking for in a mentor for Matt.
I forwarded the text to Matt that our counselor sent me explaining why we were to see him. Matt said he would take care of setting up the appointment. Earlier this week Matt told me that he set up an appointment to see the pastor just by himself to explain to him what HIS issues are, and that I could make a separate appointment to meet with him by myself.
I did not say anything to Matt after he told me this because, most of the time he gets defensive when I question his actions, and I knew it would turn into a fight.
I let our counselor know this and she responded back surprised by two things:
1. That Matt would make an appointment by himself when he and she had spoken about this previously. She indicated that he led her to believe that he was making the appointment for the both of us. (Welcome to my world…saying he’ll do one thing and then does another.)
2. That our pastor would make an appointment with him knowing that it was supposed to be a couples appointment.
Well today was the day he met with the pastor. Matt shared with me some of their conversation today:
Pastor: What do you see as your issue?
Husband: I’m lascivious.
The night before he’d Googled some information about ‘masturbation as a Christian’
The response resulted in scripture that pointed to lasciviousness.
This article explains it very well:
For over a month now, heck, maybe it’s been closer to two, I have chosen to distance myself physically from Matt. I just cannot be intimate with him when I do not feel emotionally connected to him. Perhaps the absence of sex has been the catalyst for change? As Henry Cloud says, “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”
Their conversation continued…
Pastor: What do you see as the biggest issue with you and your wife?
Husband: She says that I’m not a man of integrity. And there is a trust issue. She doesn’t believe a word I say and she thinks I’m a liar.
Pastor: Well are you a liar?
Pastor: When is the last time you lied to her?
Husband: Yesterday. She sent me a text around 1:15 and asked me to take some ibuprofen to our daughter because she’d called her at work and said she had a headache. My wife couldn’t leave work so she texted me since she knew I didn’t have to be back at work until 2:30. I was laying on the couch and wanted to take a nap. I looked at my watch and had about 40 minutes before I had to leave for work. All I wanted to do was take a nap. I waited until 2:15, after I was headed back to work, and texted her that I didn’t get the message until it was too late.
Pastor: What a pathetic reason to lie. I tell you what…if I found out that you lied to me about something like that, I wouldn’t believe a word that came out of out of your mouth either.
They discussed the fact that lying is a character defect, which reminds me of a one of three books written by Dr. George Simon recommended by a friend that I need to read: Character Disturbance.
They discussed the issues of movies. This has been a source of contention for years with us. I am a firm believer of garbage in-garbage out. Why pollute your mind? And the kids certainly shouldn’t be exposed to that kind of stuff but time and time again, the limits are pushed.
Pastor: Do you watch R rated movies?
Pastor: Do the kids watch R rated movies?
Pastor: Does your wife watch R rated movies?
Pastor: Then why are you watching R rated movies?
Matt asked me to lock down all R and NR movies on Netflix.
Wow. Never thought I would hear that come out of his mouth.
He shared with me that the pastor told him that he was “steeped in sin”. Matt and I discussed what the term steeped meant and looked it up…immersed, drowning in. That is serious. Immersed in sin. Drowning in sin.
Satan is hard at work.
While the term ‘mentor’ was not used, it seems that the pastor is going to take him on as a mentee. They have a weekly meeting scheduled and Matt was told that he is going to be accountable to him. His first challenge is to not lie for an entire week, including lies of omission.
I’m a little scared about this one. The words brutally honest come to mind. I’m afraid there will be no filter as to how to speak truthfully yet in love and with kindness. We shall see.
I did ask Matt how the conversation today differed from the conversations he’s had with our previous minister. He said because he started out by telling him up front that he was lascivious.
But on the other hand, he was pretty honest with our previous minister about some very serious sins too.
What makes this time different?
He says it is because our pastor now is responding differently and addressing the sin instead of simply acknowledging it then moving on to some coaching lesson from a textbook as our previous minister did.
I do have to admit that I was was skeptical that our pastor would be able to respond in a way that I felt would be suitable for our situation. My experience with former church leadership has been less than helpful, to say the least. In my mind, I am resigned to the fact that I need to file for divorce. There has been little change in behavior, no evidence of improvement. Now, after today’s conversation, I feel hopeful. Yet I have been fooled so many times before. “I’m sorry” is said all too often with no promise of future change. And the good days are still fewer than bad ones. There are more tears than there is happiness. There is still more fighting than there is getting along.
While our fellow man can be used as a vehicle to help, ultimately, one cannot truly change without surrendering to Christ fully and completely. And that has to come from the heart.