Marriage

The Slippery Slope

For those of you who made it through five days of entries about our story, please just take another five minutes or so and hear from the man who is truly my hero. Ladies and gentlemen…Chris Beall. Over the last couple of weeks reading my precious wife’s blog and your comments I find my self thinking, “What a soap opera of a story.” Then I remember…that’s my story. A girl who serves on staff with me at LifeChurch.tv sent me an email on the day of Cindy’s first post of our story. She was thanking me for being willing to allow Cindy to share such personal information. Perhaps there are some of you who have thought over the last couple of weeks, “I wonder how Chris is with all of this?” Here was my response to my fellow staff member. “You are welcome. I really have no other option (in my mind) than living out loud and allowing God to use our story to help people who are also struggling. I don’t deserve what I have today and I gladly deal with what comes with the masses knowing what I did because then they will truly appreciate what God has done in response.” I am still tender, still amazed that I haven’t lost my family, and overwhelmed that I get to serve a leader, Craig Groeschel, who took a huge risk in bringing me back into full-time ministry. But mostly I am speechless because when I look into Cindy’s eyes, there is life, hope, and love. We are crazy about each other. I want to briefly speak to an issue that some of you may be curious about or potentially living through. How do you get to multiple affairs, fathering a child with another woman, and creating an entire second life and becoming addicted to porn? To answer this I want to acknowledge an assertion that a good friend of mine, Jorge, made this week in his belief that this struggle is a symptom of a man not satisfied at home. I believe that there are situations where this is the case. Scripture is clear that husbands and wives are to only refrain from sex when it is a mutual decision and only for specified reasons so that no one would be tempted to sin sexually (1 Cor. 7:5-9). This is an incredible passage that basically tells us who are married to have more sex! I have always loved the apostle Paul 🙂 This, however, had little to do with my struggle. I saw my first Playboy when I was young. I can still remember in exact detail the images in that magazine some 26 years ago. At that moment, a door of weakness was opened; a door that in the coming years, my spiritual adversary would methodically exploit. I do believe in my situation, that porn was not the end to anything but as Jorge suggests, a symptom of something deeper. I was sexually satisfied at home and yet consistently and progressively filled my mind with pornographic images. What was my disease? I had grown to believe a lie about who I was. Now before you write me off for giving you some ambiguous spiritual answer as the cause of my sexual addiction, I want you to ask yourselves this question. Why does anyone sin? Why does someone who is a follower of Christ consistently commit acts of commission or acts of omission that are clearly out of line with God’s standard? For years and years my life and choices reflected a strong disbelief in who God says I was as a follower of Christ. Think about it for a minute. If we all truly believed with everything in us that we are God’s workmanship, the righteousness of God in Christ, that we are chosen by Him for works of ministry, and that we are seated with Christ in the Heavenly realms and completely accepted and forgiven, would we continue to live consistently and progressively in sin? I am not suggesting that we can become sinless in our daily lives, but it is extremely hard to live in such blatant and growing rebellion to God when through faith we truly believe in who He is and who He says we are in Christ. How did that play out for me? For years I struggled with accepting God’s forgiveness for my sin and at the same time deeply desired the approval of people. I needed the affirmation of others aside from Cindy. Why? Because I really didn’t believe that God accepted me as I was. And part of me thought that Cindy’s love for me was just because she was married to me. This is where the progression happened. Looking at those images made me feel (for lack of a less cheesy phrase) like a man. Maybe there are other guys out there who deep down wrestle with the questions, “Do I measure up? Do I have what it takes? Am I respected and successful?” When I felt like a failure, I looked to a counterfeit source of validation and that was found on the internet. No addiction is static, it will always progress from one thing to another. If a shot of Cuervo (Tequila) gives you a buzz, drink one shot every day and see if it still has the same effect after that year. Chances are, you will need progressively more tequila to feel the way you felt that first time. (That was the first illustration that came to my head.  Don’t go drink Tequila 🙂 This is the nature of addiction. You look at an image, then a video, then you start chatting with people who have the same struggles and one day you wake up wondering how on earth you got there. Sin always progresses. ALWAYS. If there is something you are battling…if you find that you are sinning in the same areas over and over again, are you believing a lie about who God says you are? He wants to set you free. Free indeed. If you’d like to see the message that Chris preached on Bitterness, click here to view…message #5. He shares our story in this message.

38 thoughts on “The Slippery Slope”

  1. Beautiful!
    I love to hear you share about God’s grace and His love. You get it! Cindy is an amazing woman and she has allowed God’s love to fill her and flow to you. You are amazing in that you get the progression of sin. So many walk around wanting to blame one action or a final result, but the truth is…sin accumulates. It builds and tolerance and disconnection enable us to injure ourselves and others.
    My favorite part of your story is that instead of Cindy blaming and hating you…she looked at her self while you searched your own soul. Restoration is a powerful tool of a very loving God. But it is more than restoration of your marriage…it is restoration of your souls which lasts so much longer. Thank you for both your honesty and candidness.
    I admire both you and Cindy not because of what you have been thru…but how it looks for ya on the other side. Bad things happen to God’s kids every day but we don’t always get to see and hear the intimate parts of His workings. God is that big and you both reflect His glory.
    love you all

  2. Thanks for sharing a little bit from your side of things…you both are so reflecting of God’s grace, redemption and glory. It just gives me goosebumps.

    I look forward to meeting/seeing you guys very soon!

  3. Funny! Our church service today was about God’s grace and how He gives it to us regardless.

    I think it’s wonderful that you can talk about this openly.

    My marriage had gone through something similar but I have always wondered why my husband doesn’t talk about it. I think He has not truely forgiven himself. I don’t feel right talking about something that happened to the both of us if he is not ready yet. I just don’t want it to be one sided.

    I am ready however after 10yrs to speak about it(when of course God leads me to) in order to help others but again be my husband is not ready still. It is a delicate subject and of course talking about it doesn’t help his self esteem. At the same time I look at the wonderful changes that came out of this. I know we both see our marriage was restored for the better.

    It was nice to hear from you!

  4. Thanks, Chris. What you have written about sin and not believing lies is POWERFUL! At any moment, we’re all one choice away. Thanks again for your transparancy and willingness to be all that God has called you to be. What satan meant for defeat and destruction God is and will continue to use for overcoming and restoration. Yay!

    PS – this part must be included in the book!!

  5. Wow. Thanks to both of you for sharing. You will never know how many lives you will change through your story. I watched Chris’ sermon LET DOWN yesterday. It’s amazing what God has done in both of your lives through your willingness of letting HIM. Because of you sharing your story and God’s faithfulness, just think of all of the people who go through some of this will now have hope that they and their marriage can be restored,

    I know that even when God and someone forgives me that the hardest person to forgive me and let it go is myself.

    Our God is so faithful! And I agree, this part needs to be included in your book also.

    Love you both!

  6. Thank you so much. I definitely have bitterness in my life. Many times I thought I had moved on, but it keeps returning. I believe the image of the ace of spades will help me greatly. I didn’t realize that I haven’t been ready to give up my right to use it to my advantage. I do feel ready to be free.

    I’m so thankful for the honesty of both of you. It’s so easy to feel such shame and want to keep it a secret. That is how I’ve been living. I believe this is the year that I will be set free.

  7. Chuck Swindoll said something to the effect that sin will always take you to places you never thought you would go and it will cost you more than you were ever willing to pay.

  8. I echo everyone else; thank you both for sharing. I agree with cbgrace – sin definitely can take you to places you never thought you would go. I exposed myself to great sin when I fell away during my college years. I’m so sad over the grief I caused my Lord. And the grief I caused myself. I still can’t be “thankful” for what I put myself thru that time. Maybe one day I will be. But I AM thankful for how God has used it to give me more empathy, more mercy, more grace…towards others. And I’ve learned to be gracious to myself, although that has been harder to do, ironically.

    We are God’s temple. Any crack, any weakness in our wall, is an opportunity for Satan to get in. And he knows our weaknesses. Thank you God for being my strength! Thank You for being Cindy and Chris’ strength, and please continue to remind them to rely on YOU. Bless them for their willingness to share their lives with so many. amen

  9. It makes me frustrated when you say to have more sex! People always think of that verse as men whose women won’t have sex…what about us women whose men won’t have sex? Very frustrating. Very.

  10. “I had grown to believe a lie about who I was.” Ambiguous spiritual answer? Isn’t that a lot like saying “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.” was just an opinion? Thanks for posting. You gave me a lot to think about. You both have.

  11. i am reading victory over the darkness and there is some parallels with much of this in our identity through christ. i think this story has done much for opening up communication lines between husbands and wives, and talking about some of our sin-susceptibility.

    i think this has shown how much forgiveness of self and others is needed in a god-centered marriage.

    unfortunately i still think we focus more on men’s areas of weakness and not women’s, which can lead to a lack of accountability in a marriage. and while i realize as men we welcome and need crosschecks, wives do as well, and we need to develop those where fear is not the byproduct.

    because while more emotional or less overt, other forms of adultery are widespread among women, and we need honest conversation about those just as we do about porn and sex in the life of a husband.

    i look forward to more marriage conversation…

  12. You two are absolutely amazing! I am so thankful that you are both a part of my life. I love the few glimpses of the lives well lived I get to see and greatly enjoy spending time with your family. It is the coolest thing to see a family so knitted together in love and to know where you guys have walked, yet the place you live now is so vastly different. I can’t imagine what it was like then, but thank you both for allowing me in now. Y’all are a family that I love to be a part of, if only a few times a year.
    BTW–I loved staying at your house and waking up to a loving family…its like a dream.

    Also Chris, you have no idea how that message has changed my life, I can’t explain here but I have watched it many times and shared it with many other friends…AMAZING what God does with changed hearts and lives lived in the open! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  13. Chris, I love how you continue to protect Cindy and keep yourself accountable!

    You are right, your testimony shows how big God is – keep sharing it. reminds me of David – and remember he is known for having a heart after God! Praise God for you!

  14. Truth (on certain topics) is not always EASY for people to hear, understand and accept…it is a choice for all of us to embrace or ignore REAL LIFE. I embrace your truth and I am VERY thankful that you and Cindy are willing to be unprocessed.

    So many Christians act as if the “Synthetic Sinless Standard” that they believe they have results in an ideal and flawless life. The truth is, if all of our sins were revealed on the screen Sunday at Church, we would all be exposed of our imperfections and some would be mortified. By you both being real, it allows others to be real with their own walk and recognize life characteristics that need SERIOUS conversion. Your life walk continues to bless me.

  15. Wow. It’s been so validating for me to read yall’s story! It’s validated that we ALL have our weaknesses/addictions but to share yall’s story so openly has just been awesome! I love that y’all are so REAL…….there are so many folks in this world that appear to have it so together on the outside, acting fake, and are really dying on the inside. Thank yall and most of all, I’m thrilled to hear y’all have worked (and are still working) through all of this……

    K to you Cindy – I tried to imagine myself being so accepting of another women and child, even through all the hurt and pain as you’ve done, and if we are gonna keep it real……..well I found myself with my eyebrows way up high with that look and a voice in my head saying “you can just ride on outta here on that same horse you rode in on”! Of course, we never know what we’d actually do until we are in the situation right – I’m guilty of being judgemental
    You’ve got some courage girlfriend, I so admire you!

    Y’all take care!

  16. I’m so glad Chris piped in here. I will try to get to listed to his message in the next few days. In the mean time, thanks again for sharing such a personal part of you!

  17. Chris and Cindy,
    Thanks so much for your candidness and how it has helped us through the years and has helped those we know now that we have shared the hope of your story with and shared your blog with hopes that reading it will inspire continued hope and restoration.

    Thank you for your honesty in writing the truth of God’s Word and the nature of this sin to not be quenched. Some very wise friends of used to remind us to “…feed the Spirit and starve the flesh, ” a Beall quote 🙂

    It is so good to live free! Praise Him!
    Love you guys!

  18. How did I miss that last message during the sickness within series??? I just watched it and cried and cried. I am SUPER DUPER happy deep on the inside for the Victory He has given… and the glory that is brought to His name thru BOTH of your responses to Him! So many stay in hiding and believe the lies of the enemy.

    Chris…your brokeness and humility is beautiful….

    Cindy…your forgiveness is a mirror of Christ Himself flowing thru you.

    My husband was addicted to pornography pre and post his salvation. He had many christian men tell him he had to just accept it.

    He had one friend tell him that he had been set free from pornography and took him to scriptures like “He who has been set free is free indeed” and challenged Jerome to take God at His Word…renew his mind…get accountability and walk out of it.

    Jerome did get set free. He eventually counselled several hundred men…even pastors…on how to be set free from porn addictions…and did this as a vocation. God LOVES to turn our greatest weaknesses into our greatest strengths.

    I am so VERY proud of God’s work in and thru you both!

  19. chris, thank you…

    thank you for being a beacon of God’s immeasurable grace and redemptive power…

    thank you for standing tall in the wind…

    thank you for continuing to serve the Kingdom of God!

  20. Cindy,
    I have just finished reading all your posts about your slippery slope.Pastor Davis sent me to your blog beacuse I am in the same situation. Thank you. The encouragment you have given has lifted me in spirit and I thank God for you.

  21. Chris and Cindy,

    Truly your story is not a single edition. I have been involved with a sexual addiction group in Lawrence KS for 2 1/2 years now. The fight is larger then some will recognize or admit to. From the beginning Satan has attacked our identity. We were made in God’s likeness and he tempts us to be like God. Why be like God when you bare his likeness in the first place. From that time the deceivers lies have been loud, “you are not good enough”, you do not know enough”, “the pain is too great”, “you are all alone”. Pick your pain and there you will find your lie and the foothold Satan keeps hidden.

    I have used many resources over the last 10 years but never as good as what we do in Lawrence. God’s healing and empowering of the Kingdom is seen at New Hope Lawrence. I hope that my shameless plug of Pastor Darrall Brazzell will accepted as I have seen God working mightily through his servants as you have seen his work in your story.

    May God bless the light you shine in dark places and strengthen you as we learn He is enough.

  22. I read Chris’s testimony above and tried to read or hear the message on bitterness but it wouldn’t come up. I looked thru all the messages but couldn’t find it. Could you help? Thanks Colleen

  23. I can’t tell you how many times I have read your story. It amazes me everytime. We’re in the process of telling ours right now. Although, I’ll have to say it isn’t even comparible to all the you both went though.

    I’ll have to be honest, it’s been hard already. Reliving the emotions and details of what happened. Not everyone has received our honesty with open arms either. But the numerious emails from people that it is ministering to have more than made up for the rest.

    Continue on we must. We tell it because it’s not about us, it’s about Him. And how He can turn a couple’s worst nightmare into their greatest victory through Him if they will allow His love to come in and work in the midst of total chaos.

  24. chris,

    thank you for not just allowing but encouraging cindy to be so open and honest about your situation — the hurts, struggles, joys, and victories. and thank you for this post as well. i appreciate your openness…

    you’ve both been hugely instrumental in my life. already!

  25. Dear Cindy and Chris,

    Thank you for your honesty as these things are usaully hidden in the body of Christ thus sometimes hindering the healing of those going through it.

    I must admit that i can relate step by step with what you went through as wife and as a couple. I recently had the same infidelity problem due to porn and a whole lot of other issues which i thought as a believer i would never find myself in.

    Like Chris, i openned up to my wife and hey, all h…l broke loose. She wanted details which i could not give her because i did not want to cause more pain. She said she was leaving and going with our two daughters (5yrs and the other just 3 months).

    My parents came and counselled us as she told them what happened and that she wanted out. She told me she hated me and felt like killing.

    To cut the story short, my wife decided to stay and our marriage is on the mend. There is now renewed hope and life in our marriage the fire is hot and God has been gracious to me and my wife. What God has put together indeed let no man put assunder.

    I thank you for your ministry and i pray God’s hand of blessing on your lives and children. May your marriage continue to be a model for many of us.

    God bless
    Kajiya

  26. I thank you both for sharing your story.

    I stumbled upon Cindy’s blogs via a Streaming Faith Daily Devotional link and decided to check it after reading a description about your desire to exhort.

    After reading several of your blogs I then read your chapters, not realizing at first what Father had in store for me. I’ve been married for a little over two months now. When my husband and I were courting, one of the things that Father had revealed about my sinful propensities is that I am prone towards bitterness. Though the instance of bitterness back then was not towards him (but a mutual friend), Holy Spirit gave me insight on how bitterness towards that person can translate to bitterness in me and Andy’s relationship.

    As I read Cindy’s story about the redemptive power of our God in softening her heart to forgive Chris, I was absolutely blown away by Chris’ sermon on “Bitterness”. I thought it strange that Cindy directed readers to it, but knowing that Father certainly works in mysterious ways I read on.

    You see, I’ve still been dealing with bitterness towards this person for past hurts. There are times I feel I’ve made some headway, but after the fake smiles and hugs when I see him, I realize that the root is still there. Now after listening to Chris’ sermon coupled with Cindy’s writing, I have the courage to give of what I’ve received from Jesus: FORGIVENESS.

    The bottom line is really understanding with my heart my identity in Christ as His redeemed, His forgiven. As I read through John before coming across the blog and sermon, it softened my heart to see Jesus’. He was willing to lay down His life for people who would even 2,000 years later, turn their hearts the other way. I don’t want to be counted among that number. I long to be so immersed in the goodness of God and His passionate love for me that it melts my heart in reverence/love for Him and love/forgiveness towards (the lowercase) him.

    The person whom I speak about is also a worship leader at my church. I used to work as a leader in his ministry teams. I’ve held on to a debt for far too long. The roots has sprouted, and before it sucks me spiritually dry, I ask Father to cut them down and throw the ashes away.

    I’m so blessed to be married to a man who exemplifies Christ’s grace towards me. Father knew what I needed in placing me in a relationship with a man who would propel me by his actions to live a godly life from the inside out. I’m so thankful to God for leading me to this blog sight! Today I see His mercies renewed in my life as Holy Spirit leads me to all truths in Him.

    I confess the truth about my bitter sickness, and welcome Father to have His way in transforming this heart. I choose to “extend to [him] that which has been extended to me.”

    Thank you for sharing! God’s used your testimony to help me towards freedom of my own!

    Ephesians 4:20-32

    Marissa A

  27. AWESOME JUST TOTALLY AWEWOME I THANK GOD FOR YOU MAN BECAUSE A LOT OF MEN ARE DEALING WITH THIS WHOLE LUST PORN ISSUE…. DO YOU HAVE EMAIL I HAVE TO EMAIL YOU MAN DO I GOTTTA TALK TO YOU YOUR TESTIMONY IS SUCH A BLESSING

  28. The sad part of these situations of leaders falling into season of sin; they are held to a higher standard and accoutability. The people that are forever affected including but not limited to the immediate family & the flock of which you guarded affect churches and the seekers who are freguenting them. The people that were within your reach in ministry who were seeking as the Holy Spirit was drawing…….have been affected possible forever.
    I have been apart of a mega church staff to executive ministers where this sin was played out in greater scope. One of the minister’s of our church , who I beleive was called to ministry with many gifts, has been hendered with the season of sin to accomplish what He Could Have Been for the Kingdom……..I know you must have struggled with this as well.
    The redemming result: God has forgiven you, and it seems so has your wife. God can still use you for his purpose……….

    Now the challenge stands before you to never under estimate that this illness and your presensity to sucome to that weakness will need forever accountability and boundaries. We will not be perfect until we are with our Savior…..so guard yourself well……..and remember that Pride was the beginning of the fall…….

    God Bless you and your family………..

    It is only through Christ that your marriage was saved……
    You have a warrior as a wife, mother, and daughter of a King! Don’t ever take that for granted her kind gentle, and forgiven spirit.

    Karen

  29. Thank you for sharing your story. My wife and I are in our 18th month of our journey of healing from my addiction and affair. I served as a youth pastor and fell hard. When I heard Chris’s message “Carbon Copy” on Lifechurch, it gave me more hope for the journey my wife and I are on. We have read countless books, spent time pouring over God’s Word, and have struggled to find healing through all of this. We are blessed to have a church that loves us and accepts us. Our former church didn’t know what to do with either of us, but to pray for us and help my wife financially for a time. We are grateful for that, but longed for the support that you received through Lifechurch. I have been pouring over this site since I discovered it this morning. Thank you again so much for sharing your journey and for how you have embraced one another through the unthinkable. Please pray for us. We appreciate any leadership you can provide.

    Healing in Him,
    Rusty

    Ephesians 3:20-2…Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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