A New Orleans pastor was found on the Ashley Madison list. Sadly, 56-year-old, John Gibson committed suicide on August 24 just six days after the Ashley Madison list was exposed. His wife, Christi, found his body at their on-campus home at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and had to call her two adult kids to share the heartbreaking news.
Christi said, “It was a moment that life doesn’t prepare you for. I had to call my kids. How do you tell your kids that their dad is gone and that he took his own life?”
CNN reported, “In his suicide note, Gibson chronicled his demons. He also mentioned Ashley Madison.”
“He talked about depression. He talked about having his name on there, and he said he was just very, very sorry. What we know about him is that he poured his life into other people, and he offered grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone else, but somehow he couldn’t extend that to himself,” Christi shared.
Christi Gibson wants to share this message with the 32 million exposed people and their families:
“These were real people with real families, real pain and real loss,” she says. But “don’t underestimate the power of love. Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn’t merit it. It didn’t merit it at all.”
— CNNMoney (@CNNMoney) September 8, 2015
No matter what someone has done or how far they’ve fallen, the church should continue to be a place known for gently restoring sinners. Christ-followers should lead in a ministry of love, kindness, forgiveness and restoration.
We want people to respond to their own brokenness the way Peter did by coming to Jesus in true repentance, instead of embracing hopelessness like Judas.
Let’s guide people into repentance with humility and dignity. Here are some resources for working toward true repentance.
1. Recognize and acknowledge the sin
2. Confess to God
3. Turn away from the sin
4. Restitution – As much as possible, make it right. And, forgive yourself.
5. Commit to obedience and walking with Christ
There is already shame in regret, sin and mistakes. Let’s walk with people in a way that leads to restoration without shaming.
Church, forgiving another and extending love doesn’t mean we’re condemning the wrong. It means we’re being like Jesus.
And please, please reach out for help if you struggle with depression or suicidal thoughts. We want to be there for you.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources. (Source: Huffington Post)