Do Spiritual Leaders Need To Publicly Address Their Infidelity?
Out of all of the marital advice that I have received thus far, one of the golden nuggets that stuck was from my Pastor who basically told us that we need to keep our business in our home. He essentially told us that things will happen, but as long as we keep God first, we would find a way to overcome. And that the easiest way to do that is to keep folks out of our business as much as possible.
Earlier today, Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Israel Houghton announced that he is officially divorced from his wife of twenty years, Meleasa Houghton. The announcement was posted to the singer’s Facebook page and it revealed that he and his now ex-wife had been separated for some time now. From the sounds of it, there was infidelity on Israel’s behalf, though he didn’t explicitly say so. His statement reads:
It is with a collective heavy heart that we announce that after over 20 years of marriage and a long separation, Meleasa and I are officially divorced. Several years ago I failed and sinned in my marriage. Though this is new to many, it is not new to us as we have been working through this for over 5 years. Although we tried, the challenges in our relationship have proven too much to overcome. We have always handled our family and ministry with grace and generosity toward others, discretion, and privacy. So, for the sake of our amazing kids, we are also handling this privately with pastoral oversight and assistance. We choose to remain friendly and kind to each other going forward. I am in the process of restoration and I have repented for my actions. Although I am sincerely sorry, and forgiven, I soberly realize that I will live with the consequences of my failings for the rest of my life. As this has become a public matter I want to apologize to the many who have supported my ministry through the years. I’m sorry for the many who will be hurt to learn of my personal failure. I regret any pain or disappointment that this news may cause you. We thank you for your prayers and for allowing us to handle this privately with those who are set over us in this process.
It’s actually quite beautiful how many brothers and sisters in the faith flooded the singer’s comments with supportive and encouraging messages. Many commended him for being transparent and owning up to his mistakes. And others—well, y’all know how some Christian folk can be. But one comment in particular really stood out to me.
“You have only sinned against God. You owe us nothing. We will continue to pray and support you, both of you. I am in NO position to judge anyone. I believe in the restoring power of God. I love you,” a commenter by the name of PJ Morgan wrote.
And in some ways, I kind of agree with PJ. It’s admirable that Israel was open about his shortcomings. At the same time, I wonder if it’s fair that some people actually demand this level of transparency from spiritual leaders—mainly when it pertains to marital issues. Yes, they preach the gospel and lead us as we all follow Christ together, but should they be left to deal with some of their issues privately?
Noirettes, we’d love to hear from you. Should we expect spiritual leaders to publicly address infidelity and other marital issues?