It had been a long time since I’d read anything by Christian author Max Lucado.
Then a few weeks ago I happened across an article called “Coming Clean,” written by Lucado for the Summer 2012 issue of Leadership Journal.
“I like beer,” opened Lucado. “I always have. Ever since my high school buddy and I drank ourselves sick with a case of quarts, I have liked beer. I like the way it washes down a piece of pizza and mutes the spice of enchiladas. It goes great with peanuts at the baseball game and seems an appropriate way to crown eighteen holes of golf. . . . I like it. Too much.
Alcoholism haunts my family ancestry. . . . So at the age of 21, I swore off it.”
Yeah, I thought. That’s about what I expected—a high-profile pastor’s safe confession of youthful indiscretion. What I didn’t expect was the next few paragraphs.
“A few years back,” he wrote, “something resurrected my cravings. . . . At some point I reached for a can of brew instead of a can of soda, and as quick as you can pop the top, I was a beer fan again. A once-in-a- while . . . then once-a-week . . . then once-a-day beer fan.”
“I kept my preference to myself. No beer at home, lest my daughters think less of me.
No beer in public. Who knows who might see me? None at home, none in public, which left only one option: convenience- store parking lots. For about a week I was that guy in the car, drinking out of the brown paper bag.”
Lucado told of buying beer on the way to speak at a men’s retreat and realising that he had become what he hated: a hypocrite. “It wasn’t the beer but the cover-up that nauseated me,” he wrote.
Throwing the beer can in the trash, Lucado resolved to make things right—confessing his sin to his church elders. “I didn’t embellish or downplay my actions; I just confessed to them. And they, in turn, pronounced forgiveness over me. Jim Potts, a dear, silver-haired saint, reached across the table and put his hand on my shoulder and said something like this:
‘What you did was wrong. But what you are doing tonight is right.’
“After talking to the elders, I spoke to the church. At our midweek gathering I once again told the story. I apologised for my duplicity and requested the prayers of the congregation.
What followed was a refreshing hour of confession in which other people did the same. The church was strengthened, not weakened, by our honesty.” (Andy Nash, “Max Lucado’s confession,” Adventist Review, 2012)