By Mike Rogacs
In one way, this open letter is difficult to write. It is a self examination and a public exposure of my inner self and of my unrighteousness of the past. In another way, and I choose to look at it mostly in this light, it is a public confession, it is a public drawing of a line between a life of iniquity in the past and a dogged attempt to live and hold on to righteousness from this point on. Although there is a difficulty in this writing, I understand that this effort can be and should be one of ultimate joy. Join me in this rejoicing.
This is a public confession of my sins. I have already confessed to brethren in a local congregation. But consider that six years ago when I abandoned a righteous life, I was a preacher with enough notoriety that my falling away and some of my actions effected the Lord’s body on a scale larger than one locale. Then as the years passed, I added to this with specific sins against other brethren in other places. I am compelled by my conscience to make a wider confession, one so open that I will leave no doubt in my own mind that my confession is complete and my repentance is adequate enough. It is also my hope that if such a confession can help repair any damage that I have done to others whom I may not see again this is indeed worth the effort.
Six years ago I was married, a father of two girls and a gospel preacher, having worked as a preacher full time for about twelve years. Despite all that was good in my life outwardly, in my heart I began to yield to temptation and I fell into a life of sin (Jas. 1:13-16). How did I sin? In many ways mentioned as works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19 including, specifically, fornication. I must add that, specifically, my sin of fornication was like that condemned by Paul When he wrote Romans 1:26-28. Adding to these errors, I abandoned the local church which I had been serving as a preacher for three years. They are a wonderful group (Republic, Missouri). I sincerely hope that I did not do too much harm to the cause of Christ with my actions there. I also sinned against the congregations that were helping me financially at that time. Later, while living in California, I also hurt several brethren, especially the preacher, at the congregation in Long Beach called the Studebaker Road church. Again, the congregation involved was, and is, strong, a congregation that is an example of a strong pillar in the Lord’s kingdom.
And so went six years of a wasted life. I hope that I have confessed adequately in light of my error. I do deeply regret all of these things. I do indeed repent. I cannot “take back” any of these actions and thoughts, and yet how I wish I could!
Finally, after far too much time, I came to my senses. I do not want to continue that life. Oh, how truly empty, void of spiritual comfort. I wonder whether one can know how truly fulfilling the comfort of our Lord’s until he has lost it. And how foreboding it is when all that takes the place of these thoughts of godliness and comfort is the constant background fear of the eternal consequences.
I regret yet one more aspect of my past falling. The Lord had granted me the ability to study and to preach to others the word of God. Prior to my falling I had become an effective preacher over those twelve years. I most thoroughly enjoyed those years. But now, that joy is stained by the fact that I have wasted six years. I wasted six years that might have been fruitful to my master. I study now. I write now. But I fear that because of the nature of my sins of the past I may never be trusted again to preach the word of God as I did before. This has become a bitter consequence of my prior iniquity.
And so concludes my confession. And yet there remains one more foreboding thought. I am not so vain as to think that my falling away and then my repentance is so unique or so fantastic that this confession is special and merits the space in this paper. The conclusion of this matter is perhaps a more important goal of mine. It is summed up in this manner: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). There are, I fear, other brethren who serve in the Lord’s kingdom who will repeat my sad story. Because we are human we are all tempted. Some will not resist and will likewise fall from the faith. Some of these will fall from higher public exposure being preachers, elders and respected servants. Do not be as foolish as me. I actually believed that I would not fall. What a careless thought. Is it not the confident self deceiver who falls the easiest! Take heed my friend.
Indeed, my message includes the thought that I cannot regain much of what I gave up or lost. I had a wonderful life. I sincerely did. I may have regained my salvation (thank God for all blessings), but I cannot regain my wife, my family life-style, the quality of friendship I once shared with Christian friends over the years (by the way, I made no real friend while living outside of my Lord). I cannot regain the kind of and the level of service as a preacher that I thoroughly loved and enjoyed. So, to the brother or sister who may be tempted beyond that which they want to resist I say wake up to reality. Think of what you do. Think clearly about what you will lose and perhaps never hold onto again. Nothing is worth losing the fruits and blessings of a righteous life and of a life time. Nothing in this fleshly world is worth this loss and pain. Nothing at all.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 14, p. 425
July 21, 1988