I almost did not write the book How To Ruin Your Life because I was afraid people would assume I was piling on, leveraging the pain of others, and kicking good people while they were down. In my role at LifeWay, we had been through a painful season of seeing leaders we love disqualify themselves from ministry. After a staff meeting filled with weeping and praying, several on my team encouraged me to warn our whole team about the dangers that could lead to personal implosion. So, I poured my guts out to our division, about 600 employees in the room at the time, about King David’s fall and begged them not to live in isolation, to walk in humility, and to keep looking at Jesus, the only One who can keep us from falling. If King David could fall, any of us could. Afterward, our book publisher, Jennifer Lyell, approached me with the strong conviction that the content should be a book.
I did not name any names in the book. It was not a tell-all. I have no desire to heap more pain on friends I love who are still struggling with the pain of their implosions. But if I had named names in the book, those stories would be old news now. There seems to be a steady onslaught of new stories of implosion. Some have called the season we are in, of leaders falling, an epidemic. It does feel that way. But it is not only leaders, and the book is not only about leaders falling. While the stories of leaders falling are more prominent, they are not more prevalent. Regular people implode every day too.
I almost did not write the book, and I have already found myself deleting scheduled tweets about the book. In the last several weeks, multiple leaders I love and respect have been in the public spotlight for moral failure or accusations of moral failure. I did not want to tweet promotions for the book in the midst of articles being posted online, partly because I don’t want to be perceived as opportunistic, but even more so (I believe this is my motivation) because I don’t want to add to their hurt. They know they have fallen. They are in the middle of the fallout from their implosion and I don’t want to add to their pain. I also don’t want to help foster our obsession with watching leaders fall.
But just as leaders around me encouraged me to speak the message to our staff 18 months ago, godly people are encouraging me not to pull back on the book. As we know, it is not only those who fall who live with the fallout of their choices. Families, ministries, and friends are all deeply and adversely impacted. The challenge is needed. Any of us can fall, so we must lean fully on the only One who can keep us from falling.
I did not plan the release date to coincide with whatever story you read online. It was set months ago, months before the latest string of stories were made known. And sadly, there will be more stories. I deeply desire for there to be fewer and fewer stories of implosion. Good and godly people are doing incredibly foolish things. And all of us are capable if we attempt to tame the sins in our hearts instead of slaying them.
Yes, this is a disclaimer blog. I will promote the book, inasmuch as my struggle with promotion allows me to, in the midst of the fallout of implosions, not because I want to be hurtful but because I want to be helpful.