Comfort Affairs And Pastor Tullian Tchividjian’s Tragic Fall

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

– I Corinthians 10:12-13, KJV


Yesterday, the news broke about another celebrity pastor who succumbed to infidelity. Read the article from the Washington Post here for background. This story especially breaks my heart.

Such a tragedy.

Pastor Tchividjian is Billy Graham’s grandson and has done some great, courageous work advocating for child abuse survivors. Plus, he reportedly is a survivor of his own wife’s infidelity as well (see WP article).

This story is truly heart-breaking.

Today’s post is not going to be about beating up Pastor Tchividjian. It certainly is not going to be about blaming his wife. He is completely responsible for his infidelity as she is for hers–assuming his report is true. This post is 1) A Reminder and 2) A Warning.

1) A Reminder:

Adultery is not a private violation. It hurts and impacts more people than just the couple or even their immediate family. You don’t have to look far into this story to see this. Pastor Tchividjian’s moral failure hits the church big time! As a prominent, evangelical pastor, this looks very bad. It is another example of a prominent leader falling and looking like a hypocrite. Furthermore, it is a betrayal of those who supported him in his platform, which is now demolished by self-inflicted serious sin.

I am sure Satan is rejoicing as Christ’s Bride weeps.

At least, Pastor Tchividjian owned his sin in confessing it (Shout out to Bridget on Facebook who pointed this out to me). And he stepped down leaving ministry to deal with this sin and the mess it created. I give him and his denomination/elders credit for those Biblical and godly steps.

2) A Warning:

This story ought to serve as a warning to us as faithful spouses. Just because your spouse cheated on you, does not mean you are allowed to cheat on them in turn.

Sin is sin.

Nothing justifies committing adultery.

Maintain your integrity. And do not stoop to their level or violate your own dearly held values.

According to the Washington Post article, Pastor Tchividjian stated that his affair came about from seeking comfort in another woman during the separation due to his wife’s infidelity. This does not justify his behavior. But it ought to stand as a warning:

Beware of who is your primary source of comfort!

The temptation to run to the arms of another person who may be a potential mate is strong following infidelity discovery and/or separation. I know I experienced it. But, by the grace of God, I recognized I was emotionally vulnerable. And I took steps to protect myself. I encourage you to do the same. Set up boundaries to keep yourself from oversharing with someone who may be a potential mate. Learn from Pastor Tchividjian’s mistakes here.

In conclusion, I hope Pastor Tchividjian and his wife find healing and experience the miracle of marriage restoration following this awful chapter in their lives. Regardless in how they each respond, we can learn here to recognize how devastating infidelity is as well as remember to take steps to protect ourselves during times of vulnerability.

8 thoughts on “Comfort Affairs And Pastor Tullian Tchividjian’s Tragic Fall”

  1. If indeed his wife did have an affair, what would cause a pastors wife to stray after so many years of marriage?

    1. J.Smith,

      External circumstances do not cause us to sin. It is what is in our hearts that cause us to sin according to Scripture (see Mark 7). When Jesus teaches “The Parable of Sower and the Seed,” it speaks of a group of people who are choked out by the weeds of life. I suspect something like that is at work in the lives of cheating spouses who have been faithful up to that point. The temptation grew in their hearts, and they did not do the needed “weeding” in their hearts. I say that under the assumption she cheated as well, which is an open question. Regardless, he did not cause her to cheat. And she did not cause him to cheat. Their own hearts individually were led away and chose sin over godliness (see James 1). For some, that happens more quickly in a marriage than for others.


    2. Maybe because Tullian was gone a lot he could not spend as much time as she thought she needed. Affairs really are not about the sex. Affairs are more about the heart and a need to be wanted and desired. I feel sorry for both of them because even though I have not cheated nor has my wife you never know what could happen. As the saying goes, “if not for the grace of God,”

      1. VanPastorMan,

        Affairs are not caused by outside circumstances. His wife is not at fault for “causing” his affair anymore than he is at fault for “causing” hers. Each is 100% responsible for their own choices to cheat.

        You are right that they are the matter of the heart. James 1 makes that clear. Plenty of people have spouses that travel a lot (e.g. military spouses, etc.), yet some find a way to honor their marriage vows despite similar opportunity to cheat.

        Whatever Satan used as temptation ulitmately does not matter, it is up to each spouse to choose godliness over the temptation to sin. Each is responsible for his/her choices and actions and will answer for them before God one day.


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