Touched by God’s Healing
About the Guest
The truth sets men free. No one can attest to that more than Chris Beall, and his wife, Cindy. After confessing his infidelity to Cindy, and acknowledging what he'd done to the local church body, Chris found restoration and freedom from the porn addiction that almost ruined his marriage. Find out what his and Cindy's relationship is like today, and how they're embracing the "other woman" and their son together.
Chris found restoration and freedom from the porn addiction that almost ruined his marriage.
Touched by God’s Healing
Bob: When Chris Beall confessed to his wife, Cindy, his pattern of sexual sin and adultery, their pastor came alongside them and told them that if their marriage was going to be restored, the church was going to need to be actively involved in helping them through the process. So, the following Sunday, during the service, their pastor told the congregation of what had been going on in Chris and Cindy’s marriage.
Chris: He had this moment that, frankly, has changed our entire church. He stood before those people and said, “The American church is the only institution on the planet that shoot their wounded, and we will not do that. We, as the body of Christ, will be the hospital within which they’ll heal.” He spoke, I believe, prophetically over our marriage and said that God was going to make our marriage better than new.
Cindy: They did not give up on us. They didn’t kick us to the curb, and I just have such love for people who were there with us, who were like, “We can do this, Cindy.” It was like, “Don’t give up! Let’s keep going. Keep fighting.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 17th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Today, we’ll hear about the power of exposing unfruitful works of darkness and enlisting your brothers and sisters in Christ to help you heal. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. We have had occasion to talk to a lot of couples, either at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways or at ministry events we’ve been to here, on FamilyLife Today—in e-mail—lots of conversations with couples who have gotten to a place in their marriage, where they just go, “I don’t think there is a way back from here.”
The story we’re hearing this week is one of those stories that a lot of couples would look at and say, “This is a cut-and-run kind of story.” Yet, that’s not what the couple we’re talking to chose to do.
Dennis: No, and I’m glad they didn’t for a lot of reasons. Chris and Cindy Beall join us again on FamilyLife Today. Chris, Cindy, welcome back.
Chris: Thanks so much.
Cindy: It is great to be here.
Dennis: Cindy has shared a story of how trust was really broken in their marriage due to Chris’s infidelity and, really, a long-term porn addiction that went back to when you were eight years old, and has written about it in a book called Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken.
I think, as you look at your story—I mean, you’re in the limelight of a church; you were in ministry; people from the outside would’ve looked at your marriage and thought everything was going okay, but inside—your marriage was rotting. In February of 2002, the wound was lanced, and you confessed an affair—multiple affairs, actually—over a number of years that ultimately resulted in the pregnancy in one of those situations.
Bob: Chris, your confession that day to Cindy, as you said, you knew that your time in ministry was done—
Bob: —and that quite possibly, maybe even likely, your marriage was done. What were the next few days like because everything had just changed in your world, in your whole life?
Chris: Right. I was utterly broken. The two worlds that I worked so hard to keep separate were all now thrown in a blender. That’s a really, really scary place to be.
Just the thinking through what my lifestyle and my choices had done to the name of Christ—like to the students I ministered to, who would later find out about the truth of what I had done—it broke my heart. What I had done to Cindy and the reality that I am going to have to have conversations with three little boys, when they get to the right age. All of those things were kind of flooding in as the consequences of my choice, and I was just broken.
I was praying for Cindy for clarity, for God to speak to her. There are probably people that say, “If you knew confessing would cause the end of a marriage, why would you do that?” I’ve been asked that question often; and the truth is, for me, I was a prisoner, who happened to live in the same house as my wife and my sons. I was not free to be the husband and the father, the man that God had created me to be in that home.
Yes, confessing and putting this incredible burden on her shoulders, while completely unfair to her, because she didn’t deserve it, in my opinion, was the one thing God wanted me to do because I have nothing to offer unless I’m free—unless I am a man that is living out the life of grace in Christ, I’ve got nothing to offer as a husband and a father.
Bob: Cindy, you had gotten counsel not to do anything quick, rash. The thought was in your mind, “He’s been unfaithful. The Bible says, ‘In the case of adultery’—maybe, this is the time to end the marriage.” You didn’t act on that right away. In those next couple of days—and you were getting counsel from your church. I mean, they just hired you. Here you were the new guy in the church. They had to make an announcement about why Chris is no longer on staff.
Bob: Tell us about what you were thinking and what was going on over those first few days after the news came to you.
Cindy: Well, I did think about divorce. That was really the first thing that came to my mind because, “How in the world do you get through that?” I mean, you—we’d gone through plenty of things in marriage, and been annoyed with each other, and had to deal with things, and those are fine. That’s, “for better or for worse”; “but this kind of trumps those vows,” is what I was thinking.
I thought, “I better just get out before he does this again because once a cheater, always a cheater. It’s never going to change.” A very wise pastor on our staff just said, “You don’t have to decide all of that today.” It just kind of set me at ease. I just said, “Okay, you’re right. So, what if I don’t decide for three months to divorce him? It’s just three more months—whatever. In the big scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.”
So, I just kind of waited, and listened, and cried, and tried to figure out—there were so many things we had to deal with. The practical thing, we had to go to the Health Department and get tested for diseases. I mean, just so many things that people may not get unless they are there, you know. So—
Dennis: Did you ask him to leave the house?
Cindy: I did not. We didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know what to do, and I’m kind of one of those financial nerds. I’m thinking, “Well, we can’t afford for him to go stay in a hotel; and I’m surely not sending him to a hotel—he’s going to cheat again.” There were all these things. So, we just stayed there.
I think what made it possible for me to stay in the same home with him was he was broken. He was completely devastated by what he’d done to the name of Jesus and to our family. He was not like, “You need to get over this. I’m sorry it happened, but if you’d have been a better wife—” There was nothing like that. He just sat there and would just weep for hours over what he’d done.
I’m a compassionate person, and I felt compassion for him. In the middle of my pain, I felt compassion because I just couldn’t imagine hurting someone that bad.
Bob: The church had to pretty quickly decide, “What are we going to say next Sunday?” and they had to decide it, with your approval, about what was going to be disclosed. Tell me about that conversation.
Chris: Craig was very passionate that the church needed to know the truth, and he asked our permission. We gave it.
Bob: Now, wait—the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Chris: Pretty much; pretty much.
Bob: That’s kind of like, “We’re going to tell the whole world what’s going on in your home.”
Chris: Yes. The reason why—he stood in front of the church, which was a pretty good number of people, and said that gossip kills churches; and if we all know the truth in love, there is nothing to gossip about. He proceeded to, in a very respectful way—including sharing his feelings about what I had done—shared the reason for my resignation. It was heartfelt. He was disappointed, and there wasn’t a ton of room for speculation. People pretty much got what I had done and why I had disqualified myself from ministry.
Then, he had this moment that, frankly, has changed our entire church. He stood before those people and said, “The American church is the only institution on the planet that shoots their wounded, and we will not do that. We, as the body of Christ, will be the hospital within which they’ll heal.” They applauded. The next week, we walked through that lobby and sat down in a pew. We were petrified because, you know, “What are these people going to think about me and about us?”
We sat down, and we were just crying. He stood on stage, and he said that Chris and Cindy are with us today and that he believed that God was going to do something very, very special. They gave us a standing ovation; and for the next couple of years, we just were normal people. They—the body of Christ—what God did through the body of Christ changed us. All of a sudden, honesty in the body of Christ is now a beautiful thing. It’s not something to be avoided. It’s something to be embraced.
Dennis: Cindy, you’re reliving the moment; I can tell. What did people say to you, and what were you feeling as they said it?
Cindy: They just loved us, (tearfully) and I was scared to death to go to church that day. I didn’t know what they were going to do, and I just cried all the way through it. People just—I love our church. When I think about the people who were there that day, I just think, “Gosh, they did not give up on us. They did not kick us to the curb.” I just have such love for people who were there with us. So—
Dennis: How important was that love?
Cindy: I don’t know how we would have made it.
Dennis: For you choosing to stay, especially.
Cindy: Yes. I am sure there were some people who thought, “She’s crazy if she stays;” but there were more people who were like, “We can do this, Cindy.” It was like they were doing it with us; and it was more like, “Don’t give up! Let’s keep going. Keep fighting.”
Dennis: Did you have a best friend in the church?
Cindy: No, we were there—I had only lived in the town for ten days.
Chris: I would say, though, the one couple that—he was on staff. He was one of the pastors—he and his wife had gone through something similar years and years prior. They felt uniquely called to walk us through every moment of the next few years. For the first month—and I’m not exaggerating—30 days, every night, they were on our living room floor, every night.
Chris: Sometimes, we’d just cry together. Sometimes, we’d talk. Sometimes, they’d speak words of encouragement and of counsel; but the covering of support was overwhelming.
Bob: You’re out of work now.
Chris: I am out of work.
Bob: So, where’d you get a job?
Chris: Well, they were very specific on the things they were going to allow me and not allow me to do. Granted—
Bob: You say, “They.” Who are “they”?
Chris: The elders and the leadership of the church. They basically took us on, under their care. Now, I’m not on staff anymore; but they felt an obligation, a calling, to walk us through the next few months and years. So, step one was—they ripped the computer out of our house.
Step two was—they would not allow me to take a job that they didn’t approve of, which means I couldn’t travel, couldn’t be with a woman, couldn’t have a computer—which pretty much limited the options to Home Depot®, where I was a manager, selling two-by-fours to smelly contractors for the next couple of years. It was amazing. It was a great—life was simple. You step out of ministry, and you’ve got these guys that are just fighting for you. There’s tough conversations and practical love.
So, for the next two years, I sold two-by-fours, and God had really spoken some things into Cindy’s heart about whether or not she should stay. That started a pretty amazing, amazing healing journey.
Bob: In the midst of this—what had been your practice, your pattern, for more than a decade—just went away?
Chris: It did. I was—I believe that today I wouldn’t say that I’m fixed. I’m just as capable of being tempted—under the right conditions, falling into the same struggle that I was in 12 years ago; but I am free. The bondage, the strongholds of that sin, through confession, through prayer, and through the power of God—He has broken—God has broken those chains.
Dennis: Cindy, I’ve got a tough question for you.
Dennis: How long did it take him to restore trust with you?
Cindy: He’s still restoring it today.
Dennis: Good answer. No, really, good answer.
Cindy: It’s the truth. My—ultimately, my trust is in my Heavenly Father. He is the only One who will never let me down. My husband will let me down again—my mother, my friends. People are people. They’ll do that, but every day he works at it. He told me right after I came home and said, “I’m going to stay.” He said, “I know you’ll never trust me again; but if you’ll give me the chance, I’ll spend the rest of my life trying.” That is exactly what he has done.
Nothing is off limits to me. Nothing in his life is off limits, and he works hard every day to restore it. It’s become like second nature to him. It’s his—just like breathing, he’s restoring trust. “I’m going to breathe today. I’m going to restore some trust today.”
Dennis: How? How is he doing that?
Cindy: He calls me every time he leaves the office to let me know he’s coming home. He doesn’t travel alone. He doesn’t meet with women by himself. He—the other night he was working late at church, and he had one of his staff call me. He said, “Hey, what’s up?” I’m like, “What are you calling me for?” He’s like, “Hey, I just wanted you to know Chris will be probably leaving in the next 20 minutes. I just wanted to give you a heads up. We’ve been working really hard.”
It’s just—he goes above and beyond to make sure that the Enemy cannot mess with my mind; and he works so hard to just earn that trust back.
Bob: You’ve got a computer back in your house; right?
Chris: We do.
Bob: How do you keep from going there?
Chris: Fort Knox. Every electronic device is completely monitored and locked down. I could get into all the minute details; but we use accountability software on every phone, every computer. We also use a filtering service on our entire wireless network because I’m not just thinking about me—I’m thinking about my boys. I don’t want one accidental click to open that world of darkness for them either. There is not one electronic device that we own that isn’t ridiculously locked down.
Bob: Speaking of your boys, you have two boys who live with you.
Bob: You have a third son, the one that we’ve talked about, who was born to one of the women that you were involved with.
Bob: As it turns out, you’ve continued to have a relationship with her and with the boy.
Chris: This is where the story gets almost unbelievable. We met to talk about support years and years ago; and Cindy went and hugged her. I got to meet him for the very first time, and he’s beautiful. She apologized to Cindy and told her that she knew that I was married, and Cindy just held her.
I would say most of the interaction happens between Cindy and her, not me and her. He comes and spends the summers with us, and he is with us at the holidays. They all know they’re each other’s brother. They’ve all, in an age-appropriate way, have been explained to, by me, how this has all happened.
When I look at him or think of him, he is no longer—in the early days, it was like we’re going to have this constant reminder for the rest of our lives of my sin. The Bible says that, “God will cause all things”—not some things, not just the good things, but “He’ll cause all things to work together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.” That little boy is that Scripture personified. He is no longer a reminder of my sin, but he is a reminder of the redemption of a good God that loves us and wants to take our junk and make it beautiful.
Dennis: How did you do that, Cindy?
Cindy: A little word called surrender. I just—I took God at His Word—that He says, “He’ll work all things for good for those who love Him.” I said, “Well, I love You. Well, okay, that includes you.”
I decided a long time ago, when I surrendered my life to Him, that my life was not my own; and I remember I was making spaghetti—it was probably two weeks after his confession, and I just remember crying. I just—the Father just said, “Do you remember when you would always tell Me you’ll go through anything to bring Me glory?” I’m like, “Yes. Yes, I remember; I remember that.” I just felt Him say, “This is part of that, and I’m going to use this in My time to bring glory to My name and draw men to Me.” I’m thinking, “Oh, could we have done this a different route?” Nonetheless, this is the route that we’re on.
Dennis: I’m just kind of pulling back, looking at your story. There really has been a very clear theme, Cindy, that you have modeled in this. Surrender to Christ is really how you build a marriage. Surrender to Christ is how you handle it when there is failure in a marriage, and surrender to Christ is how you fight for your marriage to go the distance.
What I want—I want our listeners to take out of this, by way of application, “Your marriage and your family are worth fighting for.” You can pitch it and flush it. It’s far more difficult to do what you two have done—face the humiliation, the shame, the rebuilding, the brokenness of that; but our listeners have heard, “There is life! There is life!” In that surrender, there is life in that brokenness. There is freedom from the prison.
Dennis: I just applaud you guys for telling your story and really giving hope to other people. One last thought. There are those, who are listening to us right now, who have failed in their marriage; and they need to hear an unmistakable message from the couple who came and were in your living room for the first month—the first months repeatedly. There’s a passage in 2 Corinthians 1 that says, “Comfort others with the comfort with which you’ve been comforted.”
We tend to think of that just around grief, around losing someone, or going through an illness—it’s not just that. It’s the comfort we receive when we fail—that someone comes alongside us and cheers us on. There is a real ministry there. You’re bringing comfort to other people. I just appreciate you being with us on the broadcast.
Cindy: Thank you.
Bob: I think your book is going to bring a lot of comfort to a lot of folks, as well. The book is called Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, and we have it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
You can find out more about the book when you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or call toll-free to request a copy of the book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken. Our toll-free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.
Let me just say, here, we have seen God use the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway to begin the process of rebuilding a marriage that has been broken—really, for the last 36 years, that’s been going on. We have these events taking place in cities all across the country, this spring. For most people, going to the Weekend to Remember is a preventive measure. It’s one of those things that you do so that your marriage can stay focused and stay on track. For some couples, it’s a choice they make to see if there’s hope left for a marriage relationship. Wherever you are, let me encourage you, “Take a weekend and get away for a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway this spring.”
Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com to find out more about when the Weekend to Remember is going to be happening in a city near where you live; or call us toll-free at 1-800-358-6329, 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”, to find out more about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
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We hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend; and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk with Steve and Candace Watters. They want to know, “How long have you been married, and why haven’t you started your family yet?” We’ll talk about starting a family on Monday. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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