Update on Paul Cain, Part 4
Repentance for sin is just the first step in being restored, and can also be a process that takes time. That is why the Lord even gave Jezebel “time to repent” (Revelation 2:21). The first step in any journey is usually the hardest, and Paul’s journey to complete restoration will likely be long and difficult. Even so, he has taken the first step, so there is cause for encouragement.
As I give my opinion about this, please keep in mind that I have not seen Paul for many months, and the only communication that I have had with him has been a few emails. I am no longer involved with his restoration process, and therefore really do not know how he is doing. Even so, I took his public confession for what it was, and accepted his personal apology to Jack, Mike, and myself for his previous denials.
I have maintained through everything, even in Paul’s previous denials, that if he would repent, he could not only be fully restored to ministry, but that his most fruitful ministry could still be ahead of him. I have never lost that hope, and I do not intend to for as long as Paul is alive.
There is a process which almost everyone goes through after they sin. We even saw this process with former President Clinton. It was demonstrated after the first sin with Adam and Eve and most people since. Just as Adam and Eve first tried to hide, cover themselves, deny, and then blame-shift, most people seem to go through these same stages in regard to sin. Therefore, evidence that we have truly repented (which is more than just admitting to the sin) is open honesty about the sin, abandoning all attempts to cover it up, and no longer blaming others for what we did. God does not forgive excuses—He forgives confessed sin. Ownership of the sin and transparency are signs that there has been true repentance.
As stated, repentance is just the first step in the restoration process. The length and difficulty of this process usually depends on the one who sinned. I do not believe any sin that requires a restoration process is easy, or is meant to be. This is not because the restoration process is punishment for the sin. It is never intended to be punishment, which was paid for on the cross, but rather it is for the purpose of finding and shutting the gates of hell or the devil’s access points into a person’s life, through which he was brought into the sin. This is not to blame the devil for what we did, but because he saw an opening and used it means that there was a weakness in our lives that needs to be recognized and changed.
It will take much longer to find these gates of hell if the person continues to have the tendency to cover himself or blame others for his problems. Sometimes even after the initial burst of honesty and repentance about the sin it still takes time and hard work to become transparent enough about the problems to even find the gates of hell, much less close them. Light casts out darkness, therefore transparency is essential in a true restoration process.
Other factors can also contribute to the length and difficulty of this process, such as the length of time and depth to which the person was in the sin, and his submission to the process instead of trying to control it himself. In fact, when time pressure is put on this process it often short circuits it. Time should not be a consideration, but rather getting the job done.
I believe any restoration can be made easier and faster by honesty, true remorse for the sin, and genuine desire for freedom from the sin, if coupled with the constitution of being a fighter. One with a weak constitution will usually be prone to making excuses for failures. There is a saying that one who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else. I have found blame-shifting and self-pity to be the main strongholds that keep people in the bondage of sin.
During our time of trying to help Paul, I did not see much evidence of that which would lead to a quick, easy restoration. I try to pray for Paul continually and I am very interested in seeing him fully restored. I therefore observe him to the degree that I can from a distance and am encouraged that there is some progress. However, there still seems to be much evidence that this is not going to be very quick or easy for him.
This comes from me seeing at a distance, and even if it remains true, it can change. Even if it does not change, and Paul keeps making decisions that drag the process out so it is longer and harder than it could have been, this still does not mean it is not real and will not ultimately be complete.
I pray to see Paul again stand in the great pulpits of the world, and in our own, and for us to respect and trust him more than we ever have. I do not try to see Paul through the problems that he has had, as they are not the real Paul Cain. I want to see him as he is called to be in the Lord, and as much as I can, speak life to him. My hope is to see him fully accomplish all that he has been called to do on this earth, and I believe that Paul is called to have a major part in commissioning and releasing the last day ministry. If Paul does not do this, the Lord will use someone else, but the greatest victory for us all would be for Paul to do all that he has been called to do.
Again, I have resolved not to give up on Paul’s complete restoration, regardless of how long it takes. I know Paul is feeling that he does not have much time because of his age, but I think he has a lot of time if he makes the right choices. We should keep in mind that the devil is always in a hurry because he knows he has but a little time. God is never in a hurry because He has authority over time. I think any pressure to rush this process will also be coming from the devil, and my confidence in the reality of it will be lowered to the degree that I sense the pressure to rush it. As Carl Jung once said, “Hurry is not of the devil—it is the devil!”
In summary, there is reason for encouragement, but please do not quit praying. Do not give up on God’s ability to intervene in a situation. Moses felt like a complete failure and all washed up at eighty years old, but after one encounter with the Lord he delivered a whole nation. My trust is not in Paul, but in the Lord who does marvelous things. Even so, I continue to love Paul like a father, and I am very grateful to have seen so many wonderful things accomplished through him in the past. I look for, and expect, even greater things through him in the future.