Reports of church leaders taking their own lives after being caught committing adultery are not very uncommon. Now, Billy Graham's own grandson Tullian Tchividjian—who earlier confessed to having an affair while serving at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church—is saying that he can now empathise with these fallen pastors and understands what drives them to commit suicide.
During an talk in William Vanderbloeman's podcast, Tchividjian revealed that he is currently undergoing "dark nights of the soul."
"I could never really fully understand why people would take their own lives and while I have not been, thankfully by God's grace, tempted to do so, I for the first time understand why," Tchividjian said. "I get the desperation, I get the despair in a way that I never have."
He said an affair really forces any person, including church leaders to look at themselves and ask, "What kind of person did I become for me to do what I did, my wife to do what she did, where did I fail? Did I become something, someone I didn't see I was becoming?"
But despite his current struggles, Tchividjian feels grateful for the lessons he is learning and re-learning.
According to Charisma News, Pastors Seth Oiler and Isaac Hunter were driven to suicide after they were caught having affairs. Those who could not accept suicide as a solution to their misery end up facing depression.
There could be other reasons why some pastors succumb to depression aside from being caught in the adultery web. Without citing these other reasons, a recent survey showed that 70 percent of pastors constantly fight depression, while 71 percent feel burned out.
That survey, which was also reported in Charisma News, also noted that 72 percent of pastors only study the Bible when they are preparing for sermons; 80 percent believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families; and 70 percent admitted that they don't even have a close friend.
Although Tchividjian has admittedly been living a nightmarish life for the past few months following his admission of guilt, he said what happened to him has compelled him to re-evaluate the Gospel and explore the depth of God's love.
He said the primary lesson he learned throughout his ordeal is this: "Jesus plus nothing equals everything."