“…it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid”


South Carolina Governor Mark Sandford has spent the summer fielding questions about his sanity after disclosing a long-distance affair with an Argentinian journalist– a woman he subsequently called his “soul mate”. Of course this “revelation” came as a surprise to Jenny Sandford – the governor’s wife of 20 years and the mother of his 4 boys.

Jenny Sanford recently sat with an interviewer from Vogue to discuss the affair. One portion of the interview jumped out to me (emphasis added):

Notes on a Scandal

The question is why some men—specifically, male politicians—don’t seem to understand how extramarital affairs poison both careers and families. Having watched the species up close all these years, Sanford has a theory. “Politicians become disconnected from the way everyone else lives in the world. I saw that from the very beginning. They’ll say they need something, and ten people want to give it to them. It’s an ego boost, and it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid. As a wife, you do your best to keep them grounded, but it’s a real challenge.”

Sandford’s hypothesis can be aptly applied to the behavior of pastors and ministry leaders who fall into sin (sexual, megalomaniacal, and more). These people are applauded for their work. They gain followers almost immediately because of their charisma and ability to quote and present scripture. The shouts of “AMEN!”, “PREACH DOC”, and “SPEAK LORD” begin to fill their ears…and their heads. They begin to be approached by young men (and women) who want to carry their bibles and open doors for them, all the while continually validating their “anointing”.

Before you know it, BAM! The humble and dutiful servant of God becomes a full-fledged egomaniac that won’t enter the sanctuary until the praise team has completed their “set” and the congregation has been seated…all because they want the church to stand when they (and their entourage) enter the room.

They are now drinking their own Kool-Aid, and (unfortunately), the only antidote to Kool-Aid overdose is a public fall from grace:

Proverbs 26:12 (New American Standard Bible)

    Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Pray for all of the humble and honest (and often, unknown) who labor for the Lord and tirelessly serve His people. Pray that they would keep their faces toward Him; that their ears would be stifled to hear the congratulations and adulation; that they never lose sight of the awesome manifestation of God in the tiniest ways. And pray for the spouses of these people as well – God only knows what they have to deal with when their “Moses” comes down from “the mountain” every week.

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12 Responses to ““…it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid””

  1. 1 Ann Brock August 19, 2009 at 11:16 am

    IST,I believe the spirit of an armor bearer is/should be an attitude of service now with that said. I no some say a armor bearer does whatever it takes to assist their leader no matter the cost, circumstances, or the challenge I get that.
    Now some say a armor bearer watches their leader’s back in battle and always is loyal. Question,loyal to who? and what battle are they fighting? The way I see it today’s armor bearers are no more than modern day “snitches.” Who keeps the leader informed on what’s happen with in the pews. Just my thoughts!

  2. 2 EnochWalked August 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Excellent Commentary Brother Speaking Truth!

    Quote, “These people are applauded for their work. They gain followers almost immediately because of their charisma and ability to quote and present scripture.”

    These 2 statements SAY IT ALL! John 12:43 calls it “they love the praise of men MORE than the praise of GOD.”

    Where American Christianity has gotten WAY OFF Track, especially the past 10-20 years, many in Christendom EQUATE SUCCESS to “WHAT the EYES of MEN SEE” and what GOD calls success in HIS EYES! I am converted and convinced to know, I rather have success in the eyes of GOD versus success in the eyes of man!

    It is the Leaven of the Pharisees Year 2010! The Churches and many leaders have did exactly what our LORD JESUS CHRIST said NOT TO DO!

    I call this system where MERE MEN are exalted the Modern Day Pharisees. There are many rulers that are in the Matrix(LOL). But all jokes aside, seriously souls are in JEOPARDY because this Matrix is leading MANY astray! And there are many men and women of GOD in the Matrix, but they WILL NOT CONFESS the full counsel of GOD nor will they CONFRONT the Matrix BECAUSE…John 12:42-43 APPLIES to American Christianity as a Whole RIGHT NOW!

    42Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him(….there are many believers in the Matrix and they know right from wrong….); BUT…..***Here it IS!**** because of the Pharisees(Matrix Leaders)they did not confess him(CHRIST),lest they should be put out of the synagogue(Matrix):(….Loss of STATUS, FAME, and FORTUNE, COMFORT, POSITION, etc, etc.)

    43For they(….these believers in the Matrix…) loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

    That is a sad indictment! There are many who are not willing to LOSE in the sight of mere men for the sake of CHRIST! But GOD gave a great promise to all of us willing to leave the Matrix. Mark 10:28-30
    28Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
    29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
    30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

  3. 3 N'Catina August 19, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I see this “amour-bearer” BS as an extension of the self-aggrandizing behavior that comnpletes the package of the modern day pulpit-pimp.

  4. 4 Broken Pastor August 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Kool-Aid is good, depending on who’s serving the Kool-Aid and what they add into it.

    “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! …the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1: 8 and 11-12

    It’s clear. The only true gospel Kool-Aid comes from Christ Jesus, not man. You add *anything* (even good works or the law [see Gal.3:3-5]) to Jesus’ gospel, it isn’t gospel. It’s eternal damnation. And that is some BAD Kool-Aid!

    Jesus + Anything = damnation
    Jesus + Nothing = Gospel

    ST! Serve me some Gospel Kool-Aid!!!

  5. 5 Harmonic Praise August 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I will never forget, not long after I first started preaching back in 1998, that I was shaking hands with many of the church folk after having preached a sermon. I was smiling and thanking the poeple as they were complimenting me for preaching such a dynamic sermon.

    An 85-year-old retired pastor who had been a great influence to me in my preaching ministry (he has now gone on to be with Lord) pulled me to the side and told me, “Son, whenever anyone compliments you about your preaching, the only thing you ever really need to say in response is ‘To God be the glory!'”

    I really didn’t think to much of his advice then, being so much of a naive, young preacher and simply dismissing his advice as the mere wranglings of an old preacher. However, 11 years later, I have come to discover and greatly appreciate the wealth of wisdom contained within the advice that he gave me that day.

    I have found that the constant repetition of those words, “To God be the glory”, helps to keep me constantly aware that any credit gained for anything that I do all belongs to God, not me, therefore I should not become lifted up in pride whenever people complement my preaching.

    Speaking Truth, man, you really spoke some powerful words with this post, and unfortunately it is all so true. As a young preacher, I can tell you from experience that this is indeed one of the greatest struggles that all preachers face. Man, that Kool-Aid can shonuff have some real flavor to it! The only real way to resist drinking that Kool-Aid is to remember who we, as preachers, are serving. We must remember that we are working for the Lord and not for the people. It doesn’t matter what they say, the only real assessment that counts comes from God Himself.

    To God Be The Glory!

    • 6 speaking truth August 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks for leaping over from Twitter, HP. Isn’t it interesting that all of the old saints used to temper the false doctrine that tried to creep into the church (the “mother’s board” that sat on the front row glaring at the pastor if he didn’t preach from the bible, the old “church mothers” that would pull young ladies to the side to make them button up their blouses, and more).

      Isn’t it interesting how you don’t see many seasoned saints in the stadiums where the apostates perform their weekly parlor tricks? I pray that you’ll continue to proclaim “Soli Deo Gloria” (for the glory of God alone!)

  6. 7 Michael Pharr August 20, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Excellent post ST. Recently I had the priviledge to preach before the congregation I attend and after the service many people came up to speak about the sermon. And honestly I had to make sure I kept myself in check because I understand that having an ego is a dangerous thing. And the most dangerous words are those that are subtle when people tell you “that how well YOU let God use YOU!” Or others will say “it’s okay for people to compliment you on a job well done, because they appreciate your diligence for speaking the truth.” The people that are saying these things, maybe well intended, but if left unchecked a person (young or seasoned) will start “reading their own press clippings” and “believing their own hype”.

  7. 8 Pat August 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I have come to this conclusion..Anything good served in excess can be fatal..kool aid is good but for those people in guyana jim jones tragedy that kool aid was posion served from their beloved leader. When the kids drink their kool aid after school it is hm-mm good-Why? it quenched their thirst and put a smile on the face. No poison -if too much sugar though well you know.Another example, Too much water in the body-or too much in the nostrils can cause you to drown but a man in the desert can relinquish thirst and live drinking a nice bottle full. May the Lord interpret. Selah!!1

  8. 9 Uzza August 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Great subject! I offer two reasons that came to mind as to why “it’s easy to drink your own Kool-Aid”.

    First reason:
    If you are not afraid of the Kool-Aid, you suffer because of lack of knowledge. Proverbs 1 – 7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 1 Corinthians 2:2-4 (New International Version) 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

    Second reason:
    A whole lot of people drink their own Kool-Aid, it’s a big trap and very few find their way around it.
    Matthew 7: 13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

    See evil is lurking to and fro seeking whom it may devour each and every day. That is why God warned us and very few find the small Gate to get to the narrow road that leads to life. He told us to bind it around our necks, to talk to each generation, to write in on the doorpost of our house. He told us to seek first, the Kingdom of Heaven. He told us thou shalt have no other before Him and to put our all into Him. God was so serious about our finding this small gate that He wrote His laws and commands on our hearts and minds. So, man is without excuse! That’s why you see so many so called Christians that are walking down the wide road and don’t even know it. How can you be something that you have no clue about. Amercia is the richest country in the world. How can you accept being a slave to Christ! We are fed Kool-Aid everyday! Think about it! If you are to be My Disciple (follower), you must deny yourself and pickup your cross daily (not Sunday or Saturday or Wednesday). Hummm.

  9. 10 escapeetoo August 26, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Good post ST. I can still remember the “rush” the Club owner at Hustle & Flow would get when a certain patron would yell “Speak Lord.” Sickening!

  10. 11 elder jimmy October 7, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Judson Cornwall taught me a lesson called the “Evening Sacrifice” (Let my prayer be set before me as insense and the lifting of my hands be as the evening sacrifice, Psalm 141:2) He advised that when people thank you for some act of ministry it is not inappropropraite to say “thank you”. He said he used to defer people with phrases like; “It was all the LORD” or “I am just a vessel…”. He relayed the imporatance of allowing the people to say thank you to the LORD’s servant and allow them to relate to you. He then advised me to go back to my place and offer to GOD a true heart of praise and thanksgiving for what he had done for His people. He was saying that you can say all the right things one should say after ministering to people and yet pride still enter your heart. The way to destroy that idol is to get before GOD on your face and truly acknowledge from where the grace to preach/teach came.
    I have tried to keep that prinicple in my life. I also ask the people to pray for me if they compliment me.
    Today I give thanks for the ministry and life of Judson Cornwall. To GOD be all the Glory!

  11. 12 elder jimmy October 27, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Ugh to my ghagrin I noticed I misquoted the psalm I referenced! The verse in Psalm 141:2 Reads: “Let my prayer be set before THEE as insense…” I regret the error. Please forgive. Peace

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