Arrested Pastor Asks for Forgiveness After Seeking to Relieve the ‘Pressure Cooker’ of Life With Meth

SHREVEPORT, La. — A Louisiana pastor has asked his congregation for forgiveness after he was arrested Wednesday night for possession of methamphetamine, a drug that he said he wrongfully turned to in attempting to find relief from the pressures and pains of life.

“A few months ago, in a time of weakness, I attempted to ease the pain in the wrong way,” wrote Andy Harris to members of The Church of the Cross in Haughton. “I have sinned, and I have asked the Lord to forgive me. I have asked my family to forgive me. And I am asking you all—all of you—to forgive me.”

According to the Shreveport Times, during an unrelated investigation that did not pertain to him (the details of which are unknown), Harris, 56, told members of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office that he was in possession of meth. He let investigators search the parsonage, where 3.4 grams of meth were found, along with a device for smoking and a straw for snorting.

Harris was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was jailed on $5,000 bail. He also resigned from his position at the church, where he had been preaching since 1996. The Church of the Cross is known for its towering 199-foot cross, which Harris helped to establish.

His members and colleagues expressed sadness after learning of his arrest, and his name was removed from the church website.

A letter was read to the congregation on Sunday in which Harris outlined that the past few years of his life have felt like a “pressure cooker,” as he dealt with betrayals, a divorce in the family, the sicknesses of loved ones, and the daily challenges of serving in the ministry. He said that in the midst of all the pain he was enduring, he wrongfully turned to meth for solace.

“I recently preached a sermon on the topic of ‘How Much Grace Do You Need?’ Truly, I need all grace to abound toward me at this time,” Harris wrote in a letter read aloud by secretary and treasurer Doyle Dempsey. “On Tuesday, the director of a nationally-recognized counseling center for ministers is flying down to help [my wife] Cheryl and me. He will provide us the spiritual and physical treatment we need right now.”

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He asked those listening to pray for him and his family.

“Pray that God will heal us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Pray that we can rest in body, soul and spirit. Pray that God will supernaturally supply all our financial needs,” Harris wrote. “And finally, pray that all of the good the Lord has done through us will outshine all of the bad the devil has done to us.”

Dempsey, being moved in reading the letter, said that the development had affected him deeply, but also warned those in attendance that none are above what had happened as all men are just one sinful decision away from destruction.

“My heart is broken this morning,” Dempsey said. “I have to be honest: At times, I’m angry. We’re all experiencing all manner of emotions today. I’ve been through them all in the last few days. But one thing has not changed: my faith is unshaken.”

“Although we do not condone his behavior in this matter, we are all eternally grateful to Pastor Harris for his years of dedicated service to this church body. It is the desire of the board of the directors to help him and his family in any way that we can,” he continued. “Lest we forget: We are all just mortal men—one decision away from certain destruction. It is our Christian duty to love a brother in Christ who has fallen, and we plan to do so with the help and support of this body of believers.”

View the reading of the letter here.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 reads, “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.”

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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    “I have sinned, and I have asked the Lord to forgive me. I have asked my family to forgive me. And I am asking you all—all of you—to forgive me.”

    i give him credit for getting the order right ………….. and calling it what it is …. sin ………..

    • eddie_dantes

      He is a professional hireling so he knows the game (right order) If he was a christian, perhaps he would have looked to Jesus.John 16:33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

      Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.John 14:27

      The choice was his. Perhaps he just liked the feeling of getting high. Jesus was there but he rejected Jesus.

      • LynnRH

        Christians are not perfect; just saved. no matter how hard a true Christian tries to obey God we will stumble at times anyway. But when we do we have to get back up, get our eyes back on Jesus, and try again to do things right. God forgives us when we acknowledge our wrong-doings and always loves us no matter what. It’s like a parent…….forgives his/her child when they apologize and loves them no matter what.

  • Phil2u

    Out thoughts and prayers, “reverend”… and we all know what those are worth.

  • MCrow

    I wonder…would the same forgiveness be extended were the person not a Christian pastor?

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      low information question ………. no answer ……….

      • MCrow

        Ok, let me put a specific scenario: a man, let’s say a politician, left wing, atheist, is caught doing cocaine. Said politician asks for forgiveness for wrongdoing. Do you extend forgiveness?

        I doubt it. I expect he’d be lambasted by people here. But if a pastor does anything wrong and asks for forgiveness, it’s media worthy and the expectation is to forgive.

        Honestly, this isn’t such a grave offense. I don’t even see where in the Bible doing drugs is sinful, so aside from breaking the secular law, I don’t see it as doing harm to any but himself

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          here is the difference …. at least in this case ….. the pastor is acknowledging his offence to God …. because that is whom the pastor has really offended …. the others mentioned he has also caused harm to …… and this pastor should really step down for a period of time to heal and recover and restore what was lost ….. he should not maintain his position as a leader ….. but he has at least shown that his sin is against God ….. that is a different level of acknowledgement of wrong doing ….. he is not just sorry he got caught ….

          your senario does not include any information about this level of what i have to assume is just “oopps, sorry you caught me doing what i wanted to do” …… worldly sorrow is not really any kind of admission of anything other than self-centered whining ………….

          ” I don’t even see where in the Bible doing drugs is sinful, so aside from breaking the secular law”

          Drunkenness is not part of being a christian nor is being out of control due to the use of any substance, especially a pastor ……

          2 Peter
          4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
          4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
          4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

          Proverbs 20:1
          1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

          1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
          1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
          1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

          • MCrow

            So again, you are willing to extend forgiveness to your group because they go through the same rituals as you.

            And Jesus turned water into wine. It was for a wedding party. Did Jesus sin by getting people to drink to have fun?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            “you are willing to extend forgiveness to your group”

            see …. i have no forgiveness to give him …. he has not offended me …… and now you are just making up more lies to fit a paradigm that YOU and YOUR group want to believe …………. “And Jesus turned water into wine. It was for a wedding party. Did Jesus sin by getting people to drink to have fun?” … sorry …. you do not get to use scripture as a means to bolster your paradigm ….. because you do not believe it …………..

          • MCrow

            See, if I can’t use scripture, then how can it be objectively true?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            you cant use it because you do not believe it … and you reject it ….. by your own words ….. you do not believe it is the truth …… so for you it is still just a lie ……….

          • MCrow

            Well, according to you, I can’t use the Bible, can’t use science, can’t use any other religious text…

            You remind me of playing games with a young child that can’t win unless he adds rules for the other players that he himself doesn’t have to follow.

            Again, if the Bible is objective as you claim, then it shouldn’t matter what I cite since it should be perfectly clear and true, particularly explained.

            Oh, and Proverbs 34:6-7

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            you can use any religious text you want ….. just not scripture ….. not with me ….. what someone else does is their business ………. but you are already in a very precarious position ……. and i will not be party to your continued descent by your misuse of scripture ….. it is not in your interest or mine ………. but those are the implications of your position when you hold that objective morality does not exist or is meaningless or a lie ……….

          • MCrow

            If the Bible was objective as you claim, then anything I presented you could easily correct and show why it was wrong. I’m in no precarious position, and I find it amusing that you resort to the same tactics: fear. You have nothing except scare tactics. Well, I’m not afraid of you. You have nothing to threaten me with. If I was with you in person, maybe, given how little value life seems to your god, but it’s just sad that you need to threaten me

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            i made no claim whatsoever that the bible is objective ……. it is particularly biased in its view …… but it does contain OBJECTIVE MORALITY ……. i have shown how you are wrong …. but you REJECT OBJECTIVE MORALITY …….. and so scripture does exactly what it claims to do in your case and mine ……. it either attracts or it repels ……. it attracts people like me ……. it REPELS people like you ……. there is no middle ground …… “You have nothing to threaten me with.” … and i have never threatened you ……. YOU are threatened by GOD …… as YOU think the universe revolves around YOU …… and YOU want to be at the center of YOUR universe ……. and GOD threatens that ability you desire to have …… and God laughs that YOU think YOU are in control ……… and you shake your metaphorical fist at Him …… and that is why you are here …… to think you can do battle with God and His chosen …… dont like the truth …. God does not care …….. He will carry out His will ……………..

          • MCrow

            Right. I’m the one who’s desperately struggling for control. You’re the one claiming to be a mouthpiece for the almighty. I think you’re projecting hard enough to display a slideshow

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            “You’re the one claiming to be a mouthpiece for the almighty.”

            NOPE ………… false paradigm ……… i may speak His words ….. you think you are your own god ….. and you are threatened by the TRUE God ………

          • MCrow

            …you do realize that claiming to speak his words confirms what I said, right?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            His words come from SCRIPTURE ……….. yours come from your VAIN IMAGINATION ……. and it is JUST YOUR OPINION …….

          • MCrow

            I know it’s hard for you to get it when you don’t actually listen, but I don’t shake my fist at god. I don’t hate god. I don’t curse god. I don’t care about your god anymore than I care about Zeus, Odin, Amun-Ra, or Amaterasu. To me, they’re fascinating stories. But again, your “objective morality” isn’t objective, because people disagree, and you can’t offer any evidence for it other than screaming at people that it’s true while claiming to speak for god.

            And again, you resort to fear. But again, I don’t fear your god punishing me anymore than fear that I won’t go to Valhalla for not dying a valiant death

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            “but I don’t shake my fist at god. ”

            HENCE i said METAPHORICAL …. as you do not seem to read …… AND YES YOU DO ………….

          • MCrow

            When I disagree with you, Amos, you say I disagree with your god. You are the one I have disagreements with, but you accuse me, each time, of blasphemy against an Almighty. This is why I say you conflate yourself with your deity: you can’t separate yourself even as you deny it

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            NOPE ….. and you just want to put that spin on it ……. and YOU are confused ….. YOU disagree with WHO God is ….. YOU think it is you as you are the center of YOUR world …. and you always act in YOUR interest ….. and that puts you at odds with God …… it matters not one wit to me if you disagree with me ….. because …. IT AINT ABOUT ME ….. but that is all you have to make it NOT about God ….. and about YOU ……….

          • MCrow

            I disagree that god exists. I am not at odds with him anymore than Voldemort

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            JUST YOUR OPINION as you reject OBJECTIVE MORALITY …… and so you reject Him and you are here to wave your stinkpalm in christians faces ……….

          • MCrow

            It is your opinion that the Bible represents so called objective morality. The sooner you can accept that, the better

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            Nope ….. i do not HAVE an opinion on OBJECTIVE MORALITY ….. i ACCEPT OBJECTIVE MORALITY ……. and yours come from your VAIN IMAGINATION ……. and it is JUST YOUR OPINION …….

          • MCrow

            Again, I don’t believe in any gods. I don’t even really have a great opinion of myself, to be honest. I mostly live by the philosophy of making other better. It’s why I’m in education, it’s why I speak on facts, and it’s why I work charities. The world is a dark, cruel place and we’re all insignificant flashes in the face of history. Doesn’t mean we can’t try to make each other happier.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            and yet YOU are the center of YOUR existence ….. and so you are your own god ………

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            “You remind me of playing games with a young child that can’t win unless he adds rules for the other players that he himself doesn’t have to follow.”

            one of the rules is you have to play the game with the game pieces …. you seem to think you can play checkers without the checkers ……. and YOU are the one making up rules as you have thrown the rule book out when you threw out objective morality …… and you are being held to the standard of the rules you have made up …… and you do not like it ……..

            “Oh, and Proverbs 34:6-7”
            and there you go making up your own rules again ….. PROVERBS only has THIRTYONE chapters ………… see … you want to cite the bible ….. AND YOU CANNOT EVEN BE BOTHERED TO QUOTE IT CORRECTLY ……. and that is why you do not get to use it ….. among other things …….

          • MCrow

            Proverbs 31. I mistyped.

            And I am using tools available to me. You just need to restrict others because you can’t actually deal with their arguments as presented. Pitiful.

    • james blue

      Speaking for myself.
      I’ll state up front I do not drink alcohol or do drugs, never have and do not approve of the recreational use of either substance.

      Possession and use of said substances by consenting adults should not be a crime and if that is all the cops have on him IMO he should not be facing any charges to begin with. That said drink or drug use is not a defense for crimes committed while under the influence and they absolutely should be held accountable for their other actions like DUI or theft to feed their habit.

      Addicts need our help and support regardless or who they are, not our judgement and they shouldn’t be punished for being addicts, So to get to your specific question for myself the answer would be yes on the drug use.

      • Susan Perelka

        So we should remain silent while someone destroys their life with these substances, just because they were a consenting adult? You kind of love is the cruelest kind. Drug users have an altered state of mind and are more prone to hurt themselves or others, that’s why we have laws against it. To PROTECT people. It’s called tough love. Someone may have to get to the pig pen before they come to their senses and seek help. Real love doesn’t hand them the substance, so as not to hurt their feelings, and sit back and watch them destroy themselves and others. And the quote “Your love is the cruelest kind” comes from Helen Keller’s teacher, who told it to Helen’s father because he had done everything for her, which resulted in her remaining trapped in her condition. It was the tough love of her teacher that made Helen do for herself, that enabled her to break free from that private prison and go on to accomplish great things. Helen’s father truly thought he was acting in a loving way, yet it was keeping her stuck. Something to ponder. And even God punishes sin with the purpose that someone will come to their senses and seek His help.

        • james blue

          Try reading my comment again.

          • Susan Perelka

            I did and that is my answer

          • james blue

            So your idea of “love” is to throw people who have addictions into prison with the murderers and rapists?

            Should we throw people who drink alcohol into prison? People who gamble?

  • Chet

    For those who elect to look down their mile long spiritual noses and defer forgiveness to this brother who obviously erred badly, and has since confessed and forsaken his sin, note Matthew 6:15, Holy Bible. And see what the Lord has to say concerning such ones…