Carson: The most painful things I’ve ever borne are betrayals by Christian friends

Here’s how Don Carson recently replied to a question about suffering during a Q&A. (This is a lightly edited transcript from 13:37 to 14:40 in the audio file.)

  • We grew up in some of the suffering of French Canada.
  • I’ve had typhoid because I went to Africa and came within death’s door.
  • I’ve had two or three other diseases that have almost taken me out.
  • My wife’s had cancer that has almost taken her out. She didn’t expect to live to 50; she just turned 59.
  • But that’s part of the stuff of life, isn’t it? And if you’re a Christian leader, then sooner or later you go through situations in churches and relationships that are really tough. The most painful things I’ve ever borne are betrayals by Christian friends.
  • Some of you will know the name Roy Clements. On the Tuesday of this particular week, we got the diagnosis of my wife’s cancer, and it was bad. On the Thursday of that week, I and five others got the letter from Roy Clemens telling us that he was leaving his wife and going to proclaim himself a homosexual. My wife and I cried much, much more over Roy than we ever did over the cancer.

Related: John Starke summarizes the talk that preceded this Q&A and then links to other MP3s from Carson’s visit to Australia in December 2012.


  1. says

    So appreciate your sharing that. Sometimes it feels that we are alone in our sufferings in the ministry. It has been the most rewarding yet the most difficult. It’s easy to question if one should truly be in the ministry when one faces hurt, especially that in which D. A. Carson has described as being the most painful. Thank you for sharing. It is a good reminder for me that we are not alone (humanly speaking) in this although I do know because His Word tells me this; however, tangible reminders are encouraging.

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