Just a warning, these devotionals are going to start out looking like a feel-good story. Then stuff is going to get real. Buckle the seatbelt!
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
…story began on day 3…
After Jim and I spent a couple of nights getting to know each other he really began to open up about his background. He and his brothers attended a Christian school growing up. They were both abused at various points by their authority figures. This story is far too common. It is so common, in fact, that I think about this possibility every time I introduce myself to someone as a pastor. I never know what they’ve been through and what possible past events my presence might trigger.
He began to ask me why Christians have such a long history of covering up abuse and violence. How can a faith built on the foundation of grace, mercy, and love maintain such a long history of secretly practicing the opposite?
Needless to say, I got quiet. I didn’t really know what else to do. I said the only thing I could think to say, “I don’t know how something like that happens. I am really sorry.”
He was quiet for a while. Then he said, “I thought you were going to defend them.”
“How would I do that?” I asked.
“People try. Whenever I’ve talked about this before, people try.”
We sat in silence for a while, and then I said this, “The church is filled with imperfect people because it’s the only kind of person there is. The church also has plenty of evil people in it. This isn’t an excuse. In my opinion we should never hide from this reality. When we mess up we should practice our own principles and confess and seek restoration in whatever ways we can. I’m deeply, deeply sorry for what happened to you. There is no defense.”