We’ve been on quite the journey the last few weeks. We have left the church we’d been a part of for more than 8 years. Sadly, we didn’t go willingly, but when you stand up for what’s right and true and just sometimes you’re the one that suffers. And that’s okay because Jesus suffered more.
My husband exposed deep seated sin in the camp. And we both got accused and attacked of all sorts of ugly things. Shane’s integrity was called in to question and that’s when he decided he could no longer be an elder at that church, so he resigned.
Scripture is clear and elder is to be “above reproach.” Webster’s dictionary defines reproach as:
1 : an expression of rebuke or disapproval
2 : the act or action of reproaching or disapproving <was beyond reproach>
Yes, Shane was rebuked and disapproved. He was blamed, discredited and disgraced by some. And so was I. I’ll be honest. I’m having a difficult time understanding how our every dot and tittle can be examined for accuracy and motive. How our integrity could be questioned and at the same time at least 15 years of lies and deceit can be brushed under the rug, and left in a lump to be ignored. But here’s what I know:
It’s not my job to figure it out.
My job is to pray for those that persecuted us. My job is to love those that hate me.
Yes, it is my job to pray for those whose definition of love and forgiveness would not let this Pastor gets the help he needs to needs to be whole.
It’s my job to continue to pray for that pastor, and those that are still there.
The truth is, we are devastated, but we’re healing. Shane loved being an elder. He loved preaching several times a year. But standing for the truth is more important. We knew the risk we took going into it. History showed us that we’d probably be the ones that would leave, we weren’t the first to leave in this manner. But Shane’s job as a shepherd to the flock wouldn’t allow him to ignore the sin. And we knew that if nothing changed we would be leaving. But everything was uglier than I thought it would be.
Thankfully we’re mature enough to know that people are people and God is God. We know the enemy lurks. We are wise enough to know that people will sin and will hurt you. And we know somehow this is God’s plan and He will be glorified in it.
While we heal, we are drawing close to Him. These last few weeks we’ve enjoyed being in fellowship with other believers. We’ve enjoyed hearing the gospel preached at each of the churches we’ve visited. We’ve appreciated those friends that have stood beside us, and have encouraged us for doing what was right.
We found out the hard way that the people we thought were our friends, weren’t. I found myself face to face with the pastor and one of those I thought were my friends at a social event recently He stood beside me, the smile on his face saying so much more than the words he didn’t speak, and it made my stomach flip.
“hug?” this former friend said.
What could I do? I felt like I was a child once again –a child being forced to “forgive” a sibling in a squabble. But, sadly, this person, and so many others, don’t understand. This isn’t a sibling squabble that Shane and I have to win. It’s not about winning! It’s about so much more. The Scripture is clear, continuing in sin, intentionally or unintentionally without repentance, without taking responsibility for one’s actions is not forgiveness, it’s permissiveness. And it’s not biblical. At best, it’s lukewarm at worst it’s directly opposed to Scripture. God tells us that he will harden hearts, he will blind eyes but it’s difficult to watch it happen right before you.
There will probably be some from that church that read this, there will probably be more accusations hurled at me for what I’ve written. If that’s what you have to do to justify your actions, so be it. It’s not my responsibility. We are attempting to move forward. We are attempting to heal. For several weeks I haven’t had words to write, today I do. I have attempted to write this from my perspective only. I question the eternal destiny of no one-that’s God’s job not mine. Any ugly comments will be removed. And if any of you have questions or want to hear our perspective instead of guessing or gossiping you are welcome to call us.
And, I’m linked up with Kate and the gang this week for Five Minute Friday. Interested? Click the link.
This week’s word was journey