John 15:12-15 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (NKJV)
An hour or so I saw something show up on my Facebook newsfeed and I can't get it out of my mind. It was a sweet comment from someone who attended my former church a full decade before our family arrived. This person and I connected solely because of the lawsuit. I found her story to be so much like mine, even though she was there a full decade earlier. As we shared stories, I was shocked to discover that the same kinds of abuse had been going on for such a long period of time.
Today, the comment on my Facebook newsfeed was addressed to another mutual friend and former church member - one who left more recently than our family. The comment was sweet. You could tell that relationships were being restored.
One of the sad things about spiritual abuse is that many times you leave the church completely alone. You question yourself, you blame yourself, you miss the relationships, you grieve the relationships. It is a very sad and lonely time.
Since the exposure of this spiritual abuse and because of the wide publicity of our case, the secret is out about spiritual abuse at this church. There is no need to fear anymore. People are free to reconnect with others who left or were disposed of. Now people are able to look back and question those events from the past with new eyes. Perhaps what was told to them about certain people wasn't the truth after all. I found that we were told untruths about people. I have needed to erase from my mind anything told to me by current church members/pastor/elder. I am glad to see people have reconnected, have apologized, and there has been restoration of relationships.
I would like to encourage those who have left our former church to extend grace to others who may have left years before. Some of these people have never gone back to church. You are in a wonderful position to extend grace and love to people who were spiritually abused. If you are avoiding someone based on something someone from the church has told you, there's a very good chance that you might hear a different story now. Let's love, people!
Yes, this lawsuit was difficult and ugly, but look at what beauty is coming out of it! This is lasting beauty.
photo credit: Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography via photo pin cc