The last week has been incredibly transforming in my thinking and understanding of what occurred at my church with my pastor and where I have been at fault. I am deeply broken over the sin I now see in my life and my desire to change. I have come to a completely new understanding of the gospel and understand what a distorted and self-centered view I have held. The fact that I have walked for 25 years believing I was a saved believer, having confidence in my beliefs, and even teaching others some of the distorted beliefs I have held absolutely breaks my heart. Even though I now am moving forward in repentance and a deep desire to change and live a new life I have a very long and difficult path ahead. Daily I am seeing more and more of my sinful ways and realizing that each day I continue to live with these distorted beliefs I am hurting God even more. I am hopeful for a different future, but also concerned that if I don’t find good teaching, and faithful believers who are firmly grounded in truth to walk through this with me I am likely to go back to those things I know and not truly change.
- Your actions and words are in no way acceptable for a believer: Oh how right they were. I now see how self-centered and unfaithful my ways were. I wish there were ways to take back years of words and actions.
- You have twisted truth in order that you can have control: Because I have held distorted and twisted truth and lived by it I have absolutely twisted truth, not with intention but out of absolute ignorance. In some ways that is worse because I didn’t even know I was doing it.
- You are not teachable: Because I thought the beliefs I held were correct and didn’t understand the new and different things I was being taught I was experiencing great confusion, frustration, and began to be defensive and resistant. Instead of allowing God’s truth to penetrate me I was moving forward with a hard heart and in a stiff necked manner. My behavior was hypocritical toward God and the name of Christ that I was proclaiming.
- You show absolutely no signs of submission to the Lord: Because I was being unteachable and was resistant toward the elders due to the defeated thinking and unhealthy and twisted beliefs I held I was lacking submission. I had also never been taught about submission, what it looked like, or how key it is in our life with God. Changing my perspective on this has been absolutely transforming although I still don’t really understand how to walk in submission every day.
- You show no understanding of the gospel: My view of the gospel has been self-centered, simplistic, lacking Lordship, and based on some very messed up core beliefs. As my core beliefs were messed up or inadequate they affected everything that flowed from them.
- You have sought to drive a wedge of disunity within our body: I disrespected my leaders and showed lack of submission and support. This was deeply dishonoring to God as he placed faithful leaders over me and I resisted and opposed the support they were trying to show me. Much of this was due to lack of understanding and never having been exposed to this type of leadership before but that doesn’t change the fact that it was sinful.
- If you don’t understand this and are confused by it, this just further demonstrates your twisting of truth: I didn’t understand this, but as I have leaned into God and begged for mercy and understanding he has been showing me truth, changing my hard heart, and giving me insight and understanding. With all my heart I desire to change and I am begging him and my leaders for a chance to be forgiven and restored to the body of Christ.
- We suggest you consider the other church relationship examples in your life that have not ended well: While the situations at my last two churches have been completely different than this situation I have been unfaithful. The church where I was abused 4+ years ago distorted a lot of my thinking and that has led to a lot of the problems in the last two churches. I am deeply grieved over how I let this happen even when I knew my thinking was off and had asked for help.
- You are no longer welcome to associate with anyone involved in ________. You also need to know that no one at ________ will pursue communication with you or respond to any communication from you.: At this time I think it is best that I am not a part of a church community until I get this straightened out, at least not in any manner where my incorrect thinking could negatively impact others, and I need to take a very humble and submissive response toward any future involvement until God has done very deep work in my life. I am hoping that my elders will work with me on a restoratin and training plan to help me through this. I believe I am still under their authority and leadership until they restore me to God’s family and I am willing to fully submit to their guidance and direction through that process.