The Light

This morning I read another article about pastor exposed. Every time before today when I have read one of these articles I confess that I feel justified in my decision to leave the church. But this article was different.

Even though I had never met this pastor, I had followed his sermons online for years. The things that he said made a real and lasting impact on my life. After listening to one of his sermons, I realized the weight of a lie I had been carrying had become too heavy. I sent this pastor an email from an anonymous account. I told him what had been happening. In his compassionate response back he said, Come out into the light.

His email gave me the courage to call a counselor for the first time. It began the process of opening the door to freedom from an abusive relationship with another pastor, and I will always be grateful for this.

But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:13 & 14

When anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible for everyone to see. Sadly, the world does not shed a compassionate light when darkness is exposed. Everyone has an opinion. And the saying is true…most of them stink.

I am as confused as most about the sexual sin, abuse, pride, political idolatry, racism, and bigotry being exposed in religious organizations daily. I find myself wondering at the rate things are happening what the church will look like in another decade?

After having been abused in church, I no longer feel safe attending. I tried for several years to continue to attend, but the triggers were just too much. It was an act of self-compassion to make the decision to stop going. It has also been an effort to hold on to my faith.

As I said earlier, many of the exposure articles I have read have given me justification for leaving the church. Last week, I read a Twitter post from a pastor who made a generalized statement about a Christian not going to church is like a cancer patient not getting chemo. Sometimes it feels like the church is great at pointing out what everyone else is doing wrong, but falls way short of addressing the darkness inside the walls of it’s institutions.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? I Corinthians 5:12

Even though I have lost so much faith in the institution of the church, I have not lost faith in Christ.

What does it look like for the light of Christ to shine into our darkness?

Too many times I let the responses of others be where I look to find the answer.

The loud judgments in the comments section.

Or the denial of those who minimize, excuse or remain silent about what brings us harm.

Christ does not condemn.

Christ does not deny or dismiss our pain.

He whispers to us in our slumber to wake up.

He collects our every tear in His bottle.

He turns over the tables in the church where abuse is overlooked.

He breathes into our lungs and gives us life.

Over and over and over again.

I’m so thankful He came into my darkness and showed me His true light. It was the only way I survived.

My heart is grieved and disillusioned by another pastor exposed. It would be easy to dismiss my pain with cynicism and apathy. It would be easy to judge.

But then I remember the door to my own dark prison opening and the light shining in. I remember His compassion and grace and the feel of His healing breath into my lungs keeping me alive.

And I’m so thankful that it really is all about His grace.

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

2 Comments on “The Light

  1. Thank you for your blog this morning. I exposed my #csa to three other pastors and they couldn’t or wouldn’t believe that their fellow “pastor” did what he did. They’ve given him “Grace” that swings way out of balance. Not held accountable. He was to take a sabbatical and step down from the pulpit and has not. It felt like a triumph to finally have the education, knowledge and courage to expose him after 10 years of hiding it. Now a year and a half later, I feel defeated. Where is God at? My trauma from #csa has caused cognitive dissonance and ambivalence in my brain. My brain is spiritually damaged. I can’t see Jesus as I once did. Same with the church. I have fears of my faith being lost completely. I think it’s hanging by a thread. I don’t know where God is at in my traumatised thinking. Am I sinning or is there grace for me too? I don’t know what the answer is to finding the answer. Do I have faith in God or don’t I? Honestly, I’ve been so gaslighted that I don’t know. And God hasn’t sent me the answer or the light to help me out if this painful and scary mind I have in my spiritual self. My brain is broken and needs healing. But I can’t find that healing. Am I still Gods child? I can’t go to church and I can’t read my bible because of triggers or listen to Christian messages or music. I feel lost. I need my anchor again. But I don’t trust God like I used too. I’m grieved.

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    • Kelle, I hear your pain. I know this is so difficult. You are not alone in your suffering. I am so, so sorry. You were incredibly brave to tell the truth. Unfortunately, I understand how disillusioning it is to have others dismiss and diminish your pain. I still get so upset over this happening over and over again in churches. When you are abused by someone in ministry it is never your fault. The manipulation is especially damaging. The ambivalence you describe is indeed overwhelming at times. Thank you for sharing with me what you feel. I see you, I hear you and my heart grieves with you. The only way I have been able to move forward is by doing just what you are…being honest and taking care of myself. ❤

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