Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Many of my readers know about the battles I've had with depression and suicidal thoughts and how I "crashed" two years ago and have been working on permanently kicking this monster ever since.  As with any sort of growth, especially spiritual growth, I see over and over how things in the past were wrong and things ahead are more in line with where I need to be.  With that awareness has come a lot of apologizing, repentance and forgiveness, and at times, in excruciating proportions.  Allowing this monster to plague me for 26 years (and I'm only 32, so yeah, that's a long time) means that there was a lot wrong done, a lot of wounds that needed to be healed and much to repent for.

And I have.  There is a knotted mess of darkness, both of wrongs done to me and wrongs I have done, that is slowly being unraveled and is having the light shown on it, inch by inch, piece by piece.  But I was listening to a sermon by a preacher I frequently listen to and God showed me that there is one place where I haven't repented and that will continue to hold me back and keep me from experiencing the Bride of Christ like He intended His children to.  I need to repent for the wrongs I've done to my church family as a whole.

So, indulge me for a moment and read my repentance.  If you are part of my church family, yes, this applies to you, regardless of how well I know you or how much we have interacted.  If you are not part of my church family, I pray that God uses this in your walk with Him and that in some way you are inspired to seek freedom through repentance.

Here we go...

1.  I repent for putting the fact I was right (or really strongly believed I was right) before my relationship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am a really intelligent, educated woman with a lot of experience and giftings in areas that can edify the church.  I'm not going to apologize for that.  Nor will I apologize for speaking up in cases where I really believed that my ideas or experience would in some way benefit whatever was going on in the church.  But there have been times where my need to be recognized as being right was more important to me than humbling myself and loving my brother or sister.  And for that, I am truly sorry.  Most of the time, damaging a relationship with a brother or sister in Christ will hurt the church more than someone doing something less effectively than they could (assuming I was right).  When I start to cross that line where I begin to damage a relationship, I need to swallow my ego and be far more careful about how I proceed.

2.  I repent for the times I served in order to bring glory to myself instead of serving in order to bring glory to God.

I admit to there being times where I would really feel the nudge from God to serve in some way, but along the way my motivation at times would turn away from making Jesus look good and, instead, turn toward making me look good.  And I know that plagues a lot of people in the areas I serve (praise team, teaching/shepherding, leadership, etc.), but it doesn't ever make it right.  It's all about Jesus.  Always.  As much as I do need kind words and praise to encourage me to continue serving, the bottom line is still that it's all about Jesus.  And I apologize for tainting my service with self-glorification.  I'm sorry.

3.  I repent for wanting things now instead of waiting on the process God has planned.

One thing I have learned from studying the Old Testament is that God seldom does things "right now". In fact, "right now" doesn't make sense to an infinite God.  God is a God of process.  If God wanted His people to have the promise land, why didn't He just clear the way and get them there straight away?  Why did He make them wonder around in the desert for so long?  As I've seen repeated over and over in the Old Testament, it's because God has a process.  There are things He wants to do and ways He wants to see people grow and struggles He wants some to go through, before He finally delivers for His people.  I struggle with that.  I'm a "just do it" take charge kind of person.  I see a need and I want it met immediately.  God doesn't work that way.  Now I also don't think God wants us to drag our feet either, which many Christians are prone to do.  But God has a process, things He wants done in His time and in His way.  And I apologize for pushing people and not letting things always unfold at God's pace.

4.  I repent for throwing baggage from the past onto people today because I expected them to treat me the same way people in my past did.

This is a really hard one for me.  I'm a mathematician, amongst other things, and mathematicians work with trend lines and predictions and probabilities.  I spent three years in college taking the world and trying to quantify it in a predictable way.  And I have a really hard time turning that off.  Just because every middle aged woman who grew up in a church judged me and rejected me in my past doesn't mean that I can make the judgement call that all middle aged women who grew up in the church will judge me as well.  Just because people in my past criticized me and didn't do it in love doesn't mean that every time I'm criticized now, that the person is trying to attack me.  As much as there is a whole data mining industry right now centered around trying to predict people's behavior, that isn't how Jesus intended us to interact with one another.  Just as God doesn't see us according to demographics, I shouldn't assume that you are going to reject me, not be trustworthy or attack me just because I think you are similar to people in my past who have done similar things.  A lot of people in my past just sucked, to be quite frank.  You are a unique person and by trying to "predict" you, I'm not honoring who God made you to be.  God has put me in a community of Christians for the first time and I need to leave all my baggage at the door.  I'm sorry if you've had a rogue suitcase or duffle bag thrown at your head and you had no idea where it came from.

5.  I repent for fearing you more than fearing God.

I could try to list out my individual fears, such as rejection, abandonment, not being liked, but they all really boil down to I fear you more than I fear God.  Sometimes, that became me believing things you said instead of believing what God said, because I was more afraid of your disapproval than I was of God's.  Sometimes, that became me not doing what I felt like God was leading me to do because I was afraid to have you think I was weird or crazy.  Sometimes, that became me being a people pleaser instead of a Jesus follower.  And I'm really, really sorry for that, both for the burden that puts on you and for what we missed out on because I wasn't following Jesus.  The thought of not putting Jesus as number one kills me and I regret every time I didn't put Him where He belonged.

6.  I repent for having authority issues and having the need to control.

This is another hard one, because I want to yell, "If you only knew my past, if you only knew what I've been through, the people in control that abused me and betrayed me, you would understand!"  But the truth is, when you submit your life to Christ, you submit everything, including control.  If I believe someone is an exceptional leader who is following Jesus, I will follow them to the ends of the earth, no questions asked.  But if I judge you to have failings or if I see myself as better than you leadership wise, I will fight you tooth and nail, in my own head if nothing else.  And I apologize for that.  I repent for the lack of trust that I have in God to put the people and situations in place that need to be in place.

7.  I repent for not trusting that the Holy Spirit is working in you.

I have all the grace in the world for someone that I see is growing.  But if I don't see you growing, then I have a really hard time giving you grace.  The problem with that is, I'm not God (praise the Lord for that!).  I don't know the number of hairs on your head.  I don't know all the days ordained for you.  But God does.  You may be growing like crazy, but I am not in a position to see it.  And I don't need to see it.  In fact, I don't need to make the judgements based on my perception of your actions either.  I just need to trust that if you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit is doing surgery on your heart.  By the same token, I need to trust more that the Holy Spirit is convicting you on things.  I'm not someone to say out loud when I think you aren't following Christ, but I think it on the inside.  There are times when I become so mad at one of my brothers or sisters in Christ because I think they are doing something wrong on purpose just because they are a big jerk and a hypocrite and I forget that that may be an area God is working on them in.  They may know their failing and at this point have little ability to do anything about it.  I am truly sorry for not trusting that you are a work in progress, just like me.

8.  I repent for thinking I'm a better Christian than people who are engrained in the "Christian culture".

This is actually my pride saying that I'm better than the Christians who think watching R rated movies, drinking beer and listening to secular music is a sin.  The truth is, we are all nothing without Christ.  That bears repeating.  WE ARE ALL NOTHING WITHOUT CHRIST.  Christ gives us all our value and all our righteousness.  Being irritated with people who have walked with Jesus for 30, 40 or 50 years, but who don't seem as "enlightened" as I think I am is wrong.  I will still encourage them to follow a more biblically based Christianity than a "Christian culture" Christianity, but Christ is the one who has lead me to the truth and Christ is the one that will lead them to the truth.  Even if they never give up their Touched By An Angel movie marathons or never take their "If you died right now, do you know where you would go?" bumper stickers off their car, I am not better than them.  I praise God that He put me in a church where there is very little of that, mainly due to an incredible pastor who has a pathological dislike for cheesy Christendom.  But those people handing out Bible tracts at the county fair are my brothers and sisters in Christ and, though I disagree with them, and even in extreme cases openly disagree with them, I should represent Christ better by treating them as members of the Family.

Which leads me to the last one....

9.  I repent for not extending grace the way I should.

In this area, I don't represent Christ well at all.  And I'm sorry both to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and to Jesus Himself, for being so stingy with the grace He died for us to have.  I judge people more on their mistakes and faults than I do on their successes or even simply, their born again identity in Christ.  If someone is mean to me once, doesn't come through for me once, neglects something they need to do for me once, then I am likely to not only not give them another chance, but I also tend to judge them forever because of it.  I will label them as "lazy", "a jerk", "a chauvinist", or "unskilled".  God's mercies for me are new every day.  They are new for you as well.  I apologize for keeping track of your wrongs and holding them against you.

So there.  I'm sorry, for a lot.  You all, my church family, are such a huge blessing to me and it kills me when I think of the way I hurt others when my own ego and pride get in the way of being everything Christ has made me to be.  To those of you who have extended me grace, I can't thank you enough for showing me who Christ is.  We are the Bride of Christ.  We have our mission, to take Jesus to the ends of the earth.  Regardless of my issues or anyone else's, we shouldn't let sin get in the way of what God is creating us to do.  It's all about Him.  It's all about Him.  It's all about Him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

beautifully written and well expressed,however never saw you in a negative light. glad I've known you and looking forward to sharing his love and grace with you. Love you