Friday, May 29, 2015

To Whom It May Concern

This is one of those entries where I've written out an intro and erased it over and over in hopes of finding the perfect words to get your attention. There are so many things I want to say... so many things I want you to hear. My heart is burdened, my soul is weeping. I have a history rich in loving the fringe. I have a life full of walking with others who have experienced great pain and sadness. I know what it means to sit with someone who is grieving the loss of something that was stolen. I know the pain it causes to have people who should understand... who should listen... who should love.. instead ostracize and condemn and blame you in the name of God. I understand.

Initially I was going to write to those who use scripture to defend the actions of abusers and shame people who are different from you. But I'm not sure you will listen. I wanted to ask you why you are so afraid when God is so big. I wanted to understand why you think God needs a lawyer. I wanted to ask you why you think God stands with one political party but not another. I wanted to go through all of the scriptures you pulled to justify the abuse of little girls and explain to you why that is so incredibly damaging. I wanted to provide you with research studies that explain why the predator living in the home is so damaging, and why appropriate treatment is critical. I wanted to blast you with statistics showing the likelihood that someone who acts out will act out again. I wanted to encourage you to visit the GRACE website and educate yourself on what predators normally look like, who their victims typically are, and how they use God as a weapon before, during and after with their victims. But... I'm not sure you will listen.

I considered writing to the abusers. But I'm not sure you will listen. I wanted to explain to you that repentance is more than just words. It's action. It's admitting you have wronged before God and not only changing your behavior, but doing what is necessary to protect others from your weakness. It's not a free pass to continue living as if your choices didn't have consequences. And it doesn't entitle you to automatic forgiveness from those you hurt - true repentance wouldn't expect it. I wanted to have you understand that forgiveness is a choice. It is one that can take time. True forgiveness, in the face of horrible action, comes only when the victim is ready. And that is ok. But, I'm not sure you will listen.

So, instead I am going to write to those who have been hurt, abused, made to feel alone, made to think that God loves you less because of what someone else has done or because of who you are.

I want to first tell you about the God I know and love. He loves you. He loves you so much more than anyone ever could. And to Him you are beautiful and perfect. He created you in His image and He wants you so desperately to run into His open arms. Not because someone told you to, but because you understand that it is safe there - even when there is no safety to be found in the world. When you are hurting, He hurts. When someone hurts you, He grieves. He longs to help you heal. He is patient. He is good. He is love.

It is with tears streaming down my face that I say to those who have been made by man to feel like you are too broken or too flawed or too different to be desired by God, I am so incredibly sorry. To those who have been forced to forgive their abuser or were flogged by scripture, my heart aches for you. To those who have been told that who you love, or how you dress, or the way in which you identify causes God to leave you - please know that God has never left you.

I am broken. I am flawed. I am imperfect.

I am incapable of being anything less than the exact person God has made me to be.

Even if man has decided that I am made for their scorn, their abuse, their mockery...

Even if man has decided that I am not good enough. God thinks I am.

I am no different than you.

And if God can love me, I have no doubt He loves you.