Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Restitution

An Anonymous comment on the Person Formerly Known as Your Leader blog says this:

Having been the perpetrator as well as the recipient of what you have so perfectly described, I now am stuck at where to go from here. I know repentance is the first step.

How can one even begin to make restitution or amends?

I can only tell you what I have done so far. The first thing I did was become absolutely sure that what I believed I could back up in Scripture. I read the New Testament through 3 times and found every verse that dealt with leadership. I researched the Greek to see what the words meant. I became convinced that there was no hierarchy or “lording it over” those in the body. I studied other areas of tithing, covering, apostolic government, church structure (or lack thereof) and gifts.

I then repented. I spent lots and lots of time with the Father, trying to figure out just what kept me blinded by the system. I confessed to my children whom I had taught and lead into things that I had never even researched. I wrote out my confession – which you have read. I have also gone to those I felt I had hurt the worst that would speak to me and asked their forgiveness. I am also praying to be put in contact with others whom I would love to speak.

I have then been studying as much as possible to figure out just what I do believe and how I should act. Wayne Jacobsen at Life Stream has been invaluable. His message of grace has been so refreshing.

As far as making restitution - Ahhh, that is the hard part. I wish I had stolen money so I could pay it back in double. That would be easier. There is no restitution that I can think of for treating someone so badly. I can only ask forgiveness. The restitution I can give is to never act in an un-graceful way to anyone else. I won’t be perfect at that one either but at least I’ll be more aware.

I wondered if I should wade into our church body, person by person and try to “rescue” them. Trust me, if they will come and talk to me, I will try to rescue them. But if they don’t then I don’t think it is the time for them. Many people tried with me before I “got it” and all it did was make me mad. For some reason, I did not want to be “rescued.” (How I wish I had listened.)

I think in a very big way, this blog is a “restitution” of sorts. If I can help anyone else walk through what I have been through, that would be so good. If I can cause anyone else to heal a bit easier, then it will have been worth it.

Thanks to all of you who have taken time to comment. I am honored to have you read and wrestle through this with me.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone who has served alongside you, I believe the best 'restitution' is to continue pursuing the "calling with which you were called" - the passion for His Kingdom and His people that has always been part of who you are, even when the expression of it was not pure. You make things right by continuing to dream in God, only bigger than before because the net that previously confined those dreams has been lifted. In so doing, you demonstrate that God's power, truth and love for people is stronger than any abuse of church authority, and you rob the enemy of what he hopes to gain from the whole situation: which is believers who are too confused or wounded to fulfill their destiny.

Brother Maynard said...

The absolute worst thing for me was the realization that I'd done all the terrible stuff to other people. I wasn't just a victim, I was a perpetrator.

There isn't really any restitution in the sense that it can't be "fixed." What there is is repentance. There's tomorrow, and there's learning how to do it better... without giving up on it all. But hey, I discovered what it meant when Jesus said his yoke was light and his burden was easy... turns out I'd been laboring under someone else's all this time. Who knew?