Redemption Only Through Failure?

baptism

Jesus, Jesus, there are those that say they love you
But they have treated me so goddamn mean
And I know you said ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’
But sometimes I think they do
And I think about you
If all the heathens burn in hell, do all their children burn as well?
What about the Muslims and the gays and the unwed mothers?
What about me and all my friends?
Are we all sinners if we sin?
Does it even matter in the end if we’re unhappy?

~Jesus, Jesus by Noah Gundersen

It’s too early in the morning to be awake, but I can’t sleep. I’d like to be curled up in bed with my new husband, enjoying one of our rare moments of quiet, but my brain can’t rest, so my body can’t rest. It’s the same thing keeping me awake.

Wondering if it would have been easier to just keep lying.

It’s been six months since we’ve been to church. I have never in my life gone this long without being a part of a church community and I hate it. Part of it is my fault. An affair with the worship leader will hurt a church in a significant way, and the hurt and anger directed toward us in those early months turned us into hermits. I hid myself away, I shut people out. Maybe I should have been more open then, I don’t know. Pain and fear don’t allow for much rational thought.

But eventually there’s a desire to abandon the path of the recluse and to make our way back into life. To begin the difficult, but necessary journey of repentance and reconciliation.

This has been far more difficult than I imagined.

I knew it was going to be hard to go to people I had wronged and ask for forgiveness. I knew that some would be skeptical of my words. After all, I didn’t go back to my family, instead I married the man who I had the affair with. Being sorry for lying about an affair isn’t nearly as acceptable as being sorry for the relationship.

But I wasn’t prepared to be shut out. To have texts and phone calls and messages go unreturned. I didn’t expect to be told that we should not return to our church. I didn’t expect people who called me family to treat me like a stranger.

I am frustrated this morning because while I want to believe in reconciliation and restoration and redemption, it seems like that is off-limits to us.

This is not to say that everyone has cast us off. There has been grace and love along the way, and it seems to come at times when I need it most, when the weight of shame feels like it’s just too much to carry. A card, a text, a vox, a kind comment on Facebook or Twitter. Something to let me know that I’m still cared for by people who knew me “before.”

But there are times when I feel like the only possibility for reconciliation in the larger context of the Church is if my second marriage fails.

A few weeks ago, I read this poignant, powerful post at A Deeper Story by Andrea Levendusky. There are parts of her story that echo my own, but for the most part, it caused me deep sadness because I don’t want my marriage to Rich to end in divorce. I don’t want to forgiveness and redemption to happen only in the wake of more heartache, more brokenness. I don’t want conversations to occur only because the situation that makes us uncomfortable is out of the way.

Once when I was experiencing disbelief at the vitriol that was being pointed our way, Rich said to me, “We should have expected this. When did you ever hear about a worship leader and his new wife being allowed back at the church where they had the affair?” And the truth is, he’s right, that’s not how that works. You don’t get to go back.

But why is that the case? Why is judgment more important than mercy? Why is it better for a couple to remain isolated from the people who know them, who can offer help into their new relationship? How do we preach on the prodigal son when our response to sinners who want to come home is, “We think it would be more comfortable for everyone if you were a part of another church family”?

It’s upsetting that the answer to Rich’s question is “almost never” rather than “there are churches that do that?” It’s frustrating that grace is something that surprises us rather than something that is conventional.

It makes me sad, and more than a little bit angry, that our default expectation for sinners is one of rejection within the Church. I’m angry that it seems like the only time redemption can be achieved is through failure.

I want my anger to be turned into something beneficial. So I know that part of the way  that I can change this narrative of a graceless church is to extend forgiveness to those who I feel are undeserving. I can give people time to come to grips with the hurt and pain that they are experiencing as a result of my actions, even if I don’t believe that my actions particularly have anything to do with them.

But I will not accept that I have to ignore my pain in order to validate the pain of others. I will not accept mistreatment of me or those I love because of my past decisions. I will not accept that silence is my only option. I will not accept that the only way I can experience redemption is through failure. 

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About Alise

I’m a lot of things, but more than anything else, I’m a woman in progress. I’m finding that out more and more all the time. Knitting is just a series of knots. I hope as my tangled thoughts are put out there, they will weave together into something that adds a little bit of beauty to the world.
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25 Responses to Redemption Only Through Failure?

  1. mike helbert says:

    I found that even after reconciliation with the church family, I still felt ‘outside.’ It was nothing that anyone said or did. In fact, I was embraced. Maybe it was my own shame and guilty feelings that built the wall. But, I eventually had to leave. You may find yourself in a similar situation. You may be welcomed back. However, something just doesn’t feel right. Blessings on your journey. I wish you and your husband all the best!

  2. karen says:

    You don’t get to stay. You just don’t. You’ve chosen a different way and it’s not going to be among the people who have been hurt and are justifiably enraged. Your husband is right: you shouldn’t be surprised by this. Six months is much too short a time. For some people, 30 years is too short a time. Forgiveness is available (if they choose), but forgetfullness is not. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but the prodigal son gave it all up. He crawled on hands and knees, crying out in anguish, offering to enslave himself to the Father he had stolen from and wished for dead.

    I don’t know you at all Alise, though I’ve followed your words for some time. And I have no right to judge you or reject you or say there is no place for you in the Church. Because there is! There is so much room for you and your husband and your joined families in the Kingdom. But the old way is gone, that door is shut. And I’m convinced that a new way and a new Family lies ahead (often even the ones who have been left can’t stay in that same church, among that same family). Sinners will always have a place in the church this side of heaven. You are not the first and certainly won’t be the last. But you chose to give that up and start a new life. So go do it. Let them heal, please let them heal. Let Jesus bind up their wounds while you search Him out, venture into new fellowships. He’s doing something with them and for them that you don’t get to be a part of anymore. I know you’ll find the place where He does that for you, too.

    (On a personal note, Alise, I want to respect you, your voice and your story so probably won’t comment again. You are brave to share these things here and I don’t want to heap any more of the words you probably know by heart. But I am your daughter all grown up. My dad was the worship leader. And I LOVE my parents. All of them. I love the siblings, the cousins, the family that God so graciously gave us as a result of it, even though that old hurt of loss and rejection will never go away. And I want you to have hope and encouragement and anticipation for what God will do with and through the hurt and shame of your story. Longing with you for that peace…Thank you for shedding light into a corner of my story.)

    • Alise says:

      Please don’t feel like you can’t comment here. This is an open space and I don’t want you to feel like you don’t get to add your voice to the conversation. Certainly you’re not obligated to (!), but don’t ever feel like you aren’t welcome here.

    • Adam Ellis says:

      For whatever it’s worth, I’m going to quibble with your version of the parable of the prodigal son. On the story’s own terms, the younger son appears to be not so much sorry as he is hungry & broke. He practices an apology all the way home as a means to an end. It’s also an apology he never actually gets out of his mouth. He doesn’t have the chance. The Father runs to embrace him and welcome him back fully as a son. If the story weren’t so familiar to us, and we didn’t sort of “get” the symbolism, most of us would call the Father in the story a naiive old fool to take the boy back like that. We’d tell him he was just going to get his heart broken again. The confounding truth of that part of the parable is: Grace is like that…and the Kingdom of God is like that…and God is like that.

      But as profound as that point is, it isn’t the main point of that particular parable. You see, The context is that the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around to hear Jesus. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law observe this and condescendingly note that Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The string of parables that follow, (Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, & Lost Son/Prodigal Son), seem to be offered in response to this comment/situation. To be sure there are things in them for the tax collectors and sinners who had gathered around, but the primary intended audience were those Pharisees and teachers of the Law who offer the comment that immediately precedes the parables. Jesus tells of a seemingly insane shepherd who leaves 99 of his 100 sheep unattended in the wilderness to find the 1 sheep who wandered off…and when he finds it, he puts that sheep on his shoulders, carries it home and throws a party…without ever returning for the sheep he left in the wilderness! (God is apparently like that.) Then Jesus tells us of a woman who loses 1 of her 10 silver coins (each worth about 1 day’s wages) and essentially tears her house apart to find it. When she finds it, she throws a party to celebrate…that arguably costs more than the value of the coin! (God is like that.) And then, Jesus delivers a beautifully subversive masterpiece involving 2 brilliant and unexpected plot twists.

      We’ve already mentioned the first plot twist. It comes when the Father welcomes the reprobate boy back, gives him the full status of a son (and apparently an heir) and throws a massive celebration rather that doing what everyone in the audience assumes he will do (because it’s what they, themselves would do): Throw that good-for-nothing ingrate and his phoney apology back out on the street where they belong!

      The second twist is even more stunning. The beauty of this parable is that it ends without resolving. The Father leaves the party he is throwing for the younger son who had once abandoned him, because he notices the absence of the older son who never left. The older boy is furious that his brother has been welcomed back. He’s furious that no such celebrations have ever been thrown for him even though he’s stayed right where he’s supposed to be…slaving away. He’s furious because his brother has squandered what he was given. The older brother even provides an oddly specific list of offenses…which is strange, since he hasn’t spoken to his younger brother at all at this point. The Father responds by saying that what he had done was the only response possible, because they boy had been lost to them and was now found…it was, for all practical purposes as if the boy had come back from the dead. The Father asks the boy to come back into the party…if he can celebrate his brother’s return. He essentially says, “Do you want to come inside, welcome your brother back and be a part of the party I’m throwing, or do you just want to sit out here and pout?” If this was a movie, this is where the screen would fade to black and the credits would roll. This is where you would stand up and throw popcorn at the screen…because he doesn’t tell you what the older brother does. It isn’t until you get in your car and you’re about halfway home that it dawns on you: The story doesn’t resolve because you’re the older brother and the decision is yours to make. The irony is that if we choose to exclude those whom God would welcome back, we end up excuding ourselves from the presence and activity of the God whom these stories are meant to show us.

  3. 4gilbert1 says:

    Those who’ve never really “needed” grace find it difficult to offer. They think it’s their responsibility to hold “sinners” accountable for their actions, all the while ignoring their own sins. They want to make sure the consequences are enforced and felt. I’m sorry you’re experiencing that. But I’m so thankful you’re talking about it. So many people experience this hell in silence and feel alone. You’re making a difference!

  4. I know I am so far on the outside that my words can easily be dismissed, but in a way it is like you’ve taken a stone out of a seemingly calm pond. You’ve broken and reshaped the stone and tossed it back in. And rather than the ripples settling as the stone is accepted back into the watery depths all the fish have begun to riot at the change. Things didn’t just change for you, they changed for everyone around you. Faith has been shaken on many different levels to varying degrees. It seems to me that a community would have a more difficult time reconciling because of it.

  5. I know we don’t know one another, but how I do understand these words, and I wish I could sit at the table with you and your husband and just talk. I know these feelings and these fears and these questions so well. My story is just mine — and in no way do I think it is a formula for redemption. There are lots of webs, and ins and outs to my story that make it what it is, and however it comes, I’m grateful for the work of redemption. But it hasn’t been perfect. And even in light of my story, there is still places where I haven’t yet seen wholeness. This moment I’m praying for true peace in the Gospel and for your heart. Would love to talk more if you ever want to, but no pressure. The road your walking can feel so lonely, and I know that feeling. Just know you have a sister here in heart.

    • Alise says:

      Just to clarify – I in no way believe that you’re saying that your story is any kind of formula. I do sometimes think there’s a very specific path that is “supposed to be” followed and any deviation from that leaves many of us in the Church (myself included!) at a loss on how to move forward.

      And yes, I’m open to talk any time! Connect with me on Twitter sometime & we’ll set something up.

  6. bornagainjen says:

    I can hear your hurt and frustration. This is a complex situation with no easy answer.

    Grace is necessary, yes. Please don’t forget to extend the same grace to yourself. Look deeply into allowing grace toward self.

    The love of Christ is beyond any love that we can conjure and the love of Christ can take all things, no matter how terrible or complex or painful they’ve been at the outset, and make them to be used for good. He can take burnt sticks from the fire and build beautiful structures with those sticks. You’re a bit of a ‘burnt stick’ right now. Place yourself in the hands of Christ.

    Though this is playing out between you and the church family, you and your old family, and even you and your new husband, the first person to go to with this is Jesus Christ. He is so wise in all the ways of Love. It seems there is an opportunity here for you to learn about love on a whole different level.

    Take it up with Christ. Ask Him to teach you how to build something beautiful out of these burnt sticks. He will answer you. He will give you that blueprint. For He tells us “Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” That’s a promise, and so it will be.

    Go in Alise – go deeper than this new marriage and these old wounded relationships. Lean in to the wisdom and grace and mercy and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for He has a plan for you that you cannot yet imagine. It probably isn’t your plan. It might not be the plan you pine for, but it IS a plan that will strengthen your bond to God, to grace, and to love. It is a plan that will be infinitely satisfying and fill you with gratitude. This is the nature of His love for us. This is His promise and His bond.

    Lord Jesus, bring your peace this morning to Alise’s troubled heart and mind. Show the promise of your grace like a city on a hill. I pray your healing into each heart involved and into this church. I pray your wisdom would guide each heart to compassion, to relationship with you, and to a deeper understanding of the heart of God. Thank you, Father, for your promises and for our trust in you. Thank you for showing us the way to victory along this road. – Amen.

  7. jennifer says:

    Redemption for who? For you? For the spouses betrayed and abandoned? For the children devestated? For those who love them? Redemption is not a simple path.

    Forgiveness is one thing, a powerful and necesary thing (even more for the one forgiving than the one receiving). Reconcilliation and restoration are steps beyond – something that is to be hoped for but is not always possible (or wise or healthy) this side of all things being made right.

    When you burn your bridges, you can mourn those you left, but it doesn’t maker a lot of sense to blame those you left on the other side for not supplying a new bridge for you.

    There are times redemption looks like heartbreak, because that is the only justified response.

  8. sheila0405 says:

    I read Matthew Paul Turner’s book called “Hear No Evil”. One chapter was devoted to an interview he did with Amy Grant. His editor wanted Turner to elicit an apology from Amy Grant for the pain she caused her fans. Turner, a big Amy Grant fan, of course felt completely uncomfortable approaching her in that matter. It’s worth a read.

    The Christian world would not “forgive” Amy Grant for a really long time. There are Christians now who still won’t listen to her music. What struck me was this: Amy Grant did not have to apologize to her fans because she did not wrong them. What happened within her family is private. The process of working out the divorce and remarriage was none of our business.

    When you wondered if people want your new marriage to fail, Alise, I thought about Amy Grant. Her second marriage is going strong. How long do we hold things against people? Do we want Amy Grant to have another divorce? Or, do we recognize that she is human, her family tragedy is not uncommon, and learn how to let go?

    I had a similar thing happen within my own family. My favorite uncle had an affair and left his wife and two small children, moved across the country, and married his mistress. The family treated him badly for a very long time. I remember sticking up for him, because he is FAMILY, and family means messes and the need to work through them.

    I don’t know you, or your families, and I cannot really have any opinion about how you continue on in this new phase of your life. I do know that God is a loving, forgiving God, that he understands heartache, and that he awaits with open arms any and all who turn to him for help. You have chosen to be public with some of your story, and some is private. However you choose to tell your story, I am with you. I hurt for you, for those affected, and I hope and pray that eventually, the peace of God will reign in your situation.

  9. mommyx4boys says:

    This is ridiculous im sorry but in my church you are forgiven no matter what, God would not want sinners cast out of his church if he did no one would ever be allowed. im so sorry for what you are going through. remember God has forgiven you and that is all that matters, i will be praying for you and your family. also if there are still members going to that church that want you there then i would go, and dont even worry about the other people. It is not their job to judge

  10. Bekka says:

    When a good friend of mine was going through a separation and a divorce, we had a conversation about some other couples experiencing similar events in the small town, small church.

    She made a comment about the nerve of one man coming to church on Sundays after leaving his wife.

    I was probably too quick to reply that he was just as much in need of church at that point in time as his wife.

    I know it was difficult for her to hear and so I tried to swiftly move the topic along back to her specific situation.

    But it is difficult for people in pain to hear sometimes.

    Your redemption is not dependent on them listening, however.

    There will come a time for reconciliation. But it may not be when you want.

    Praying for grace and peace for you as you walk this road. My hope, when you’re ready, is that you will find a church family who will welcome you, where you’re at.

    Much love.

  11. Abby says:

    Alise, I’ve only been following you for a little while, so I want you to know that these words aren’t about you, specifically, but about all the times that this situation has happened to people I know personally and love.
    I have a brother who’s been married multiple times, had multiple affairs. It’s been heart wrenching when his marriages have failed, and his children have had to deal with some of the consequences of that.
    I want to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way, even in this new marriage, for you. You have to make a choice to be everything you can be for your kids & your new husband, and let the past be in the past.
    That said, I definitely think you need to give your friends a wide berth and a lot of patience. Forgiving people is hard, and they have to deal with the aftermath of your decisions, too.
    My husband and I had a friend (who lived with us for 6 months) who walked away from his first marriage and remarried very quickly, but unbeknownst to us, any of us, he had never gotten a divorce, and his second marriage was invalid, though they had two children together. We were very close with his new family when everything was brought to light, and it shattered us as much as his wives. We felt as betrayed as they did, though the consequences in their cases were greater.
    I have to forgive him daily. And it is a struggle. It is made much harder by the fact that I babysit his children for their mom (he lives in another state now), and I have to face it every day.
    Time. You have to give them time. You have to see from their perspective, even just a little bit.
    I tell you these things because you aren’t the only one who’s been there, as you know, but you aren’t the only ones dealing with the consequences.
    One day you may return and find that they’re friendly with you again, and that they really do want you to be happy, but right now, they need time to heal, too. It’s not about judging, it’s about the fact that they feel betrayed, they can’t trust you right now.
    Don’t know if that helps or hurts. I can imagine it’s hard, but remember it’s hard for the other side, too.

  12. pastordt says:

    Alise – there are so many layers to this. So many. Everyone is dealing with feelings of betrayal, maybe even of abandonment (even if they can’t formulate the words to put it that way). You were leaders in that community and those who loved and respected you feel hurt and confused. I am surprised that this surprises you – you have always seemed very wise about the vagaries and weaknesses of the human heart.

    I have some very dear friends who went through this very thing over 30 years ago. They are still married and I love them both very much. They have worked so hard to rebuild bridges with their children and have been successful in that endeavor. But it took a very, very long time. And even after their happy years together — even after that — they both continue to advise others contemplating such a major life change to think and pray about it a lot. A LOT. I wish I could tell you that the Christian community rises above these feelings, but situations like this trigger an almost primal fear, I think. If it could happen to you . . . how safe is MY marriage?

    I am confident that eventually, things will settle down. By way of comparison — the conservative churches to which these friends belonged not only rejected them, but condemned them, publicly and loudly, and it took about 20 years for any church in this town to welcome them. That church happened to be the one that I was serving.

    I do not believe it will take anywhere near that amount of time for you – but it will take more than you might wish. That much I know.

    Also? There is a difference, as has been noted above, between forgiveness and reconciliation. I think you can (and should) expect the former to happen, but maybe not the latter. There are always multiple layers of consequences for the choices we make in this life. You are discovering the painful edge of that truth.

  13. Dan McM says:

    No, your new marriage shouldn’t have to fail for you to experience redemption with the Church (meaning the broad, universal church, not the specific congregation). In fact, the “right thing to do” from this point forward is to make sure your new marriage works from this point forward, love your husband to the best of your ability, and do your best to reconcile and restore relationships (eventually) with your ex’s, your families,etc.

    As far as the individual congregation goes, that’s a different story, as so many commenters have alluded to here. The violation of trust that happens when a worship leader or pastor falls is huge and can leave a damaging wake that rocks the boat for a long time. Can you guys be restored in the body of Christ? Absolutely. But hoping to find reconciliation in the same local body isn’t likely — your “infidelity” to that specific church pretty much means an end to that “marriage”. It’s really not a question of whether or not people in the old church can or will forgive you — the issue is that, if you “divorce” them, they no longer treat you as a “spouse”.

    I hope that your 2nd marriage is successful and you two are happy. I also hope that you find a new local congregation where you find grace and experience redemption in a 2nd “marriage” to the church. Unfortunately, your first marriage is history.

    • Dan McM says:

      Re-reading my comment in the morning, that didn’t come off quite the way I intended.

      The idea that I was trying to convey is that the relationship between the worship leader(s) and a congregation is a lot like a marriage in and of itself. If there is infidelity in that marriage (ie, to the congregation), restoration normally takes repentance – turning around and heading back in the prior direction. To the extent that “repentance” hasn’t taken place (i.e., you and Rich elected to stay together), you can’t expect to restore the fidelity of the original relationship with the church. You and Rich wouldn’t try to work out your marriage and restore relationships with your families by moving into the same house as Jason and Rich’s ex (Missy? Misty?), right? Trying to go back to the congregation you came from without “repenting” of the breach in fidelity is sort of like that…. It’s pretty much unheard of.

      There’s a line somewhere where “the right thing to do” crosses over from repenting of the affair and restoring your first marriages to focusing on doing your second marriage as best as you can. You’ve crossed that line on the marriage side once your divorce was final and you remarried. On the church side, I don’t know exactly where that line is…. for your old congregation, I don’t think you’ve passed that invisible line yet. For the congregation where you will end up someday, I think that line has passed and you will be welcomed by folks that will love you and help you in your walk.

      Grace and peace to you, Alise and Rich.

  14. Shan K says:

    Ah, Alise, how much I’ve missed of your last months and how I wish I could hug you and Rich tight. Which would be weird maybe seeing as how we’ve never met.

    Life is so complicated and messy and deep. Not just “I had a secret meeting in the basement of my brain” deep, but fathomless — unable to be fully mined or understood. It’s hard and weird and unexpected. And man does it feel like it’s that way for everyone who lets their protective candy coating be cracked — willful obliviousness seems to be the only way to stay in the “There’s no man behind anyone’s curtain–we’re all good wizards here!” belief.

    So, I feel for your friends that are trying to sort thru some of the weird and messy and unexpected from the deep. It’s hard to sort when we’re all so stuck being emotionish. But mostly I feel for you. I was the first person I knew who had an affair and got a divorce. I know that there are darker parts to our glories than western-sanctuary-altar lights ever let us easily reveal. Laying awake listening to your own heart thud in the dark is a lonely and confusing place to find yourself after pouring yourself into the lives of those around you for years.

    I am glad for you and Rich that you have each other — be so tender with each other’s bruises. I am glad that you have not lost your voice. I am longing to speak comfort into your dark matters. Longing to help you feel less alone; longing to hug.

    Peace for the road, friends. May it rise up to meet you.

  15. D says:

    Life is so complicated, isn’t it? I echo many of the comments that others have left already about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, mercy and judgment. But at it’s core, I think it will always be about a difference in approach to sin. Adultery is and always will be sin. But approaches to addressing that sin can vary from church community to church community, person to person. I agree with Diana above about six months being a very short time to expect not only forgiveness but also reconciliation and restoration, compared to the 20, 30, 40 years it may take for some people or communities.

    As a bit of background, one of my closest friends was a youth pastor at a church and began an affair with the mother of one of the kids in his youth group. He was removed from his position and “excommunicated” of sorts from the church. He and his wife tried to make it work as long as he did not go back to the other woman, but in the end he did. If he left his wife and married the new woman, should he be able to be reinstated in that church? as the youth pastor? Most would say that it would be highly inappropriate.

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  17. Whatever happened to hate the sin, not the sinner? Whatever happened to judge not lest thou shall be judged? Everyone will have an opinion about your conduct as that is in our nature BUT. No one has the right to treat you as worthless because they don’t approve of your conduct. The obligation to forgive others is one of the foundations of all religions. They clearly would have preferred you to run and hide and thus deny your actions. Instead you put yourselves out there to be seen and be worshipping as you have before. Thus you are fulfilling what god wants you to do but not what a portion of the congregation wants. So which is worse , the sin which is acknowledged by the sinner or the sins of judging others and pride in some else’s fall.
    I am not a Christian, but your treatment by this conregation is exactly what the haters of organized religion feed on. I do follow a non Christian faith and as such have a different perspective.
    I also believe that affairs do not end marriages, marriages are distressed before affairs blossom. May your mind be quiet and your heart filled with love. Be kind to yourself.

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  19. A friend says:

    Alise- about six months ago my child and I were asked to leave a church, not because of something we had done, but because of a conflict a family member had with another church leader. It was heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. And it happened during a time in my life that was immensely stressful already. It took me many months before I felt ready to begin visiting another church- I just starting visiting about a month ago. My husband isn’t there yet.
    I found myself everyday thinking a little bit about it. I was bitter, angry, and indignant- how could they not approach us with love and acceptance? How dare they punish us for the actions of someone else? And what about 70 x 7? I truly felt they had no Biblical basis to have treated us the way they did (and still feel that way).
    But one day it hit me. It doesn’t really matter. I was so frustrated and angry that they couldn’t forgive us that I wasn’t forgiving THEM. I needed to forgive them for being human and broken and frankly, wrong. I know that doesn’t restore relationships that are lost- I’m still grieving those- but it has brought a greater sense of peace to my life and has allowed me to begin to move forward.
    Wishing you everything that Philippians 4 has to offer!

  20. Anonymous says:

    As a woman on the other side, the one who was betrayed, I have to say that I can understand wanting to maybe, move on? If I’m getting that notion right. Betrayal in a marriage is actually one of the most gut wrenching and I believe it is addressed so many times in the Bible because God understands that. My very being has been shaken to the core and without my Heavenly Father, I probably wouldn’t still be alive. My husband experiences the wanting to move on, after all, he went through his infidelity while he was going through it. But now, I get to play catch up. Your church is playing catch up. They have to now walk through the pain and heal. This sort of thing is extremely painful. I have extended grace and forgiveness to all the parties involved but it doesn’t mean they get to be in my life anymore. The good news is that yes, God is greater and bigger than all of us and yes, you were forgiven before it ever happened. You are still chosen and loved. Jesus bled for our sins so no, you don’t have to bleed anymore when it comes to God. But we are still here on earth and there are still consequences to our actions. I wish you the best of luck and wanted to offer the other side since I didn’t see it elsewhere in the comments.

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