Your only as sick as your secrets and I have one sick secret. Its easy to share the testimonies of the past where you are the victim, but what if you're not the victim? What if you were the one who brought forth the hurt? What if your the one that caused all the chaos and scandal in your home? Is there room for those stories in the church? Or do we all sit and focus on the victims and band together as victims.
I always turn to Romans 8 in moments where I am brought to a place where I have to revisit this place. I thought this past weekend I was going to share my testimony about my childhood trauma and how it messed me up but then I heard a story of a scandal in a church and I paused, I listened, and I was scared to share. Let me explain.
We all sat on the couch sharing pieces of our soul. Just a girls getaway and we bonded. Then one girl spoke of how in the area a church divided due to an affair the Pastor was having. Everyone spoke of all the parties involved that were victimized in the scandal. The congregation was hurt, the families were hurt and the children were hurt. They all needed healing. But no one spoke of the woman who was caught up in the affair with the Pastor.
Think about it for a moment. Do you really think she deliberately sought out the Pastor? 95% of the times these woman are broken, looking for healing and when approached by a man, a godly man at that, mentoring and shepherding his sheep she fell weak. Then he fell for her too. I don't know how long it went on but he confessed, came clean, put her business on blast, then returned to his wife and everyone is angry with her.
Now if that happened to a man without the platform of the pulpit how shameful would it really be? It would've been handled privately not publicly. The other woman would have been able to continue living her life without the scarlet letter on her chest with a spot light on it. Yes many would be hurt, but when your a Christian your held to another standard so the persecution and condemnation can be straight up fatal. Did anyone stop and think, she needs restoration too?
I never fell for a Head Pastor of a church, but I fell for a married man in the church. I hate knowing that truth about myself. He was just showing up, helping all the time being a friend and I justified it with that he was unhappy. Yeah that's not how I wanted to find love, but my heart was beyond consoling, it was out of control. In the moments it was a love story, in hindsight its a nightmare. At the time no one wanted me. I was young, single, judged heavily and with two kids. I was reminded often of my nature as a statistic, as if it gave me an identity that I wasn't worth being valued or protected. Then here comes this man "wanting me, valuing me, protecting me". I was broken and I needed love so badly I stole it. It didn't last long, he went back to his wife. It all blew up in my face and everyone focused on restoring their marriage and I was the harlot homewrecker.
What saved me?
One person shared her story with me, then she said, "I'm sorry about how people responded. This isn't fair. But you messed up, take responsibility, lets take a look at the root issues and address them as you don't practice boundaries that protect you. Why is that? and what are we going to do moving forward?" Suddenly I had a future again. One person with one run on sentence gave me a future.
Everyone shunned me but not this woman. God poured through her and she helped me. I found healing and restoration. Was it easy? Heck NO! It was the hardest part of my life, I hated me for what I allowed, so I get why others were mad at me. I joined them in hating me. But even in the midst of being the one in the wrong, God wanted me. I felt like the adulterous woman caught and brought to the feet of Jesus. I wanted Jesus to judge me and punish me, instead He shed this undeserving grace and said, "sin no more".
I knew that God would give me a platform to share this story, but its not a good story to share. I normally take the one on one moments. When I hear of scandal, I am the one who reaches out to the other woman. I am not going to let Satan take my sisters, I won't. No one is beyond the reach of God, no one. He came for me, healed me, restored me and gave me a new identity that is validated by Him not the world. So I know some of you reading all have something to say but that's not me anymore.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
The bible says we are up against principalities- evil, we are all pawn to this sick twisted game Satan is playing. Do you think when Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Get behind me Satan" Peter took it personal, as if he was Satan himself? Or did he understand that Jesus saw what Peter didn't?
I am sure in the moments where I was called a name, that there was a principality present receiving it with a smile. They had their season. What that principality did not expect was my come back. And that makes GOD SMILES! I am not the other woman, I am a child that Christ himself died for, he found me valuable enough to protect even in my ugly seasons. In Him I found what my heart was missing. I found my identity.
That's all that matters to me.
Why do I share? In hopes you will share this with whom you call the other woman. I want to talk to her, I want to show her the grace and love Christ showed me.
I do want to address those who want to hit me while I share this because your hurt because your dealing with the other woman. I'm sorry, you are owed an apology. And if you never get it from her because she's hiding, I am saying it, I'm sorry. My life had seasons, in one point I was with you and the other I was with her. The importance of all of it is, now that it happened, what are we going to do with it? How you react. Humanity is fallible.
Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" The scripture reminds us that we have a choice in how we respond. Take a deep breath of the Holy Spirit and answer gently to all parties involved. Our gentleness may be the only expression of love that another person experiences today.