Dear Ministry Leader,
I wish you had known how badly I wanted to please you, to make you proud of me, to make you understand me.
I was young and struggled
deeply from perfectionist tendencies blown up to an extreme through legalistic teaching. I didn’t understand God’s grace and love. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to walk in shame for making the slightest mistake. I didn’t realize that I was free in Jesus and that He wanted me to live in joy and peace, free from worrying about what you thought of me.
When you called me into your office . . .
and accused me of wrong attitudes and actions, I was paralyzed with fear and couldn’t form the words to respond to you. So instead of seeing my silence as a cry for help and understanding, you took it to mean that I was guilty.
You ruined my reputation and even caused walls to go up in my friendships. I was labeled and rejected and spent years feeling such a huge weight of guilt, all because you told me what you thought I was instead of seeking the truth in love.
But I’m all grown up now.
And though I still struggle with being a perfectionist, wanting to please people and too often listening to Satan’s lies over how I should feel guilty, for the most part I am free. I am free in Jesus. His grace is far bigger, deeper and wider than any sin I have committed or could ever commit. He loves me now as much as He ever will and His love isn’t dependent on what I do or don’t do. I may have people like you come across my path again, but now I know that I don’t have to take your abuse and judgment.
I can respect your position and still stand up for myself.
Jesus loves truth and justice and He hates it when people take advantage of others because they have a position of authority. I know that now and I have decided to help those that have no voice like the young girl I once was. Thankfully, all you took from me was my reputation, but others are having their safety and purity stolen from them by people in authority. I’m not going to be silent about that.
I’m going to stand up for those people, just like I wish someone had stood up for me when you used your position to send me into a tailspin.
It took me years of listening to Jesus’ sweet voice
to unravel all of the hurt and pain you caused, but praise His name, He has healed me and made me stronger because of it. I’m so thankful for your actions, because it showed me the strength of the chains Satan had wrapped around my heart. Now I recognize his voice when he tries to bind me up with feelings of inadequacy and fear. I see the lies for what they are and I choose now to run to Jesus instead of to surrender to the chains.
So thank you. I hope in all of the time that I have been growing in grace, that you have been too and that now you use your position for good, to encourage and not to tear down. I hope that you have learned to counsel in love and not shame into submission.
I pray that you have seen the error of your ways, but even if you haven’t, know that I have and I thank God for it.
Thank you for these authentic words. It hurts when others take advantage of us, especially when it comes from one in authority manipulating their own way through us. I’m thankful for your heart and the fact that you have pressed on. So many that are hurt by others in the church just give up and claim “all Christians” are that way. Yes, humans are humans – whether in the church or out. However, those of us in the church have been given such a great responsibility for the ways of our actions. Thank you for that great reminder!
If you have been hurt by someone one in authority over you, I sense your pain. However, if it was caused by someone in a church and that has distorted your taste of what Jesus has to offer, I beg you to be vulnerable and search for another church that feels like home. Romans 8:1 reminds us that “there is NO condemnation in Jesus!” We are all sinners, please don’t let a hurtful authority figure drive you from the freedom you can find in Christ.
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