I have started writing this specific blog so many times, but it has been the hardest thing to write so far. It has not been hard because I don’t feel sorry, but because I feel so sorry that it seems like no words could ever capture my true and sincere apology. Plus, I am sure I lost the privilege of having any of my words mean anything to you. Please know that is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of who I was at the time. You saw me at my very worst and that wasn’t a nice sight to see. You saw me living outside of my calling and you saw me abusing my calling. You know what it is to feel me going behind your back which probably felt like a personal attack. You heard me tell lies right to your face that you knew were untrue. I wish I wasn’t someone who let you down, but we both know that I did. You saw a side of me that many didn’t know was there. Honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of some of the things I did either. It might not be easy to see, but even I was afraid of who I was becoming.
It is a scary thing when you look in the mirror and can’t recognize yourself. It is even scarier when what you do see brings tears to your eyes. When you go from having the reflection of Christ to being someone who did things you never thought you would do. That side of me was so ugly and UN-true. I know you tried so hard to bring me back to reality. I know now that you just wanted the best for me, but I was so blinded by what I thought was the best for me. I know you had sleepless nights because of me. I know you cried endless tears because of me. I bet our relationship started to feel abusive to you because of all the bad choices I was making.
I am sorry for so many reasons, more than I could probably ever list. The thing that I am most sorry for is my distorted image of Christ. I am sorry to those who witnessed me doing things that no pastor, Christian, or person should be doing. Holding a title and yet holding sin even tighter. I don’t want you to ever for a second think any of that was okay just because I did it. To some of you I should have been setting an example of what is right, but all that I was showing you was wrong. I was living a life that went against everything I once stood for. The worst part is only a few people knew it. I would go places with some of you, places that neither one of us hand any business going to. I even used some of you to make a way for my bad choices to continue. I told you I was going to stop and I didn’t. I told you that it had stopped but in reality, it wasn’t until a little later. If I were you I probably wouldn’t believe anything I ever said again. I would probably choose to put some distance between us. Harboring your own secrets is hard but when you are holding them for a person with a title it is that much harder. I am sorry my choices made you carry secrets. I am sorry that I hurt you, lied to you, and disappointed you. I am sorry I broke your trust and maybe even your spirit. I guess it’s true when they say, “hurt people, hurt people.” I was a hurt person and along the way I hurt you. So why believe anything I ever say again?
I honestly don’t have a perfect answer to that. Like I said, if I were you I may not believe me too. I know that I let you down. At first my motivation to get better was just to have some of you back in my life again. Doing something for other people and not yourself rarely works out. At first, I was just going through the motions, talking to a pastor, talking to a therapist, crying out to God, journaling, surrounding myself with people who love me, and letting go of bad habits. It is weird because I was going through the motions yet a huge part of me was screaming and longing to get better, and I was hoping it would work. As I was going through the motions to move forward, things started to shift in me. I experienced what it was to talk to someone in transparency. I remembered what it felt like to live a life that I am not ashamed of, and a life where I didn’t have to worry about the things I was doing being exposed. I experienced once again what it was like to sit at Jesus’ feet for long periods of times. To be so excited to read my Bible not just to put together a sermon, but so I could hear from God and write it down because God was revealing so much to me and birthing so much in me. I learned what it felt like to connect with my family again, lean on them, and love on them. Again I felt what it was to have a real authentic relationship with Jesus, and to once again live truthfully in my calling and striving to do better for me and for my God.
If I can be honest though, as I started to get better and feel better, I felt a lot of guilt. I felt like if I got better you would resent me. Like if I got better, it would make you angry with me. Sometimes I would wonder if I deserved to get better because of the hurt I caused you- you who saw me at my worse. Some of you might still be praying for me from a distance, and some may have had to forget about me in order to heal. One thing I learned is the only person I have power over is me. I am sorry for hurting you, I truly am. The best thing I can do for me and hopefully for you is to keep getting better. I must keep reminding myself that the things you saw, the things you encountered, and the things that separated us no longer control my life. None of that is the end of my story. I know I can never say never, but I AM NOT GOING BACK! What you saw was dark and painful, and though by God’s grace, it has made me stronger and I will not go back. I now stand on truth and in truth. A good friend once told me, “words are cheap and actions speak” and I know to some of you my words may still be cheap, but I pray that my actions start to speak.
I heard a saying once that said, “Sometimes we get stabbed in the back and sometimes we are the one holding the knife”. I am sorry for all the times I was holding the knife. This blog is a true sincere apology to those who saw me at my worst. Some of you may be able to relate to this letter. Some would add a little more or a little less. I know there might be some people who have never messed up, but that is not my story and chances are it is not your story either. We all make mistakes and some of us who make them have a title before our name. I can’t preach forgiveness and then not ask for it when I need to. To those who saw me at my worse, I ask for your forgiveness. To those who have messed up, I pray that you don’t stay down. There is strength in rising after a fall, there is strength in asking for help, and there is strength in putting actions where your mouth is. There is strength in saying “I am sorry”. I pray if you have to have to have a tough conversation with someone that you do it. If you need to write your own letter to those who saw you at your worse, do it. Some might not know that you are sorry. Some might not be in a place where they realized what you were doing was wrong, so you need to own up to your actions and explain to them and let them know what parts were not right. To some you might need to ask for forgiveness for them and to let yourself be free from your past. Say your apologies, move to action, move forward, and move closer to Jesus.
To those who saw me at my worst, get ready to see me at my best!