A Concern and Challenge For “Recovering Grace”
As the firestorm around Bill Gothard and the IBLP erupts, I find I feel many mixed emotions. I wasn’t one of the “victims.” I was not preyed upon or abused by any member of leadership, and while many decisions my family made were misguided and in error, my parents were godly, loving and sensible people. My life was greatly impacted by sincere, godly, loving leaders at ALERT and Excel. I learned and grew much during involvement with ATI. I forged lifelong friendships and memories I will always look back upon with fondness.
As I stepped away from the IBLP ministry, I did so in phases. Ignorance and blindness was eventually replaced by anger and shock. I was not the “perfect Christian” they led me to believe I could become by following prescribed “Biblical” rules and laws. I dressed the part, listened to the right music, courted, avoided things on the “naughty” list, yet I never had true freedom or peace. Not only was I odious to myself, I was odious to the rest of the world.
In just the past 3 years the Lord has begun the process of ripping away the spiritual blindness, calluses, and more importantly the hypocrisy that kept me in a prison of frustration, guilt, fear, and anxiety. After leaving IBLP, the Lord took me through some gut wrenching trials. The problem was, when they came I had no true Biblical truth or foundation to stand upon. Years of rules, and “Prosperity gospel” laden false teaching smothered any attempt to make sense out of what I was going through and why.
Then came GRACE! The realization that I could not add a measure more of God’s love, mercy or power to my life by “works,” rocked my world. Even greater than this was the truth I could not compel Him to withdraw ANY measure of His love and mercy in my life by sin, failures, or weakness. I had it “ALL” already! It wasn’t about me anymore, it was all about HIM.
No more list to check off! No more putrid hypocrisy to paint me white and clean on the outside, when in fact I was struggling and broken inside. I was covered and bathed in the “Amazing Grace” of God. He loved me in spite of who I was or what I had done and this love would never change or waiver.
How liberating it is to be driven in my heart by a passion for Him, because “He loved me first.”
How meaningful time in the word becomes, when a true desire to seek and know Him is the motivation rather than fear that if I don’t the hammer will drop and judgment will come.
The law opens our eyes for a need of a Savior. It revels and bears testimony that man’s heart is truly deceitful and desperately wicked. The law exposes our need for redemption, but there is no power or freedom found in that law. The law condemns! If you stop with the law, your life becomes a knotted and gnarled ball of guilt, pride, shame, arrogance, hopelessness, and frustration.
Then comes Grace! Freedom from chains we forged in an attempt to measure up, add to, and earn His favor.
Love and His grace cover a multitude of sins and brings freedom, but there is more. With eyes opened to the truth of His grace and Mercy, my life is lived out as an act of love to Him. I live each day striving to “be Holy as He is Holy” not in order to earn something, but because I am so overcome by His love for me I want to do everything to please Him and nothing to grieve Him. I desire each day to show Him that within my limited knowledge, I understand what He has done for me, Given me, rescued me from!
So as articles fly across the internet and facebook feeds, here is my concern and challenge to Recovering Grace.
Your website “Recovering Grace” advertises a powerful and much needed ministry to thousands of people around the world, including those who have never darkened the doorway of IBLP or ATI. You have shed light on abuses and scandals that have resulted in damage untold and left countless victims reeling, angry, hurting, and questioning the Gospel, salvation, and even God himself.
There was a time I stopped visiting your site because I did not find “Grace” that could help me as I worked through my struggles and questions. Many times, all I found were painful stories and narratives/responses filled with unbelievable pain, anger, hate, and animosity. These accounts left me disgusted, angry, and so frustrated, but very few offered a glimmer of hope, peace and an active and living example of grace that heals.
I am not saying the anger, animosity, frustration is wrong, I am just saying, now that the firestorm has hit and exposure has been accomplished, so much more is needed than stories exposing the ministry, its leaders, and grotesque false teaching.
This site will receive so much traffic by the hurting, abused, seekers, God haters, and those simply curious about the newest religious scandal to hit the news waves.
While all the abused and wounded need to be able to tell their story and begin the process of healing, I encourage those at Recovering Grace to be wise and discerning as they wade through the thousands of e-mails, stories, claims, comments and offerings from those of us negatively and even positively impacted by the IBLP ministry.
Fill your web site with GRACE. Fill it with the amazing stories of healing, recovery, and the truth of God’s word. Let it ooze with hope for those who need it more than anything else in. Let your site be a miraculous testimony of of “Beauty from Ashes.” May what satan intended for evil, be a used for good and a demonstration of God’s grace and strength.
Offer links, books, and other sound resources that can provide Biblical counsel and truth that can enlighten, expose, heal and strengthen.
My prayers go out to all who are hurting and seeking peace, hope, and grace. It is there for you! Don’t give up!