A quick turn of the wrist, and the knife was in our back. The leadership had turned on us.
The shepherds were deeming us the black sheep of the family. We were stripped of our reputation and rejected by those we loved and trusted.
There was nothing they could accuse us of other than questioning our motives and loyalty. We had served in our role wholeheartedly.
Curiously, not a single person mentioned concerns before the showdown. There was no Matthew 18 attempt to work things out, simply a trap to accuse.
We were portrayed as the enemy. A plot was conspired to destroy us. How could they treat us this way?
It still amazes me that one man's evil intent could produce so much destruction in my life and end so many relationships that I thought were real.
Many of the effects of the abuse are irreversible. There are things that can't be undone. The smear to our reputation and the damage to our relationships will never be mended.
I will never again be the person I was before this. It isn't possible. The wounds will heal, but the scars will always be there. I am learning to accept the damage and scars.
I do feel similar to a victim of incest, like I am the one carrying around the dirty secret. Even though I was the victim, somehow the shame also ended up on my shoulders.
I will not participate in the culture of silence. Perhaps the church doesn't want to acknowledge the ugliness that happens behind closed doors. To shame a victim of abuse into silence is to violate them once again.
It happened. I didn't choose it. It can't be dressed up to look nice. It was ugly, and it was wrong.
Although I'm telling my story now, that doesn't mean that I live in the bitterness of it. In fact the opposite is true. God has been faithful to gently lead me through the healing process.
By His grace, I relinquish my need for justice.
By His grace, I choose to forgive and love.
"There is the power to create and love and there is the power to de-create and hate. One exists forever, the other is a passing shadow no matter how dark and ugly at the moment."