Posted by: Rex Boyles | February 5, 2008

“Another Sinner”

(This post is an excerpt of an email from a sister, who is becoming a friend to this sinner. She has graciously agreed to let me post her insights here so that other sinners, like us, may discover this fellowship of prodigals. Of course, certain details have been omitted or altered to protect her privacy.)

I have read your blog.  I’ve wept for you most of the night and this morning.  I’ve read the gracious responses from the commenters, and I thank God for them. There is one thing I noticed in all of my reading.  You don’t speak of Mrs. Boyles except when you say you wronged her.  This is something that seems so small but it’s huge!  Too many people would, even unintentionally, leave tidbits of hurt feelings toward those whom they hurt!  You are obviously very conscientiously not allowing a hint of that and it is so commendable.  I’ll be honest, I was waiting for the hint, somewhere, of a justification.  It wasn’t there.  Anywhere.  That blessed me so much. I didn’t know, hadn’t heard, and frankly wouldn’t have wanted to hear of your situation.  I learned a long time ago (like back when I actually knew you!) how heart-shredding it is to have the most private part of your life advertised for the church to condemn.  I remember how badly I wanted to shout “it isn’t FAIR” but having grown up as I did, I knew fairness wasn’t something that mattered.  Justice mattered.  I may have confessed to sins that weren’t mine but man how many times had I not confessed to sins that were.  Nevertheless, I saw during those dark days what a difference there was in my relationships with people and the Lord depending on how others reached out or drew back from me.   So, when I say I wouldn’t have wanted to hear of your situation, I don’t mean that I don’t care or don’t want to help carry the burden.  I just wish that you didn’t have to suffer through people knowing what is really none of their business.  No one wants their worst moments of their life to be the defining characteristics of their lives and yet isn’t that what tends to happen? I … came back … and stood before the … congregation as a … letter was read to them.  I endured the shocked looks of the elderly women who had loved me and now saw me as a pariah.  I endured the smug look on the guy’s face who just a year before I had told to “go home, grow up, and learn how to handle your hormones” when he tried to get handsy with me.  I endured seeing my closest friends trying to defend me and beg people to show me mercy.  And I endured the guilt of knowing I’d lied again. (The other congregation) …  was different.  I was ambiguous but didn’t lie this time.  Everyone here was very accepting and encouraging.  A huge difference …  I’ve been here ever since.  I met my husband … we became best friends, I had my baby… he’s been a delight.  We’ve been married for … years.  And, we have … children and one grandchild.   Mr. Boyles, (my husband) and I sit here and see the effects of what we call “perfection mentality” and we wonder where that fine line is.  The line that justifies sin as something to “continue so grace may abound” and something that exists in this world, regardless, and that no one is immune, and who on earth are we to refuse to forgive the person that Jesus was tortured, mutilated, and murdered to save from that very sin.  Jesus can forgive but we must be spotless and not sully our hands?  How is it that we can rip at the heartstrings of a broken brother or sister without being stained by their blood that we spill? Anyway, I’m on a tangent.  Forgive me.  And I pray for you upon every remembrance of you.

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