Posted by: Rex Boyles | September 21, 2008

a letter from home

Eight years ago … I confessed my sin and shame … broken-hearted and in despair I went home. My mother and father – along with my brothers – received me … unashamed of me.

My first Sunday home I went to church – to the people … who loved me, as I grew from an infant to a teenager … who taught me, as I sat in Bible classes learned about Noah, Moses, and the missionary journeys of Paul … who rejoiced with me, as I was raised to a new life … who sang with me, as I lead my first song … who listened to me, as I preached my first sermon … and who supported me, as I began a school of preaching and even taught in that school.

When I met with the “home” elders, they were accepting, forgiving, and encouraging. They welcomed me home. The love and fellowship of those men and women – and many others in the “family” gave me a relatively safe place to rest and to heal.

But things changed. I am not sure that I know all that happened … but things changed. I was no longer made to feel “welcome” at home. Even my family sensed that they were considered “unworthy”.

Please understand that I am not blaming anyone – no one but me – for any of the awkwardness or tension. But it was a source of heartache for me that I had become a shame to the people who had once taken such pride in my ministry. It was also a source of concern that Christian people, especially those who knew me and mine, could appear so unaccepting – unforgiving – unloving.

There is no need for me (or them) to “fuss, cuss, or discuss” what changed or why. It is, however, worth considering the letter that I received last week. Please read it …  and rejoice with me. Please read it … and thank God with me for these good men and their willingness to reaffirm their love to this prodigal. Please read it …  and pray that God will multiply that spirit among elders and churches across our brotherhood.

Letter from the Sudan Church of Christ to me: 


Luke 15: Thinking of the lost son coming home. It was the responsibility of the wayward son to ask for forgiveness, and it was the father’s responsibility to forgive.

Rex, you have openly confessed your sin and it is our responsibilty to forgive. When you were here in the early part of the summer we surmised that you thought that we had not followed through with our part to forgive. We were not aware of what was said and how you were told about your relationship with Sudan at an earlier date.

We, as elders, are in agreement that we want to make things right before any further damage is done. We welcome you and your family to worship with us. You have never been ashamed of Sudan and hope you never will be. By the evidence of your present service to the Lord you haven’t given up on Him, and we want you to know we have not given up on you.

May you graciously accept our gratitude for what you stand for and accept our appologies for hurting you.

(Signed by all of the elders.)


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