To my friends with whom I have lived, led, and loved, sought God and served others. I’m sorry.
I have recently realized the many times that I have lived in such a way that it seemed like I have things figured out. I have often spoken with a confidence that seemed final. I have often answered with words that seemed conclusive. I have often acted as if nothing were wrong. At times this has been intentional, though many times it was not, but every time it was a lie.
The truth is, I don’t have things figured out and I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have many answers. I think I speak as if I were throwing a dart. Though I may throw it with power and poise, there is no telling whether or not I hit the bullseye or even hit the target at all. Though I may speak with confidence or a sound of certainty, I am most certainly not as confident as I may sound. In truth, I am like a mathematician trying to solve an equation or a musician trying to compose a symphony. I am plugging in different numbers to see if it will add up. I am playing out different chords to hear if it sounds right. I am sorry if it has sounded more like a performance than a rehearsal to you.
My heart breaks at the times that my posture must have dismissed you! I am sorry for the many times I have acted as if you, your ideals, and your thoughts were not as important as mine. I am sorry for the many times that I did not love, but have instead insisted on my own way. I am sorry for the times that my illusory confidence has silenced your questions and dismissed your doubts. My dear friends, I have not loved you well. I am so sorry!
The truth is, I have learned so much from you. I have learned how the world works. I have seen what the love of Christ actually looks like in flesh. The truth is, I don’t only need God. I need you. I need your love, your thoughts, and your direction. I need your counsel and your absolution.
To those who I have not known personally but who have seen me or others like me. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for propagating the idea that leaders or that the church has itself put together or has stuff figured out. I am sorry for often looking like one of the “leaders” who doesn’t have any sin or doubt or frustrations or problems. I’m sorry that we often show only the part that looks good and hardly express doubts or confess sins. You will read more later in these posts that my life is marked by sin. But it’s not just sin—right doing and wrong doing—it’s heart stuff. My heart has dark spots. There are ways that I live and things that I do that are tainted.
I’m sorry that the church has come across as having-itself-put-together and judgmental and therefore hypocritical. I want to come out and say that we don’t have things figured out. At least I don’t.
I’m sorry that we have dismissed you, your experience, the world, and the realities in it. You matter. Your voice matters. Your thoughts and feelings matter. Your experience matters. Please forgive me and please forgive us. We have not loved you well.
I confess to Almighty God, to his Church, and to you, that
I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed, in
things done and left undone; especially in matters of the heart.
For these and all other sins which I cannot now remember, I am
truly sorry. I pray God to have mercy on me. I firmly intend
amendment of life, and I humbly beg forgiveness of God and
his Church, and ask you for counsel, direction, and absolution.
We all wear your shoes at one time or another. The thing you have that many don’t is humility. I pray that we all, including myself, follow in those humble footsteps. I love you, dear son.