Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I Am Sorry:

When I was in college I used to hear stories about how people had been hurt by the church and I would become angry with the church and wonder aloud how could a Pastor or ministry leader be incredibly insensitive. Fast forward to 2016 and I have been serving in full time vocational ministry for 1.5 years and I am learning everyday sometimes multiple times a day that my actions can and do hurt people even though I may not mean to hurt them. I am learning that not shaking someone's hand in the worship service can lead to accusations of being stuck up and avoiding certain people. If am asked a question and don't spend long enough answering I am accused of blowing people off. Being a Pastor is very hard and I have a lot to learn.

I want to expend a few lines in this blog to issue an apology to those I have hurt and also to stand in as a proxy apology for all those who have been hurt by a church or a Pastor in the past.

A proxy is merely a substitute, a person who represents another in a certain situation.

I’d like to ask a special favor of you today, especially of my friends who have been deeply wounded by, in or in association with a church – can I act as a proxy today, a stand-in for that church or that person who hurt you so much?

I know I’m may not be your former pastor, but I am a Pastor.

I’m likely not the minister or staff member who hurt you, but I’ve been on staff in churches.

I’m probably not that teacher or Bible study leader that wounded you, but I have been in both of those roles, and I am certain I’ve wounded people. I'm sure someone reading this blog has been hurt by me.

Your pain might not have come from something I’ve said or done, but I’ve certainly said and done plenty to wound and to cause pain.

So, I’d like to appropriate myself as your “proxy” pastor, proxy minister, proxy fellow church member, proxy teacher, proxy leader or proxy whoever hurt you.

And, I’d like to apologize to you today.

I’m sorry that we let you down.

I’m sorry that we hurt you when you were already in so much pain.

I’m sorry that we didn’t call when you had your surgery.

I’m sorry that we misunderstood your actions and treated you with such harshness.

I’m sorry that we ignored you and didn’t notice your need.

I’m really sorry that we left you out and stayed in our own little clique.

I’m sorry that we didn’t check up on you when you missed week after week.

I’m sorry that we didn’t call your teenager when he or she started pulling away from church.

I’m sorry that we judged you unfairly.

I’m sorry that we weren’t there for you when you were going through your divorce.

I’m sorry that we didn’t even talk to you when you came to the party.

I’m sorry that we didn’t help you when you moved.

I’m sorry that we didn’t walk through your cancer treatments with you.

I’m sorry that we didn’t come to visit you when you were in the hospital.

I’m sorry that we didn’t invite you to join us for lunch or for any other function.

I’m sorry that we didn’t show you hospitality.

I’m sorry that we all talked to each other and never turned to engage you in conversation.

I’m sorry that we didn’t involve you or invite you to use your gifts.

I’m sorry that our teenagers hurt your teenagers.

I’m just sorry that we hurt you and wounded you.

I’m sorry that we were rude and unkind and inconsiderate.

I’m sorry that we were so sarcastic in the way that we spoke to you.

I’m sorry that we didn’t show you love and compassion as we should have.

I’m sorry for the cruel comments that we made to you and to each other.

I’m sorry that we didn’t show you the love and grace of our Lord.

It wasn’t necessarily intentional or purposeful. But, we know that we let you down.

We blew it, and we are sincerely sorry.

And, we want to ask you to forgive us.

Would you please forgive us?

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