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Friday, March 9, 2018
Getting Over the Past by Wes White
Getting Over the Past
By Wes White
(Submitted to Banned By HWA)
Over the past year or so, I have had the pleasure to communicate with blog sites such as “Banned By HWA.” I learn a lot from these sites and I am glad whenever I can contribute to the dialogue in a positive way.
But lately, wow, have I been getting some flak over this! The leaders in some of the big, corporate COGs tell their members how awful it is that Wes White has relationships with these blog sites like “Banned,” “Painful Truth,” “Church of God News,” etc. They ask, “How can Wes justify being friends with those people who have rejected so much of God’s truth?” Further, they claim that too many of us “just can’t get over the past and that we need to move on.”
Let’s be clear on three points:
First, the editors of “Banned By HWA” owe me no explanation for their beliefs. And I owe no one any explanation for who I talk to. Any person who doesn’t like who I talk to is the one who needs to “get over it.” Also, what if I were to be dialoguing with a Baptist blog or an atheist blog or a politically extreme blog? Would I have to justify my relationship with them? Anyone who answers “yes” needs to grow in maturity.
Second, when it comes to my getting over the past, I have nothing to get over. My experience in WCG was almost all good. I benefitted a lot from twelve years in that organization.
When I first came into the church, I was befriended by the district superintendent of the Chicago area because he wanted me to give him guitar lessons. Poor man had a tin ear. But I tried to be nice about his lack of talent and I encouraged him to keep practicing even though I believed any chances of him improving his music were pretty much doomed.
Then I started a church band with a ministerial trainee. You talk about being with the in-crowd.
When I arrived at AC as a student, I lived with the ministerial trainee’s older brother who was associate dean of students and who played music with GTA. So I had the benefit of “knowing the right guy” all thru Ambassador.
On and on I could go. I only mention all this to reiterate that I don’t look at myself as a victim of WCG. I was the beneficiary of the tithes and sacrifice of many hard-working, generous members.
But that’s not the point. What’s important is that I know dozens and dozens of victims of that organization and I feel for those people. I still pray for them because so many got a real raw deal from that organization. I was one of the lucky ones and I have no business callously writing the off the victims. I owe them more than that.
It is important that Christians always have compassion on those who have been wronged. Justice is important to God.
Third, I have never done anything like work on a crisis hotline, so I don’t speak from authority about victims of abuse. But I think I am correct when I say that, when dealing with someone who has been sexually abused, physically abused, verbally abused, financially abused, etc., it is NEVER my job to say, “It’s time to get over it. Move on.” No. I can’t say that.
The only person who can make that decision is the victim. Only he/she can say, “I can now move on because my healing is complete.” Only he/she can make the determination as to when they are over being the brunt of someone else’s abuse.
The primary problem we have today is NOT those who are still healing or trying to understand why they had to go thru what they went thru. The problem is with the church leaders who refuse to apologize! Therein lies the problem!
And I can’t say enough about how much it would help healing if these guys could just admit they were wrong in how they handled people, money, assets, doctrine, etc. Then, if they could just be sorry and say they’re sorry, a whole lot of good could come out of it.
Any COG splinter group that dares dare to take on the name “Christianity” is going to have to learn what Christianity is truly about. They are going to have to stop doing quick readings of Matthew 5, 6, and 7 as they gloss over Jesus’ profundities. Instead, they need to slow down and spend time in the Sermon On the Mount, learning what Jesus has to say about showing true love for other people.
But they won’t. Their unwillingness/inability to admit wrong-doing (followed by an apology) is limited by their:
1) Christian immaturity and deliberate lack of biblical understanding about brotherly love.
2) Fear that admission could lead to legal action.
3) Self-centeredness. Some of these guys love to talk about how they were the ones who were wronged by the Armstrongs, while having no ability to acknowledge the wrongs they did to those “below them.” It’s almost as if they are saying, “When I get my apology, you’ll get yours. And since the Armstrongs are dead, I’m not going to get an apology. So guess where that leaves you?”
Christianity doesn’t work that way.
I have heard that some ministers get furious when they are asked if they would please apologize for some of the things they have done. They proudly proclaim, “You will never hear an apology from me or from my church organization.” I really hope that, on the day they stand before Jesus, they don’t express that vehemence because I fear their intransigence could keep them out of the Kingdom.
But this is not my call. Whether they make it into God’s Kingdom is between them and Christ.
In the meantime, let’s communicate with each other, not in spite of the fact that we don’t agree with each other. Rather, let’s communicated with each other because of the fact that we don’t agree with each other. It’s foolish to only communicate with those who we agree with. We have much to learn from those with whom we disagree.
Wes and Nancy White have a self-funded ministry
that neither asks for nor accepts donations from the general public.
They have a live, Friday evening internet show called “Start Our Sabbath.”