I Apologize – An Open Letter

Dear Christian Leaders From My Past: I Apologize – An Open Letter

Disclaimer: I know that most people would prefer a personal apology specifically addressed to them. However, I personally have no way of knowing if any of the Christian leaders from my past are actually expecting or desiring an apology from me, so this apology is based on the assumption that any of them would like an apology. Secondly, this goes out to all for whom it applies, if it does not minister to you then please disregard. Also, I understand that for some people this apology will not be enough (for them) to mend the breach in the relationship and I am not necessarily trying to come back or reestablish participation in any particular ministry through this apology. This is an attempt to communicate that I wish them and their ministries, etc. well and hope that they do not harbor ill feelings from this point forward.

During my mid 20’s and 30’s I experienced explosive growth in my relationship with God. I became more active in serving at the ministries that I attended and pursued spiritual growth with fervor and intention. However, regardless of my spiritual growth at the time, I was still young and undisciplined in applying the Word to my life, plus still also pursuing fleshly desires. I do not dispute the fact that I thought that I was more spiritually mature than I actually was at the time. I also acknowledge that I really needed more friends (my age and older) that could have been a support and godly influence in my life. I really did not seem to have a place anywhere. I did not feel truly loved and accepted at the churches that I attended, and I was having worse rejection in the world as well and my emotional and spiritual character did not handle the rejection well. Most of the time I was bouncing between feeling good about God in my life to feeling doomed and depressed because of the realization that much of my lifestyle at the time would have to change and I feared having to be without anything or anyone. My emotional state was very melancholy and down at times:

I apologize for being gloomy. – I felt so much joy serving, and felt purpose for my life while pouring into whatever ministry that I was a part of, however I was also truly in emotional pain. I am not excusing myself for this, and am apologizing for the impact of my emotional state on your ministry.

I apologize for compromising. – I was growing spiritually, however temptation in my life was also at an all time high. It’s true, I could have resisted, I could have stood on the Word and declared “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Truth is: I actually tried that – and I still fell. I tried really hard at times, and I prayed a lot about my wanting to live right before the Lord and other times I just did not believe that my choices were that big of a deal, because I really did not see anyone else giving up their “worldly desires” There was a time that I believed that most ministers were still indulging in drinking alcohol, or promiscuity / affairs, and other things worse than that. So by my (perceived) minimal sins, I really did not believe that anything that I was doing was so wrong. Once again, not an excuse – just an explanation of my mindset at the time. I believed the lie that my sins were “covered” because I had the heart to repent and knew that I would not always live that way. Well my sins were not covered in the sense that there would not be repercussions for them in my life and I have come to terms with God for that and have repented. What I would like to do now is apologize for how that affected you and your ministry. Not taking in account the sacrifices that you made to build it and were enduring for the sake of the flock/members was unfair. I acknowledge that my neglecting to make similar personal sacrifices caused problems in our (potential) relationship and relationship with other members. I also acknowledge that added to my down emotional state as discussed earlier. I really felt like I should have been prayed for and ministered to at times, because of what I was going through with the intentions to serve the Lord and live right. However now, I just take full responsibility for my actions (and inaction in some cases) and apologize for bringing that into the ministry. 

At some ministries that I participated with I just learned as much as I could and tried to just be a “good” member through attendance. At other ministries, I had the privilege to serve and / or participate in leadership in some capacity. I just want you to know that regardless of my shortcomings at the time, serving in the ministry really made me evaluate my life and the compromises that I had made in my relationship with God. I quit drinking alcohol (although I did have a drink since then – but do not regularly drink like I once did), and ended inappropriate relationships that were causing a divide in my devotion to the Lord. As far as my personal life goes, while I was serving I felt (and still really feel) like it was my business and not the concern of the church. As a person who voluntarily served and wanted to contribute to your ministry, I really hoped to have support and people to walk with when I did decide to share problems from my personal life when seeking help from the ministry. Most of the time, that was not the case and I became really disappointed, hurt, disillusioned, and skeptical. I confess that during my experience serving at a ministry I felt the least love and confidence in humankind. I felt like men are just out to degrade a woman if she does not perfectly submit to them and that I was being “gaslit” (I didn’t have that terminology at the time, I previously would have said manipulated) to display negative emotion because of the rejection, dog whistle shaming, and gossip that I encountered at church. I did not see God in any of that experience, except for the opportunity to serve and be a part of a ministry. I had previous wounds from serving elsewhere so that did not help either and I just felt wronged. My attitude was bad, because I felt bad, I was hurt and no one cared at all. I wasn’t seeking attention, but it would have been nice if I had a place to cast my cares while in the support of other people. I did not have that so, I drew my own conclusions. I apologize for not having all of those things worked out before arriving at church to minister. A lot of times just driving up to the building caused anxiety because I had no idea of what kind of reception I would get when I entered. I apologize for not activating the joy of the Lord, and lifting the atmosphere when I was not worshiping and for being critical of the sermons that were preached. I confess that I did scrutinize the sermons, because I felt like I was being scrutinized, so it was an exercise to not feel oppressed by the opposition that I faced. Not saying that it was right, just was my defense mechanism at the time. I apologize for judging and criticizing in response to feeling judged and criticized. I felt like I knew at the time, but now acknowledge that I did not know the heart of anyone that was at that ministry and that it could be that they did not mean harm. Regardless of what anyone else did, I apologize for my reaction. I could have extended more grace and continued to pray, however my wounds and pain would not let me sit by. So I also apologize for leaving without exhausting every possible reconciliation. I thought that I left on good terms, but if I did not I apologize for that. 

Finally I apologize for any bad report I have given about your ministry directly or indirectly. I used to openly criticize various “TV” ministers or have pointed conversations with friends about various ministers (not very often) but I did express negativity about certain things before. I have not openly called out specific ministers, although I have addressed particular Chrisitan leaders from my past directly – that usually resulted in a negative outcome. Even in the counseling sessions that I have had on my own journey towards healing I have not mentioned the names of specific leaders. So regardless if the bad report was direct or indirect, I realize that this does not help the body of Christ. I believe that the truth should be told, but also to consider people who are weak or new in their spiritual development – as not to lead them astray. I apologize for any thing that I have said or communicated that would lead people astray or from participating with your ministry. I apologize for any opinion expressed that would hurt your feelings or cause a negative impact in the ministry. I can not be sure if anything I have expressed has directly or indirectly affected you, but I want you to know that if there was a disagreement, or misunderstanding regarding anything that I communicated I apologize and pray for your restoration.

I also apologize for the anger, resentment, fault finding, and blame that was in my heart towards the poor outcome of some of my interactions with you. I don’t believe that all Christian leaders are bad, nor do I seek to be critical and fault finding of them. However, bad experiences can shape a person’s perception, so I apologize for allowing any perception based on bad experiences to direct my interactions with you. I have been unfair at times not acknowledging the commitment and sacrifice that it takes to be integral, competent, and effective as a Chrisitan leader and I apologize for that. No one is perfect, I certainly am not, and for me to expect you to be perfect is ridiculous. There is a high standard placed on ministry leaders, and for many there is no place for a “learning curve” – but in real life the learning curve for any vocation is real and who you were then is more than likely not who you are now.. Since I have grown and moved on past my mistakes and shortcomings, it is wonderful to be able to extend that same grace to those who are not asking for it, but deserve it just the same. You never thought the day would come when I would apologize, well it arrived and I sincerely mean it. 

Blessings Always,

Dionne Renae


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