“How were you able to read the Bible after it had been used to hurt you?”
(A recent question asked by an attendee of @dotchurch–watch here).
At first, I wasn’t able to open a Bible. I remember keeping one on the nightstand beside my bed and feeling guilt and shame every time I entered the room. I knew I was supposed to be learning from its so-called wisdom daily, but I didn’t trust the words recorded within. In my mind, this holy book contained all my dad had taught, yet all my dad had taught had not come to be–at least not as he claimed it would–so how could I trust its words? Maybe I could trust God...but that book?
My dad was dead. My mom was dead. Though I was 25 years old, I felt orphaned, and completely unprepared for my impossible reality. The teachings from this ancient text had landed me in this position. The Bible was at fault. The Bible had duped my family.
Or so I thought.
Until one day, I opened its binding and began to read. Just a paragraph or a single chapter, then too much at once before learning to slow back down. For the first time, I was taking in the words and their message directly, rather than through the lenses of my father’s spectacles and his assuming mind. As I turned the pages, I could no longer deny the overwhelming truth of my experience: my dad’s teachings were not in there, not in white, or black, or red. In actuality, some of his doctrine was so blatantly obviously in direct contradiction with scripture that I could not piece together how he had ever arrived at his position to begin with. At least, I could not piece the puzzle together by looking at God’s word alone.
I became flooded by new emotions, as the guilt and shame were replaced with deep pain and the heaviness of chains, like those of Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol. I had a choice to make, and thankfully, I chose to lay down all I had known and follow the truth: the Bible was not distrustful; my dad was. The Bible had not hurt me; my dad had. The Bible had not betrayed me; my dad owned that role.
My dad almost stole my life. Reading the Bible led me to getting my life back.
Though it was the harder thing to do, I chose to hold the right one accountable, despite the immense losses and grief that came with this decision. Had I not admitted the reality of my dad's life to myself, I still would not be free. Someone else had once caged me, and I would have chosen to remain caged.
Can you relate?
If so, join NWM Monday night, June 28th, at 8PM ET on our YouTube channel* and learn a bit about this oftentimes misunderstood and misused text. Take in the information anonymously, in a compassionate environment that understands, then take the time you need to process. And please remember: you're not alone.
*If this date has passed, you are still able to watch the replay!