A few days after our former pastor made it clear that we were on the road to church discipline for disagreeing with BJU’s theology, Grant found this song in our collection. The line “they’ll try to stop your singing in the middle of your song” was so pointed. The pastor had forbidden Grant to sing solos (he told us this in a lengthy email message, of all things!), just weeks after he had said that he wouldn’t do such a thing.
So for years, this was a song I would “sing” (in my head) to my friends still mired in fundamentalism. To explain why I had to clean out my office in the middle of the night. To wish them well. To warn them about the abusers around them.
But just a few months ago, I realized who I needed to sing the song to — myself. A 20-year-younger self. I needed to reconcile with my participation in a very bad system. I needed to forgive myself for self-righteousness. For holding the coats of people who were stoning the saints. For being duped by the cult.
That’s why we resist the word “cult” so much, you know. Because it damages our image of ourselves as intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable people. Only stupid nut-jobs get duped by a cult, right? Smart people don’t! Nice people don’t! Strong people don’t!! Good people don’t!!! Right? RIGHT???
Then I heard this Advent Text all over again:
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
God forgives me. Why can’t I forgive myself? He looks at me not as stupid and a nutjob but as someone who was doing the best she could. He loves me. That’s enough. And He’ll make all this right again.