The situation described in the following letters is entirely fictitious, including persons, names, crimes, sins, relationships, circumstances and all particulars. The kind of situation that is described, however, is all too common and my hope is that biblical principles applied to this fictitious scenario may be of some help to individuals tangled up in real ones.
Greetings. I hope you don’t mind me writing you directly in this way. When I got your email address from your Aunt Camille, I asked her and she thought it would be all right. I believe she checked with you? I don’t want to intrude, but neither do I want to remain distant if I could be any help at all.
My first purpose in writing you arises from something that I heard from Bill and Camille. They said that one of the more disturbing elements was how your father defended himself and his entire outlook to them by appealing to books and articles that I had written (not to mention the Bible). I also understand that you confirmed to Camille the fact that I was “quite a presence” in your home growing up—quoted, appealed to, and so on, ad nauseam. But given the crimes against you that he was convicted of, I wanted to have at least one chance to express my grief and horror to you directly. Please accept my assurances that anything of mine that he used to rationalize his “twisted take” needed to have been twisted first. My heart aches for you, knowing only a portion of what you must have gone through. Nancy and I have prayed for you regularly.
A second reason for writing is this. If you are willing, I would love to correspond with you, addressing any issues you might want to bring up. Camille shared some of what you told her. She says that you told her you would like to be a Christian, but that you have no idea what that is supposed to mean now, or how it could apply to the mess that was once your family. Your father is in prison for life, your mother has disappeared, and you are finishing your senior year with your aunt and uncle. Camille says that you told her that you feel like a broken glass in outer space—you don’t even have the satisfaction of having the pieces rest on a flat surface. She also said that the Christian counseling you have received to date was, according to you, “sweet but clueless.”
I would guess the issues for you range across the entire waterfront. How could God let this happen? And what does forgiveness actually mean? What doesn’t it mean? Does it mean you have to answer your father’s letters? What does it mean when God invites you in Scripture to address Him as a Father? Your mother never openly approved the abuse, but seems in retrospect to have been somehow complicit. But how was God not complicit in a similar way? Didn’t He know what was going on?We live in a hard world, which means that we have to be willing for some hard theology.
We live in a hard world, which means that we have to be willing for some hard theology. If these (or any other) questions are troubling you, I would love to try to provide some biblical answers. Are you willing for something like that?
Cordially in Christ . . .
To be continued . . .