Bearing Scars.

March 28, 2007

It isn’t because I don’t want to that I haven’t. I want to tear off this mask I wear so you can see what was left by the wolf who wears the mask of a sheep. I want to explain how it is only because of a youth group that took me in after another abandoned me that I have any faith at all. I wish I could talk about the people who feared God more than their pastor and still talked to us.

I wish I could get this log out of my own eye. I wish I could forgive, really forgive, the kind that also means forgetting the pain. The kind of forgiveness that lets you love the person who did you wrong. Because sometimes I think I’ll never be able to let go of this hate.

This largely comes after reading my Dad’s post The People formerly know as The Congregation. He says ” We are The People formerly known as The Congregation. We do not hate you (pastors). Though some of us bear the wounds you have inflicted.” Some of us do hate some of you. I wish I didn’t.



  1. Liam,
    I am sorry that you have experienced this.
    I’ve been there too.

    You know, I think I could have gotten over what the “wolf” did much easier if it hadn’t resulted in the loss of most of my friends. Their betrayal, in order to remain loyal to the pastor, cut much deeper.

    You will forgive eventually because you want to forgive, but it will take time. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. This will be one of the ugly things that you have learned about life and people. And as your title says, it will leave a scar. It has changed the person that you are. That doesn’t have to be for the worse though, it can be for the better.

    My prayer, when I could only feel the pain and couldn’t yet forgive, was:
    “God, for every arrow that pierces my heart, please plant a seed of compassion in me for the pain of others rather than bitterness for those who caused my pain.”

    I don’t know how long it’s been for you, but it is kind of like the grieving process. For me, the pain was gut wrenching for the first two years. Your post brought back memories of how intense it felt. By the end of the third year, it no longer hurts to remember or talk about it.

    I pray that God continues to heal your heart and to give you hope and vision for all that He has in store for you.

  2. Thanks Grace, I’ve started praying that prayer, I’ll let you know how it goes. It’s weird though, because when I’m not thinking about it I feel nothing, but as soon as I think about it the anger just comes flooding back. I wonder if foretting is the perfect forgiveness. I think I’d rather forget than keep having it come back.

  3. Lliam,

    Thanks. Words fail. I wish… ahh, there are no words.

    I don’t know, man…

    I wish you shalom from this season. I wish you peace from this anger, and an end to its wounding ability. I wish the Church had the courage and the care to have stopped people like this Person Formerly Known as a Shepherd from ever getting into a pulpit.

    I wish your family freedom from the haunting sickness that still afflicts our churches. I wish MYSELf freedom from the temptations that pastors can so easily succumb to, and afflict their congregations with. I wish Christ would come again and make everything wrong, right again. Oh, how I wish it. Until then, I pray for you, my friend. They are the only words that I know do not fail.



  4. Part of the insidious nature of the modern church is the pedestal that we put pastors on. There is collusion on both sides of the relationship. Parishioners what their pastors to be spiritual paragons, and pastors want parishioners to be compliant sheep.
    We need to deal with the reality that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That isn’t a cliche. Its reality, and Liam, you and your family have experienced at a pretty ugly level. If we persist in our thinking that pastors should be something other than what we ourselves are, then we will always be disappointed. Thank God that he has brought other people into your life to help you stay connected. May this conversation your dad started bring healing to your family. That is my prayer for you all.

  5. Liam,
    I am a blog friend of your Dad’s. We’ve yet to meet, but we hope to sometime soon. We live in Grand Rapids, MI; not that far from Toronto.

    I am a pastor. I appreciate your honesty. In our area we have a whole segment of people exiled from the church because of spiritual/religious abuse. It’s got to be named and dealt with.

    May God bless your journey into Shalom.

  6. Hi Dan,
    That is my main problem with the idea of the megachurch. It is the King Model, which makes no sense, because there is no accountability when you give all the control of a church to one person. I don’t have a problem with pastors per se. Just those with no reigns, no structure for accountability. Who have a model for growth exists not for the glory of God’s kingdom but for their kingdom.
    Thanks Ed,
    Something I’ve wrestled with is the question, am I any different from this pastor? Would I do the same thing in his shoes? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. If I was to become a pastor though, I think it would have to be in a church with apostolic oversight. It seems to easy for these megachurch leaders to leave the denomination they are affiliated with, or in the case of Hillsongs, take over it.
    Thanks John,
    I appreciate the comment. And it is good to see other churches and leaders speaking out when it needs to be done. How does that quote go again, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I think that’s it.

  7. I would guess that if you and I compared “notes” we’d likely have some commonality in our stories. My emotions of anger, disappointment, betrayal and abandonment were/are unpleasant but ultimately necessary perhaps even redemptive. In my journey I have discovered that forgiveness does not always mean the absense of anger. I have found forgiveness to be as much a journey as a destination.

  8. Liam

    know the felling, got the t-shirt (even signed…..)

    About forgiving – I wonder if it is like the scar tissue that I bear from surgery. 3 days before my organized marriage – it had to be postponed for 3 months! Anyway that was 10 years ago. However when I heaverly use the muscle group ( think of a large coin sized knot of scar tissues on my chest, about 10cm straight down from arm pit) which is not very often, it hurts. For the next few days I get twings of pain wrapping around my chest.

    I figure that it will be like this for the rest of my life… I just try not to moan about it to much

    You know the emotional/spiritual wounds that cut 15 years ago, have healed yet scar tissue remains. I know I must have healed from an open wound because the pain is no longer raw and it no longer draws a violent reaction when gently (or ruffly) prodded. Yet occasionally things come up which causes real pain to emerge. Maybe I will be like this for the rest of my life. Maybe in fact that this is one of the scars that will carry, yet God will use this scar to glorify him. I can think of a handful of times that this scar has helped others on their journey as I can walk with them, knowing that they to carry scars.

    So be encouraged the pain will subside and the wounds close up. Forgiveness will contuine to grow and as time and God’s grace work out then the scar will form and you can go about life and others will never know. Unless you show them, and even though the pain comes back from time to time, it is less and it reminds you of the paths of pain that others may be walking down.

    My problems where exasperated because I allowed my wound to be infected with the diseass of bitterness which from your post you should be encouraged that your are seeking healing not infection 🙂

    Cheers David

  9. I understand and know what you are talking about. The spiritual wounds that I have recieved are still there, no matter how I hide them or ignore them. But I can say this, forgiveness is possible. It’s just a long, bumpy road.

  10. […] Bill Kinnon’s son Liam also has a really good blog. His post in response to his dad’s People Formerly Known as… post also really resonated with me. Reading Bill […]

  11. I’m a pastor who has been hurt by another pastor (under whom I worked – we weren’t colleagues; I was definitely his “underling”), but I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve been able to extend forgiveness.

    That said, scars remain. Plenty of them. And it’s incentive to NEVER, EVER treat anyone like I was treated.

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