My heart is hurting right now and I have a choice to make about where to place my trust. I do know the right answer, but I am still struggling with it. I feel like if I just understood more about the situation, it would be easier. But that need for certainty isn’t really trusting at all, is it?
You may have read in recent days that Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, has been under attack following accusations of sexual misconduct. To say this news has rocked my world would be a major understatement.
When the story broke, I was sitting with Matt in casual conversation. He was glancing through emails on his phone and then looked at me with deep concern on his face. I thought maybe there was bad news about someone in our family. As he read the article aloud and tears began to fill my eyes, I felt as if it was something bad happening in my family. It means that much to me.
This issue pushes on a couple of tender spots in my heart. First, I have been the injured party of a man in power abusing his position to take what he wanted. Whenever I read stories about that kind of cruelty, it triggers old hurts. It breaks my heart and sets me on fire all at the same time. It feels personal.
Secondly, I have been a follower of Bill’s ministry for many years. I have visited Willow Creek, watched their worship services via live stream, read Bill’s books, and attended his Global Leadership Summit numerous times. Bill’s sermons and writings have helped me grow stronger in my spiritual walk. I have admired him like a father figure. And now this. It makes me feel foolish and doubt my own judgment. It is personal.
Bill denies the allegations while his accusers stand by their claims. There seems to be evidence to support both sides of the story. How am I supposed to know who is right? How am I supposed to know what to believe? Experience tells me that when two sides of a story are this different, the truth usually falls somewhere in between. It is likely I will never know.
As I was praying about this recently, I felt God remind my heart of a fundamental reality. He always has and I suppose always will use imperfect people to preach, teach, testify, and proclaim. I am one of them. You are one of them. The people on both sides of this public issue are among them.
I’m terribly hurt over this. I wish I knew the truth about Bill. But through this situation, I have been reminded that I do know Truth. And I need to keep my eyes focused on Truth. God will use other people to touch my heart, yes. God will use other people to point me to Him, yes. But His love alone is unchanging. His joy alone is unfading. His grace alone is undying. In that I can trust. Peace.