Richard L.

I had a moment of clarity today while talking to my wife. I realized that I have had the same experience multiple times with various Christians.

The title of my post was typical: We will call him Richard L. Richard and I were buds. He lived in Raleigh, and I lived in Chapel Hill, but that didn’t let that keep us apart. I would come to Raleigh regularly to help Rich with the storage shed he was building, ride bikes together, etc. We even went on several business trips together, as we were both members of the same professional trade organization.

My wife had a bad feeling though. She kept warning me that Rich was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Rich was the “leading brother” of the particular brand of Christianity that we were involved in at that point in our lives. I must admit that in that role, I found Rich to be a bit difficult. He was authoritarian, for sure. But I stuck with Rich stubbornly. He seemed genuinely interested in having a relationship with me. And, as usual, I had the emotional need for a relationship with another man.

Eventually, Rich completely and spectacularly rejected me. The circumstances around this are strange. One day Rich and I were best friends. The next day he simply stopped talking to me. I later found out, via gossip (which I normally try to avoid, but I was desperate) that Rich had had an affair, and his marriage was in trouble.

At that point, I called Rich and really pressed in. If he was having a tough time in his marriage, didn’t he need someone to talk to? Couldn’t I still help him? Couldn’t I still be his friend? I mean, how else was he going to process what had happened to him?

But, no, Rich would not talk to me. Most of all, he would not talk to me, because by doing so, he would have to confront his feelings. And we can’t have that, can we? Oh, no! In the Christian circles we ran in, if a man came home from a drunken brawl and confessed to an affair, his wife was expected to clean him up, put him to bed, and then continue to love and forgive him after that. All the while, never, ever talking about it. Oh, no! We don’t want to give any glory to Satan. Talking about our sin? How would that help?

Rich was only one example though. I have developed what I called last night a “flinch”. Basically, when I start to become intimate with someone, I want to spew out all of my stuff all at once, warts and all. I am saying: “Are you going to reject me? Go ahead, then. Please, get it over with. Put me out of my misery quickly, please. I don’t want to emotionally invest only to be disappointed again one more time.”

I need to work on that, I suppose.


I forgave my father today. I had compassion for him and understood him for the first time. This is an amazing event given that my father cheated on my mother almost my entire childhood, and continued to do so (with some of the nastiest women I ever saw) until his deathbed. Also, my father was proximately responsible for my sister’s death. (Although she shot herself in the head with a 38 caliber pistol at the age of 28, he gave her the gum and ammunition and instructed her to do it. And she did.)

I think you will agree: That’s a lot to forgive. And that does not even include his physical abuse of me (for which I have broken bones), which I do not even place upon the enormous mound of my father’s sins. I do place the sexual abuse of my sister on that mound, though.

And there it is: I apparently believe in sin. At least for my father. Not so much for myself, as I, of course, am a good guy. Or at least I like to think so.

I hope you understand: I am going to keep this real. If you are up for it, please keep reading. I am going to keep writing, that’s for sure. I need this now. I need to get this out. This helps me. I hope it helps you too.

Anyway, back to forgiving my father. I have a family member with whom I am not on good terms at the moment. She and I have not talked in a while. I have connected with all of my other family members, but not with her.

I found myself literally convulsed today with grief and pain over the situation with my family member. I am rejecting her. I felt terrible. I have behaved badly. Yet she has also rejected me. I am angry. She is angry. You get the idea.

And in that moment, I finally understood my Dad. He faced a terrible situation as well: My mother was insane much of the time. He was living with her and taking care of her (other than sexually, at least). And in turn, she took care of him. It was a sick twisted little world, but somehow they managed to get through it, day to day.

Into that world walked my sister. She was married to a man who infected her with genital herpes. He was bisexual and extremely promiscuous. He wanted her to participate in his lifestyle, which she found disgusting. She was at the point where she was wanting to move back in with Mom and Dad.

My father reacted badly: I do not deny that. I would undo his actions in that conversation if I could. But there are actions I have taken in his life, and in the life of my sister that I would take back too, if I could. (more on that later.)

He told her he already had one insane, dysfunctional woman on his hands and he could not tolerate a second. He said that if she could not handle her problems, then she should step up, and go ahead and end her life. And he then gave her the gun and the ammunition and escorted her out of the house.

She called me that night. I also reacted badly. She sounded strange. I was living in Longview at the time. Now I wish with every fibre of my being that I could simply go back to that young man and scream: Go to her!!!! Go now!!!! She needs you!!!!

But, instead, I had no time for her either.

The next day I got the call from my Mom: Debbie had committed suicide. (I weep as I write this.)

I suppose the person I need to forgive next is myself.

More later.