Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
James 1:19-20 - Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.
Dear God, Help me as I prepare myself to write the words You gave me for the letter to Tom. Help me to keep it short and simple and also to write it in such a way that he will be willing to respond. Maybe I should just tell him that if he wants to know the truth to reach out to me. Just let him know that what he thinks he knows is not what really happened. Tell him briefly the truth. And nothing but the truth. Give him the window to come through for the rest. Offer him the chance to receive forgiveness. His actions were louder than his words. His actions broke my spirit. His actions were hateful. His actions didn't jive with what a Christian should do or even what a Christian is called to do. But I know his actions also didn't line up with how he acted toward me before the conflict arose either. And that is why I have hope that if I write the letter, he will do the right thing and the conversation that needed to happen will happen. Better months later than immediate because at least by now, both of us should have had time to cool off. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Actually, words can be more damaging to the soul. I still carry scars from all the times when damaging words were spoken. Mikki - "If you cannot focus, then maybe you shouldn't come to church at all." Way to infer that my ADHD and my ASD should be used as an excuse for the church to discriminate against me. Tom - "Our attempts to mainstream her have been ineffective." Yeah, because they were not attempts to mainstream. They gave me a document and asked me to sign to allow them to continue to abuse me and discriminate against me! Tom - "We approached things in the wrong way. We were wrong." That was really the best thing and the most accurate thing that Tom said about all of what had happened. That is why I know in my heart that if I give Tom a second chance to come through, he most likely will. Because there is a man in there that does still care. He just needs to know that his young friend is willing to give him that second chance he needs if he is willing to ask for forgiveness. God, You really a God of second chances and third and fourth and fifth and sixth and so forth. So why shouldn't we be as well, if we are Your children? Matter of fact, if we are Your children, then that is exactly how we should be! The only exception is if it is physically unsafe. And Tom knows that is not the case with me. He knew that when he told me that they claimed I was "dangerous." The only reason that those other men at his church see me as "dangerous" is because I am honest to a fault and for some reason, they feel threatened by the truth. Which does not look good for them. If the truth threatens them so much, then they have a problem with corruption. Just like politicians. Oh! Now I understand what my friend who said she was thinking about changing churches because she felt their church has become too political meant! And she is correct. And that may also need to be written to Tom. Because he needs to know. There is a lot he needs to know. That church is going to destroy him and he needs to know so he can make a wise decision before it does if it hasn't already. In the words of Ryan Pittman when he was sharing his testimony, if the church does not have special needs people involved in every aspect of its ministries, then DON'T! In other words, don't go there. And don't let them. He was right. With autism now having a 1 in 68 diagnosis rate for young children, it is time for churches to change to accommodate both children and adults. Sensory rooms, sensory friendly services, inclusion with assistance, inclusion period. These things can work well for autistics, individuals with Down syndrome, and even neurotypicals who just need to refocus and recenter. Sticks and stones can hurt. But words can hurt even more and the lasting effects can take longer to recover from. Thank You God for another valuable lesson. In Jesus' Name, Amen!