We’ve examined several of the most popular teachings at the Honor Academy as given by Ron Luce, David Hasz and Heath Stoner. But we all know that lectures aren’t the only way we learn. In fact, I’d say we primarily learn about God, ourselves and others through the way we are treated. Lectures may give us head knowledge, but experience gives us heart knowledge. In this series, I’d like to take a look at what we’ve learned through the way the Honor Academy treats us.
Honor Academy Lesson #1: You are not accepted as you are.
Our Christian life is built on the fact that we are accepted by God as we are. That is the basis of our security and the foundation God builds our lives on. However, this acceptance is undermined at the Honor Academy. By their actions, attitudes and philosophy, the HA teaches that you are NOT accepted as you are. Acceptance only comes when you have conformed to their paradigm.
We generally think of rejection as outright mocking or demeaning someone. That kind of rejection is easily recognizable. Yet, the rejection experienced by most interns is insidious and is subtly conveyed in many different ways:
– The opinion by leadership that your ideas and feelings don’t really matter, especially when they go against the group ethos
– The attitude that acknowledging your physical and emotional needs means you are a weak person
– The stigma of shame on people who have left the HA tells interns that you are only accepted as long as you perform
All of these beliefs cut to the very core of a person with the message that “You are not good enough. You are worthless.” And what is especially insidious about this is that these beliefs become internalized so that we actually condemn ourselves – even long after the Honor Academy is gone.
Let me say this loud and clear: This is the opposite of the acceptance we have received in Christ! Any message that says we are unworthy and shameful is absolutely anti-Gospel in every way.
Conditional acceptance is no acceptance at all. Christ accepts us with all of our faults, all of our ugliness and all of our hurt and sin. Anything less than that by our brothers and sisters in Christ does not reflect Jesus’ heart toward us: