Next week, I promise to get back to the dating/sex/marriage series. But in light of the story yesterday, I wanted to make a few points.
First, if there has been any doubt in your mind about Ron Luce’s character and the stories on this website, yesterday’s story should fully convince you. The way he continues to treat his family is absolutely outrageous and proves that he is a massive fraud.
Second, the fact that he lied about his family AGAIN, even after apologizing earlier this year, shows that we cannot trust any statement Teen Mania makes that “things have changed.” One of the biggest criticisms of this site and the stories on it is that these are all old stories and things have changed. The current Honor Academy is (supposedly) nothing like what we are reporting here (even though we have multiple stories from 2009 & 2010). And yet, they have NEVER once issued an apology or statement of repentance about the VERY SPECIFIC ISSUES we have raised. They’ve only given vague promises saying “things have changed.” Now we have demonstrable proof that Ron Luce offers fake apologies and then just continues lying about people in order to puff himself up. Truly despicable. So why in the world should we believe Teen Mania’s vague promises?
Not one iota of repentance has EVER been shown by senior Teen Mania leadership: Ron Luce, David Hasz, Jonathan Hasz and Heath Stoner.
Third, another common criticism of those of us in the recovering community is that we are bitter and we just need to forgive. To address that very important question, I would like to refer you to the following interview of David Augsburger which shows us how prematurely forgiving abusers actually enables them to continue abusing and also discusses the difference between false and authentic apology. This interview is the BEST advice on forgiveness that I have ever heard. It’s realistic, it acknowledges the pain and the journey and what our responsiblity as an injured party is. I can’t recommend it more highly. Here are a couple of snippets that stood out to me:
DAVID: Actually, I have a significant hesitation about ever encouraging people to ask for forgiveness. Requests of this kind can very easily contain a coercive element. When I ask you to give me forgiveness, how can you say ‘No’? You may not be able or ready to forgive yet. Asking can easily feel like demanding. It can become a kind of pious blackmail.
STEPS: So, we should forget about asking for forgiveness?
DAVID: The twelve steps have a much better, and more biblical, instinct about what is appropriate if we have injured someone. The focus is not on asking them for forgiveness but on making amends. If I have injured someone, it is not appropriate for me to ask them to give me something. What I need to do is to become entirely ready for God to change me and then to make amends for the wrongs I have done. The focus is not on asking for something but on demonstrating repentance. I can go to the one I have injured and say “I have wronged you. I recognize that. I deeply regret what I have done. I will live now in a different way. And I hope that someday forgiveness will be possible between us.” This takes the injury seriously and allows the injured person however long they need for the process of forgiveness to move to completion. It is very different from just requesting that the person I have harmed change how they feel about me.
On forgiveness as religiously sanctioned denial:
My own view is that forgiveness in the absence of repentance is almost meaningless. It may sound gracious and loving but usually the person who forgives prematurely, preemptively or unconditionally is trying to avoid the hard work of the forgiveness process. It’s saying “I don’t want to struggle. I can’t carry this any longer. I can’t face the burden.” This leads to a religiously sanctioned form of denial which allows the person to wash their hands of the circumstances. In this case my “I forgive you” may mean only “I refuse to look again at the injury you have caused.”