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When Does Restoration Begin?

By John Henderson - Lancaster, CA

Experiencing the restoration available through applying


biblical principles is not as difficult to understand as it is to
accomplish.
Biblical restoration assumes first of all that you actually have
or have had a personal life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
This is essential to the process of restoration. Secondly, it is
important to realize that, apart from total surrender to God and
complete self-sacrifice, restoration is impossible.
In my own life, I was “a self made man who worshipped his
creator”. Even though I had made a personal and public
profession of faith through water baptism in Christ some 45 years
ago, I ignored the Godly principles necessary to make that
profession a working model in my life because doing so would
have interfered with my self-centered, self-image. After all, I was a
“man” and real men didn’t need anyone else telling them how to
act and any one who did was weak. I was sort of secure in that.
And after I died I’d go to heaven and all that other stuff about
“being religious” was for women and children.
At the core of that ignorance emerged an attitude of
intolerance that demanded perfection in my family. I saw myself
as a model of perfection and thought my wife and kids should be
just like me. And when their rebellion started, I became severely
abusive. I didn’t see it then but as I now look back they had, in
reality, become just like me! It wasn’t until my abuse became
public that I realized something was wrong.
What followed and continued for almost two years was a
regimen of court appearances, losing the kids, court ordered
counseling and basically being turned over to the State for
chastening. I was investigated and my entire life became an open
book and all the “skeletons were brought out of the closet”.
Although I was never arrested for my abusiveness, I was
interviewed by three police departments in two different counties
and subjected to a kind of fear I had never experienced and was
brought to the point of a near heart attack. I deservedly lived in
my own private jail because I was guilty.
During the last few months of those two years is when my
wife’s faithfulness to a LIVING GOD in spite of wanting to flush me
down the toilet, began to pay off. (Hers is truly a testimony of
endurance through trials!) We began our search for a local church
where compassion was the rule, not the exception. Being broken
and repentant, I chose to be an open book and was honest
(almost to a fault) with every pastor we met; most just ignored us
like we had the plaque. One even went as far as telling us he
didn’t want us in “his church” because we’d be “bringing in sin”!
Finally, after several months, we attended an evening
service at a local Assembly of God church and found that
compassion. (Since that time, we have discovered many other
places of fellowship that are filled with compassionate and caring
people.) We were told about their Marriage Restoration Ministry
and asked for an interview. Our first few months in the group were
tougher on us than any other “counseling” we had previously
been through. The self-centeredness I had left was systematically
torn down by a tough loving giant of a man whose middle name
seemed to be “Cut-the-c--p-and-get-right”. Walt NEVER let me
play the games I had played so well and held me accountable for
ALL my attitudes. I am eternally grateful for his tough-love, and for
teaching me how to be accountable.
Walt and his wife left that particular ministry and our “giving-
couple”, Jack and Agnes stepped in to take over Marriage
Restoration Ministry. It’s a different ministry now, but the tough-
love, accountability and compelling compassion are still the rule.
After five years in Marriage Restoration, Karen and I are
considered to be among the “poster children” of Marriage. I say
that humbly, because today, God is in charge.
We are NEVER as close to God as when we are broken and
the Holy Spirit restores us by God’s Grace to the place where we
can PRAISE HIM. God does inhabit the praises of HIS people. And
we know we are His people when, as broken vessels, we rush to
His outstretched arms to receive His UNCONDITIONAL LOVE which
is the instrument of restoration.
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Copyright 2009 John Henderson All Rights Reserved