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The Redemption of Fred Phelps: From Victim to Victor

Many of us have endured various sorts of tragedies and personal traumas that date back to our childhoods. Others have suffered through prolonged adversity and negative circumstances over many years of their lives. What separates certain people from others is their response to these different situations. Many people use these situations as justification for the various behaviors and mindsets that they exhibit, as a result. Unfortunately, these individuals never really move forward and hold on to their crutch for dear life so that they don’t necessarily have to transform. Their spiritual growth is actually stunted, whether they realize it or not. In other cases, their stories end tragically due to the lifestyles they led that were influenced by the sins that were done to them in their early years. They never move from being a victim to being a victor.

Well, I’m privileged to know such a man who is not only an example of someone who is no longer a victim, but someone who is totally sold out for the cause of Jesus Christ. His name is Fred Phelps. He is a devoted husband, father, friend, disciple of Jesus Christ and mentor who continues to be a light, a peacemaker and someone who will always speak the TRUTH in any situation. I don’t know many men who possess the level of sincerity that he does. This is a man who has truly been transformed and his diligence in pursuing righteousness has rewarded him greatly. But the path he has walked is not one from which many emerge victorious.

Starting when he was a toddler, Fred was sexually abused at the hands of his father. This abuse continued, as well as many other negative circumstances that the enemy would use to destroy him. The emotional abuse and evil words spoken over him by many others began to create not only a poor self-image and insecurity, but also a perversion of his identity as a man. He would go on to live and embrace the homosexual lifestyle, and he would look to men to fill the void left in his heart by his abusive and absentee father. The enemy had seemingly succeeded in perverting his identity and attempting to thwart his ordained destiny, but God had other plans…

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Despite the direction his life had gone, Fred had always remained in the church. The hand of God was on his life and would eventually direct him to a ministry called “Living Waters.” There he would address all of the wounds that were done to his person and experience the presence of God in a way in which he never had. Because of his repentance, he began to recapture his true self and God-given identity! However, tragedy would strike again, as he was forced to cope with the murder of his sister. But God… A changed man emerged from the ashes of abuse, neglect and tragedy. He committed his WHOLE life to Christ. As a result, he would go on to minister to others who were sexually and relationally broken, and he will always be a treasure to the healing community.

The beauty of this testimony is how God always does a COMPLETE work. The Father always seeks reconciliation, if we are willing to get out of His way and allow it. Fred’s father was constantly in and out of prison and was never in Fred’s life consistently; even during the times when he was out of prison. As a result, they were estranged for seventeen years, but God intervened… He reunited them and the process of healing began. This all occurred as Fred dealt with his father wounds in the Living Waters ministry. Isn’t it amazing and even exciting how God loves to heal and reconcile His children? For the next couple of years there was forgiveness, reconciliation and the sealing of his true masculine identity. The Lord spoke to him and affirmed, “You are not what your father did to you.” Sadly, his father was terminally ill, but a week before he passed, Fred prayed over his father. Peace descended and fell upon them. God was simply confirming that the reconciliation was complete naturally and eternally. Two weeks later, the Lord instructed Fred to take on his father’s last name because he had always had his mother’s maiden name. I know this was his way to honor his father and spark a new legacy with the Phelps namesake. Look at God…

Some years later, Fred would be introduced to the woman who would become his bride. They would be blessed with two beautiful kids, and they were just recently blessed with a third child. He is living proof that the love of God can transform anyone. Along with being a living testimony and mouthpiece for those whose voices have been silenced, he is a mighty warrior who chose LIFE over death. Fred Phelps is no longer a victim; he is a VICTOR.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2014

 

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Jerry Sandusky: The Disaster of Hidden Sin

Jesus Christ stated Himself that “What is in the dark will come into the light.” (Paraphrasing) This is why it is important to be honest with ourselves about our secret faults and hidden sins because involuntary exposure is usually not pretty at all. Unfortunately, that giant called PRIDE will make us keep our issues a secret or even swim down that river called DENIAL. (The Nile) We even tell ourselves that we will eventually change and we minimize our issues, sinking hopelessly into major deception. But of course, eventually the brown stuff hits the fan and the problem is magnified before those around you. Redemption is now going to be an uphill climb and you’re so deep in shame that you either sink back in fear, or run towards REPENTANCE as if your very life depends on it.

We all must realize that when hidden sin is never dealt with, the fallout has a domino effect. In the situation with the Penn State University sex scandal case, those dominos may still be falling years and years from now. Jerry Sandusky was the defensive coordinator for the university football team that had built a well-known tradition of being one of America’s great college programs. Joe Paterno was the head coach for sixty-one years and became the face of the university. Well, both of these men’s glory has come to a miserable end. As you probably know, Jerry Sandusky now awaits his sentencing after being found guilty of multiple counts of child molestation, and Joe Paterno died in the midst of this scandal as it rocked the air waves around the world. The volcano of sin erupted and it is still spewing lava and ashes. Several boys had been molested by Sandusky on the Penn State campus over a period of years. When Joe Paterno became aware of this activity, he chose to protect the program and did not take the necessary actions to ensure that an investigation was launched swiftly, which could have spared some young boys from the abuse. Sadly, college football is big business in this country and the Penn State program had way too much to lose. Reputation, millions upon millions of dollars and Saturday home games with fans filling one of the three largest football stadiums in the country were all more important than the lives of the young victims. Well, what they thought they were covering up has now come back to haunt them. It’s just like when a dead body surfaces and has all kinds of forensic evidence that leads the investigators to the killer.

The Penn State University sex scandal is still hot in the media and now the football program is going to suffer some extremely stiff penalties as a result. The university has just been fined sixty million dollars, the football program will get no post-season play for the next four years and it will lose twenty scholarships for the next four years as well. This is going to be DEVESTATING. I’m sure that home game attendance may suffer some for the time being. Penn State has the second largest football stadium in the country. Think about the surrounding businesses like hotels, restaurants, etc. who probably make a significant amount of their profits during football season. They are likely going to see a plunge in sales this next season and for several more. The effects will be staggering! I can already imagine that many high school recruits will see no choice but to pass up this once great program for other opportunities. I also believe that high school kids in the state of Pennsylvania may no longer want to attend this school as a result of this scandal. The university may also lose top donors and sponsors, and the number of potential civil suits from the victims and other entities that will likely be filed is SCARY. But all of this is due to HIDDEN SIN! One man’s secrets have affected millions of people! True enough, Joe Paterno’s actions play a part in this because he chose his friendship with Jerry Sandusky over doing what most sensible people would have done in reporting the child abuse and molestation. As a result, he just went from being the most winning coach in college football history to 12th all time because all wins from 1998 to the present are now considered vacated on the record books. The Apostle Paul said that it is sin to not do what we should. Joe Paterno’s legacy has now been tarnished forever and his INACTION victimized others. Penn State University now has an uphill battle in regaining its reputation and maybe even in recovering financially.

Jerry Sandusky has ruined his family name and I have strong empathy for his relatives. And while we should certainly be praying for his victims, his family needs just as much prayer because they have been victimized, just in a different way. The actions of this man have traumatized so many lives, and it is now surfacing that he has been molesting children long before his actions on the Penn State campus. History now will only regard him as a pedophile. What are supposed to be the golden years of his life will now be spent in prison. His golden years will now be aluminum foil, if even that…

So when did this all begin? I tell folks all the time that the guys who get caught trying to meet up with underage minors on that show “To Catch a Predator” are really no different than the average man. People like to believe that something is inherently wrong with these men, but I don’t believe that. These guys were just like me and countless others at one point in their lives. They probably had issues with self-pleasure, fornication and pornography just like most men. It’s just that their sin issues never got dealt with and somehow a crucial door opened to their hearts at the perfect time in the midst of their sin. The enemy and his demonic forces came in and darkened their hearts. Jerry Sandusky fits perfectly into this category. Imagine what could have happened had he gotten help a long time ago. Granted, I don’t know what his beliefs are but his secret sins/desires could have been dealt with if he would have been honest with himself and someone he trusted. Sadly those chances ran out a long time ago…

The good news is that you and I still have a window of opportunity to be made whole. The Lord is very patient and He is extending His grace to all of us. His grace is sufficient. The truth is that there are resources around us if we really, truly want help. There are various ministries available to us that God has put in place to heal the broken and set the captives free. The power of the blood of Jesus is real and the battle is already won! And get ACCOUNTABLE! So many people professing to be in the body of Christ have rejected accountability even though the Bible is full of examples. The Word says and I’m paraphrasing “iron sharpens iron.” The first part of Proverbs 27:6 states that “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Unfortunately, there is this demon called PRIDE that seeks to hide instead of to confide. No matter the situation, I would rather be embarrassed in front of someone who sincerely loves and cares about me than be embarrassed on the six o’clock news! Can I get an “Amen?”

Sin is just like a sore that eventually starts to fester. Then infection manifests and it begins to spread around the body. Before we know it, now certain internal organs are infected and it becomes a life or death situation. The man who is addicted to pornography eventually becomes a rapist or some other form of a pervert. The person with the out-of-control temper eventually kills someone in a fit of rage. The person who tells “white lies” eventually embezzles money from their place of employment. The person with secret, dark desires becomes a serial killer. The person experimenting with marijuana or other “party drugs” moves onto heroin or crack because the “highs” weren’t high enough. These scenarios have played in the lives of many people, so we can’t lie to ourselves believing that it will never happen to us. Even worse, multiple lives are hurt and destroyed in all of these scenarios. Your sin does not affect just you! So let’s please take hold of the Heavenly Father’s hand that He is extending to us. Be honest with yourself and with Him. Expose yourself to the people that God has placed in your life and confess your sins. Jesus instructed the man with the wounded hand to stretch it out before he could be healed. (See Mark 3:1-5) In other words, it had to be exposed before it could be healed. It could not remain hidden! Jerry Sandusky will probably never get redemption in his lifetime and now his only hope is to somehow work out his soul salvation before he takes his last breath. However, it is not too late for you and I. We can still sit in the mercy seat and be made whole… Take care and God bless!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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