To the OKWU students who received Dr. Piper's open letter

Subject: To the OKWU students who received Dr. Piper's open letter
From: A former OKWU student
Date: 3 Dec 2015

To the students addressed in Dr. Piper's letter,
I am sorry.
I am sorry that I cannot contact you all directly and I am sorry for any hurt you may feel. I have felt hurt a lot in my life, and am very sad to say that I never found help for my problems or pain in chapel sermons when I was a student in those same seats. I wanted to. But I found no hope, only guilt.
Now I could talk to you about my time at OKWU, or why I transferred before my degree was finished, but I don't want to call people out. I don't want to respond in kind, I want to respond with kindness.
I don't know your names, I don't know who you are, but I want to tell you that you are loved. And while I believe in the virtue of humility, nothing has ever humbled me more than an act of love. Not a sermon about love, not a viral post, but a quiet, sincere act of understanding. This was the kind of thing that Christ himself did. When we are confronted with help in our time of need, when we are listened to and spoken to as an equal, we are confronted not with coddling, but with a reality different than most of us have ever known. We are inspired to give this love again as it was given to us. And maybe the goal of the church is to spur a confession or a feeling of conviction, but the goal of Jesus was to give so much love that he died doing it. That love may end in a feeling of conviction for one's wrongs, but rarely is it the self loathing conviction one feels at the end of a sermon. It is the conviction one feels that inspires a new course of life and a fervor for giving rather than repeated penance and guilt that stains into depression. I felt that depression. It led me to deep suicidal thoughts and unhealthy actions. And believe me, I do want us all to become better people, but I want us to do it because we felt loved, not afraid.
And I want you to know, I LOVE YOU. God has forgiven you. It isn't my place to say whether or not you are right with him. It is only my place to say that love is real. Even there at OKWU, some of my professors made me feel more loved in class and in office meetings than I ever felt in chapel.
For that I am sorry.
Maybe OKWU isnt a safe place. No where is. But there still is a safe place for us.
"God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble." (Psalms 46:1)