Friends of Derek Gillett Speak Out

This e-mail was sent to me privately and I asked the writer if I could share it. She so clearly verbalizes the devastation that follows in the wake of a pastor and friend being exposed as an abuser.

One of the things this writer has expressed is something I’ve been wondering how to point out. Not for one minute do I want to minimize the pain being experienced by Derek’s victims. Those girls will have scars that last a lifetime.

At the same time, it is a very real fact that everyone who trusted Derek – whether as a family member, friend or church member – has been his victim. He abused everyone. He abused their trust, their friendship, their love. He abused his position of authority. He abused the Word of God by speaking “God’s Word” from the same mouth that spoke lies simultaneously. He abused the church by adding another “proof” to the ever-growing pile of apparent evidences that Christianity is an empty religious led by two-faced power mongers who use their authority as a platform for selfish gratification.

Everyone directly affected by this experience is hurting. Something like this makes you question everything. And one of the hinderances to working through it to find God’s redemptive plan — the good that God wants to bring out of the ashes of man’s ungodly destruction — is minimizing the reality of this very real pain.

No one wants to equate the pain of family and friends to what the girls have experienced and will continue to experience. But we cannot make the mistake of believing since our pain is “not as bad” it is therefore irrelevant.

Everyone involved has been abused. No, it’s not the same as being molested. But it is abuse. Until we can come to accept that fact, we will fail to appreciate just how significant this problem in the church is. We will also short-circuit our own healing.

Below is a copy of the e-mail I received.


…Several comments are being made here on your blog as well as on “Hicktown Press” about [Derek Gillett’s friends] not apologizing to the girls for our support of Derek. I believe you wrote something to the effect of how if this accusation turned out to be true how devastating it will be to those who were church members and/or supporters. We are feeling as if we are victims also. I’m not saying that we could be hurting as much as the girls, but the pain is here just the same.

Not being an abused person, I cannot begin to imagine what or how the girls that Derek abused are feeling. I do know, however, how we are all feeling in our community who has stood behind a family who could only share a portion of the situation and therefore we were all left to draw our own conclusions. Everyone has felt an enormous heart-rending downward spiral effect. We have felt anger and remorse at believing Derek was innocent…

Our community, as well as the Georgia community, who believed in and trusted this man is hurting, crying and searching for answers as to how could we be so blind. Each of us feel betrayed and many cannot even begin to put into words how we feel. Know that everyone I know who has commented on your blog believing in Derek, is feeling pretty much the same as I do. Healing has to begin for all of us. I pray daily for our communities healing and restoration.

As a mother, I have prayed for Derek’s mother with a mother’s heart, hearing what her son admitted to doing to his step-daughters. [There was] so much hurt that day in the court room that she had to be taken to the hospital. My heart hurts even more for Theresa, Derek’s wife, who has to now become the sole bread winner for her family, deal with her daughters who have been victimized, her sons whose daddy is now in jail and her own feelings of betrayal by Derek and guilt of not seeing what was going on in her own home (not that she should feel guilty, but I’m sure she has to be feeling that).

Our prayers have changed and are now filled with compassion for these girls. We prayed for them throughout this whole time; however, our prayers were biased just the same. Many of us have asked for God’s forgiveness in the way we had been praying.

The “Hicktown Press” blog called us cult followers, [but] we do not consider ourselves as such. My whole life I have trusted people so completely and have been disappointed many time because of this type of trust. However, I know God would have us believe the best in others and I know that He loves Derek still.

I just feel that many cannot express their feelings individually and maybe that is why I am sending this e-mail for you to put into your words our expressions of hurt, betrayal and compassion…