Friday, December 07, 2007

Letter of apology to Mr. Mattes

This letter has already been sent to, and has been graciously been accepted by Mr. Mattes. He has give me permission to post it here. I have also made appropriate edits on my "Clearing Things Up" post.

Dear Mr. Mattes,

This morning I spent considerable time trying to figure out what caused you to be so incensed about my letter to your pastor. So I went back over my letter to your pastor and discovered a few things that alarmed me and for which I need to apologize to you for and ask your forgiveness:

First, I had no intention of trying to be anonymous or deceptive in writing to your pastor. I assumed that my e-mail signature had been automatically affixed to the letter to him. When I re-read it this morning and found that only my name was included; not my church or blog address—which is my normal signature—I could see how it appeared that I was trying to be sneaky or at least deceptive. I know as well as the next guy that my name could be googled and my “cover” blown, but never-the-less I apologize for making it appear that I was trying to be deceptive. Please forgive me.

Second, as an example of not thinking very carefully about the ramifications of what you are doing, I wrote my letter and subsequent post without thinking about how it would affect my friend and pastor Douglas Wilson. Pastor Wilson did not know about my letter until it had already been sent and posted. Not only did he not know about it but he certainly did not ask me to get involved in the discussion at all. He had the situation well in hand until I got all fired up and stuck my nose into it and now without me, he’s still doing very well. I have already apologized to him for making his life a little bit rougher and now I apologize to you for causing you to think my involvement was some sort of conspiracy or gang attack against you or your “side.” I did not have that in mind at all when I wrote, nor do I have it in mind now. Please forgive me for leading you in the wrong direction and for leading you to think worse of Pastor Wilson than you ought.

Third, I spent 4 years in the Navy and saw many instances of officers and senior enlisted men bullying junior enlisted men in the same way you described in your recounting of the incident with the enlisted man you were trying to help. I automatically connected my experience in the Navy with your actions and jumped to a different conclusion than the one you were trying to make. After reading the explanation of your first post—the one with brackets—I can see that I misunderstood your situation. Upon reflection, I can see that my conclusion makes no sense in the overall context of what you were trying to do with Louisiana Presbytery. I was wrong. Please forgive me.

Fourth, there has been some discussion about whether I said anything about going after you with the Air Force or the Pentagon. I don’t remember saying or writing anything about that. I don’t think that ever entered my mind. If, I did say anything like that you need to know that I had and have no intention of doing anything with regard to your job. That would be worse than reprehensible. Also, if I did say anything like that (in the heat of the battle, such as it was), I apologize and ask you to please forgive me.

One more thing on this point, when I wrote the letter to your pastor I did not ask him to remove you from office, only that he look into your behavior on the web, and if it turned out that you were in sin that you be rebuked.

Finally, I think most of this could have been avoided if I had called you on the phone and discussed it with you before I had written anything. Most of the concerns expressed in my letter, many of which I still have, could have been expressed better had I simply given you a call or written you a private letter. So, brother, I apologize for discussing this on the web at all and especially for not talking to you before my opinion of what you were trying to do went public (or to your pastor for that matter). Please forgive me.

If you can think of anything else I might need to ask your forgiveness for, I’d be happy to consider it and if I agree with you, to humbly ask. My guess is that unless we get this whole thing patched up, God will make us spend eternity next door to each other. I wouldn’t mind, if we were buds, but as it stands now, it wouldn’t be a very fun thing.

I pray that your ministry both in the Air Force and in your church would flourish with all the grace that is be supplied by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am your humbled brother in Christ,

Mike Lawyer


Keith said...


Thank you very much for your willingness to humble yourself and seek forgiveness. It is a good example to me; my sins may not be as public as this matter, but the need for humility and forgiveness is no less.

The Lord bless you,

Tim said...

Dear Mike and Bob, what an encouragement you both are to all of us as we watch you taking these steps of giving and receiving forgiveness. God our Lord is glorified, and ever one of us watching has received an early Christmas present.

The Clinging Vine said...

I wish when I have cause to apologize - which happens way too often - I could/would do it half as handsomely.

You and Pr. Mattes are definitely setting a godly example for the rest of us to follow when the need arises.


Anne Ivy
Fort Worth

Turretinfan said...

Reconciliation is a wonderful thing!

Praise be to the Lord!