the Hope of Survivors

Interview with Reporter Roshan McArthur for Marie Claire Magazine (UK), 8/18/04

(Note: This interview was subsequently turned into an article that was scheduled to be pubished in the June/July 2005 issue of Marie Claire Magazine. We have received notice that Marie Claire has decided not to publish the article at this time. The reporter is looking for another publication for the article, but gave us permission to publish the interview on this web site. Roshan's questions are capitalized, Samantha's responses follow.)

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU LIVING WHEN THE ABUSE HAPPENED?
We were living in Northern California, near the Bay Area, when the abuse occurred. It happened during 1999-2000, but the grooming began in 1998 and the stalking continued for over a year if, indeed, it has stopped.

WHAT AGE WERE YOU?
I was 29-30 when it occurred.

WHAT JOB WERE YOU DOING?
My husband and I owned a graphic design and web site development firm. I handled all the administrative duties, client contacts, marketing and some of the site maintenance work. Steve did all the design and programming.

HOW LONG HAD YOU BEEN MARRIED?
In May 1999, we had been married 5 years. We had been together since 1988.

WHAT IS YOUR HUSBAND’S NAME? HIS JOB? HIS AGE?
My husband’s name is Steve. He is 43 and he still works as a graphic designer/web site developer.

WERE YOU VERY MUCH IN LOVE?
Yes, very much so. I had always told him I fell in love with him from the day we first met. He was so different from any other man I’d known. He was gentle, loving, compassionate and kind.

DID YOU EVER IMAGINE YOU COULD BE ‘UNFAITHFUL’ TO HIM?
No, absolutely not. I don’t find myself being attracted to other men, nor interested in other men at all. Not now, and not then. Besides that, with the pain I was in all the time, sex was rarely a pleasurable experience for me. Steve was always very understanding.

HAD YOU BEEN TO CHURCH BEFORE?
I was not raised in church, but had attended once in a while with childhood friends. When I met Steve in 1988, I began attending church with him. He was raised in church.

WHY HAD YOU STOPPED GOING TO CHURCH?
Oh, now that’s a good question! We had never intended to stop going to church. It happened this way…we were attending a large college church that had a very charismatic preacher. Steve felt a bond with him, as he had recently been re-baptized by this pastor, and so we went to church regularly. Then, a scandal broke out about this pastor and he left the church. We questioned him about it, but he told us he didn’t do anything wrong and we believed him. In fact, that was in 1988, and we just, this May 2004, found out that he was guilty of the accusations. At any rate, when he left the church, he started his own group and we attended those meetings, gradually leaving our regular services. After 5-6 years, he moved out of state and suddenly we were sheep without a shepherd.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GO BACK INTO THE CHURCH?
Several things, I suppose, but primarily my husband felt we needed to go back and be part of the church. God was working in his life and drawing him closer to Him (God).

WHAT DID FULL COMMITMENT INVOLVE?
For me, full commitment meant attending regularly, paying tithe and being involved. I have always had a talent (thank God) for getting new projects and businesses up and running, and so Steve and I went back to church with all kinds of ideas on how to reach out to members and the community. We were excited.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE PASTOR? EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY?
The first day we heard him preach, Steve was touched by his message of grace. As a person, however, we were not too impressed. When we told him of all our ideas for outreach, he was cold and, one by one, told us why each one wouldn’t work. It was discouraging! Now we know why…if we had been allowed to do some of these things, there would have been more spirituality in the other church members and less opportunity for the pastor to do wrong. Physically? Not attractive (to me) at all.

HOW OLD WAS HE?
I believe he was 56 at the time; he is 27 years older than me.

WHAT DID HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS WIFE SEEM LIKE?
Initially, they seemed happy, but were rarely together during the services or afterward. After we got to know them better, their relationship seemed strained, at least compared to Steve’s and mine—we are always together—the pastor and his wife were not.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CONTACT WITH HIM LIKE?
Contact in what way? He seemed reserved at first after meeting us, but I later learned (during the time of abuse) that he had “set his sights on me the minute we walked through the church doors that first day.” I was targeted and I didn’t even know it!

YOU MENTIONED HEALTH PROBLEMS YOU HAD AT THE TIME—WHAT WERE THESE?
Well, at the time I didn’t know what was wrong. I compiled a list of all my daily symptoms and went to multiple doctors. I had several longstanding, ongoing health problems. One of them, endometriosis, precipitated my complete hysterectomy in 2000. It should have been done when I was 16, but in God’s Providence, the timing was perfect. The time I spent recuperating (several months) gave me the time I needed to end the physical relationship with the pastor. As to my other conditions, I was later diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s, tinnitus, and Meneire’s. But we won’t go there…the list is too long! Praise God He has given me better health after all this!

WHAT BUSINESS WERE YOU DOING THAT CAUSED YOU TO WORK SO MUCH? WERE THERE OTHER STRESSES AS WELL?
Well, as I mentioned, we ran our own company and we had so many clients that we were having difficulty keeping up with all the work on our own. We had looked into hiring some help, but did not find anyone suitable to help with the design work. Yes, there were other stresses, too. For one, my husband began having severe chest pains. He thought he was having a heart attack. It was stress-related. Also, our oldest “daughter” (our dog Leesha) was having a serious problem with her eye. One vet said it was a tumor and that she’d die. Turns out it must have been a splinter or something in her eye that had become infected because when we gave her antibiotics, it cleared up. She is doing fine today at almost 12 years old!

WHAT WAS THE ISSUE THAT CAME UP? WHAT ABUSE HAD YOU SUFFERED IN THE PAST? WHAT DO YOU THINK MADE YOU SO VULNERABLE?
I had been abused as a child, raped as a teenager, and had lived with an abusive boyfriend prior to meeting my husband. I had not been raised with the ability to stand up for myself. There was a situation with a family member that occurred that prompted me to consider counseling for the past abuse. I really can’t say more on that particular incident at this time.

WHY DID YOU FEEL YOU COULD CONFIDE IN THE PASTOR? HOW DID YOUR HUSBAND FEEL ABOUT THIS?
It’s a long story—too long for this brief article—but I was getting very depressed because I was in pain all the time. I was at the point where I wanted to end my life, to leave my husband because I didn’t want him to have to suffer through losing me as he had suffered when his mother passed away. I know it makes no sense now. For some reason, I suspect because the pastor had already began grooming (brainwashing, controlling, manipulating) me, it made sense then. My husband, desiring of saving our marriage and my life, actually went to the pastor and asked if he would counsel me. Steve was uncomfortable with it, but asked anyway, and the pastor assured him that it would be no problem. You see, by this time, we had become good friends with the pastor and his family and spent much time together, in various activities. My husband told me later that when I went to the first counseling session, he had a very strong impression that he had “made a deal with the devil.”

WHEN DID YOU NOTICE THE PASTOR WAS INTERESTED IN MORE THAN JUST COUNSELING YOU? DID THIS MAKE YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE?
The pastor actually began grooming me and setting me up long before counseling began. Counseling was actually his goal, in order to further his own agenda. Somehow, I played right into it all. The pastor and his wife knew how much we loved them and looked up to them as parental role models. As the friendship deepened, it was between Steve, the pastor and me, more than the pastor’s wife. The pastor would call all the time and always remind us how much he loved to be with us and that he didn’t keep many close friends. We felt we were meeting his need for fellowship and friendship. My husband quickly grew tired of all the time the pastor wanted to spend with us, but as the “good little girl” I would always encourage my husband to spend time anyway because, after all, the pastor needed our friendship.

There were subtle innuendoes and things all along, but it was in June 1999 that the first major incident occurred. We had just completed a program at the church for which I was responsible for organizing and I was in the kitchen cleaning up. The pastor came in to say good-bye and, as we hugged, I heard him make a moaning/groaning sound. It was not a sound that exists between friends! I was shocked and uneasy, but didn’t know what to do or say, so I did and said nothing. Big mistake!

DO YOU KNOW THAT THERE WERE OTHER VICTIMS? IF SO, HOW MANY?
I don’t know for sure, however, we do strongly suspect that there were others. We believe this, in part, because of some of the pastor’s own comments made to me, the reaction of his wife, and some of the information we found out from the church conference office.

LOOKING BACK NOW, DO YOU FEEL YOU WERE VERY NAÏVE? OR TOO TRUSTING?
Oh, yes! I have always been very naïve and trusting. I have always been one to try to please others, and could never stand for anyone to be mad at me. That’s part of what the pastor played upon—he knew I didn’t want him to be mad at me. He knew I would do what he wanted in order to make him happy. It’s a very twisted way to live, manipulating people to get what you want!

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CONFRONT HIM ABOUT IT? HOW DID YOU DO IT?
I confronted the pastor several times in different ways and, unfortunately, none of them were the right way. I wrote to him on several occasions and told him that I felt he had taken advantage of me and that I still “loved” him but wanted our relationship to be “right,” meaning just friends. Other times he would cry and tell me he was sorry he hurt me, but this was all a show. His actions belied his words. He was a very good—convincing—liar.

HOW DID HE REACT?
Well, he reacted differently at different times. He almost always lied about what had happened when he spoke to my husband and his own wife. Later I found out that he told me lies as well, something he said he’d never do. He tried to cover up what he was doing, and he tried to convince my husband that he wouldn’t do anything anymore.

The last confrontation we had was when my husband and I went to the pastor’s workplace (the car lot) and confronted him about an email he had just sent to me. This confrontation was done under much distress, but I told him to never contact me again. He denied that he had, but Steve spoke up and told him that he knew all about the secret emails he had been sending me and to stop it and stay away from our house. I was a basket case—crying and wishing I would just disappear.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN HE ADMITTED HIS FEELINGS?
Well, he admitted his feelings quite early on and I was shocked by them and had no idea what to do or say. The “compliant Samantha” politely returned the “I love you.” After all, I did love him and his family. They had become as our own. However, his kind of love and mine were two very different things! I felt confused, ashamed of knowing this new “secret,” and frightened. I was frightened because I didn’t know what to do and I was afraid to tell my husband.

WHY DID HE HAVE SUCH A STRONG EFFECT ON YOU? WAS THIS BECAUSE YOU HAD LOW SELF-ESTEEM? DO YOU THINK ABUSERS PREY ON WOMEN WHO ARE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE?
Yes, abusers definitely prey on those who are vulnerable. We have seen cases where the pastor repeatedly seeks those who are known to have abuse in their backgrounds or other emotional problems. Having low self-esteem is too simplistic of an answer. There were many factors, although not thinking very highly of myself—not seeing myself as a child of God, was certainly part of it. I think this pastor had such a strong hold on me due to his being my “father figure” and his strong, satanic, control. I do believe that somehow he was able to hypnotize me. It certainly seemed that I was “under his spell” throughout the ordeal. I know he had occult practices in his background, and I know he was definitely working for Satan, not God, when he was abusing me. That spell broke as some people began to pray for me.

WHEN HE DECIDED TO BECOME MORE PHYSICAL, WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED?
He began with lingering handshakes in church, passing me notes at his house and in church, holding my hand, groping me, kissing me and so on. He moved very rapidly, and would always tell me to just let him have sex with me one time and then it would “cure” him and he could focus on helping me. Some “cure”!

DID YOU TRY TO STOP HIM?
Yes and no. I told him I didn’t want this to happen. I told him “no” when he pushed to have sex with me. I tried every excuse I could think of to get him to lose interest in me, to stay with his wife, but all failed. The one thing I didn’t do was tell someone. You see, victims of childhood abuse are good at keeping secrets. They have had to do so in the past in order to survive or to keep from losing their parent. I covered for the pastor because, as my father figure, I felt I needed him. I use this illustration: Plan A is to say “no.” However, abuse victims know that no one really listens to their “no’s” so they develop Plan B, which is to make excuses for why the person wouldn’t want them and so on. Victims have not learned to be strong, to cry out for help, or to stand firm against pressure. We’re “people-pleasers.” The first time there was intercourse, it was because he raped me in the church office. I said, “no,” repeatedly, but he didn’t stop. It wasn’t a violent thing like one imagines rape being, but it was rape, nevertheless. I told him so later on.

HOW OFTEN DID THIS HAPPEN—AND OVER HOW LONG A PERIOD OF TIME?
Over a period of six months, there were nine instances of sexual intercourse. The times he would manage to grab me, hold my hand, kiss me, fondle me, etc., are too numerous to count, and happened beginning in July 1999, when he first placed his hand on me (in the presence of his wife who was looking the other way) and I was aware that it was something he was doing “in secret,” and ended in September 2000.

DID HE TALK ABOUT HIS MARRIAGE? DID HE CLAIM HE WAS UNHAPPY? DID HE CONFIDE IN YOU AS WELL, OR WAS IT ALL ABOUT YOU CONFIDING IN HIM?
It became mostly him confiding in me about his unhappiness in his marriage and how much he “loved” me and wanted me to be with him. He told me he had never wanted to marry his wife and that he went into the ministry because it was an easy job. There was actually very little counseling for me after the first few sessions. It became a cover-up for his real motives—spending time alone with me. I kept going because I kept thinking he would help me.

HOW DID THIS MAKE YOU FEEL? GUILTY? SUICIDAL? DID YOU TRY TO COMMIT SUICIDE? IF SO, HOW?
The thought of cheating on my husband, the thought of having this pastor touch me, the thought of ruining his life, his family, the church, my family, all weighed heavily upon me. I felt dirty, guilty, ashamed, absolutely disgusted with myself. Yes, after the pastor began touching me, I began repeating self-injury behaviors like I had done as a teenager, cutting my wrists, beating myself with belts, etc. I tried to commit suicide numerous times, and by various means. Once, Steve came home in time to remove the electrical cord from around my neck just prior to my blacking out. Other times he came home to find me suffocating. Each attempt was done in earnest—I was not crying out for help—I was seriously trying to die. I must say, though, that God surely had another plan because Steve always felt impressed to return home just in time to prevent my death.

WHAT EXACTLY DID YOUR HUSBAND KNOW? DID YOU TELL HIM EVERYTHING?
My husband knew different things at different times. At first, I had just told him that the pastor had kissed me and touched my breast. Later, Steve found emails on my computer that told him a lot more was happening than he had imagined. He questioned me about it and confronted the pastor as well. After I began coming to my senses, I realized that the pastor was abusing me, and I began to share everything with Steve, without the pastor knowing.

HOW DID THE PASTOR’S WIFE FIND OUT?
I believe she suspected something all along, although from what the pastor told me, she was accusing him of having an affair with some other individuals, which he, of course, denied. She tried to talk to Steve, but their discussion did not get very far. In the end, I believe his wife found some of our emails on his computer.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN SHE CONFRONTED HIM?
I don’t know exactly. I know he didn’t tell her the whole truth. Nor did he tell me the truth about what had happened when she found out. He was lying to everyone. At one point when she discovered that he was still “counseling” me after he had told her he wasn’t, she drove their car through their garage door. She wrote an email to us and told me I had “opened Pandora’s box.” She is the one who called the church conference and that led to his being fired.

HOW LONG DID HE STALK YOU FOR?
That is hard to say. The phone calls, drive-bys and emails continued for at least a year. There have been subsequent phone calls, which we believe are from him although we can’t prove it, even to this day, three years after the abusive relationship ended.

DID YOU TAKE LEGAL ACTION—GET A RESTRAINING ORDER?
We filed a police report for the stalking and had the phone tapped, but the pastor was too clever to get caught. With phone cards, pay phones and cell phones, it is easy to stalk and not get caught. By the way, did I mention the pastor was a former thief? We consulted an attorney, but I was not emotionally stable enough to have moved forward with a civil suit. After much prayer and discussion, we decided we would leave justice and vengeance to the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

HOW DID THE CHURCH REACT?
The local church body was not given details and there was no public announcement, so there really wasn’t much of a reaction. However, those who were close to us knew what happened and most were supportive. Some could not believe that the pastor could do some of the horrible things he did, and some believed that I was a “woman spurned” by the pastor. The person who believed that later learned the truth though.

HOW WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR HUSBAND AFTER THIS? DID HE EVER ACCUSE YOU OF WANTING TO HAVE THIS ‘AFFAIR’?
No, Steve never accused me of wanting to have a relationship of a sexual nature with the pastor. He knew it wasn’t so. As I became enmeshed in it though, there were times when I certainly behaved as though I “wanted” a relationship with the pastor, although in my heart, that was never the case. I became trapped in a cycle of lies—lying to please the pastor, lying to my husband to keep the pastor from getting in trouble and from losing my husband—you can never win by lying. When this all ended, Steve and I had a very long talk—probably more than one—where we both confessed to anything we ever did that was wrong in our courtship and marriage. It was a wonderful way to clear up any past hurts that needed to be forgiven.

Our marriage was difficult during the time when Steve was aware of the abuse, but things greatly improved once the abuse ended and we recommitted ourselves to each other. Steve really is a wonderful husband. I am blessed.

WHY DO YOU THINK THIS HAPPENED TO YOU? WAS IT SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR VULNERABILITY AT THE TIME?
Yes, definitely it was due to my vulnerabilities. There were a lot at the time: unresolved issues of past abuse, heavy stress and workload, health problems, etc. One of the greatest vulnerabilities, I think, was the lack of a loving, supportive father during my childhood. I wanted to be “special,” to be “good enough.” During my adolescence, I had become anorexic in my quest to be perfect in order to please everyone. I had to have straight A’s in school; I had to be the best at everything; just to feel like people would like me or approve of me. The pastor, after uncovering all my life history practically (during the grooming stages of our friendship), knew all my weak spots and he used them against me to his own advantage.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS ABUSE?
My husband kept trying to tell me this wasn’t right, that I was being abused, but I couldn’t see it. As God’s Providence would have it, I ended up meeting someone who knew about clergy sexual abuse and during the course of the meeting, the light began to break through my dark, deluded mind. As the pastor could sense the changes in my demeanor, he began to stalk me and that made things even clearer. After I had started seeing a counselor, I came out one day to find a note on my car from the pastor that said, “I can see you, but you can’t see me.” That was just one of many ways he would stalk me.

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PASTOR AT THIS POINT? DISGUST?
Yes, disgust is an appropriate word. I actually felt that way at different times when the abuse was occurring. It is amazing what happens to a person who has been abused as a child and then finds herself in a situation like this. He made himself my savior—he had me believing that I could not live without him, that my existence depended on him and that he would be the one to help me. All the while, he continued with his own agenda. It is really disgusting to think of how he controlled and manipulated me and my husband, as well as his wife and the church at large. Since this abuse, there have been times when I reflect back on what happened and I find that I want to scrub my skin off because he has touched me and defiled me. Obviously, I don’t do that. The Lord has given me healing emotionally, spiritually and physically.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIM? HAS HE RETURNED TO HIS WIFE? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HIM NOW?
As far as I know, he is still working as a used car salesman, the job he took after he was terminated as a pastor. He divorced his wife immediately after she found out and tried to get me to divorce my husband. To my knowledge he has not reconsidered uniting with her and, from what he told me in the past, he will never reunite with her.

How do I feel about him now? Well, as his victim, I am disgusted by and angry with him for nearly destroying my life and my marriage. As a Christian, I pity him and pray that he will confess and forsake his sins so he might have eternal life. (1 John 1:9)

HOW DID YOUR COMMUNITY REACT? WAS THIS PART OF YOUR REASON TO MOVE ON?
The issue was never addressed publicly, so the community did not know what happened, at least as far as I’m aware. We chose to move because of many reasons. One, we sold our company and Steve went to work for a company 1.5 hours away. Two, we felt we could not fully mend our relationship while we were living so close to the pastor who abused and stalked me. (He moved a couple blocks away from our home.) As long as we lived there, he would continue to stalk and there would always be triggers for both of us. We prayed and the Lord opened the doors for us to move.

HOW OFTEN DOES THIS HAPPEN? IS IT MOSTLY TO WOMEN? HOW DOES THIS FEEL DIFFERENT FROM AN AFFAIR?
Sadly, this happens far too often, in churches of every denomination. It happens to men, women and children, however, the focus of The Hope of Survivors is adult women. Statistics are incredibly difficult to come by, if not downright impossible. Someone will always be afraid to tell the truth and even though we may determine the number of pastors who may have been fired for abusing their members, that is only the number who have been caught and terminated. It doesn’t include those who haven’t been caught, and it doesn’t include the total number of women. We have found that most perpetrating pastors have abused multiple women.

I imagine it feels a lot like an affair in the beginning because there is usually a sense of “infatuation” when it’s happening and most women believe they have had an affair when they first talk about it. I have not had an affair (committing adultery and having an affair are two different things, although both are a violation of the 7th Commandment), however, I would speculate that it feels different in the sense that you automatically place your entire trust in the pastor; you (in most cases) never would have considered dating this man if you met him on the street; you are confused about God’s will because in many situations, the pastor tries to convince the woman that it is God’s will for them to be together; and you never wanted the relationship between you and the pastor to take this route. Most women, myself included, just wanted the pastor to be the pastor—a representative of Christ who led them to a deeper understanding of God and helped them to heal from their painful past or current difficulties.

HAVE YOU MET A LOT OF OTHER WOMEN WHO THIS HAS HAPPENED TO? WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO SET UP YOUR SUPPORT GROUP? WHAT DOES IT DO—AND HOW MUCH WORK DOES IT INVOLVE FOR YOU?
In the past 13 months, The Hope of Survivors has worked with 50 women/couples who have suffered from clergy sexual abuse. We have yet to really advertise much. There have been others who have contacted us through the web site, but the 50 are ones we have spent time working with on an ongoing basis. There are new contacts every month. In July alone, there were 12 new women. I work full-time as a volunteer since there is not enough funding for salaries yet. My husband spends about 15-20 hours per week volunteering as well. We both spend more time when we have conferences.

The Hope of Survivors is not really a support group, although we certainly do support and encourage. As the number of women increases, we are talking about developing a handbook/guideline for a support group format that could be used nationwide, or even globally.

Primarily, we offer one-on-one consultation through email, phone or mail; we offer conferences and seminars to victims and their spouses (if married); and we offer educational seminars to pastors and churches. The ministry is really unique in the sense that we are working with all groups—victims, pastors and church body—in order to educate, inform, encourage and assist all in helping to bring an end to this type of abuse. The Hope of Survivors is an advocate for, and mediator between, the victim and the church. I like to say we are the bridge between the wounded individual and her relationship with God and the church. Some of our current projects include having our materials printed in Spanish; two different books we’re writing on the topic of clergy sexual abuse; developing Bible studies that will directly address the issues that abused individuals are facing, questions such as “Where was God?” “How to Find Hope” and so on; developing training and instructional videos for pastors, churches and victims (in English & Spanish); and praying about a retreat center for victims and their spouses. We have no idea where the funds would come from, or where we should locate. We only know it is a need—and many have asked us for it.

The Hope of Survivors is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible. If anyone would like to contribute, they may do so on our web site (http://www.thehopeofsurvivors.com/donate.asp) or by sending their check to: The Hope of Survivors, P.O. Box 27, Effingham, IL 62401.

HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR HUSBAND THESE DAYS? IS HE INVOLVED IN YOUR MISSION/WORK?
Our relationship is wonderful. It is better than ever because we have allowed God to recreate us, individually and as a couple. We renewed our wedding vows and were re-baptized together shortly after the abuse ended, in 2000.

Steve is very much involved with The Hope of Survivors. He is the President. In fact, it was primarily his idea to create the initial web site, as he felt the Lord compelling him to do so. We sat down one evening and discussed the information that should be available and then began writing.

He is involved in speaking during our victim’s conferences, the pastor’s training sessions and in working with the male spouses of victims. He also does all of our graphic design and programming, of course.

HOW HAS THIS EXPERIENCE CHANGED YOU AS A PERSON?
It has changed me immensely! For one thing, I grew much closer to the Lord. My walk with God became real, not just an intellectual knowledge of religion, but a real-life conversion and experience of having the Lord transform my life in all areas. The Lord has healed me from the pain and shame of my past, as well as brought healing to some of my physical health problems as well. I believe that I am much more dependent on God and less dependent on myself and that makes it much easier! I am now more interested in pleasing God, than pleasing man.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18