The wife of former Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz is speaking out for the first time since her husband was fired from the megachurch amid a sex scandal.
In an Instagram post that included photos of palm trees and a blue sky, Laura Lentz alluded to the backlash that their family faced following the ordeal. Carl left the church after admitting to infidelity in November, but Laura waited until her 18-year wedding anniversary on Wednesday to finally address the situation.
"i have looked at these palm trees everyday for the past few months & there are many symbolic meanings to these amazing trees," she wrote. "a few that have resonated with me during this season of my life: they are strong, can weather the biggest storms, they always grow upwards. freedom, righteousness, reward, resurrection just to name a few."
Lentz explained that she had decided to take a break from social media because it was "not good for my soul," adding that she has had to block and delete "more people & comments than i can count."
"trolls are cowards, SOME 'Christians' are anything but kind, gracious, or loving...but that won’t stop me from growing upwards & getting stronger," she continued.
She said that, over the past few months, she had learned a lot about herself and knew "the kindness of God." She had also found true friendships.
"i will not forget who abandoned us, but i choose to keep my heart free of bitterness & remain thankful for those that have stayed & loved us," she wrote. "i don’t want to judge others nor do i want to be judged... one thing a friend told me during this time is, “i would rather be accused of being too gracious toward someone, over being accused of judging someone too harshly”... i want to be known as a woman who sees the good in people & truly loves people unconditionally..."
Hillsong founder Brian Houston announced Carl Lentz's termination in a statement that cited "ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures," according to People. "They have a heart for people and we are confident that after a time of rest and restoration, God will use Carl in another way outside of Hillsong church," the statement read. "In terminating his tenure, we in no way want to diminish the good work he did here."
Carl Lentz also opened up about his axing in a statement to Instagram, explaining that a pastor is required to live in a way that "honors the mandate," the church, and God, but he did not honor that code when he was unfaithful to his wife.
"When that does not happen, a change needs to be made and has been made in this case to ensure that standard is upheld," he continued. "Laura and I and our amazing children have given all that we have to serve and build this church and over the years I did not do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refilling my own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available."
Lentz admitted he had failed as a pastor and husband and was taking responsibility for his actions.
"I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura, and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need," he wrote. "I am deeply sorry for breaking the trust of many people who we have loved serving and understand that this news can be very hard and confusing for people to hear and process."
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