In a July 12 email to ministry supporters promoting a new teaching series called “Overcoming Hindrances to Vision: Resisting Resentment,” Dr. I.V. Hilliard, pastor of New Light Christian Center in Houston, TX opens up about a time when church infighting escalated, landing him in the slammer.
“I was handcuffed and taken to jail for trespassing in my own pulpit. I had grown up a boy preacher and was not exposed to this type of church fight. Even though I won in court, I carried around resentment,” he said in the e-communication.
The shocking incident filled the young leader with anger, leading him into a vengeful cycle of trying to get even. “I wasn’t even aware that my heart had become polluted. Before I knew it, I was saying hurtful words and doing destructive things against those who offended me. My resentment had grown into retaliation! Because my heart was corrupted, I didn’t even realize I was putting my own future at risk!”
But the leader, husband and father shares a word God spoke to him that changed his heart and course. “God spoke to me and lovingly told me that, ‘He could not use me like this.’ That day, I repented, let go of that resentment and cleaned out my heart. I have guarded my heart from resentment since that day!”
Applying his own principles for not being resentful likely have come in handy since June, when a group of offended followers came after him for requesting that ministry partners donate $52 each to raise $50,000 to replace the blades on the church’s helicopter.
The mega preacher was lambasted online and cast as a model of how prosperous men of the cloth shake down laity for selfish gain.
Hilliard, who began his church in 1984 with approximately 23 members, that now boasts more than 28,000 and six ministry locations, said in a statement to Fox News,
“We sincerely regret if anyone was offended by this appeal in that it was not our intent.”