Godly Sorrow – Part 3

wHere is the conclusion of Spurgeon’s sermon on godly sorrow that leads to repentance. “Lord, let me weep for nought but sin, And after none but thee; And then I would – oh, that I might! A constant weeper be. This is joy, rest, patience, bliss, just to lie there, and weep, and wash with tears the feet that came upon that errand of love and mercy for us, and still look, and love, and long, and weep, and look, and love, and long, and weep again, and kiss again and again the blessed feet of him who hath redeemed us unto God by his blood. The Lord keep us there, dear friends! Amen. Amen.”

(Source: Godly Sorrow and Sorrow, a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon delivered on 9/9/1900)

What more is there to say?

I leave you with some quotes from the piercing words of godly sorrow from the widow of the late James Kim of Toledo. Her words sparked the results of godly sorrow in me, just as 2 Corinthians 7:11 reads: “See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

An Example of Godly Sorrow

The following testimony was posted by M. Rebecca B. K., the wife of James J. K., a former UBF Toledo director, at the reformubf.org web site on July 17, 2001. In this testimony, she revealed the truth of her mission life within the UBF ministry, from the beginning of her marriage life to her present life in Houston, Texas. This report shows what harm UBF is causing not only to “sheep,” but also to “missionaries,” who offer their whole lives for UBF, but often live in broken families, because the interfering of the leaders obstructs a harmonic marriage life. It also shows much of the well hidden dark side of UBF and the sufferings it inflicts on the members. Most of the female members are suffering silently.

This is one of the rare documents where a female UBF member does take the courage to open her mouth to tell about the real face of UBF. The full letter may be read here, where her letter has been posted online for many years now. In light of Scripture and Spurgeon’s sermon on godly sorrow, I make this public plea for many women in ubf, whether Korean or American or Russian or Canadian or any where around the world, to speak up with the courage of Esther in the bible and the boldness and heart of Rebecca B. Kim.

Excerpts from Rebecca’s Open Letter in 2001

My Marriage in the Garden of Eden

In August of 1976, when I left the United States to get married in Korea, I had $5 dollars in my hand. In Korea, I stayed at Chong Ro Missionary Training Center waiting for my parents to bring me money for the marriage. While I was there I had nothing to do, so for two days I studied Genesis chapter 2 about marriage. I learned that:

1. Marriage existed in the Garden of Eden, which is paradise.
2. The man I was going to marry was the one out of whom I had been created.

And I felt that these things were true about the man I married. As a Kwan Ak Center intern shepherd, my husband was spiritual, devoted to God, gentle, smart, handsome, and penniless.

We took a two-day honeymoon: he rented an old, rusted bicycle and put me on the back seat. He rode the dirt-covered, rocky country roads at full speed. I had to hold him tightly in order not to fall off.

Soon, I returned to Toledo, Ohio, and continued the pioneering ministry at the University of Toledo. After a year, my husband, Missionary James K., joined me in Toledo and took over the ministry.

The Beginning of Trouble

M. James K. did anything and everything he could to earn money to support our family. He worked as a waiter, a janitor, a door-to-door salesman, etc. Meanwhile, our student ministry in Toledo was growing. It was the first American college student ministry in the history of UBF. In the winter of 1977, we held the first American UBF college students’ conference in Toledo. I cooked for three days for 30-40 attendants. At the time, I was four-month’ pregnant with my first child.

After the conference, I was so tired that I felt as if I was going to lose the baby. But I was uneasy and could not rest because of what I had seen and heard days before the conference. In a Toledo Center living room, I had seen M. Samuel Lee looking at a female missionary, and calling her a “hidden spiritual director” with a smile on his face. The missionary smiled shyly in response. “What does ‘hidden spiritual director’ mean?” I wondered.

This incident signified that M. Samuel Lee had a blueprint for the future of the Toledo ministry. Though I didn’t know what the plans were at the time, the ministry was slowly being fashioned according to his design.

The “hidden spiritual director” turned out to be an active informant who functioned as Samuel Lee’s leash on M. James K.. I had to be ostracized.

Rejected by my husband

So accordingly, I began to feel his influence. After I had been married to him for about a year or so, M. James was the same kind, gentle, and loving husband. However, as time wore on, he began to change. I began to feel that he was keeping himself distant from me. Later, it seemed that he was regretting ever having married me. Finally, he became cold and cruel. His criticism towards me seemed to intensify each time he returned from a Chicago message training session. However, he did not care to explain the reasoning behind his actions.

But I was not fooled. I realized that I was in a religious group in which one leader was exercising power as if he were God. If the leader was against me, then certainly, I would feel the crushing weight of an iron wheel. But I did not expect that he would stoop to turning my husband against me, and I was unprepared for what was to come.

Whenever M. James K. went to Chicago message training, M. Samuel Lee would treat him like a son and also feed him with negative comments about me. One of the negative comments was that the Toledo ministry was declining because M. James was listening to me. So M. James K., our co-workers in Toledo, and even all of UBF seemed to believe that.

M. James K. was torn between his desire to love his wife and to follow this supposedly spiritual direction not to listen to his wife for the sake of the Toledo ministry. Gradually he yielded to M. Samuel Lee. He decided not to listen to me and even to despise me since I was a hindrance to God’s work and to his own spiritual growth. He chose to serve God by rejecting his wife.

At that point, M. James and I did not speak to each other for weeks at a time. Since we shared only one car, my children would pass the car keys between the two of us. There was an icy chill between us. Twice I asked M. James K. for a divorce, but he refused.

My child or obedience

Princess Diana said that her marriage was a little crowded because there were three people in her marriage. Yet, she kept her head strong and autonomy of her will. In my three-person marriage, I had no autonomy. M. James K. was obeying whatever M. Samuel Lee said. He was turning into an obedience machine and was losing his humanity. When my second daughter was about to be born, I had no money to pay for a delivery. I put my life before God and delivered her at home. After six weeks, I returned to work with my face still swollen. When she was 3-4 months old, M. Samuel Lee gave a direction to M. James K. to send her to my sister’s home in Chicago.

I did not want to send her and it was against my will. Though I was her mother, I could not say a word of objection. My only choice was to obey. In UBF, M. Samuel Lee’s direction was from God. Disobeying him was disobeying God. As I was packing her stuff, I was crying in pain, which I could not share with M. James K.

After my baby had stayed at my sister’s home for three months, my sister called me to take her back home. That would be the best for the baby. My sister’s little son was beating my daughter. My daughter hit her head repeatedly against the bathtub floor whenever her son knocked her down. My sister worried about possible head injuries. “Should I sacrifice my daughter in order to obey M. Samuel Lee?” I drove to Chicago and brought her back home. Later M. Samuel Lee found out that I had brought her home. After my daughter had grown up, she asked me a question. “Had mommy and daddy stayed in UBF, which one would you choose, me or obedience to M. Samuel Lee?” A good question! Parents in UBF still have to face this question. Even Darth Vader chose his son over his loyalty to the Empire. To me also, the life of my daughter was more important than obedience to M. Samuel Lee.

Remove Everything Before They Arrive

As we finally arrived home, it was unbelievable to see our home. The front wall window was broken, the back door was broken and the house was empty. All our belongings were gone, and some trash was on the floor.

Who did this? M. Paul Hong and Toledo brothers broke in and removed everything and loaded it into a truck. This was done without our consent and against our will. M. Paul Hong knew that we were approaching Toledo because M. James K. called him and asked him not to enter our house until our arrival. I do not know whether he broke into our house before M. James K. called or after he called. Anyway, he removed everything before we arrived.

We had to keep the heater on through the winter to prevent the gas pipes from freezing. Cold winds were blowing into the house through the broken window and the heater was running non-stop. I had to pay the gas bill for the heater. I found a cardboard box. I tore it with my hand and placed it over the broken window. That was all. My home, my sweet home, good-bye, forever. I love you.

M. James K. needed school documents to apply to the University of Houston. I needed clothes desperately for the children. We drove to the place where the truck was parked. It was still so cold and chilly by the residue of the blizzard. My teeth were rattling inside our van as I waited and watched M. James K. trying to find his files amid boxes and packages. It was impossible to find and he gave up.

Even now, I want everyone who broke into my house to apologize to me. [Please read one Toledo brother’s public confession.]   In 1975, I arrived in Toledo with one box, with one Bible and nursing uniforms and shoes in it. Ever since for 15 years, my daily life was that of a slave, working at night and serving you during the day. Not mentioning this, I did not enter your house and remove your belongings without your permission. But you broke into my house and removed everything without my permission and against my will. This was done to increase the humiliation and sufferings on my way to Houston. I made my journey and I’m still alive in Houston waiting for an apology from everyone who entered my house.

That night, we went to a house of one of my sheep (Bible study student). She understood our plight. She offered one room for our family, money, and her daughter’s clothes for my children. The next day we drove back to Houston. On arrival in Houston, at least we had a house to live in, with one rice cooker. The truck loaded with our belongings was broken down in Toledo and needed a repair. The truck arrived after 10 days. So we lived about three weeks in motels, traveling in a van with one rice cooker and eating fast food.

I Am a Sinner

These are painful memories I wish I could forget. But I’m glad that I wrote. Until now I was righteous, and M. James K. was wrong, wrong, wrong. But as I was writing and thought about the past, I remembered my own cruelty, screaming, hysteria, and hatred, toward M. James K. I realized how much pain I gave him and how much pain he had to endure from me. I can not find proper words to describe my pain when I realized that I hurt him so much. I prayed to Jesus to forgive my sins.

My dear husband, M. James K., please, forgive all my sins of cruelty, hatred, insults, screams, heartless, ruthless behaviors. I am not worthy to be in your presence.

Jesus, the Reformer

I’ve never heard anybody calling Jesus “the reformer.” This came to my mind through personal experiences. M. James K. never had an intention to leave UBF. He was thrown out as a rebel when he challenged important issues. We didn’t want to hear even the word, “UBF.” We didn’t see UBF members for years. It was Jesus who opened M. James K.’s heart to serve in Reform UBF.

I made up my mind to serve Jesus in Lakewood Church in Houston. But it was Jesus who opened my heart to accept M. Jacob and Rebecca Chung, M. Elijah and Rebecca Seong as my co-workers in Jesus, and to join Sunday worship service in their apartment to serve Jesus in Reformed UBF ministry.

Jesus is the author and owner of any gospel ministry. The sins of UBF have reached its full measure. The time came for Jesus to reform UBF.

I see UBF ministry sick with sins and spiritual dwarfism due to a system controlled by one man. Jesus freed this so that every man and woman may serve Jesus with the power of God.

Lord, Jesus, come and help many broken marriages.


  1. Too painful and too sad to read without tearing up.

  2. Mark Mederich

    the magnitude of trespasses revealed requires total current organizational transparency and immediate resolution, or legal action should certainly be pursued & moral oversight absolutely imposed..

    • Mark Mederich

      too much talk too long, time for walk..action;
      while religion plays & destroys, young students are dying on elite campuses at the hands of hidden panders using laced drinks, sexual abuse tactics, & suspicious deaths (most likely “murders”);
      current investigation of midwest prevalence will reveal more (often male/found in water/etc such as student found today);

      no time for religious games: it’s time for all to do right or get out; believers must unite under 1 head, Christ; competition has no place in religion: standing on opposite sides of a canyon & saying “I will defeat you!” is studpidity from the pit of hell that only echoes back;

      time has run out: if Spirit/diplomacy is losing, then legal action must be immediately taken to save whatever remains of people’s lives: if campuses can’t manage themselves due to politics & $, then they must be managed..if churches can’t manage themselves due to politics & $, then they must be managed..immediately..

    • Mark Mederich

      despicable travesties,unconscionable

    • Mark Mederich


    • Mark Mederich

      perverse treachery/irreconcilable;
      religion needs immediate mental health assessment, financial disclosure, & spiritual revision

      if religion can’t obey God, perhaps it should be abolished & replaced by direct to Christ spirituality with mere gathering for fellowship/worship, minimal donation, true housechurch living, true self-supporting lifestyle of ALL, etc…

      in other words religion has repeatedly proven it can’t manage power & $ (as bad as world, or worse at times) so is found wanting (lacking) & declared unsuitable

    • Mark Mederich

      (ALL who truly can, & only collectively help one another who truly couldn’t)

  3. Joe Schafer

    Brian, here is another example of godly sorrow that may interest you: President of Exodus International apologizes to the gay community:

    • Thanks for sharig that, Joe. Yes I have been impressed with the way Exodus has been reforming their approach. This apology is another step of that reform. They already denounced “reparative therapy methods”, such as shocking people in an attempt to make them straight.

      That is a good parallel example. As we learn facts about situations, I for one would prefer clear my conscience, apologize for wrong, and do whatever possible to make things right this side of heaven. Standing before God on judgment day with excuses or trusting in my own understanding of various doctrines isn’t something I want do.

    • Joe Schafer

      After issuing their apology, the Board of Directors of Exodus International has unanimously voted to shut the organization down.


    • But alas, there is more to the story. Yes it is good that Exodus apologized but is this just smoke and mirrors? Is it real change or just illusions?

      Here’s a critical look at the “apology”…sounds all too familiar to me :( Lot’s of good Christian words but no fundamental change or actual godly sorrow. Seems like the Exodus guy apologizing might still believe that God’s greatest desire for every gay person is that they cease to be gay.

      “So, as I say, I’m just a tad confused. Not once in your speech— which I’ll be the first to say was veritably jammed with talk about God and forgiveness and healing and welcoming and redemption and reconciliation and peace and love and joy and salvation— did I hear you express regret for you and Exodus having spent over three decades helping to destroy the lives of gay people and their families through your peddling and capitalizing upon the message that God’s greatest desire for every gay person is that they cease to be gay.

      I heard you say that you regret the way in which Exodus communicated that message. I heard you say that you regret the way in which people now think of Exodus. I heard you say how proud you are of Exodus. And I definitely heard you repeatedly say that it’s high time for the church to start welcoming gay people, and all others who are marginalized and “in need.””

      Source: John Shore open letter

  4. Joe Schafer

    Brian, thank you for this post. I have been in UBF for a very long time. I cannot confirm or deny any of the specific events that Rebecca B.K. wrote about, because I have no direct knowledge of them. But I will say that, in a general sense, her testimony rings true. What she says about SL — what he said and did — is very consistent with the kind of things that I heard him say and saw him do with my own ears and my own eyes. I won’t speculate about his motives. No one but God knows what his motives were. Most likely, he did not even know his own motives, because the human heart is so deceitful. But the things that Rebecca B.K. mentioned are precisely the kind of things that SL did. Those facts are something that ubf absolutely must reckon with, as soon as possible. This nonsense has gone on far too long.

    • This is absolutely disgusting. My heart is broken as I read this account. Something must be done about it.

    • In regard to ubf, my conscience is now clear.

    • aw, all this material has been published already 10 years ago. I even translated many of such testimonies. Everybody knew that these reports existed. But the only thing that happened was that they tried to shut down the websites where they were published.

      Like you, I was shocked when I read these testimonies. But I was even more shocked to find that my fellow UBFers totally ignored them, were indifferent or dismissed every such report in a lump-sum as “slander”. There was no sign of sorrow about these things, only the sorrow that they had been published.

    • Yes aw, no more time of talking and discussing over ubf issues. It is over and now is the time to DO something as you rightly said.
      We all are tired of visiting this site to discuss, discuss and discuss without any action about serious issues being charged against ubf. If any loyalists feel lack of evidence, then seek help from law enforcing agencies.

      Blood of many Abels are crying out for justice. (Gen 4:10-11). Shut down ubf, if that is what is required for true godly sorrow, just as Exodus International did. Time is up. Leave Babylon.

  5. big bear

    Wow…what a story and I was not there but I believe every word of it because it mirrors much of what our family has been through as we struggled to raise 5 children…the rebukes for not offering enough on Sundays when we could not even pay our rent and feed our children…the advice of the director to go to a house on Lyon street to beat up a man which I never did…the advice to disown my family and my son whom I loved to obey blindly…the 20 years of sleeping only about 5 hours a night due to testimony writing and early morning prayer meetings and so many demands to make me a bible believing machine…the chastisement for attending a catholic church and singing in the choir…the abuse of my brother in full view of me and the way the director degraded my family and my sheep in the name of raising disciples…the director had a MD wife who made good money and he lived a lavished life style as we students were demanded to support God’s work and write testimonies and feed sheep and he half the time did not work and even shared sunday messages word from word from SL…could not ask him to interpret what he wrote because he did not know…the director never gave us practical answers for our lives and the ministry always remained the same in number …. he always used my story for recruitment purposes and always demanded us to attend conferences even if we could not afford them…family is considered a burden and God help you if you love your wife more than UBF or kiss her at a prayer meeting…when I got married I was even afraid to hug my wife in public…once in Germany Kevin Albright said it is ok to hug your wife…still felt like I was betraying God by loving my wife…this is the unwritten rules that destroy families and lives…I was rebuked whenever I grew facial hair…the director and my shepherd would say I am returning to my old life…”Don’t forget God’s grace” what they really meant, “We have done so much for you and help you, you owe us your life” How come I did not see this? I was a cult leader and did not see it….

    • Mark Mederich

      Revelation is calling churches to account for such as this, it has not gone unnoticed by God, He is just slow to act, hoping for organizational repentance/redemption as opposed to eventual deportation/captivity

    • Mark Mederich

      recent daily bread/Jeremiah: the few true prophets are killed or narrowly escape like Jeremiah (government told religion, ‘he speaks God’s truth, we should listen to God, who knows, if we repent God may relent’)

      we all know the song: And the voice of truth says “Do not be afraid!”…I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

      false prophets were saying: ‘peace, peace, live as you please (idolatry/injustice/etc) & God will bless you anyway’

      THE VOICE OF TRUTH: unrepentant religious would rather kill true voices than change own wrong ways & lose excessive benefits;

      but the Lord is coming, coming on the clouds!

      Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Martin Luther just a few past VOICES: let’s be enduring voices, no matter what, to the glory of God alone! Amen

      we may be killed, but our VOICES would speak even louder from the grave:)

    • big bear: “Wow…what a story and I was not there but I believe every word of it because it mirrors much of what our family has been through…”

      Yes the story resonates with every ubfer who has been there over 5 years. After 5 years or so, the “party’s over”.

      And yes, I was there in Toledo with James and Rebecca, and Rebecca’s story is true. And our friend Desiree (who commented many times in the Voy forums) from Toledo was an eye-witness to the events Rebecca speaks of. Desiree can and has confirmed all of it from her firsthand knowledge.

  6. A very good article. Thanks, Brian. Unfortinately for ubf there are very many similar testimonies in the internet about ubf practicies. And instead of Godly Sorrow ubf leaders show ungodly silence or covering up. They used to say, “ubf is perfect”, now some of them say, “There is no perfect church, ubf is one of the non-perfect churches”. I attend a non-perfect church and what happened in ubf worldwide (and in Toledo in particular) is unthinkable for my “non-perfect” church. Again when I read articles about cults it is not easy (for me) to find a difference between typical cults and the “non-perfect ubf church”.

    ubf tries to show its show, but inside it is “FULL of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness”. Sometimes I simply can not understand how others’ consciences (which normally should tend to be in light and “cleanness”) allow them to stay in ubf.

    I personally avoided and ignored the testimonies of those who left ubf. I agreed that they were “unthankful”. I thought, “Why don’t they think that it was through ubf that God worked in them and saved them?! Why are they not humble before the fact?”. But when I stopped avoiding and ignoring the testimonies I began to see that my conscience is fully on the side of those who left ubf. (There are a few strange testimonies I don’t like but the most of them are worthy of careful attention).

    Now when I read the gospels I see how the religious leaders always tried to just silence the Voice of truth, even to kill Jesus, instead of having Godly Sorrow and repentance. ubf leaders also are just trying to ignore and silence the voices of truth which are so many.

    Tebow tells his fans, “I do care!”. ubf leader use to “say”, “We don’t really care, there is another side of the story”. But all the sides of the story are one darker than the other.

  7. Vitaly, I stay in UBF because:

    * Christ is the head of the church.
    * Jesus did not separate the wheat from the weeds before the harvest.
    * UBF does not deny Christ or the Bible.
    * There are many “sincere sinners” in UBF.
    * My own children and possibly some of my grandchildren will likely remain in UBF.
    * I want to be a voice that speaks up and speaks out. I just need to increasingly learn how to do so with fear and trembling and with humility and tears rather than with anger and with deadly self-righteousness.
    * To those in UBF who want me to leave UBF, I say this, “If you have a problem with me being in UBF, you can leave.” :-)

    • +1

      “I just need to increasingly learn how to do so with fear and trembling and with humility and tears rather than with anger and with deadly self-righteousness.”

      I think the solution is to study about the prophets. Ezekiel, Hosea and Jeremiah are so helpful in this regard. Surrendering to grace and listening to the Spirit’s guidance is critical in order to avoid self-righteousness and to speak out boldly. I’ve learned to speak out when the Spirit does not constrain me. There have been so many more words I wanted to say, but the Spirit restrained me from sharing.

  8. If anyone is interested, here are links to Desiree’s comments that shed light on Rebecca’s story and the ubf context in general:

    Comment about money

    Comment regarding Rebecca’s late husband James

    Comment about ubf training methods