So You Left an Abusive Church~Now What?

Have you recently left “church”, that is to say, the building, and the system? Maybe you felt the Holy Spirit was showing you things just weren’t right. You may have noticed the church you’d belonged to didn’t bear any resemblance to the early church that Jesus started in the book of Acts.

Or, possibly you were being spiritually abused in some way by either the pastor, or one of more of the church members. For whatever reason, you’re out….so, now that you’re out….now what?

My brother or sister, you may have a vague sense of relief, or possibly any number of emotions you never realized you’d have to deal with. Rest assured, you are not alone.

Many of us have gone through the entire gamut of mentally anguishing doubts and feelings, ranging from anger, guilt, fear, loneliness and a feeling of isolation. Here is where the going gets serious. Now that you’re out, there is the “world” surrounding you on every side. At this point, it’s crucial to take some time reorienting yourself to your newly “unchurched” circumstances.

Please realize, that although you may “feel” alone, Christ is still with you. He did say he’d never leave or forsake you. And although you may have left the church, hopefully, you haven’t left him as well. That would be the worse mistake one could possibly make.

In any case, this is the juncture in your life where you will need to lean on him heavily for support and guidance. Bear in mind that Jesus is your Hope and Anchor. He will see you through this spiritual crisis if you will allow him to.

Personally, in my own wilderness journey, and isolation, I found it extremely important to resist the temptation to turn “outward” for support to fill that spiritual void. There is just something about humans, that like nature, abhor  a void. But, the LAST thing one would need to do is turn back to Egypt, and the bondage that Jesus set you free from.

So, there is a need for spiritual discipline at this time….a need to stay in regular daily study of the scriptures, and in prayer and communication with Jesus. Just being “out” of church doesn’t relief us of the need for him any less. In fact, in the time of spiritual crisis, this is the time when we need him the most.

God bless all of you who may be in a stage of transition right now…however, you may very well find that this “testing” time is very rewarding and strengthening once on the other side. Please……..give yourself, (and Jesus) time. Time to seek him for direction and guidance. One of the WORST possible things you may be tempted to do is to rush to find another fellowship soon after leaving one. This can result in the frying pan- fire syndrome….so, please don’t!

And…another word of warning…Satan has set up many traps for unchurched believers. The internet is one of them. Please don’t fall for what I call, “Mystery Meat” Internet Ministries, that are set up to have an illusion of “church” complete with a teacher, etc. One of the ways, (not the only one by any means) is the hirelings ever present PayPal Acct to accept your donations. Bear in mind that maybe this “teacher” has an ulterior motive…(like money, for example). Maybe he needs to get out of his PJ’s, leave his laptop, and get a real job, ya think?

Well, what I’m trying to say, is these so-called “internet” ministries may look like a viable option to a real fellowship of brethren, but frankly, it’s not. Think “early church”, and pray about following that example. The LORD may simply lead you to eventually gather with a few like minded believers in one another’s homes for prayer, bible study, and breaking bread together. That was the model of the church that Jesus set up in the book of Acts, and it shook the world with it’s power. “For where there are two or more gathered together in His Name, there He will be also”. It’s a PROMISE.

 

 

 

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Spiritual Abuse..Rampant in Today’s Churches

I wonder…how many Christians  are still locked into spiritual abuse in their local church or fellowship, and don’t even realize what they are giving allegiance to with their time, worship and money is “not all about Jesus Christ”, but rather man made doctrines, traditions of men that make the word of God of no effect. 

As a new Christian, this happened to me during my first years after joining a church. I’d been studying the word of God, I’d prayed earnestly, I was “on fire” for God, yet, something was nagging at my heart. Doubts. I kept asking myself why this church and other ones I’d visited didn’t seem to line up with the biblical model of the  church that Christ set up in the early church, described in the Book of Acts, and the epistles of the Apostles.

I knew that when I went to church and worshipped, the presence of the Holy Spirit would manifest, so I continued to rationalize that “church” as I experienced it, must be due to the change in the era. Still, the Holy Spirit kept reminding me that “Jesus doesn’t change”. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. I couldn’t shake this still small voice.

Finally, as I grew more mature in the scriptures, I started noticing there were practices in the church I belonged to that were mimicking the un-scriptural things they viewed on Christian TV. When I began hesitantly speaking to a few of my friends in church about these questions, they began to come against me. Looking back on the events that followed, I realize now, these were warning signals given me by the Holy Spirit.The upshot was that God Himself drew me out of this  spiritually abusive prison house of apostasy I’d been trapped in. I cannot begin to describe to you the sense of freedom, and liberation in my spirit, once out. However, that doesn’t mean there were not after effects from the abuse, rejection, and sense of isolation I felt after leaving the brethren and fellowship I loved.  There were many, and it has taken much time with Jesus to bring me through what was a very painful period in my life.

Folks, we should closely examine what our churches are teaching and practicing. For all of you who’ve come out of spiritually abusive churches, or..perhaps you feel you may be in one, I would recommend some of the excellent resources on the Internet where you can find help and fellowship with other Christians. This is one very good one that covers these issues in depth,  http://www.charismatic-captivation.com/?p=5 . And of course, you are welcome to make comments here in this blog and tell your personal story. We welcome comments.