I wonder why we choose to continue to accept and endure abuses in our churches? It has been going on in our former church for many years, and as I read other blogs by people who have had shockingly similar experiences, it quite frankly makes me really, really angry. In my naivete´, I somehow thought that church would, or should, be a refuge from the BS that exists in the world. As Christians, shouldn’t we know better? Shouldn’t we be kinder, gentler? Shouldn’t we have greater integrity, more humility, less selfishness? I recognize that churches are full of imperfect people who are the products in an imperfect fallen world, but some of the stuff that we have experienced goes way beyond saying the wrong thing, or at times being inconsiderate or selfish, or having personality conflicts or differences of opinion. I am talking about manipulation, malice and deceit, things which are so opposite the ways and will of God, and yet somehow become disguised by our “spiritual leaders” as things that those of us less spiritual folks “just don’t understand.”
And we believe it, blindly following along, even though something inside of us says, something is wrong here. At first, we may not be quite sure what it is, but we begin to catch the faint whiffs of something rotten. Even so, we choose to believe the lies that the enemy places in the hearts and minds and mouths of those whom we trust to follow, instead of believing the voice of the Holy Spirit. We choose to believe that maybe those in leadership are much more discerning than we are, and we ignore those doubts and questions that we have. Why is it that in so many of our churches, we are expected to check our own intellect and discernment at the door? Looking back in hindsight, I see that the Holy Spirit tried to grab my attention many times, but instead of listening to and believing what He had to say, I chose to remain in bondage to the lies which were taught to me. I was afraid to believe that those that I loved and trusted were actually Pharisees who could possibly lead me down a path filled with falsehood and vain religiosity. It was in letting go of my idolatry of these people that I was able to begin to see and accept the truth, and to begin to break free of the web of lies that had become a safety net for me. And time has shown me that the breaking free is not an event but a process, one which I am still undergoing.