There are times when you have to make decisions that are hard. This is especially true when you look at all of the probable outcomes, and how people will react to them, and know that they will react in such a way that will make you look like the “bad guy”. Sometimes you make these decisions, reputation be marred, because you feel that is the best course, even with the condemnation, for you and your family.
In a previous video, my husband and I talked on how we grew up in a cultish church. I was there for 20 years, from age 8 until I was 28 years old. My husband was there from the very beginnings of the church until he was 35. When we left, we knew that people would be angry, including family. We knew we would have a lot of questions about our faith, and how we were “trained” in this cult. We eventually came to the conclusion that this “training”, in reality was brain-washing. While it felt much like I think a divorce would feel, leaving behind nearly all the people we grew up with, we knew it was the right decision for us and our family.
The problem with cult mentality is that the leaders thrive on a sense of power. They get this power by controlling their congregation via bully-pulpiting, isolating people from their families and from each other, by labeling church members, using fear tactics, and establishing control via the gossip chain by planting a seed of discord. Through these techniques, they teach people to turn on those who ask questions or challenge poor authority and abuse of power. They teach the congregation to “choose sides”. They train them to think in “black and white”, meaning it’s their point of view that is the right one and the other is not only wrong, but possibly evil. This enables them to be judgmental, and think that because they are speaking truth, they can say it any way that they please. They convince the congregation that community is achieved merely by church meetings where no communication is passed between people. They lie and tell them that having too deep of friendships, and spending too much time with each other is a “soul tie” or carnal.
Even when people leave this type of church or outright cult, the mentality stays with EVERYONE who leaves, as does the soul and heart wounds. Old habits die HARD, and I can say that I am guilty of this firsthand. I really had to do a lot of apologizing and repenting for speaking the truth in the wrong time or in a too harsh, too judgmental manner. I think that most of the time, I had it right, but there are ways to do things, and since I grew up learning the wrong way, I did the wrong way until I opened my eyes to it being wrong. I could hold my wrongs tightly to my chest, and hide them, but they are obvious to those who are aware. For the good of my soul, and especially for the good of the community, I’ve had to humble myself and apologize on many occasions. This often makes me a target, but I value the community and doing what’s right more than I do with self-preservation. People deserve honest connection.
Our family believes that community is important. That’s why Eric and the family and I started this “terce.” journey. We believe that some people are more connected to the internet and social media than they are in real-life relationships. There are those who boo-hiss about social media. However, I see the value of both on-line relationships, as well as up-close-and-personal ones. There are too many times that churches taut “community”, but in reality it is minimally connected. This false sense of community is built on saying “hello” to each other every Sunday, or every church meeting. If that is the case, then I could say I have a “friendship” with the check-out lady at my local Target. To see this as a friendship is highly delusional. It’s barely an acquaintance! So why do we say that we have friendships with people we hardly talk to, except to say “hello” at church on Sunday?
I remember when social media started happening back in the mid-2000’s. Back then, Myspace was king, but more importantly people in the church community I grew up in were truly starting to see me for who I was at the time. (Pretty broken then, actually, since I had just left the cult, but at least I was looking at the situation with honesty.) I saw things that I didn’t like too, both in myself and in other people. With me, it was my hot-temper and too-quick tongue, as well as bitterness and having a hard time forgiving people when they were hurting me. In others, I saw gossiping, lying, perversion, black-balling, delusion, and hatred. Some people were going on and on about how social media ruined everything, and was terrible. I saw it as a good thing, because it showed people’s true hearts. Rarely did any of the people I grew up with spend time with me, even before we left the cult. I’m REALLY okay with this rejection from them now, but it was very hard back then when I need acceptance and love. I could say “shame on them”, but now I just see them as broken people also, too afraid to put love into action. Self-preservation is like that.
My breaking off of mindsets started in 2006. My healing began slowly then too. But starting in November 2013, when I broke off a relationship with a “friend”, and especially in the Spring and Summer 2016, when I finally eliminated a big chunk of non-reciprocal people out of my life that I grew up with, my healing began to escalate. I finally gave up hope of them including me and spending time with me. It was the BEST decision that I could have made for myself. Do I think all of them are bad people? Absolutely not. But I do think that they are more concerned about the bad things or drama happening in people’s lives than they are about their every day life and their triumphs. Some I do think had it out for me, (and still do,) and because they spend their time playing mind games with gullible people who have a penchant for letting their mouth run, I decided that the best recourse for my soul was to be done. I was correct in this, because with each decision and elimination, my spiritual strength returned slowly. Layer-by-layer, my confidence in myself and in my calling was redeemed. Even a few nights ago, that warrior in me drew some lines in the sand, saying “no more” to the destruction that seems to want to get at us. By the way? It’s losing. 🙂
Over the course of these months and years, as I’ve watched their manipulative games and circling gossip, there came a solidifying in my heart that my decision to remove them from my life was sadly, 100% right. I find it to be grievous that many of them still “choose sides”, like we were taught to all of our life. I think it is strange that they can’t see the error in their gossip and rumors. I don’t understand why they choose to forget the Scripture on how God hates a lying tongue, and the one that says we are all accepted in the Beloved. (It isn’t “accepted in the Beloved” if we all look, talk, and act the same, as well as dress the same, and speak the same. That’s conformity and control.)
These mindsets NEED to be broken so that the body of Christ can spend time with each other… to get to really know each other… to find that sense of community and strengthen it… so we can support and heal each other… to be the body of Christ… that brings His light to this very dark world. God help us.
If I ever were to have a message on a soap box for these people, it would be this.:
Let go of those limiting mindsets that keep you bound in the today, and others bound by their pasts. Stop being self-serving, feeding yourselves on morsels of gossip, pieces of self-gratification, and lies that only preserve yourself. Look at the big picture, and see that with your scorn and contempt for what you call the “unlovely”, you are being prideful and haughty. Even if you tell yourself that you are “loving the unlovely”, you in reality are feeding your pride and giving an illusion of self-worth through methods that make you look like a saint to other people. In reality, your pride is a stench to God. The best way, the REAL way to love, is to actually see the beauty in someone, and to get to know them without all of the labels that you were told about them by a woman who was intent on controlling them AND YOU by them. If you still continue to see people through her labels, then you are still controlled by her.
Stop gossiping. Stop lying so you continue to look perfect. Humble yourself. Admit your mistakes, but first be honest with yourself and recognize where you have lied to yourself about your wrongs toward other people.
The arrogance was adopted from her, and the evil controlling her. The “never wrong” was adopted from her, and the evil controlling her. The mind games you play, she played. The gossip that comes from your mouth was instigated by her and placed in her mind by the evil controlling her, and therefore into your mind and your mouths.
Focus on change. Start within yourself. When you get that in order, then work in your family. When you get that in order, your physical community. When that is in order, then the world. But you can’t be fully effective now, because you don’t truly walk in love. And the love that you think you walk in is tainted by the words and will of a wicked woman and not initiated by the Holy Spirit. Break that off your hearts and your mind.
Sorry about that, if you aren’t from there, you won’t know who “she” or “her” is, but if any of them decide to watch this blog or my Facebook page and read what I wrote, I pray that they will accept even a little bit of what I had to say. Reciprocity is a key to true community and love. We can’t do that until we stop being self-serving. I hope they know that I love them. I pray that they can break free from these mindsets. I pray that relationships will IN TRUTH be restored, but that can’t happen until wrongs are admitted, and apologized for. That can’t happen until the past stops being held over people’s heads. That can’t happen until pride is torn down in hearts, and love fills it. Hopefully this helps SOMEONE.