Victor and I went to a neat couples' house for dinner tonight. We had a great time talking and catching up. Then our conversation turned to our past experience leaving the old church we all had belonged to.
Victor and I helped to pastor a church for a long time. It was really the only church I had known since becoming a Christian at age 13--the only church our kids had known. It went bad, actually had been bad for quite a few years, but it was getting worse. When Victor confronted some things that really needed to be changed, the other leaders turned it around and blamed Victor. Blamed us. We had to go, that much was clear.
Thus we were launched, broken-hearted out into the unknown....
It was the BEST thing that could have happened to us!!
Through all the tears and pain, and, even great sickness, I can say "Thank you Lord for bringing us through!"
It is a classroom I never want to sit in again. I think I have learned my lesson.
It is strange that we even talked about this subject with our friends. Earlier this week I came across a woman's blog where her sister had written about the cult they had grown up in. It was called 'The Children of God'. The leader promoted sex between the children and adults in the group. It was a truly traumatic experience and some of the kids have grown up to commit suicide (and one murder of an abuser)-horrible! One former member put together a documentary that was shown on HBO. I watched about 7 minutes of it and had to turn it off. It was absolutely disgusting.
I commented on the woman's blog and told her that I was so sorry that she had suffered under that evil group. I told her that I had gone through a bad church experience myself (Not of the sexual kind. Bullying, misuse of authority and guys that shouldn't have even been in leadership) and that I hadn't given up on my faith in God.
I told her that I hoped she wouldn't be offended in any way, but that she would be in my prayers. My heart goes out to her and to others who have been damaged by people and groups purporting to know God and to know His way. There are some bad leaders out there who are out for their own egos and worse. I totally get it when people lose their faith and feel that they could never trust a church or church-goer again.
That was almost me.