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idk how to handle/process this.

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by drivenfuture, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    I want to be careful here...because I don't want to make accusations against a leader...but I also don't know what to do or how to feel or what to think.
    Let me preface this by saying I wound up in a Calvinist church that I love so far...and teaches the Bible as best as they can, and have an extreme focus on just Scripture...whereas previous churches usually centered around apostolic signs, a couple verses with personal interpretation, excess of love with no mention of wrath/justice, or extreme hate-group mentality (solely preaching anti-homosexuality with no regard for any other doctrine). Very rarely was there an intent focus on Scripture in any of these churches...a few verses here, a few there...but nothing like I experience now.

    So, onto my story. I feel as though I should reconcile with my former pastor and his family, though they are an AofG church. I want to, but I feel like they don't...or at least it's very confusing. Perhaps I'm in the wrong. I really have no idea. I'm willing to own up to my mistakes, if indeed they are a mistake. When I first started going, after just a short time the youth pastor recruited me to be an assistant in the youth program...I didn't feel comfortable, didn't feel spiritually mature, didn't feel it wise...I told him this but he reassured me that God was "stretching my faith." Reluctantly, I agreed. Shortly after I came on board. the youth pastor stepped down, leaving me to teach the youth sunday morning on my own. They gave me resources to use...but I felt far from a reliable resource to the youth...I did the best I could. But what's important here is this is essentially how I got to know the youth, including the pastor's children, and in many regards felt like I was a friend of the family. Truth be told, this all did go fairly well for 4-5 years, and I hope that in some way the children heard the Gospel message, though at the time I would say it would have been more Arminian-focused than Calvinistic.

    But one of the pastor's daughters messaged me on facebook, to talk about Sherlock, and books she would read. I didn't think anything of it...and we messaged back and forth for quite some time...never anything inappropriate...just random hobbies or theological topics. Perhaps it was inappropriate of me to continue messaging her...perhaps I thought if the topics were safe then it was ok..maybe I was mistaken. Anyways, much time had passed and fast forward to 2017, December...at this point all the pastor's children whom I had mentored were college age...the girl in question had turned 18 a few months before our fallout. So a few days before Christmas, this girl, and her sister ignored me completely, no hi or anything, and her brother approached me and said I was"barely tolerable." Apparently, this triggered some mental problem in me. I became depressed, went online trying to figure out what I did wrong...I vaguely remember reading an article about emotional abuse and became convinced that was what I had did...leading to being more depressed, which became an episode similar to schizophrenic bipolar (this is where you hallucinate while you are depressed...or sometimes have mania). In this state, because of believing I was emotionally abusive, I turned myself into the police for a crime I didn't commit. They took me to mental health, and this would lead to roughly a month of hospital visits, including a one week stay in the mental health ward, and months of seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. When I got out I saw that the girl I had been in contact with had essentially blocked me from messaging her, but I could still see her profile.

    The assistant pastor visited me in mental health and again shortly after I got out...and discussed with him...and he said he knew very little about what was going on, but did say he doesn't think I did anything to offend the main pastor or his family. And said I should talk to the pastor, and that the pastor was more than willing to meet with me. I also asked the asst pastor how he felt about me going back to church...and he asked if I thought about other churches...idk if it was his intention but because of everything it felt like he was pushing me in the direction of somewhere else.

    So I did. The pastor said it's "hard to love your neighbor when you don't love yourself." And that was there was no animosity, and they care about me, and that they were working on "boundaries," a concept they utilized from Henry Cloud's book. And that my actions have consequences. And that he did not view me as a threat. And that I could come back to church, but only large services, not smaller bible studies. And that the police talked to the girl in question, and then him. I asked if I hurt anybody, he said he didn't feel slighted in any way; and I told him about what his son said...and he said he didn't know about that but that he would have words with him. When I went back home, I saw that the girl had fully blocked me now on facebook and instagram (I had not contacted her at all since the comment was made); so to me, it still felt like I was getting mixed signals about the animosity. However, I understood the whole police thing probably made everyone really uncomfortable.

    I ceased contact for months...and occasionally would get a like or a birthday comment on facebook from the remaining family members, I had also decided to move to Texas with my sister, thousands of miles away from the church...so I thought with a few months before I leave and having been distant for months, why not try reaching out to the pastor again. I explained how I felt, feeling like they didn't really want me there. He responded saying I am welcome to come and they will treat me with kindness and respect, but as far as the past they hope to grow forward and want to give me the space I need to move forward, and how we all grow at our own pace. I remember praying about reconciling, and listening to their sermon online the day before I left...it was about not judging other people for their sins...and I ran into the girl in question and her mom at the mall the same day...the mom said hello but the girl did not. I just waved and went on my way not knowing what to do. Following this the mom and other daughter also blocked me on instagram, though we still remain listed as friends on Facebook.

    The pastor seemed really enthusiastic about me coming to church or meeting with me...but the other family members do things to confuse me and make it seem like I am not welcome. I so badly want to work this out in some way but perhaps I've done too much damage. I don't even know if I'm the one who did wrong, or if I was under false teaching, or what.
     
  2. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Friend, while I am sure your post is heart-felt, the problem for those reading it is that no one really knows what transpired at your previous church. It will be unwise to offer advice other than encourage you to seek forgiveness and reconciliation where possible. I strongly suggest membership in a solid bible teaching church where you can be under the care of a pastor and elders who are concerned with your growth as a Christian.
     
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  3. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    Well it is heart-felt...but the Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things...I guess I would just feel better if someone told me it was my fault...or if there was an issue where the daughter wasn't a Christian...perhaps I'd be more sympathetic...but just not knowing the reasons for the original fallout...thats what bothers me most. But yeah, I know in all cases there's more than one side...I did do my best to convey my shortcomings honestly...I just deeply wish I could talk to them about everything, thats all.
     
  4. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    I dont think that Jesus had that "problem"
     
  5. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    At this point--from what you have posted--it seems like you are concerned mostly about fulfilling your desire to talk to them instead of considering what is actually best for them. You want this to work out. I get that, but it's probably past that point.

    I obviously don't know all the details, but you don't need to force the issue. If they need space, give it to them, and I don't mean temporarily. If they reach out to you, that's one thing. Otherwise, leave them alone.

    I would encourage you to find a good church, and if you aren't still working with a counselor and/or psychiatrist, it might be a good idea to go back.
     
  6. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    You have been given some wise counsel.

    May I suggest you also cut ties with the AofG family.

    They obviously do not want or desire your input.

    The church you are in is teaching you far more bible and biblical truth then you have experienced, and it would be well for you to absorb without seeking resolution for a lengthy period of time.

    You need thoroughly grounded in the Scriptures, which you are getting.

    If the church you are in has "small group" bible studies, engage in them as you have time.

    Do not neglect to center your life totally upon the Scriptures.

    Now, if you are not doing so, begin to read the book of Proverbs corresponding to the date of the month. If it is the first, you read the first chapter, the second, the second chapter, the fifteenth, the fifteenth chapter....

    Proverbs are collections of wise statements in which one may then couple with other passages of Scriptures and over time will build principles of which to live.

    Believers lives have very few actual rules, but have many principles that allow one to use to both stay true to Christ and true to the work of Christ.

    I am old, and I have yet to see the righteous forsaken.
     
  7. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Active Member

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    It's really hard to give you thoughtful advice when I don't really know the details. I know it's hard to let go, but some relationships just aren't meant to be. If you're in a good church now, I would work on those relationships, instead. If you should run into people from your old church, be polite, but don't feel like you have to restart. From the little bit you've describe, and it is very little to go on, it sounds like reconciliation is their responsibility, not yours. It sounds like it's time to move on.
     
  8. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    Yes it's true there is some element of self seeking for reconciliation...but I also would point out that the biggest reason I didnt go back to their church wa so that they would feel comfortable. But I've wrestled with that notion because church was never meant to be comfortable. And because this is the pastors family as well..so perhaps I either fairly or unfairly hold them to higher expectations..idk.
     
  9. Shoostie

    Shoostie Active Member

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    Your messages to the girl were inappropriate. As a rule, don't engage in personal messaging with any female you could conceivably develop more than a friendship with, unless that's your goal. You were asking for trouble, and you got it. It might not be fair, but it's reality. And, those who deny you did anything inappropriate are misleading you.

    Churches today seem intent on turning everyone into wounded animals and bullies (enforcers of their self-hating pity party). They obsess with equating Christians with being sick ("Churches are hospitals..."). They preach sermons designed to tell you that you're wounded, but God wants to be your crutch. They preach deistic therapy to help you feel better, if you're willing to agree that you feel bad. It sounds like you fell for this.
     
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  10. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    You're deflecting. The first part is good--not going back because you wanted them to feel comfortable.

    The rest is rationalizing. You said that "church was never meant to be comfortable" and I'll partially agree with you. But that's something you really should center on your own comfort or discomfort. God's will may not feel comfortable all the time, of course. That being said, actively doing something that would likely cause discomfort, a distraction, etc. for another person is a very difficult thing to justify unless you are absolutely sure you are doing the right thing for the right reasons.

    Your statement about holding the family to higher expectations is, to put it mildly, unconvincing. It comes across as the expectation is for them to follow whatever you want to do and to discount their own concerns.

    It's one thing to say that we should try to put each other's needs first--it's entirely another to demand that someone else do it for you. When you make that demand, you're undermining your own point (the demand means you are putting yourself first).

    If anything, I'd guess the pastor was trying to be kind by not telling you to "take a hike." Even if he is a pastor, his responsibility as a father doesn't go away. The assistant pastor who asked you about considering other churches was doing you a favor.

    To put it simply, stay away. Trying to force something that seems like reconciliation to you is not going to help anyone.

    I'm not saying any of this to judge you. I know what it's like to be self-centered in my motivations in interpersonal relationships, and I know what it feels like to get the idea in my mind that I need to do something because it sounds like the right thing to do. I also know what it's like to deal with mental illness.

    I'm only saying the kind of things that people have told me. At times I listened, and at other times I ignored. What I have found is that when I ignored others' counsel, I often did so mostly because I knew if I followed their advice, I wouldn't get the outcome I wanted.

    So ask yourself if you are really looking for advice (one way or another) or if you are seeking a way to justify what you already have decided in your mind.

    Earlier in the thread you said, "I guess I would just feel better if someone told me it was my fault" about the initial actions. That part is irrelevant now.

    I can say, though, if you pursue something here that you know will likely cause pain for this family, then you are definitely at fault now.

    So stop. Just stop. Leave them alone, and seek to serve God elsewhere.
     
  11. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    As mentioned, I moved many miles away and haven't contacted them in over a year...My goal isn't necessarily reconciliation...perhaps it is my desire and what appears to be the biblical thing to do...but really my goal is making sense of the situation.

    A pastor saying "take a hike, we don't like you any more." would at least make things crystal clear.
    A pastor saying "we care about you, you're welcome at the church in a limited capacity, but you haven't done anything to offend us," and "if a person wants space, respect it, and embrace them when they come back." is a completely different thing, and does nobody any favors, filling someone with false hope that isn't there, and pretending to be kind instead of being honest.

    While I have the desire to reconcile, and the conviction...pursuing is foolish based on the distance...but a part of me has wondered if they were manipulating me into doing what they wanted.
     
  12. StefanM

    StefanM Well-Known Member
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    Manipulating? Perhaps. But if you were hospitalized and dealing with severe mental issues, they would likely be wanting to tread lightly to prevent anything more complicated from arising.
     
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