Yes, we are all well meaning Christians. But sometimes, in an effort to ‘help’ we make things worse for our brothers and sisters who are struggling. Let’s face it, we all have stuff. Every single one of us, even the Pastors, even the Worship Team.
This past week I have been going off some medication in an effort to get rid of a constant ringing in my ears. So I know I am more sensitive in all areas. The medicine was to help with anxiety and depression. So yeah, kinda a mess at the moment. So, here is my rant…
I will speak for myself here as to not share any names.
I get frustrated when others use me (or others) as an example in public. It might be a ‘friend” who just can’t stop the gossiping after I share something in confidence with them. They thought others should know so they could pray for them. Yeah right – they just wanted to gossip. It might be a Pastor who shares a person struggle from the Pulpit without asking them for permission and now everyone knows. It might be the random post from FB or Twitter or whatever to bring attention to a another person’s struggles, because they think they are trying to help. Can I tell you – stuff like this is NOT helping!
I have shared private information with people in the past, and they chose to make it public by naming me as “that girl with depression.” Yeah, thanks. Like I really wanted an announcement so now everyone can look at me and give me that label. Thanks. You just heaped a pile of more shame on something I am trying to get deliverance from.
I have had Pastors label me as the ‘divorced girl’ when they are teaching classes on how to have a good marriage. Thanks. Failed again I guess. Yeah, I’m the one coming to church, he is the one who cheated, and now I am the ‘divorced girl.’ Great. Do you think I asked for this? Do you really think I wanted that label? Thanks again for naming me from the Pulpit so now everyone can call me that. I got up and walked out of that class, and out of that church.
I battle with smoking. I have quit 3 times in my life. I have tried Chantix – made me even more crazy. Tried the patch, tried the gum, tried the lozenges. Do you really think I want to keep doing this? When you see me smoking and make a public post about it – do you think that helps me? Your judgement just made me feel even more unworthy to be here. Now I am even more shamed. Thanks alot. Like I really need more on my plate. Sorry I don’t live up to your expectations of what a ‘perfect Christitan’ looks like. I never said I was perfect. I come to Church to get free of alot of things. I am here to get better. I don’t need your judgement. Stop shaming me – it’s not helping.
Maybe instead of making me (or others) your scapegoat you could stop making my life your podium to condemn me. In the Old Testament they used to take the scapegoats out of the camp and kill them. Guess what – you just tried, and I’m still here.
Yes, I’m riled up today. I get upset when people try to be my (or others) Holy Spirit. It’s not their job. I am seeking God. I am praying, I am reading my Bible, I have fasted. Seriously, if you are that concerned about me, maybe praying for me would help more than your condemnation of me.
Enough already. Life is hard enough without getting beat up at a place where I come to get healed. Lord, help us all.
Have you ever been hurt in church? I know I am not the only one. This morning God spoke to me that I need to share some things that have hurt me that have happened in church. Now I am not doing this to bad mouth people. There are good and well meaning people that go to church every week. There are good Shepherds. And then, there are others who are not helpful at all. I know, we are all people, and hurting people – hurt people.
I have a new category on my page, “Hurt in Church”. This is a place where I share what happened and how I am seeking healing and forgiveness. I know I have hurt people, and people have hurt me. We are all human. But I pray that I can use these hurts as ministry opportunities – and healing opportunities. Not only to bring attention to what we are doing to each other, but to release God’s healing in all of our hearts.
In many of my stories I may use the 3rd person. And I will not reveal names or places – just situations. Names will be changed as well. God knows who they really are – and God will take care of it. But I know for my own healing I need to let these things out – and release them, instead of hanging onto old hurts.
I know I have been deceived – by Abusers in many arenas in my life. Maybe that is why I always gravitated towards the Charismatic leaders. Many are good. But others like to abuse their power.
THE $50,000 CUP OF COFFEE
She was living in the shelter with her two kids. Lynn had recently left the 1969 broken down trailer she had called home after years of abuse. She was trying to protect her children and start a new life. She went to the church every Sunday morning looking for hope – and healing. She walked away from all of her things – left with the clothes on her back and no money. Seemed wrong – he was the abuser and he got the house – but she was grateful she was alive and her kids were safe.
At night Lynn worked as a part-time waitress at a local diner. Mostly senior citizens and families were her customers. She would make on average $30-$40 a night in tips. Well, except for the Friday Fish Fry. Then she might make more. A great Friday was worth $75 or so. That’s where she met him. His name was Tom .
Tom was a widower. He would come to the restaurant 3-4 nights a week. He had his favorite chair at the counter. Being that Lynn was the newest waitress, she usually worked the counter. She liked it there. She could talk and get to know whosoever sat down. Most nights Tom would come in for the special. He really liked the Swiss Steak on Thursdays.
Tom was a Christian too. Even though he went to a different church, he and Lynn would talk about what last Sunday’s sermon was on. His eyes lit up every time Lynn asked him what God was doing in his life. She knew he was sad and lonely and the restaurant was his only place to have a regular conversation. Tom would sit at that counter for a good 2 hours every time he came in.
And Lynn would pull out her little index cards. One of the ways she kept her wits about her was to write a verse from the Bible on an index card. She would keep them in her apron and pull them out every time she started to worry about how she would make it – being on her own with the kids, and living in the shelter. “What’s the verse of the day?” Tom would ask when he sat down at the counter. And Lynn would pull out the index card she had written on that morning. She was desperately looking for hope in a hopeless situation.
Then one night Tom asked her, “Hey, what church do you go to?” Lynn told him, and asked, “Why do you want to know?” Tom said, “You have such a freedom when you talk about God. I want to come visit.” Lynn poured him another cup of coffee.
It was a few weeks later that Tom finally showed up. He looked ragged and beat down. But he came. The next Thursday he came back to the restaurant. Lynn poured him his usual coffee and ordered his Swiss Steak. Then he told her. “Hey Lynn, did your Pastor tell you what I did last week?” Lynn looked at him sort of puzzled. “No, He didn’t say anything.”
Tom hesitated, and then took a breath. “Well you see, I recently lost my business and I had to sell a building I owned. I don’t want to pay the capital gains tax so I chose four churches to split the money with. I just gave your Pastor a check for $50,000.”
Lynn was speechless. She stood there a moment with the coffeepot frozen in her hand. Her mind was spinning. Finally she spoke, “Really Tom, that is absolutely amazing! What a generous gift. I can’t believe you did that. You see our church has been renting space for the last um-teen years, maybe now they can build. Thank you so much Tom. Here, have some more coffee – on me!” Lynn bought his dinner that night – just to say thank you. It was a small gesture, but Tom appreciated it. Who knows the last time someone bought him dinner?
That Sunday Lynn went back to church. She expected the Pastor to make an announcement and thank her for bringing Tom to church. She thought the $50,000 check would finally bring her some acceptance into the ‘inner circle’. Being that it was an independent church only the Pastor and his chosen men knew the finances. There were no open books there. Yet the Pastor didn’t say a word. So she waited, and waited. And Lynn kept working, making $30-$40 a night. And bringing Tom coffee when he came to the restaurant.
After about a month Tom came back to Lynn’s church. It was then the Pastor took him up front and thanked him for his generous contribution. The applause rang out and we were all grateful. Such a generous gift. There were promises of getting a new building, promises of supporting missionaries, promises of how they could now help so many people.
Lynn sat in the congregation fuming. She couldn’t believe it. She was the one who had poured the coffee – for months. She was the one who fed this man night after night. And the Pastor was acting like she didn’t even exist. He never even told her thank you. He never acknowledged her. He never told her that her pouring coffee and listening to Tom had helped him and his church. The Pastor took all the credit for bringing Tom to church. He said he knew him, and there was no mention of Lynn. The Pastor and the men had their private meetings and Lynn has no idea what they did with all that cash.
Lynn was disappointed. I mean really. A$50,000 cup of coffee. The Pastor wouldn’t even acknowledge her or say good job. Lynn wasn’t looking for a hand out. She was working hard to make her own way – without help from anyone. She didn’t ask for help her with rent, or gas, or food. Oh occasionally one or two people would give her a $20 bill on Sunday. Maybe they thought that would do it.
Lynn got a second job, and then a third. All while she went through the divorce. And lost everything. She got help from the Salvation Army and they helped her get into Section 8 housing. She moved into an apartment with her kids and a blanket and a pillow. Her and the kids didn’t even have beds. After a while she had to quit the restaurant. Her second job started at 6 am and she had to have the kids at daycare at 5 am. Working until 11 pm just wasn’t feasible anymore.
She told Tom on her last night, “Thanks again Tom. You have sure been a blessing to XYZ Church. I pray that God restores to you everything you have given 30, 60, 100 times over. God bless you my friend.” She turned in her apron and walked out of the restaurant – and out of XYZ church.
ok, kind of a rant today. This is not true of all the Shepherds/Sheep I know – some are surrounded by the love of God and share with others. Some would give you the shirt off their back if they knew you needed one. Maybe I just have a bad attitude today, idk. Might just be me – so if so, forgive my rant.
But then there are those who like the power and control. And maybe it’s me – I know I am overly sensitive to that spirit. Yeah – paid the price for welcoming that thing into my life. But then again, that’s why it makes me so mad. It is such a destroying spirit. Tears down everything good to be on the throne. Wants everyone to worship it.
I have found that just like in the world, there are those in the church that thrive on power and control. And there are those who abuse it. Who take advantage of people when they are at their lowest. Those who kick you when you are down. And use religion to justify their ‘holier-than-thou attitude’. Maybe you have run into a few?
So, here’s my rant:
Sometimes the ‘religiosity’ of people in church drives me nuts. There, I said it. I have been beaten down by people, the world, my flesh, Satan, his demons, men, bosses, etc…and I am sure you have had your share too. And yet it infuriates me when other “Christians” insist that what Jesus did is not good enough. Like I could add something to that perfect sacrifice. Yeah, right.
You hear it..
You need to read your Bible more (How much is enough?)
You need to pray more (I do pray, I didn’t know we were in a contest)
You need to repent, again and again cuz you are such a screw up (I thought Jesus took care of that – yesterday, today, and even my mistakes I do tomorrow.)
You know, not everyone is getting into Heaven – implying they are, but none of us ‘sheep’ are. (Oh, I guess I better pay for the upgrade…)
You need to tithe more (Wow, guess I’ll stop paying my mortgage and electricity – yeah cardboard box, that will work.)
You need to go knock on some doors and bring those people here (I think they know they live next to a church)
You need to … blah, blah, blah
I know I have sinned, do you need to beat me over the head with it?
How can I repent and come to the alter when you continually kick me when I am down?
I came to church to be forgiven – by Jesus, not by you. You are not my God, God is God all by himself. He really did do it without you.
While you are busy fighting with the other Shepherds about whose doctrine is right/wrong – your sheep are being eaten by the wolves. Yeah, that would be me. And other sheep I know.
If you don’t stop beating the sheep up, they are not going to keep coming back. Starving sheep don’t do well.
If you don’t guard and protect the sheep they will continue to get hurt buy the wolves. If you don’t lead, we won’t follow.
It really isn’t about you, or me. I am ok with that. It’s about HIM.
This is not your church. This isn’t your kingdom. That is not your money – It belongs to JESUS.
My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.
Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of antichrist that you heard was coming. Well, here it is, sooner than we thought!
My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. These people belong to the Christ-denying world. They talk the world’s language and the world eats it up. But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us. This is another test for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception. (1 John 4:1-6 The Message (MSG))
(P.S. Yes, I have been kicked out of places – me and my big mouth. I know, I need more healing here. What do you think?)
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ (Matthew 25-34-36 NKJV)
John 21:16-18 New King James Version (NKJV) He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
To trust, or not to trust. That is the question. I get weary of people laughing at me. People I used to trust. People I turned to in my time of trial. You really do find out who your friends are when you are going through a trial. Some have no time to listen. Some listen and then privately (or with others) laugh at you. And others surprise you, and stand beside you. I am the first to admit that I don’t know it all. And I’m ok with that. I am grateful for the true friends that have stood beside me in my trials. We all have trials. We all have stuff.
In those blank spaces I choose to trust God and His Word. God is the best. He is faithful. He doesn’t lie. He doesn’t mislead. And He wants the best for me. He doesn’t laugh at me.
As for people, I am still learning ‘who’ to trust with ‘what’. I used to trust everyone – with everything. That didn’t work out so well. Then I trusted people in authority. Until they abused it and thought I was just someone to laugh at and make fun of so they could feel superior. Yeah, that was ‘fun’.
So, from the School of Hard Knocks, here is my list:
HOW TO FIND OUT WHO YOU CAN TRUST
Do their words match their actions?
Do they admit that they don’t know it all?
Do they always have to be right?
Are they willing to admit their mistakes?
Do they apologize when they are wrong?
Do they listen to you when you share what is on your heart?
Are they willing to help you? Or are they too busy?
Do they want you to succeed or do they want to find fault?
Do they follow through?
Are they concerned for you or do they have their own agenda?
What happens when you tell them ‘NO’? This one is a biggie. If they won’t respect your ‘NO’, they won’t respect you. And they are NOT to be trusted. Seriously. Pick a thing, anything. It can even be something insignificant, it doesn’t matter. Whether it is where to go for dinner, or what veggie, or what to do next Thursday night. And say “NO”. Watch their response. Do they hear it? Do they acknowledge it? Do they respect it? Or do they argue, whine, or complain? Do they make it a BIG thing? Then they do not respect you, they just want control.
Trust the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom. Ask. Seek. Knock. And trust God more than anyone. He promised to show us as we test the spirits. Trust Him, and He will show you who you can trust, and who you can’t.
I found this poem in my journals from a while ago. I wrote it after coming out of a bad relationship. Sometimes I think I learn what is from what isn’t. Does that make sense? Love was one of those things. I had lots of people tell me they loved me, but their actions did not match. And neither did mine.
When you are starved for love sometimes you take the first thing that comes along. Just because you are starving. It might be that first boyfriend who tells you he loves you just to have sex. It might be that first job where you find yourself working for a boss with shady integrity. When you are starving you just want to eat. It doesn’t matter what.
I would ask the Body of Christ to put down the “ugly” stick and the magnifying glass. It’s time we stopped hurting each other and magnifying each other’s shortcomings and sin. There are people dying out there…
I don’t know why God always speaks to me when I am tired. Maybe it’s cuz I’m finally quiet. Last night I went to our local coffee shop to sing a few songs and participate in the Open Mic. I was amazed at what local talent we have – and mostly from the 20 something generation. They are singing cover songs and originals, and some of them just blow me away. And then my friend Charile Petittsat down at the piano at the end of the night. He sang this beautiful old hymn. And the presence of God fell in the place. There were some who tuned it out, but others were hanging onto his every word. I sat in awe. How the Word of God just does that when put to music. I know, it shouldn’t surprise me.
And then this morning. I opened up my e-mail. I am a member of LinkedIn. I lead the praise team at our church and some of the Groups I belong to are for Worship Leading, Praise and Worship, Music Ministers etc. So I get this e-mail with the title, “What Makes A Good Worship Leader?” So I go there. And read. And cry. Here is a forum of the people God has chosen to lead worship at His church and they are arguing online. We do this, we don’t do that, big churches reek, little churches don’t do it right, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t even respond. I didn’t want to join the argument. Contemporary or Hymns – there is another argument. I have seen churches divide over that one.
And then God spoke to me. “What are you teaching my kids to sing?”
I had to stop and ask myself. Especially today, tonight we are starting a Children’s Choir at our church. A beautiful woman of the Lord, Jean has asked to lead it, I offered to play piano for her. Jean is awesome, she always brings a boatload of kids to church with her. God bless her Lord. So I have been asking myself this same question, “what am I teaching the younger generation to sing?” One of the Pastors asked us to learn some Christmas Carols. So we will start there. And honestly, Idk after that.
Then, on the way running errands, I thought of all the songs that are ‘out there’. We have hymns, Contemporary Christian, Country, Rock, Rap, Jazz, World, New Age, etc.
In looking at the “World’s Music” we don’t want to sing those. Last night was the CMA’s and its all about drinking in my opinion. And the Rock songs, well lets just teach our kids to be their own God there, again my opinion.
Here, let me show you what I mean. Here are a few of the lyrics/Top 10’s:
Round Here – Florida Georgia Line The moon comes up and the sun goes down
“We find a little spot on the edge of town
Twist off, sip a little, pass it around
Dance in the dust, turn the radio up
And that fireball whiskey whispers
Temptation in my ear
It’s a feelin’ alright Saturday night
And that’s how we do it ’round here
Yeah that’s how we do it ’round here”
Royals – Lorde “And we’ll never be royals (royals).
It don’t run in our blood,
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.
(You can check the TOP 50 Hymns and TOP 40 Contemporary Christian Songs on the link above)
Many churches have abandoned the old hymns entirely. There may be a whole generation growing up without ever singing “The Old Rugged Cross”. I am so grieved today. I feel like I have dishonored my Spiritual Parents; the generations upon generations of our Spiritual Fathers and Mothers who sang to You with all their heart with what they had. Who am I to criticize the way another person or church worships YOU? Their worship is between them and You. Forgive me Lord. They are your children, not mine. Thank you for my lesson today.
So – thinking ‘out of the box’ , I wondered – what if I was that old Hymnal? Hence, my poem today:
I’m the book you threw away
The song you never sang
Thought I was old and outdated
Just garbage in your hands
But I brought tears to Grandpa’s eyes
every time he sang Amazing Grace
Grandma smiled when she got to Fly Away
Even that old Preacher Man
with the Word in his hand
Went to The Old Rugged Cross at Calvary
I may not be in the Radio Top 40
But can I ask,
Are You Washed in the Blood?
When your kids look for Blessed Assurance
How will they know How Great Thou Art?
Every page was a new testimony
to All Creatures Of Our God And King
No more singing It Is Well With My Soul
the hearts that lived upon each note – dishonored
This Little Light of Mine, stuffed in a dumpster
Faith Of Our Fathers, just thrown away
But hey, Jesus Loves Me This I Know
So Take My Life And Let It Be