Many years ago, I looked at my pastor at the time and asked, "Can we agree to disagree here, or is this the end of the road for us?" He looked at my husband and me and said, "I think this is the end of the road for you."
Just like that, the church where I got saved by the pastor who led me through the salvation prayer presented us with a tough decision. It was made very clear that if the non-for-profit organization I ran continued to promote, create, and form Biblical small groups for women who struggled with fear and anxiety, he or the church would not support us.
We prayerfully took the information presented to us by our pastor to wise counsel that was not within our local church, another trusted pastor outside our city. We were strongly encouraged to leave our church peacefully.
Just because we left peacefully doesn't mean it didn't hurt excruciatingly.
Unfortunately, rumors began to circulate, hurtful comments were made behind our backs, and our close relationships were damaged.
It took me years to recover from the pain and betrayal I felt from that split.
What do you do when two people who love the Lord see scripture differently? That is the subject of this post.
Well-meaning people will steer you in the wrong direction, but the voice of God never will.
I know I’m called to create, promote, and form Biblical small groups with curriculum to help women overcome fear and anxiety. Just because someone else had a different interpretation of what I should do with the calling God placed on my life doesn't mean I need to give up on that dream.
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We are indeed called to obey the leaders God has placed over our lives (Hebrews 13:17). But it should never be blind obedience. That scripture can quickly get abused if you don't use caution. You and your church leaders should always remain open, humble, approachable, and willing to talk out difficult situations, especially around scripture interpretations. It is a major red flag if either side lacks any of those characteristics.
Obey God or man?
Our pastor's suggestions seemed more like a personal preference rather than a command written in the Bible, so we had a choice: obey God or man?
Galatians 1:10 says, "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
I would disobey God by not fighting for the dream I had in my heart to keep producing curriculum and small groups. To date, hundreds of women's lives have been transformed by the powerful impact of these groups and content. I had to decide if I was going to serve Christ in my decision or please man, and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life.
This leads me to my third point.
Don't give up on church because someone in the church hurt you.
Walk this out with me.
You are lying in a hospital bed sick; a doctor comes in without care or concern. He smugly looks at you and deals with you harshly, explains your health condition, doesn't allow you to ask questions, and coldly walks out of the room. This isn't your first encounter with a behavior of this nature. You feel full of anxiety and fear every time you see this doctor. Yet, you have been told he is the best in the business, so you stick with him.
Do bad experiences with one doctor make all doctors bad? Somehow, we have equated bad experiences with the church to mean all churches are bad.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for church is ekklesia which means any assembly, local body of believers, or the universal body of all believers. The church can have a building, but it's not about the building; it's about God's people. God's people are made up of sinners, you and me. We are going to make mistakes and hurt one another.
I did get hurt and had thoughts of giving up on church altogether. That's when I learned that church was about my confession to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In Matthew 16, Jesus asked Peter, "But, who do you say I am?" (15), to which he answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (16). Jesus went on to say, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (18).
The church is about confession of Lordship, walking with Jesus intimately, and loving Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. Living a life of surrender filled with faith, hope, and love and sharing the good news of Christ everyone we go. We are the church!
The church has a building, but it's not the church's main point. The point is Jesus. Don't forsake the one that never let you down (Jesus) because someone in the church let you down.
Let me pray for you.
Father, I lift up the person who has been deeply wounded by people in the church today. I pray they take those wounds to you and open their hearts to healing and forgiveness. Show them where you were during their time of pain and let them know you will never let them down, leave them or forsake them. Help them to rebuild their trust and join the local assembly again. Lead them to a church building where they can love and serve you, Lord, all the days of their lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.
I'm grateful for the amazing work God has done through Fearless. Check out some events that are happening now.