Friday, July 6, 2012

No Gossip Allowed in My Church!





Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Summer and winter, and spring-time and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!



I hope you will indulge me with a slight diversion.  I went for a walk this morning and saw this . . . .




and a little further down the path where there were more trees and greenery, and an island in the middle of the river where birds congregate, I heard this:



Check this out on Chirbit



(ok, I'm a dork, but I love that loud squawk at the end). 

It's been a year since we have moved from the land of green and never-ending rain in the Portland, OR area to the land of dry desert (only 4 hours away!) in eastern Washington.  I love lush green and could never imagine living in the desert, but now when I look at the above photo, I see beauty - immense beauty, and I'm so thankful to be at a place where I can look around and see this.  I've experienced all four seasons here and it is a different kind of beauty than what I'm used to, but it is breathtaking to me now.  I see God's wonderful creation, both in the lush green and now in the desert.  God is not limited to a church building (and the people said AMEN!).  I want to encourage those who are struggling with God and how to find Him, to take a step back and connect with Him in safe places, on a morning walk, in song, in your relationships, etc.  Find what feels safe and rest there for a bit.  



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:18-21


Once again, the comments have led the discussion to this topic and I think it's important to dig a little deeper and talk about gossip as it relates to spiritually abusive churches.  

Gossip is an important topic in any church, actually in any environment, work, school, etc.  The bible is clear that it can tear down relationships and cause great division.  There are numerous verses on the topic, but here are a few:

“a perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28)

 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.  Rom 1:29-32

And here we read specifically about women as “gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:12-13).  Ouch!

Dictionary's definition of gossip:  casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true

The author of this article breaks the word gossip into six categories:

These are the 6 things that fall under the category of gossip. If anyone who calls themselves a person who loves the Lord, sings the praises of God, worships in fellowship with other believers, pray, read the Word of God, say they love God and at the same time engage in gossip and everything that goes along with gossip,(busybody, talebearer, slander, evil whispering, evil speaking and backbiting), is practicing hypocrisy therefore making that person a hypocrite! 
 
Yes, there is no doubt, gossip is a serious problem and we must be careful to not get caught in the trap. 

Early this morning, I approved a one-word comment:  "Gossip".  I was in bed when I approved it and unable to see the context, so my brain went on a wild goose chase trying to figure out the context.  I found the context here and it made sense:


 * * * * * * *
"on Saturday night, we got the call from an elder that we were not welcome to come to church there anymore." Every time you post this I get the creeps. In our case there was a Saturday night phone call from the same "elder" who called you that effectively ended our time at the so-called church. Current attenders, be cautious if you get a Saturday night call from this elder! You may want to record it for legal reasons.

I'm not sure who you are, but I'll bet we could have an interesting time sharing creepy stories.


Gossip


To Anonymous--
Not gossip, truth. Gossip is what comes from a certain pulpit where, instead of preaching the gospel of grace, members and former members of the church are railed against, by name, with lies and half-truths (again, lies).

THAT is gossip. It's not excused because it comes from a pastor or from the pulpit. Imagine where that church would be if he worried less about others--and himself--and more about Christ and His flock.

People sharing true experiences is not gossip.


* * * * * * 
Will's comment was spot on!  The no-gossip rule ties in clearly with the "no-talk" rule (which is defined here in the Definition Section).  You see, if people were allowed to talk and share their experiences, enough people would have seen a pattern and this could have been dealt with before it got this far.  Instead, we have a cycle of "don't gossip", with pastor/elders reading scriptures like Hebrews 13:7 (Remember those who rule over you...) to hush us.  Bottom line is our talk was controlled.  We did not have liberty to discuss truths that we experienced freely because it was labeled as gossip.  

Truth sometimes is divisive.  It doesn't mean it is always gossip.  We need to be careful about that.  What is the intention of our heart when we share our experiences?  Is it in anger or malice?  I know my intention for going public.  It was to say:  YO!!!  There's a problem here.  God is not being honored in this situation, and in fact, God is being trampled upon by false teachings, hearts are turning AWAY from God, HELP!!!!

Will addresses something that I hadn't considered regarding gossip from the pulpit.  He frequently mentioned current conflicts from the pulpit (between him and other "so-called" pastors, etc,), so it would only make sense that he would be bringing this lawsuit to the forefront of conversation at the church.  Look at what he posted publicly about me and others:


Chuck O'Neal ‎ - Nov 18, 2009
JulieAnne's Destructive Slander Continues To Whom It May Concern: Almost a year ago JulieAnne and her husband were Biblically put out of Beaverton Grace Bible Church with a group of families and individuals that were engaged in ongoing divisive slander. After attending many churches and leaving them in a similar manner, the group has now splintered. Many of those in this factious group no longer attend church at all. It is sad to see that JulieAnne remains steadfast in her destructive behavior. For obvious reasons we exhort you to heed the following Scriptures:  Prov 6:16-19 16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And ONE WHO SOWS DISCORD AMONG BRETHREN. Prov 16:28 A perverse man SOWS STRIFE, And A WHISPERER SEPARATES THE BEST OF FRIENDS. Prov 26:20 Where there is NO WOOD, THE FIRE GOES OUT; And where there is NO TALEBEARER, STRIFE CEASES. Rom 16:17-18 NOW I URGE YOU, BRETHREN, NOTE THOSE WHO CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENSES, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and AVOID THEM. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. Titus 3:9-11 But AVOID FOOLISH DISPUTES, genealogies, CONTENTIONS, and strivings about the law; for THEY ARE UNPROFITABLE AND USELESS. 10 REJECT A DIVISIVE MAN AFTER THE FIRST AND SECOND ADMONITION, 11 KNOWING THAT SUCH A PERSON IS WARPED AND SINNING, being self-condemned. It is our prayer that there will be no more wood thrown upon the fire of contentiousness, strife, discord, and division. It is our prayer that the fire will go out and that the body of Christ at BGBC will be able to press on “in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). It is our prayer that those who started the fire and have cut, stacked, and stoked much wood upon it, will repent, for God's glory and their blessing. If you have any questions, please contact the pastor and elders. May we be evermore convinced of mankind's sinfulness and of our need for God's amazing grace through faith in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God STILL has the whole world and His Church in His very capable hands. For Christ and His Church, Pastor Chuck O'Neal, Elder Dave Loynes, Elder Dale Weaver

 and this is another review:

DEFAMATION IS A CRIME: It is convenient and crafty to wage a three and a half year war of reviling defamation in which you and those with you ACCUSE THE PASTOR AND CHURCH OF HORRIFIC CRIMES AGAINST GOD AND MEN, to then hide behind 1 Cor. 6:7-8.

FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS JULIEANNE AND THOSE WITH HER, HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN PUBLIC, CHURCH TO CHURCH, AND WORLD WIDE WEB DEFAMATION IN A SELFISH WILLINGNESS TO DISCREDIT GOD, HARM THE CHURCH, HARM WIVES, HARM CHILDREN, AND HARM THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST'S GOSPEL. 

IN MATTERS OF GREAT DAMAGE TO OURSELVES OR FAMILIES, WE MAY USE LAWFUL MEANS TO RIGHT OURSELVES. WE ARE NOT BOUND TO SIT DOWN AND SUFFER THE INJURY TAMELY, WITHOUT STIRRING FOR OUR OWN RELIEF;

Anonymous is convinced that I am a gossip.  If the above was posted publicly, I can only imagine what is said to the remaining church privately and in church meetings to the congregation.  If this is what that congregation sees and perhaps hears on an ongoing base from the pastor, is it any wonder that I get "divisive" comments on my blog from time to time.  These comments are meant to challenge me.  The people in the church have come along side him in his thinking and I and "those with me" are considered the enemy.  


In the context above, the Anonymous poster felt that sharing our creepy stories is gossip.  Stories that we might share with one another may be hard to hear, is uncomfortable, but it is the truth and not gossip.  I am speaking the truth in the most loving way I know because I care and love that body of Believers.  I care for their souls.  And believe it or not, I have love for the pastor as well.  The people of that church need a pastor who cares for their souls, not one who goes after former members in creepy ways.  Going after former members is destructive and a distraction to the real responsibility of a pastor.  It must be stopped.  So until it is stopped, those of us who have left must continue speaking the truth in love - - - which is NOT gossip. 






28 comments:

  1. Julie Anne wrote, "Sometimes truth is divisive. It doesn't mean it is always gossip." Amen. I imagine the Pharisees were concerned about Jesus and His nasty habit of gossiping all over town with His defaming statements.

    Some people may not like what they're reading, but in my opinion, it's not wrong of you to say it. I find it amusing that they believe it's wrong for you to speak up about what you judge to be wrong, yet they have no problem doing the same.

    They are so blinded that they don't even see the hypocrisy. They throw a lot of energy into trying to remove splinters from others' eyes, even when there's no splinter there.

    You know what else isn't there? Joy, love, grace, and an invitation to come alongside and pursue the Lord--that's what I don't see from them that I do see from you, Julie Anne. So keep on speaking the truth.

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  2. No that isn't gossip, it is true. Perpetuating lies from the pulpit, such as when someone was saved, is gossip.

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  3. 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBCJuly 6, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    If anything posted on this blog is demonstrably gossip, slander, etc., it is the comment you quoted from Chuck O'Neal. His diatribe is false, slanderous, gossipy, divisive, and just plain mean. That is sufficient evidence that he does not belong in the pulpit or in church leadership.

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  4. that squawk at the end sounds like a crow!

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    1. Rude fowl. They're not nice. Stole cherries from our trees in OR.

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    2. Now, now. Don't be gossiping about crows stealing cherries. (just kidding!)

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    3. But it's the truth!!! haha

      One of my sons was so upset at the thieves he would sit in the tree with his air soft gun waiting . . .

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  5. You wrote, "Anonymous is convinced that I am a gossip"......well, Anonymous is obviously mistaken.

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  6. It's been a few days since I've posted. The remarks from Fred and the way he didn't answer the questions and what he did say brought up feelings regarding my own abuse situation. He seems to have quited down. I am wondering if someone at his church talked to him..I did question his actions and comments coming from a man who taught at GCC. Yet I understand that some are teachers and others are tend to the flock.
    I am also friends with the person who wrote that Fred was a bully. I doubt he will comment again. I did tell him that he was not the only person who posted this... He did tell me that the websters says that a bully is "one habitually cruel to others who are weaker."
    I do believe that speaking the truth is not gossip. By not speaking out it is like keeping a bad secret.
    `

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    1. I admit to being disappointed with Fred for a number of reasons.

      First, he used my situation and name on three of his posts referring to spiritual abuse blogs. I felt the way he characterized me was snarky and disrespectful. He was highly critical of spiritual abuse blogs, yet admitted that he had never read mine. If he hadn't read mine, then why was he categorizing my spiritual abuse blog with all of the rest and assuming the worst? I've seen a few and actually think this one is run differently than others.

      Fred is known in certain circles and people picked up his posts and reposted them for discussion. At one site, he posted wrong information (which I corrected using court documents from sex offender's mom as proof). That disturbed me because he came across as one with knowledge of the situation after having dealt with me. Fred is pretty clueless of my situation and although he may say he wants to know, he doesn't which is very clear by our private e-mails and by his refusal to call me or my husband.

      He also did not answer many of my reader's questions here. That bothered me. If my readers took the time to post and ask questions from someone who comes across as an authority, then I feel they deserved a decent and timely response. That did not happen. They were left hanging and I feel bad about that.

      He then started his 3rd post referring to questions that began here, forcing those who wanted to dialog to move to his blog. He says that is done all the time in blog world. I've heard of taking info from one blog and using that to jump-start a new post (I do that, too), but not leaving questions unanswered on one blog and answering them on a whole other blog.

      And then there is the issue that really gets me going is the assumption that most people who claim "spiritual abuse" really are whiners and complainers and in unrepentant sin. It's funny how I feel my blood pressure start to rise just typing this. I think I'll save this thought for another day :)

      He also failed to post a comment of mine on his blog. He has my e-mail address, he could have sent me a note explaining why.

      In summary, the real issue for him is his disdain for spiritual abuse blogs. Any discussion contrary isn't going to get anywhere. His mind is made up.


      Well, I guess those were a few, huh?

      Delete
    2. Although I poked my nose in here a couple of times since the last exchange with Freddie, it was little more than a "fly-by" reading in which I didn't comment due to being involved with other matters.

      The fact that he decided to take his ball and go home doesn't surprise me at all. As others have pointed out, he is little more than an internet bully. And as is generally the case, bullies are really cowards who feel the need to portray a "tough-guy" exterior which is phonier than a three-dollar bill. Attempting to get him to be consistant in his arguments and holding him accountable for his charges and accusations just proved too much for him to handle. So he choose instead to make many of the same charges and accusations in an enviironment in which HE controlled and would not be held accountable.

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    3. I agree, Other Tom. I think what finally clicked for me was when a reader privately e-mailed me and said that he was holding my blog hostage waiting for his responses (which he never did respond to). That got my dander up and I decided enough was enough.

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  7. Julie Anne,

    I'm glad you took some time to deal with the definition of gossip, and most importantly, what gossip is not. I have been planning to do the same thing, along with other similar words like "slander." I have heard those words used against me by elders behaving badly. One time my family started attending a new church. The circumstances "raised some red flags" with the elders, so they asked us why we left our previous church. It wasn't a fun topic, and was uncomfortable talking about such things, but we agreed and told them why we left. They then said we were gossiping about and slandering our previous church. They were the ones who wanted to know! We were damned either way.

    Twisting the meaning of words and the biblical texts that contain those words, and then applying them in a way to control people, is a mark of abusive and authoritarian leadership. Keep talking about such things.

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    1. Steve - we may discussed a bit of this elsewhere, but it goes along with the mentality of assuming the worse - that of course the pastors/elders from your previous church were right, you are just probably "one of those" whiny/complaining sort and in unrepentant sin. Ok, I just typed this same thing on the previous comment. I see a post coming.

      Please tell me you moved along and said good-bye.

      I look forward to reading your post on slander.

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    2. Yes, we moved along. And, yes, you're right about assuming the worst. We were constantly admonished that WE needed to be the ones who made every effort to make the situation right. And we did. They even told us that they were going to set up meetings between us and our former church (something they never followed through on, BTW). It was unimaginable to them that we could have been right in the situation. So, it was a lose-lose situation from the beginning.

      Oh, and "divisive" is another one of those words that needs both positive and negative definitions.

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  8. Mid-Atlantic MomJuly 7, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    We used to send our children to a Christian school founded as a part of Doug Wilson's classical school movement. Accusing parents of gossiping was how the school leaders controlled the flow of information among concerned parents. You couldn't even share with another parent a concern you had about your own child without being accused of gossip. One parent to another: "My daughter was disciplined for not following along with the reading ... and then we found out she just needed glasses." Administrator who overheard this comment. "Gossip will not be tolerated." Parent of a 1st grader: "Timmy wet his pants yesterday... he told me he asked twice to go to the bathroom but was denied permission." Administrator: "You are gossiping." Yes, eventually we had the good sense to leave this school.

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    1. Ouch - In both of the cases you mentioned, administrator used their position of authority (control) inappropriately to cover up staff's misconduct or oversight and played the blame game by accusing parents of gossiping. Good call to leave the school!

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  9. "Going after former members is destructive and a distraction to the real responsibility of a pastor." Yes it is. But what about going after current members? What does tearing people down accomplish? If he thinks someone is in sin or is struggling with something in their life, why doesn't he go to them and ask? There is a pattern of taking information from his hangers-on, making assumptions and then issuing his conclusion from the pulpit. Not attempting to verify what he thinks he heard. Not discussing it with the actual person involved. It was said before, and I agree that the true gossip trail led to and from "he who must not be named". So the only talk that is a problem is talk that he does not control. This is my opinion, sorry you can't argue with that fact.

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    1. I have a big problem with taking private sin issues to the pulpit. What is THAT? I'm not going to argue with your opinion at all. Well said.

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  10. Enjoyed your recording of the birds singing, Julie Anne. We all need to take some time once in awhile to go on a peaceful walk and see and hear the wonders of God's creation. I think that probably was indeed a crow at the end, but don't feel bad,they always seem to show up eventually and disturb the peace.

    I did have a few thoughts on the accusation of gossip when all that people are trying to do is have a discussion about the creepy things that are going on in their fellowships and among their leaders. What did Jesus Himself expect us to do? In Matthew 7:15 He warns us to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. He addresses this warning to His followers as a group. This would in no way preclude discussion among Christians about the specific dangers we see.

    And in Matthew 7:20 Jesus tells us, "Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them." Again He addresses this to His disciples in the plural - not as individuals who are to keep these things to themselves without comparing notes. Obviously, the sheep need to communicate about the wolves for their own safety and not just allow the unsuspecting to become the next victims. In the absence of loving Shepherds who would obey Jesus' command "if you love Me, tend My sheep" that is the only honorable thing men and women can do to preserve the flock.

    If this has been said before, I apologize - I just parachuted into this blog. But it certainly bears repeating. Spiritual abuse definitely seems to be on the rise in our churches. A friend of mine and his wife are currently being treated shamefully and essentially drummed out of their church. There really is no excuse for the intransigence of certain leaders who are so sure they are following God's rules. And if you met these pastors, you would probably consider them to be very likeable at first. But what they are doing to my friends behind the scenes really hurts. And men who really know the Lord feel these emotions every bit as much as godly women do. Women do not have a monopoly on emotions nor do men on intellect.

    I chose to post under the name "Ostrich" in honor of my friend because when he was being mocked by a certain church leader recently that's what my friend, one of the most honorable men I've ever had the privilege to fellowship with as a brother in the Lord, was labeled.

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    1. Welcome Ostrich!

      Please parachute into the blog more often!

      I really appreciate you mentioning the Matthew 7 verses and identifying that Jesus was speaking to disciples in plural. Of course this is Christ - who is our Good Shepherd and who has our best interest in mind. Wouldn't it make sense that He involved them in the concerns and threats that may surround them? I think of my job as a mom and how I teach my children about risks (pedophiles) and how to protect themselves, giving them options to do and how to handle sticky situations. That is love. They may never need this info (and it disgusts me that I need to give the talk), but it is reality just as wolves and false teachers are a reality in churches. I'm going to read that passage again after I hit "publish". Thanks for mentioning it!

      It's helpful to note the flip side is an authoritarian self-serving pastor. They typically isolate and keep people from talking (no-talk rule) by calling it "gossip" or "divisive" as Steve mentioned above - of course twisting the definitions. These people are then left to stew about their questions and concerns, possibly putting blame on themselves, thinking they are in sin, when in fact, they may be completely innocent. This makes for a very confusing and lonely time for that individual.

      Ostrich - I don't know if I have shared this before, but I think my personal e-mails would attest that men most definitely feel these emotions and the impact of spiritual abuse. In fact, the most troublesome and heart-wrenching stories I've read have come from men.

      I'm glad your friend has you in his life. I think one of the biggest gifts we can give someone who has gone through this experience is a listening ear and much validation. People who have lived with spiritual abuse have been shut down emotionally and perhaps even denied it in their heads for so long just to survive the insanity - it's all part of the debriefing process that is so necessary. I think you two may be talking for some time, and that is good :)
      2 Cor 1:4 is my favorite verse when it comes to this stuff.

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  11. 2 Corinthians 1:4(HCSB)"He comforts us in all our affliction,so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

    Julie Anne, Thanks for putting that verse in your response here.

    I know people think spiritually abused people are "whiny women" or run to psychologist's couches to cry. One of my friends at "former church" told me they didn't see a reason to pay to "cry on a couch".

    Today I had some sudden emotional storms hit - followed by a downpour of tears. I was ready to post encouragement I received from music videos on your new post and the value of music in healing. All of a sudden, the "bottom dropped out" and I was crying. I didn't publish the comment, because it felt hypocritical when I couldn't even get comfort this afternoon from what I was going to recommend to others.

    Some people I know have had hard lives and I know children were abandoned in orphanages in Eastern Bloc countries, I read on a Christian adoption blog once about these adopted children having problems because of that. As a mom, you might know what I'm trying to say, like "failure to thrive" - no stable parent-child relationship in the beginning.

    I don't believe in Psychology, but all of a sudden I'm feeling like "old tapes" are playing in the background about my parent's divorce, and some other pain in past years when I was rejected by people who I wanted reciprocal relationship with, but who were guarded and seemed like they couldn't trust anyone. This has happened now too - some people think I am "less than a gospel believing Christian for leaving" - but I expected that. A couple of people think I'm "too involved in this stuff and need to quit talking about it and move on", and now I'm seeing this "I've healed" "all is well here" response from others while I'm falling apart at the seams. I feel like someone opened me up for surgery and forgot to stitch me back together - painful and confusing.

    What I see in the verse you quoted is that we get the comfort from God. I'm so glad you have friends like Michelle who are willing to spend time listening and sharing with you. No doubt your husband is understanding too, since he is feeling the pain in many ways, and my husband is as well. But there's something about having that comfort come from the Lord that I pick up in that verse. And since my "well has run dry" and there is no one like Michelle in my life, I can see that I need to tap into the Lord by crying out to Him.

    "What a friend we have in Jesus" - If thy friends despise, forsake thee, take it to the Lord in prayer. In His arms He'll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there." Hebrews 13:13 is one of my favorite verses when I'm feeling alone and down. Romans 8:28 has also been a foundational verse for me and many times I have seen in retrospect how it has worked out.

    I've had many disappointments in my life, but Jesus has never disappointed me. Sometimes it's taken patience to trust that answers will come, but He's Always Been Faithful to Me.

    Here's a song a missionary's wife sang at "new church". Afterward I asked her where she found this song. She said a missionary to Russia had told her about it and she had written to Sarah Groves to buy the music so one of her older daughters could play the piano accompaniment. She received a personal letter from Sarah Groves and was given the music at no charge. That really encouraged her!
    Here's the url to You Tube, sorry I don't know how to put in a link:

    He's Always Been Faithful - by Sarah Groves - a newer composition

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTLfQ05Otk0

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    1. Dear Not a Rebel,

      There is nothing wrong with you that you feel like you aren't healing. It's not true; you ARE healing. Think of it this way. If you have a bad injury, the healing can be painful and even leave scars. Sometimes, that area is weakened, so an experience that wouldn't harm someone else might reopen your wound or at least send some painful throbs to remind you of the initial injury.

      You hit the nail on the head: God is the only source of comfort that satisfies. Just know that He IS healing you. It's okay if you feel weepy now and then. Thank you for your transparency. I appreciate that you don't feel the pressure to put on a mask because you think it's expected or it's time.

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  12. So true. Gossip is always trotted out by control freaks as the sin you are guilty of if you dare to speak of a real problem. Sigh. Throw off the unbiblical guilt, as best you can, and keep speaking the truth. If you are not listened to, shake the dust off your feet....

    :-(

    Glad you were able to find a better church where people actually care. I pray you are still in such a healthy fellowship.

    "Defamation is a crime" -- well then Chuck ought to quit defaming Julie. Pot, meet kettle....

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  13. Thanks, Jess, for your affirmation. It helped me sleep so much better last night and sometimes a good cry is cleansing. I try to fight tears back, but this morning when I first woke up I thought of Jesus in the Garden and I know He "gets it". As I said before in another post "If we were perfect, we wouldn't need a Savior." Many thanks for the analogy about injuries leaving an area weak - my husband has a spot in his back that got injured many years ago when he was helping lift heavy pews into place and at times he tells me that "old injury is acting up again" and takes ibuprofen. Thanks for your "spiritual medicine Rx"! The church should be a "hospital for sinners" (with Drs. like you attending to patients :) I AM healing and my joy is coming back today. Jesus answered my cries!

    TerrierGal, Thank you so much for your comments also! I totally understand - but it's not just "control freaks" in leadership, there are also some "gossips" who "report on others" - that's why I have a hard time feeling comfortable in women's Bible studies. (My husband says the men don't have a "pecking order" like that.)

    My husband tried to reason with people from Scripture, and after a lot of self-examination and prayer, he finally wrote a letter and "pushed the ejection seat button". But it was NOT easy! Even though I didn't have many friends there, I still feel a deep loss and did not want to go looking for a new church.:( And I'm also pretty disappointed in the "kings of blogdom" with their attitudes toward women. Not exactly "knights in shining armor", but they do "flash their Star Wars light sabers" - to build their blog counts.

    We landed at a much smaller church which seems friendlier. They take the Bible just as seriously, and the worship is much the same - they include the rich Lutheran hymns from my youth, like "The Church's One Foundation". My sister played piano and we sang that one together (making a joyful "noise", but not in public! LOL!)

    I think I remember seeing you post on Ingrid's blogs. I feel so badly for her and see she has made her blog private now. I know someone who went to school & church with her uncle - they don't know what's been happening now, but told me some interesting things about the town they grew up in. Made me think of how it says in the OT that things would go down to the 3rd and 4th generation. I don't believe in "curses", but there does seem to be a problem when people grow up in legalistic bondage and churches that aren't loving and then that continues to affect later generations. This helped me "fill in the blanks" on a lot of things in my own life. There were "church fights" in Scandinavian Lutheran Church I grew up in - now we laugh at "Church Basement Ladies" comedy and some "Luteran wimmin" wrote some funny books about it, but it wasn't very ROFL when I saw it in the REAL basement, Ya Sure, You Betcha - sometimes the "Midwestern Nice" was totally missing - Uffda!(Sin.)

    Glad I moved South - need to pray about losing the Midwest accent. When I travel people come up to me in airports and say "You talk just like the people in that "Fargo" movie! (I don't want to be associated with a "1996 American dark comedy-crime film" - I've seen what happens in the darkness) - I want to "walk in the light"!

    It really is sad. Makes me wonder if God isn't "cleaning house" to give people a chance to get right with Him before they face Him.

    Romans 12:18 says,"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." Sometimes it doesn't always seem possible on this side of heaven. Jesus is the "Good Shepherd". He understands.
    He always bandages me up and He knows His sheep by name. John 10.

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