This is an excerpt out of the book I am writing Cult Survivor This is in the chapter about why I left the Church…. Other chapters include Women in the Church and Lessons in Pride. Pathach is a Hebrew word meaning – unfolding appear, break forth, draw out, let go free, engrave, loose self, be, be set free opening.
I left the church because of the repeated patterns of behaviour that I saw and did not agree with. Many issues I tried to overcome and deal with over the years but was offered no apologies.
The first incident came when a man from our church was running a cafe of sorts and my 15-year-old Aspergers son was working for him. There was a situation of miscommunication where my son didn’t come to work one Saturday due to him having one of his meltdowns. I tried speaking to the man but got derailed(mostly because I am a woman). I sort to texting because I communicate better via text. I said he was showing discrimination against my son for having special needs, only for him to blatantly say that maybe he shouldn’t hire people with special needs. Then I tried my best to go about this as biblically as I could. We could not come to a resolve and as Math 18 suggests I asked for elders to intervene as mediators to which I was told by the elders NO!
It horrified my husband and I and we met with 2 of the elders where we came to agree to disagree. My husband said they must take care of the new furniture, not only old furniture. Meaning. This other man had been in the church longer, probably tithed more and therefore was protected by the powers that be. Yet after this, we said we would let it go, and we did.
But many more such incidences occurred. Those with money being favoured over those who have none. We became deacons, and I thought that maybe now we could make some changes and help them see the error of their ways but no! All being a deacon in this church means is you get put on a WhatsApp group and told what to do by the ‘admin’. There is no real dialogue or conversation. To be a deacon is to serve the church by using their gifts, not being told what to do! See the difference?
Another thing that irritated me was we led a life group, but it had to be controlled. They handed us down material to use and encouraged to not stray from the guided material. We had to regurgitate second-hand revelation. This is not what I signed up for. There is no room for God or the Holy Spirit. It also says the life group leaders cannot even hear God for themselves! That’s no good in my opinion! Then should they even be leaders?
Another incident occurred at a Deacons meeting. I homeschool my children; I have for almost 15 years now! Successfully, I might add! When saying to a particular elder I had a strenuous day with the children, his response was. “Maybe you should put them in school” This was not only rude but completely insensitive. It revealed to me their hearts, that they are not FOR me, they are not hearing God but just pushing their own selfish agenda!
There are many things to list and mention. I think it is frustrating having a prophetic voice and gift and having man-made ceilings put on me and no room for God to move was the worst thing I felt. When there are preaches about “the method of hearing God” That is where I bow out! There ain’t no method, dude! This was bad theology in my eyes. That is the problem, we think we can fit God in our understanding and methods and ways, but his ways are higher! No, I couldn’t take it anymore!
The final straw came more recently when my husband lost his job. We didn’t tell the elders at first because honestly; we have never truly felt their support. We know how to God directly and have other friends we are accountable to, anyway. Then some wonderful friends encouraged us to so they could cover us in prayer and thinking this a good idea, my husband phoned one elder.
Then COVID-19 hit!
One of the elder’s wives who has never messaged me a day in her life sent me a generic message asking to contribute to food parcels they were putting together for people in the church. At this point, I realised that all the elders did not know our particular situation and were NOT praying for us. I replied to her, “I have R2 in the bank, where would you like me to send it?…”
This was 100%true at the time because I had just put together food parcels for someone, I had to pay my mom’s money for Tafta and I had paid my domestic worker so that she would be OK during the lockdown. I truly believe we need to give from a place of nothing. So I was not mad because she asked me to give, I was mad because she had no clue about our situation and showed no sensitivity to it. I was mad because yet again it revealed that AGENDA I keep talking about. It may look like helping the poor but it is hiding selfish ambition of wanting to look good! Where is the Holy Spirit? Where is the spirit of wisdom and discernment? Nothing!
Look I know this seems small but you must remember it had been 5 years of these type of things and me just keeping quiet each time! So This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I just decided I cannot do this anymore! To make matters worse, no one ever called to apologise for anything. The next day I received food parcels and a voucher as if that was the solution???? Still no dialogue or communication. Just a lot of gossip and assumption! The assumption I was in the wrong and they are all perfectly justified on their thrones! I am a writer so I vented on social media as respectfully as I could and even had 3 other pastor friends reach out to me with compassion and understanding and apologise that this happened to me. I posted one thing that got their attention and It broke the silence. Not to see if we were ok, No! But a call made to my husband in an effort to silence me. Well, no more silence! Maybe if they were more concerned with their sheep than themselves and how they look there could be some kind of reconciliation but no, none of that!
I still believe in the church. But there is a difference between what God intended Church to be and a Cult! In me is a slither of hope the church can be all God intends her to be but for now, it’s not something I can be a part of. But the church as a whole has become a cult! It has become a man-made construct Ultimately, we are the Church and I have surrounded myself with people who love to worship God and I still share my God stories with anyone who will listen. I write this letter, not to be a ‘difficult emotional woman’ but just an honest one! I write this letter in the hopes to bring understanding and bring change.
Living with Duality
I Know I confuse many people. I love God with my whole being but I do not act like some Christians you know. As my one friend says. I can be pretty ‘gangster!’ 🙂 I use the word act deliberately of course because most of what you see is pretence and a show. Many of them act holy and self-righteous when they themselves are riddled with sin.
With me, what you see is what you get. Yes, I strive to live a godly life as best I can but I am also fully aware of my humanity.
“Why do you call Me good?”Jesus replied.“No one is good except God alone.
These are Jesus’s own words, so why should I pretend to be any better? We have to accept that we are both flesh and spirit and yes, the two are at war! So why pretend the Spirit has won? Even Paul said “15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Rom 7:15-18
This is one of the reasons I find myself unable to be in church, too many Christians live in this form of pretence and perfectionism that we just cannot live up to. Then those people put their judgements and criticisms on you. Everyone is so busy judging each other, there is no room for God to actually work. People take on this God role! We cannot force change from the outside, the Holy Spirit has to do it from the inside. Our job should be to just show love to everyone!
So yes, I love God, and I hear him clearly! No, God didn’t tell me to leave the church. God still loves his church. It is I who struggle with it and God understands my struggle. He leads us gently. Yet this is the phrase I will now hear from the inside, like some repeated rehearsed script they have trained their brains to say.
I will hear. “You must be obedient to what God says” and you know what? I actually agree. I would love to be in church. Honestly, I would. A church that reflects the church in the bible. A church FULL of God and the Holy Spirit.
I find it funny that I get told this phrase over and over because this goes both ways. They also need to be obedient to what God says, and it is a lot more than, “you need to attend church”. What about not boasting, what about hearing God and changing your own life? What about not having too much pride and arrogance? Just because I am honest about my struggles does not mean I do not love God. Even Jacob wrestled with God.
“Am I now seeking the approval of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”Gal 1:10
Let he who has ears let him hear
The other scripture I hear a lot, now that I have left the church is.
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
They assume that because I do not attend their meetings where they (mere mortals) are preaching, that I do not know God!This is why I call myself a cult survivor. I got completely judged and shinned just for leaving! I hear God and very clearly. I even get the writing on the wall occasionally. I’m not saying I always do what God says immediately, but I know his voice! As best as I can, I live under his guidance and leading. His Holy Spirit guides me in everything I do! Everything. I can honestly say I am close to my God. He speaks to me daily and I to him. He speaks in so many ways. It does not bother me when people question this about me because of something they do not understand because I know the truth of it! I am the apple of God’s eye. I am highly favoured and he lavishes his love on me. I feel his presence all the time.
A word to Pastors
Pastors are abusing their authority and no one is holding them accountable. Often the issues in the church become like that dripping tap you get used to but do not fix. I’m just going to leave this here! It’s not my words but straight from the bible.
The Lord Will Be Israel’s Shepherd
34 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.[a] I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Ex 34
I share this story with you to be heard. To share my side that I never got to tell. I share my story because I know there are others who have gone through similar experiences. I share my story so that hopefully my pain can be someone else’s freedom. I share my story to break small-minded thinking. I have still had NO contact in the 3 months that I left.(Only proving my point all the more) I am invisible to the Church and you know what it is fine. I am NOT invisible to God. He sees me. I have left and I am not going back there ever again! They refused to listen. So I dust my feet!
“THERE IS NO GREATER AGONY THAN BEARING AN UNTOLD STORY INSIDE YOU.” ~ MAYA ANGELOU