Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's Okay To Get Counsel

I have had certain times in my life when I have just needed to talk to someone. There were times I went to my former pastor for counsel and I would enter the appointment so nervous I could hardly speak. I would leave feeling so dumb and inadequate and I would say to myself, "I'm never going to do that again!" I asked the pastor one time why people get so nervous and get their words all fumbled up when they try to talk to the him. I was told it was because of the anointing on him. During my questioning phase, this scenario came up to me and I had to ask myself the question, "Would the Holy Spirit really make me feel this way? Does His presence make you feel nervous? After all, isn't He the Comforter?"

If you feel like you need to talk to someone, it's okay. Don't feel for one minute that it makes you weak or needy to need counsel. Proverbs 11:14 says, "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." You can always talk to Jesus and find your answers in the Bible. There are also counselors, pastors, and friends who will listen to you and be kind and compassionate.

If you have been in a hurtful situation, don't hold it all in and become bitter. That will only hurt you. Find someone to talk to about it. I also encourage you to do some research of your own. It will make you feel better to read about others who have been through the same situation. It shows you that you are not crazy and you are not alone. I read a great book by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen called 'The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.' (Don't let that title scare you. You will be amazed at what's in there.)

I also want to encourage you to forgive the people who have wronged you. I know that is easier said than done, but at least try to make that your goal. I read something in a book the other day that helped me so much and I want to share it with you. It was a new way for me to look at forgiveness.

"Forgiveness does not require you to pretend that what a person did never happened and it in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. Forgiveness does not excuse anything. Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness releases you from something that will eat you alive; that will destroy your joy and ability to love fully and openly. Don't let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving. You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realized that you have forgiven completely." (William P. Young)

I hope the things I have shared are helpful and will bring some light to these matters. It's so important that our eyes be open to things that have hurt us so we will never find ourselves in these situations again. But we must also do whatever it takes to start moving past these things. I know these are things that will take time and we can't just "get over them" as easily as some would make you think. I know the emotions you are having. One day you are upset and want to cry. The next day you are mad - mad at those who have hurt you and also mad at yourself for staying in the situation for so long. Talk to someone, if you need to. If you still have questions, do whatever it takes to get your answers. Start by sincerely asking God what the truth is and what His will for your life is. And then forgive those who have hurt you so you can move on with your life. That doesn't mean you have to embrace them. Just forgive them. This will take time, so don't be hard on yourself when you have hard days.

It will be hard not to focus on the abuse you have been through, but try to focus on the fact that we have a wonderful life ahead of us - filled with God, love, and friendship. God wants us to walk in freedom and He wants us to know that what really matters in life is loving Him and loving people.

*My saying is based upon Matthew 22:37-39, "Jesus said, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself."


Anonymous said...

this is so TRUE

setfree 1207 said...

There have been several things that I have learned from my experience of leaving a controlling and manipulating church. One is that every person has his or her own process of dealing with the multitude of emotions that comes in this sort of situation. Secondly, most people go through a time where they have the need to talk about everything. I personally think that this happens because for years we were not "allowed" to really talk about anything. However, at some point in time, {different for every individual" there comes a point that is needs to be laid to rest - at least for the most part. This is not to say that you will never discuss it again or wonder what is going on "there", especially since this was our life for so long and we truly do care about those who used to call themselves our friends yet remain "inside". However, I think it is important we learn from this while at the same time not being DEFINED by it. In my experience from a past similar situation I have seen people who have continued for years and years to be controlled by feelings of bitterness towards a former pastor and by resentment of all the time "wasted". I truly hate that people allow this to happen because it is the NOW that is being wasted. I love the quote you posted about forgiveness. It is so true and I think that of ALL the things that can be learned from having a church like the one we left, forgiveness and moving forward are some of the most important. It is my prayer that we who have left FORGIVE and learn to let go of the past that we might not be held down but press forward working to win the lost for Christ. This is what life is all about and time is growing shorter and shorter! Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to hearing more from you.

Set Free said...

To Set Free 1207,
I agree with everything you said. I have days where I get up and say, "That's it! I'm not going to think about this again!" I really do want to move on and I am. But then I think about all the people who are hurt and the people who still don't see. I have great compasssion in my heart for all the ones who have been hurt. It was wrong! Some are finding it hard to ever want to trust again. Some are finding it hard to even go to chruch again. Especially some young people who were never reached out to. I know some people have been told, "Just get over it". The ones who have said that just don't understand. I can tell by your kindness that you do understand. Thank you so much for your comment. I am happy for you that you saw the light and are moving on with your life.

setfree 1107 said...

I too have great compassion for those who have been hurt. In our church's case some have been hurt more than others and my heart goes out to them. To those who are having a hard time goint to church again I would like to encourage them that its OK to take a break but NEVER give up on God. Remember that it was only a MAN that failed you. God will never leave you or forsake you. Sometimes I know that I have been guilty of "playing" church. I might have been there every time the doors were open but my heart was not always in it. God just wants our heart - a relationship with us and He will meet us where we are. Also don't guve up totally on finding a church. There are ones out there that are truly life-giving. Ones where legalism is non-existant and accountability for the ministry is abundant. It's hard to believe having left a church full of legalism and NO accountability but its true!! The church I attend now majors on RELATIONSHIP and minors on rules. Its about time!! God is GOOD

Set Free said...

Set free 1107,
I agee with you. The rules should never be at the expense of the people. People can get so focused on rules and trying to make people conform that the whole purpose of what a church is gets lost. I don't think God cares about a lot of the things that people make rules over. If you hurt someone's feelings, you may make them keep the rule, but you may lose the person. What's more important?

setfree0907 said...

I guess the difference for some people is how badly they were "burned". Maybe those that suffered third degree burns are taking a little more healing time than those who came away with first degree burns. The closer and longer you stay in the fire the greater the degree of pain. Also, there are some scars that will never completely go away.

Those that have been able to move on are very fortunate, but they also must continue to understand that there are those who are still suffering everyday. The answers are not sometimes as simple as we want them to be, it will take more time for some than others because of the degree of pain.

I pray that I will never appear judgmental to those who are still dealing with the hurt that they have suffered. There are many who are not able to just "get over it." They still have fresh wounds that are very tender. And, there are some who just now are learning how badly they have been hurt.

Praise Him for the healing that He brings daily, because He is the only source of lasting peace.

Thank you for opening up this forum.

Anonymous said...

This post brought tears to my eyes! Everything you said about forgivness is so true! Also, what you said about doing your own researh, I have found your blog and the links you've provided, along with other articles, incredibly helpful. Manipulative, controlling, and abusive people want you to feel like you're the crazy one. But through reading just a few articles on the personality types I mentioned, i'm quickly reminded that they're the ones being studied!
Thank you for all your time spent blogging, it is greatly appreciated!

Set Free said...

To anonymous,
That quote on forgiveness helped me so much too. I think I have always heard "Forgive and forget". We must forgive, but there are some things we shouldn't forget because we need to protect ourselves from the same thing in the future. Also I loved the part of the quote that said forgiveness does not establish relationship. We would be wrong to think that we have to go back into a relationship with someone that we feel cannot be trusted. I am glad the articles have helped. Thanks for the comment!

C, said...

I love this definition of forgiveness. That really helped me!