It's hard to explain. For years you are in one place and you think you are doing the right thing. You step away and look back and you are so amazed that you didn't see things that are so clear now. The further you get from the situation, the more you see.
This can happen in many areas of life - relationships, jobs, and even churches. It happened to me in a church. It can happen to all different types of people. I don't think a person ever sets out to allow themselves to be controlled, manipulated, or hurt. Many people have found themselves in this situation and are now asking how they got there. I believe it is because when questions came up, they pushed them aside.
I got an email from a dear person the other day asking me if it's really okay to question authority in the church. Yes! It's okay to question. You not only have the right to question, but you have the responsibility to question, especially when your family is involved. In controlling churches you are told you cannot question, but you should be able to question anything. Leaders are more accountable because of their position of authority - not less accountable. Why? Because if you are a leader, people are following you.
I read an article about the characteristics of hurtful churches. When I read this quote I had an a-hah moment and I wanted to share it. "Churches with a "can't talk" rule will be extremely hurtful to their members. In these places problems can't be confronted or resolved because you become "the problem" for talking about the problem. Consequently, the offenders are isolated from accountability, and the ones hurt are isolated from healing. There is no chance for the healing that true unity in Christ brings." (Jeff Van Vonderan)
I saw many things that I had questions about, but we were not "allowed" to ask questions. If you did question you became a "disloyal" person. I remember having such a hopeless feeling, knowing I could not get the help I needed at the place I was supposed to be able to trust the most. If you hold your questions in and allow yourself to be controlled even when you don't agree with things, it will eventually bring frustration and hurt to you and your family.
I have realized that God wants us to take responsibility for our own lives and find out what He says really matters in life. I Timothy 2:5 says, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ." We don't have to have another man to bridge the gap between us and God - Jesus already did that! He is our Man of God!