I wrote a post several days ago about the "can't talk" rule. This rule is one of the characteristics of a controlling church. Basically this rule says that you are not supposed to ask any questions or talk about any problems. If you do talk or question, you become "the problem" and you are then labeled disloyal or rebellious. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I want to add some more thoughts to what I shared previously.
In a controlling church you are not allowed to voice your opinion. The consequences you may have to pay are not worth the chance you take for raising a question or an opposing opinion. This leaves you feeling like your thoughts don't count and you're not important enough to be heard. I think this characteristic is one of the most damaging because it takes away your voice and your individuality. It eventually begins to weaken your self-esteem. When someone tells you that you don't have a voice, it stunts your growth - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is not a healthy situation to be in because you hold years of hurts and questions inside. These things can't stay bottled up inside, they will one day have to come out.
Everyone needs to have a voice. God made us to be unique individuals and think for ourselves. God adores us just the way we are. Our individuality is what makes us special. We all have talents and ideas that can bless and further the kingdom of God. God does not want those gifts He has placed inside of us to be suppressed. We need to be free to be ourselves and feel that others embrace who we are. When someone tries to mold you into what they think you should be, it holds you back. God doesn't care about how a person wears their hair or the type of clothes they wear. We each have different ways we relate to things and God can use each of those ways. He just wants a persons heart. If people are going out and sharing God's love and salvation with others - that's all that really matters.
I feel that such an injustice has been done to many people who were faithful church members because what they wanted didn't matter. God never intended that we labor under the rule of someone else and lay our own desires aside. Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." If you have been under a heavy rule - Jesus wants you free!
If you have been in a controlling church, you may feel beat down because you have been told that your dreams don't matter. These types of churches tell you to follow your dreams, but then you are never allowed to voice what they are. People eventually just give up on their dreams. I want to encourage you that there are people who want to hear what you have to say. Don't let the bad experiences you have had keep you from trying again. God wants to use you. As you try other churches keep your eyes wide open and if you see this characteristic, keep going. I know God still has representatives who genuinely love people and will treat you with the respect you deserve. YOUR VOICE COUNTS!