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SteveL
Jan 22nd 2011, 02:21 AM
OK I don't know if this belongs moreso here or in counseling, but I think I need some comforting and encouragement moreso than counseling.

I've had a hectic 2010. I left two churches this year, and when I left my 1st church in May, I quickly found out who my real friends were from that church, as the others dropped me from their lives (would not respond to my individual emails, etc.) My old SG (small group) leader who used to disciple me a bit, and I thought we were genuinely good friends regardless, once I left the church he stopped talking to me. It hurt for a while, and that's when I realized Christians aren't perfect, either. We're just like any other human beings, we're still messed up, we still mess up but we have God in our lives.

Still, to be perfectly honest with you, I expected more from Christians. It made me think did he disciple me out of pure love and for my well-being and growth, OR did he disciple me moreso because I happened to be in his SG (i.e. obligation)?

So, in early January I left my 2nd church (really late December though). I thought I handled it in the classiest and most courteous manner possible. I simply felt the Spirit calling me elsewhere and so I informed my SG members (I was actually the leader of the SG) and pastor and invited the pastor to the night where I was making the official announcement. Of course, I made sure to inform the core members 1-on-1 either over phone or in person the week prior.

Well, since I left that church, a couple "friends" I would consider true caring friends, have been rather slow to respond to my emails. Last night I was trying to chat with a sister I was pretty close with (she used to INITIATE phone calls with me which would last up to an hour)... she didn't even respond to me like I mattered! Her one or two word replies came 5-10 minutes after my messaging, and eventually she said sorry gotta go talk later? see ya.

It was just very cold, and unlike her because she is the sweetest sister I've ever met, and in the past she always made sure to respond to me right away.

And then there's a couple who mentored us. They always replied to my emails within 24 hours. I sent them both an update email, just checking in, 3 days ago and no reply yet. I am baffled.

Is it me? Is it them? What's going on here? I understand the "take care of your own first" mentality, as in your family and local church body first, but really we're all one big family under God. Why do so many people have church allegiances and why is it when you leave a church 90% of the people don't reply back to you the way they did when you were going to the church?

Personally, if a brother or sister reaches out to me via email, I'll take a minute to respond and check back in with him or her. Even if we're not good friends. It's common courtesy and wow, they thought enough of me to email me. How precious, and so, I'd reply with my 2 cents back. But I guess maybe that's just the way I am...

Another thing that annoys me is whenever you post a status update on FaceBook, no one from my first church "likes" it or comments. However, when I was going to that church, I'd always get several likes and comments from that church body. Once I left, they stopped liking and commenting on my status. Sorry, but I think that's just silly and childish!

I'm writing similar things -- praising God, sharing verses, Christian music vidoes from youtube etc. But now they no longer "support" me.

Anyone else have similar stories or experiences? I don't get how Christians can be so quick to forget and toss you aside if you change churches. We're still in the same family! Any words of comfort or encouragement? It's times like this when I get the feeling there IS a "social in-circle" and a "cliche-y" mentality within any given church. Sad... because I believe spirit-filled believers should be WAY ABOVE that "high school-level" drivel. I even had my former pastor email me to ask me to stop emailing my prayer requests to the members of her congregation -- that I should get that support from my current church. While I understand looking at it from her point of view, I still found it more than mildly appalling "Do not send us your prayer requests ever again." (I'd write them like once every 3-4 months, just keeping them posted on the milestones in my Christian walk). I guess this is why Christ is perfect and why we all fall short of the glory of God.

Diggindeeper
Jan 22nd 2011, 03:28 AM
Believe me, this has happened to more of us than you can possibly guess. Been there, done that. Its pretty common.

I'm like you. I wish it was not that way, but it is. Kind of an 'out of sight, out of mind' thing. Many, it seems, take it kind of like you are abandoning them, rather than just moving on.

I've seen people in the Walmart or somewhere like that who I had gone to church with somewhere else. Gone up to them, so happy to see them. Then, soon as they'd see it was me or my husband, they'd turn their back to us and walk away. I've found it best to just move on anyway, in spite of the hurt. I hold no bitterness to them. I just figure I love them anyway. So, its their problem.

SteveL
Jan 22nd 2011, 03:36 AM
I wish it was not that way, but it is. Kind of an 'out of sight, out of mind' thing. Many, it seems, take it kind of like you are abandoning them, rather than just moving on.


Kinda brings the old saying "I love you, but I don't have to like you" to life a bit. Yeah, even when you leave a church for the right reasons (i.e. God led) and they all support you, as soon as you walk out the door, it's like their support was "false" to begin with, based on their current actions. I agree -- I guess there could be feelings of "Oh (s)he left for a church they thought is better, or a place that will recognize their talents more..."

I dunno. Who knows what people are really thinking. Yes, I'm trying to release it to God as well. It gets easier the 2nd time around, still a bit shocking though as I expect more from Christians in general. Before I lift someone up in prayer or help someone, I'm not going to ask myself, "Wait, is this person from my church? Oh, no? Then forget them!"

Diggindeeper
Jan 22nd 2011, 03:52 AM
I have found, over the years, that I do still have a very few who remain my friends...and after 10, 15, 20 years...they still keep in touch. Not every day. Not every week. Some just now and then. But they are still there, walking beside you regardless of which path either of us have taken. But, hear this...they will still be there, although they will turn out to be few in numbers.

-SEEKING-
Jan 22nd 2011, 04:01 AM
Sadly this happens more often than we'd probably like to admit. I know I dealt with this when I left the only church I had known since becoming a Christian. You'd think that after knowing people and fellowshiping with them for over 14 years, your friendship would extend beyond those 4 walls. Boy was I wrong.

Spike
Jan 22nd 2011, 06:49 AM
A thousand times, this entire thread. ANd yet, members of my former Baha'i group emailed me two weeks ago when they found out I'd updated my info at their house of worship. They promptly invited me to dinner. Left phone numbers and said, "CALL ME." It was like I'd never stopped being a part of their lives. THe contrast is so shocking as compared to what happens with Christians I'd thought I was close friends with.

It's making me give a very serious consideration to return to that faith, where it seems people care more about the person than the way they worship. They actually encouraged me to check out Christian churches, as well, to study carefully before making a choice. And, if I continued to visit christian churches while Baha'i, there were no recriminations -- it was all gravy, as far as they were concerned.

*sigh.* Methinks I have some prayin' to do.

SteveL
Jan 22nd 2011, 07:42 AM
^ What is Baha'i? Is that a different religion that preaches things not about Christ? If so, be very careful with that brother.

No humans are perfect. Don't let that discourage you from the faith in Christ you have. After all, it's faith in Christ, not faith in people.

PS- If I have misinterpreted your post in any way, disregard this, heh.

tango
Jan 22nd 2011, 09:30 AM
Kinda brings the old saying "I love you, but I don't have to like you" to life a bit. Yeah, even when you leave a church for the right reasons (i.e. God led) and they all support you, as soon as you walk out the door, it's like their support was "false" to begin with, based on their current actions. I agree -- I guess there could be feelings of "Oh (s)he left for a church they thought is better, or a place that will recognize their talents more..."

If I might apply a semi-serious situation here for comparison.

Our next door neighbours are a couple we consider to be good friends. We truly feel blessed to have them living next door to us. But a couple of weeks back they told us they were moving. They are moving for all sorts of reasons relating to their families and employment, but when I first saw them after the news I acted all offended and asked if our company wasn't good enough for them.

In this situation it's just a joke between friends (and let to much light-hearted banter over the fence), but it's possible that the people you've "left behind" at your old church are muttering that they weren't good enough for you, that the church wasn't good enough for you, that you're somehow better than they are, or whatever. It's not a helpful way of looking at things - if you were in a class learning the piano when you wanted to play guitar it's absurd to say the piano isn't good enough for you, you just have a different preference. But people can be strange creatures at times.

SteveL
Jan 22nd 2011, 11:33 AM
If I might apply a semi-serious situation here for comparison.

Our next door neighbours are a couple we consider to be good friends. We truly feel blessed to have them living next door to us. But a couple of weeks back they told us they were moving. They are moving for all sorts of reasons relating to their families and employment, but when I first saw them after the news I acted all offended and asked if our company wasn't good enough for them.

In this situation it's just a joke between friends (and let to much light-hearted banter over the fence), but it's possible that the people you've "left behind" at your old church are muttering that they weren't good enough for you, that the church wasn't good enough for you, that you're somehow better than they are, or whatever. It's not a helpful way of looking at things - if you were in a class learning the piano when you wanted to play guitar it's absurd to say the piano isn't good enough for you, you just have a different preference. But people can be strange creatures at times.


Yeah, could be. I think that's the natural human tendency, especially when leaving church. The first thing that comes to mind most is "You think you're better than us, or think Church X is better than our church."

I actually spoke with a sister from my old church about 2 weeks ago. I was just telling her how I feel God will do big things with her church in 2011. She immediately replied "So why leave?"

Then I responded, "Feel called to."

She responded, "Oh" and the conversation pretty much died there.

Since I left the church and SG, there hasn't been much contact between me and them. The closest I have emailed or tried to talk to online... and they haven't been too responsive so far, so I don't think I will even bother to message the others whom I'm not as close with. I guess it's just one of those things where you kinda just close that chapter of your life and move on. Maybe sometimes God intends to put certain people in our life for a certain season, but seasons change and people move on and you let go of certain folks as well.

On a side note, I wrote a handwritten 2 page note to my crush from the church. Just thanked her for coming into my life and how God used her to change my life (I surrendered my desire to have a spouse because when I confessed to her my feelings and she rejected me -- I realized I had turned her into an idol and thus repented and am now back on the right track)... anyway she never wrote back. Not even an email to express her thoughts.

Not that I expected it... but still, a small part of you does. Before I confessed my feelings to her, we were chatting 2+ hours literally every day, and we also went on a mission trip together. I really thought it had legs, so to speak. But it didn't.

So yeah, when she never replied back... pretty much told me everything I needed to know. For a while there I even thought we were best friends, because we shared intimate life stories, could say anything to each other and like I said there was a stretch of months where we would talk 2+ hours a day (online).

I'll offer this to God as I know a part of me is still struggling with this whole church leaving and who are my real friends thing.

Vhayes
Jan 22nd 2011, 03:36 PM
Is it possible they are hurt by what they feel is your "disloyalty"? I'll grant you, you are NOT being disloyal, only honest.

People are strange creatures - some become offended and hurt over things that are totally beyond the comprehension of others.

Give it time. Those who God put in your path for a reason have already had that need met. Those who God placed in your life for a season will stay in contact.

We/they all need to learn our loyalty belongs to Jesus and not the Methodist/Baptist/Lutheran/whatever church. As long as a person is growing in their relationship with Christ, they can be on the backside of the desert - after all, both Moses and David learned more about God in the desert than they did in town. So did Paul for that matter.

Dani H
Jan 22nd 2011, 04:34 PM
I've been hurt by Christians and non-Christians alike.

I think what makes us notice it more when it comes to believers, is because of our expectations. We expect greater perfection. We expect a higher standard of living and loving and graciousness ... all those things.

I certainly agree that these expectations are in line with what Scripture teaches how we as believers should treat one another. We should love our brothers and sisters in a different way than we love unbelievers, because we're family, and because God calls us to unity.

Having said that, we also often expect things out of people that ultimately, God is the source of. We often look to people with expectation and then get disappointed when they let us down.

Well, who is our Source? Is it Jesus, or people? Now, the Lord certainly will use people and works through people to get His will accomplished.

HOWEVER.

Scripture says that GOD supplies our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (yes that includes emotional needs), and NOT people. Who He chooses to do it through, or whether He meets them directly, is HIS decision.

So take the pressure off people, and put it on God. Expect everything from Him, and nothing from others as far as your personal needs are concerned. That, in turn, frees you up to look at people as somebody you can give to, instead of receive from (which then also enables you to obey the Lord's commandment to love others in a greater way).

Because honestly, if you don't change your angle on this matter, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.

daughter
Jan 22nd 2011, 06:12 PM
How old are you Steve? This has been happening to me my entire life... and I am no longer surprised or even disappointed by it. Perhaps that is a sad thing, but at forty I've come to the conclusion that I will make hardly any real friends in my "regular" life, and I start from a point of no expectation. I suppose I've become cynical. So it's a pleasure to me when someone treats me well... it's so unexpected.

I hope you don't end up as cynical as me, but I do hope you can come to a point where it won't hurt you when people let you down.

SteveL
Jan 22nd 2011, 11:26 PM
Because honestly, if you don't change your angle on this matter, you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.


Totally agree, Dani. I thank God He made me very teachable. That is something my mentor has told me -- that I listen to advice and counsel well and not only that but then I go and apply it so it becomes fruit in my life and ministry.

I went to a preaching conference earlier this morning and during worship one song's lyric was 'Nothing but the blood of Jesus.' Indeed... nothing but Jesus -- anything else will always disappoint us time in, time out.

I'm doing much better in terms of having peace in my spirit right now than I was when I first made this topic. I understand people, even Christians, can be fickle and strange creatures. It's all right. I'll still love them and won't look to expect a thing back in return.

Daughter, I'm 27 (got saved when I was nearing 26)... so all of this Christian life is still fairly new to me, and I'm learning bit by bit day by day, as I know we all are, regardless of whether we been saved 18 months, or 18 years.

Thanks again to everyone for their replies. Oh and Vhayes, possibly, they might feel I've been disloyal. I can't concern myself with that -- it's between them and God. I just will press on forward. I know I did what God wanted me to do, and that's what matters most. Stepping down from leading a SG was a crazy decision, and I'm sure they feel a bit rattled that I did, maybe even betrayed slightly, so I can see from their POV. I will give it time, but at the same time, not worry about it any more.

Diggindeeper
Jan 22nd 2011, 11:30 PM
Good decision, Steve!

Slug1
Jan 22nd 2011, 11:40 PM
Thanks again to everyone for their replies. Oh and Vhayes, possibly, they might feel I've been disloyal. I can't concern myself with that -- it's between them and God. I just will press on forward. I know I did what God wanted me to do, and that's what matters most. Stepping down from leading a SG was a crazy decision, and I'm sure they feel a bit rattled that I did, maybe even betrayed slightly, so I can see from their POV. I will give it time, but at the same time, not worry about it any more.Don't let the reaction that they had concern you at all.

See, a church is not only a place of discipleship, it's also a place of PREPARATION. If leadership of a church DON'T prepare others to go out into the world and do bigger and better things for God... they aren't thinking of God's purposes, they are only thinking of themselves. Christians mature and God prunes them so that the fruit is multiplied. This isn't always done in the same church for an entire lifetime.

Personally, all who I have served with and/or helped mentor and they have moved on... I praise God and do all I can to still help them grow by encouraging them. I don't ignore them and/or wish they remained in the church we once served together. God's purposes for His children don't always keep us in the same church all their life.

Spike
Jan 24th 2011, 01:03 AM
^ What is Baha'i? Is that a different religion that preaches things not about Christ? If so, be very careful with that brother.

No humans are perfect. Don't let that discourage you from the faith in Christ you have. After all, it's faith in Christ, not faith in people.

PS- If I have misinterpreted your post in any way, disregard this, heh.

Actually, I'm a sister. :grin:

And no, actually they do accept Christ. There aren't any preachers or ministers -- it's basically set up where people are pretty much equal -- they don't believe any particular personage knows or hears from God more than anyone else.

They /do/ accept other religious texts as revelations from God for a particular time and culture, and things like that. I haven't studied from it in awhile, so I can't really give you much info - I'd literally have to search stuff to remember.

NHL Fever
Jan 24th 2011, 01:40 AM
Actually, I'm a sister. :grin:

I was kind of wondering...after reading your post I was thinking this sounds more like a woman coming to terms with an experience like that than a 'spike' lol. I think because women are more relationship-oriented it can hurt more when relationships are lost, I'm very sorry you had that experience. I also try to be very detached from expectations the older I get. I think when we have some bad experiences in life there are two ways to go - you either become a forgiveness expert or you become jaded and bitter. Everyone in our lives will dissapoint us at some point, and we will dissapoint everyone at some point as well. When people are involved in a church for a long time, the church can become part of their personal identify. Leaving the church is therefore an attack on them personally.

You may also want to consider a possible role for jealousy. Some of these friends may actually be envious that you have the courage to take a step out in faith and on the inside they want a more adventursome Christian walk as well. My wife and I had several friends who left our church and we were very happy for them and we remain close friends. When they left I remember thinking that while I was sad to see them go it was also a new chapter and a change in their lives and I hoped I wished I could also be compelled to make changes like that. If your friends shut you off for following the spirit, it probably means that to them its much more about them than about you. You will certainly meet lots of great people as well in your life that will turn out to be true friends.

SteveL
Jan 24th 2011, 05:39 AM
Spike, oops, heh. My apologies. Well, I pray the Spirit will lead you in this entire process and that you'll just be obedient to God's calling and follow Him. Proverbs 3:5-6



When people are involved in a church for a long time, the church can become part of their personal identify. Leaving the church is therefore an attack on them personally.

You may also want to consider a possible role for jealousy. Some of these friends may actually be envious that you have the courage to take a step out in faith and on the inside they want a more adventursome Christian walk as well. My wife and I had several friends who left our church and we were very happy for them and we remain close friends. When they left I remember thinking that while I was sad to see them go it was also a new chapter and a change in their lives and I hoped I wished I could also be compelled to make changes like that. If your friends shut you off for following the spirit, it probably means that to them its much more about them than about you. You will certainly meet lots of great people as well in your life that will turn out to be true friends.


Lot of truth here brother (I hope I'm right this time!). It's possible they're jealous. I think what someone said earlier said it best. I was looking for piano lessons but ended up in a place selling guitar lessons. It wasn't a good match and over time that was made apparent. Not that guitar is worse than piano, just, different strokes for different folks. I felt more at home in a church that was more Biblically-backed. The church I left was a casual church... in a way it really fit the demographic of the area with a lot of intellectual people and what have you. It's not very charismatic (no hand raising during worship) and the sermons are heavy on anecdotes and real life stories versus scripture. I missed the more scripture-based teaching after a while. I know this may sound silly but I also did not feel comfortable raising my hand during their worship. Even though I know it's for God, I felt very self-conscious if I were the only one doing it.

The people there seem to be decent people, but a little too worldly for my liking. Too many social activities for the sake of "just hanging out" (which drained me after a while, honestly) and too much worldly behavior (i.e. materialism, jokes and phrases that were inappropriate at times, clique-y attitude etc). Basically, I wasn't seeing a whole lot of fruit and examples of the Gospel transforming lives. I saw people who (sometimes) went to church on Sunday, but by Thursday they'd be acting in the same worldly manner -- their pride and ego unchanged by God's gracious Word. I know we're all works in progress, but this other church I had been visiting for a long time (the one I eventually moved to) is just a solid, scripture-heavy, diverse church where you can see a lot of fruit for God's kingdom and people who really really love the Lord and worship Him without abandon. Here you do see Gospel transforming lives, and I also feel God's presence there in a massive way. I realized that's where I belong.

It's very possible my SG members could be a little bit jealous that I had the courage to stop, step down and leave. Perhaps some of them want to leave themselves, but are caught up in a safe routine? I don't know, I just know I yielded to the Holy Spirit's leading. My heart was no longer in leading the SG, nor was my heart in that church anymore. I also don't think it was wise of them to ask me to be leader several months ago, even though I was still very much in need of discipleship and was not ready to lead a group of young adults at this point in my very young walk. I'm glad God provided opportunities and opened the door for me to gracefully leave. There truly is FREEDOM and liberation when one follows and earnestly seeks Christ. I'm glad God took me out when He did -- not too early, not too late -- His timing is always perfect.

Now I'm enjoying my rest (a lot less social activities and not having to prep the Bible Studies) and growing more in His word through personal daily reading time, sermons and now I'm also taking a foundation Bible Study class at my new church (in addition to BSF AKA Bible Study Fellowship, which I highly recommend. This year we're studying the book of Isaiah... there's a local BSF in your town just look it up!). I'm loving this new season of my life! It feels really good to be free and to be walking BACK in the will of God :)

Firefighter
Jan 24th 2011, 12:37 PM
-- it's basically set up where people are pretty much equal -- they don't believe any particular personage knows or hears from God more than anyone else.

So is Christianity...

RabbiKnife
Jan 24th 2011, 03:24 PM
I have very few friends. I have been stabbed in the back by more Christians than non-Christians, over the years. I tend to keep friends close and enemies closer.

Labels don't mean much when it comes to what the world and much of the church calls "friends."

catlover
Jan 24th 2011, 03:28 PM
I want to reply to the original poster. When I read your post, it was as if I had written it. (except for Facebook that I don't do).

My husband and I have had the exact same things happen. Been married 23 years. When I met my husband he was being mentored by someone who he considered a friend. When we got married, the guy basically dropped my husband like a hot potatoe. The same thing happened to me with a couple who was mentoring me when I was a single. And actually last year I found their email address on the net (because I knew they moved out of state). I emailed them and did get a response. I emailed back and have not heard anything back. I was pretty close to this couple back when.

I could go on and on with examples of people who become very standoffish when you change churches. One couple that we hung out with, were in bible study together for 3-4 years, just all of a sudden cut ties off with us. And it left us thinking - what happened? Did we say something? It was wierd.

This kind of thing not only happens at church but at work. There are people that at the time I thought would be life-long friends, but as soon as I've left that job, there might be a couple of emails, but then they stop.

But it has left me kinda jaded. I have very very low expectations of relationships lasting. Very few do. When I become "friends" with someone, in the back of my mind I think "well, as soon as I leave this job, or move, or whatever, that will be the end of that". and I've only come to that way of thinking in the last few years.

I just enjoy people at the time with no long-lasting expectations.

I went back and re-read everyone's posts and I have to say I feel better about myself now and don't feel like such a "freak" for feeling this way.

Otter77
Jan 24th 2011, 05:14 PM
I agree with many below... I've had similar experiences in jobs, neighborhoods, family groups... everything. I guess I've come to expect that Friendship is fluid - many times a subject of context, convenience and geography.

When I have a Friend - I (try to) invest in them fully... I love them unconditionally... but few friends remain forever. In fact the only one that's ever stuck around for me permanently so far has been my wife. During the friendship I consider these feelings, intents, actions and everything to be WHOLLY genuine. I would never judge later that what I did or felt during that time was not genuine simply because I'm not feeling it anymore. People change - period.

---

Perhaps an alternative perspective on your particular situation - SteveL... I was saved at my current church, I've never loved another. So from a Church perspective it would be unfair of me to attempt to identify with you.

I want to add this though: I feel almost the same way about my Church as I do about my Wife. I love it/him/her and the people in it including all their flaws and failings despite all of them... just as I have experienced love from them/it/her exactly the same. The people will let you down eventually - but as a collective there is always that unified Love. A rather undying (I hope - at least so far) commitment despite changes. In the time since I've joined my church we have grown from a regular congregation of about 120 to about 800 with now two distinct locations. The nature of my church has changed significantly over that time... many things for the better... a few for the "worse" (whatever that means)... but ultimately I Love it even more today than I did then. This is not unlike my relationship with my Wife at all. We married when I was only 19. I'm 34 now. We're both COMPLETELY different people today than we were then.... and entirely intensely more in Love.

My Church is my bride. If you tell me that you want to continue to be my friend, but you don't like my church. It's just as if you said to me: I like you Otter, but I don't like your wife very much.

That's probably a friendship-ender.

It's ok for you not to like my Church and I don't judge you for that... but if you don't accept me along with my bride (we are ONE!) then you don't accept me at all.

Spike
Jan 24th 2011, 10:41 PM
So is Christianity...

Then why do Christians have preachers, deacons, and a church hierarchy? When I say that Baha'is don't have this, I mean there is literally no hierarchy. At all. Any officials (treasurers, that sort of thing)are elected. There is a National Assembly, along with local assemblies. Mostly to take care of the business end of things. But, at a Baha'i meeting, you won't see certain individuals with any title like, "Minister, pastor, deacon, bishop..." any of those, within the services, nobody's got any more 'title' than anyone else. And, if a Baha'i layperson wanted information on the business end of it, as far as I know, they can get it fairly easily.

SteveL
Jan 24th 2011, 11:10 PM
My Church is my bride. If you tell me that you want to continue to be my friend, but you don't like my church. It's just as if you said to me: I like you Otter, but I don't like your wife very much.

That's probably a friendship-ender.

It's ok for you not to like my Church and I don't judge you for that... but if you don't accept me along with my bride (we are ONE!) then you don't accept me at all.


Interesting analogy there Otter. I see where you're coming from. I guess that is just how some people feel. Obviously when people leave a church, it's because they feel they have found a better fit. And while a "better fit" doesn't necessarily mean it's a "better church" -- the perception probably is that it is. And thus, people from your old church may feel you think you're better than them, or that you're "too good" for them or their church (AKA bride).

That makes a lot of sense.

At the same time, and this is JUST my thinking, as Christians it should go beyond which church we call home and live and die with. In the end it's our personal relationships with one another that count more, and looking at it from that angle, it's true that many people see friendship as a subject of context, convenience and geography as you mentioned. I think Christians should look beyond what church you call home, what denomination you are, because we're all God's family and friends. However, realistically, we cannot expect that because human behavior is very fickle especially when one leaves the church.

I'm happy to report though that the married couple has emailed me back. Sure, it took them four days, but I'm surprised they did. It shows me they still care, but obviously, I'm not a big priority as I was before. That's fine. I don't expect people to get back to me within 24 hours, as they did when I was part of their church, but respond back and show you care, period.

She asked me to keep her and her husband updated on my new church happenings. I guess I'll update them as the Spirit leads. I'm not sure when I'll see them or my old SG members again. Haven't seen them since I left the church 3 weeks ago.

tango
Jan 24th 2011, 11:40 PM
My Church is my bride. If you tell me that you want to continue to be my friend, but you don't like my church. It's just as if you said to me: I like you Otter, but I don't like your wife very much.

That's probably a friendship-ender.

It's ok for you not to like my Church and I don't judge you for that... but if you don't accept me along with my bride (we are ONE!) then you don't accept me at all.

I think there's a big difference between not liking something (or someone) and preferring something (or someone) else.

Using your analogy I can like your wife but at the same time know she wouldn't be a good match for me. The fact that I can see that a marriage between her and me would be unlikely to work doesn't mean I can't like her as a friend or love her as a fellow child of God.

In the same way I can love the same God that a church worships even if my own preference is for a different style of worship. To use your analogy of your church as your bride there's a yawning difference between saying "I don't like your wife" (which could be a friendship breaker) and "I think your wife would look nicer with longer hair" (which merely expresses my own preferences)

Diggindeeper
Jan 25th 2011, 12:39 AM
I'm putting my Mod hat on briefly, just to remind everyone that other workl religions are not to be discussed in this Comfort and Encouragement forum. That is only allowed in Areopagus where RCC, Islam, SDA, JW’s, LDS and more can be discussed. Any farther posting about any other religious faith will be moved to Areopagus immediately. Just so everyone knows....

Otter77
Jan 25th 2011, 02:22 AM
Interesting analogy there Otter. I see where you're coming from. I guess that is just how some people feel. Obviously when people leave a church, it's because they feel they have found a better fit. And while a "better fit" doesn't necessarily mean it's a "better church" -- the perception probably is that it is. And thus, people from your old church may feel you think you're better than them, or that you're "too good" for them or their church (AKA bride).

That makes a lot of sense.

At the same time, and this is JUST my thinking, as Christians it should go beyond which church we call home and live and die with. In the end it's our personal relationships with one another that count more, and looking at it from that angle, it's true that many people see friendship as a subject of context, convenience and geography as you mentioned. I think Christians should look beyond what church you call home, what denomination you are, because we're all God's family and friends. However, realistically, we cannot expect that because human behavior is very fickle especially when one leaves the church.

I'm happy to report though that the married couple has emailed me back. Sure, it took them four days, but I'm surprised they did. It shows me they still care, but obviously, I'm not a big priority as I was before. That's fine. I don't expect people to get back to me within 24 hours, as they did when I was part of their church, but respond back and show you care, period.

She asked me to keep her and her husband updated on my new church happenings. I guess I'll update them as the Spirit leads. I'm not sure when I'll see them or my old SG members again. Haven't seen them since I left the church 3 weeks ago.

Yeah - I can wholly respect that brother and agree with it! I don't know what the circumstances are under which you left - so I can only assume they were the best possible as you describe.

To be fair - I DO have friends that I have kept after they left my Church - but they are very few. I have also friends that I've made who work-at or attend other churches but I made them through Youth Conferences or other events that combine local churches. So I guess it does happen - even for me. I also have known people who left my Church in a bad situation and EXPECTED me to remain friends with them even after they spent an hour criticizing it to me and the leadership... this is clearly not a reasonable expectation.

I expect I was being UNFAIR with you - and for that I apologize. I felt the need to explain this perspective even though it probably wasn't appropriate to your situation. I think a lot of people miss that a Church should be loved more than a Health Club... yeah... their seats are a little worn out and the coffee is weak so I'm finding another Church, y'know what I mean?

I completely understand needing the right "fit". I was unusually blessed to be saved at a church which turned-out to be the perfect 'fit'.

Reynolds357
Jan 25th 2011, 02:37 AM
OK I don't know if this belongs moreso here or in counseling, but I think I need some comforting and encouragement moreso than counseling.

I've had a hectic 2010. I left two churches this year, and when I left my 1st church in May, I quickly found out who my real friends were from that church, as the others dropped me from their lives (would not respond to my individual emails, etc.) My old SG (small group) leader who used to disciple me a bit, and I thought we were genuinely good friends regardless, once I left the church he stopped talking to me. It hurt for a while, and that's when I realized Christians aren't perfect, either. We're just like any other human beings, we're still messed up, we still mess up but we have God in our lives.

Still, to be perfectly honest with you, I expected more from Christians. It made me think did he disciple me out of pure love and for my well-being and growth, OR did he disciple me moreso because I happened to be in his SG (i.e. obligation)?

So, in early January I left my 2nd church (really late December though). I thought I handled it in the classiest and most courteous manner possible. I simply felt the Spirit calling me elsewhere and so I informed my SG members (I was actually the leader of the SG) and pastor and invited the pastor to the night where I was making the official announcement. Of course, I made sure to inform the core members 1-on-1 either over phone or in person the week prior.

Well, since I left that church, a couple "friends" I would consider true caring friends, have been rather slow to respond to my emails. Last night I was trying to chat with a sister I was pretty close with (she used to INITIATE phone calls with me which would last up to an hour)... she didn't even respond to me like I mattered! Her one or two word replies came 5-10 minutes after my messaging, and eventually she said sorry gotta go talk later? see ya.

It was just very cold, and unlike her because she is the sweetest sister I've ever met, and in the past she always made sure to respond to me right away.

And then there's a couple who mentored us. They always replied to my emails within 24 hours. I sent them both an update email, just checking in, 3 days ago and no reply yet. I am baffled.

Is it me? Is it them? What's going on here? I understand the "take care of your own first" mentality, as in your family and local church body first, but really we're all one big family under God. Why do so many people have church allegiances and why is it when you leave a church 90% of the people don't reply back to you the way they did when you were going to the church?

Personally, if a brother or sister reaches out to me via email, I'll take a minute to respond and check back in with him or her. Even if we're not good friends. It's common courtesy and wow, they thought enough of me to email me. How precious, and so, I'd reply with my 2 cents back. But I guess maybe that's just the way I am...

Another thing that annoys me is whenever you post a status update on FaceBook, no one from my first church "likes" it or comments. However, when I was going to that church, I'd always get several likes and comments from that church body. Once I left, they stopped liking and commenting on my status. Sorry, but I think that's just silly and childish!

I'm writing similar things -- praising God, sharing verses, Christian music vidoes from youtube etc. But now they no longer "support" me.

Anyone else have similar stories or experiences? I don't get how Christians can be so quick to forget and toss you aside if you change churches. We're still in the same family! Any words of comfort or encouragement? It's times like this when I get the feeling there IS a "social in-circle" and a "cliche-y" mentality within any given church. Sad... because I believe spirit-filled believers should be WAY ABOVE that "high school-level" drivel. I even had my former pastor email me to ask me to stop emailing my prayer requests to the members of her congregation -- that I should get that support from my current church. While I understand looking at it from her point of view, I still found it more than mildly appalling "Do not send us your prayer requests ever again." (I'd write them like once every 3-4 months, just keeping them posted on the milestones in my Christian walk). I guess this is why Christ is perfect and why we all fall short of the glory of God.

As I have said before, I serve Christ IN SPITE OF "christians" and the church. I am honestly glad I was reared in a Christian home. To be 100% honest, if my salvation depended on me converting based on what I see from "christians" I doubt I would have ever gotten saved.

Dani H
Jan 25th 2011, 03:26 PM
My Church is my Bride. If you tell Me that you want to continue to be My friend, but you don't like My Church. It's just as if you said to me: I like you Jesus, but I don't like your Bride very much.

If you don't accept me along with my Bride (we are ONE!) then you don't accept me at all.
This thought came to me when I read your post, and so forgive me for changing up the quote and putting it in Somebody Else's mouth ... got chills thinking about it, so HAD to do it. :)

Otter77
Jan 25th 2011, 04:38 PM
This thought came to me when I read your post, and so forgive me for changing up the quote and putting it in Somebody Else's mouth ... got chills thinking about it, so HAD to do it. :)

You're forgiven but I'm frightened! I'm no JESUS!

Yes - I LOVE the way you paraphrased me... but it's scary!

Dani H
Jan 25th 2011, 04:46 PM
You're forgiven but I'm frightened! I'm no JESUS!

Yes - I LOVE the way you paraphrased me... but it's scary!

Well, now you know how the Lord feels about us. That's not scary. It's mind blowing but in a good way. :)

We often forget when we're dealing with other believers, that ultimately they belong to the Lord. He loves them passionately, as He loves us. And so we can't make it about us even though that's always tempting to do. We have to keep the Lord's thoughts and feelings in mind when we speak of one another and think of one another. Because the Bible does say that he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit with Him. And that the picture of a husband and wife reveals to us the mystery of the bond and covenant between Christ and His Church. These are very real things that we should never forget about when we're dealing with people. We can't say we love the Lord, and then turn around and accuse and condemn our bother/sister. It just simply doesn't work that way. The true nature of our relationship with Jesus, will always manifest itself in the way we treat one another. It just does. There's no way around it.

Reynolds357
Jan 25th 2011, 04:47 PM
This thought came to me when I read your post, and so forgive me for changing up the quote and putting it in Somebody Else's mouth ... got chills thinking about it, so HAD to do it. :)

To be totally correct, the Church is the body of Christ. The Bride is New Jerusalem. Christ can not marry His own body and to say New Jerusalem is not "the bride of Christ," you would have to throw 2 chapters out of Revelation.
To further respond to your post, I do love the True Church. Unfortunately, most of the "Church" today is the Laodicean church. Christ said He would vomit them out of His mouth, so I really doubt that He has any problem with me being a pit perterbed at them either.