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  • Friends you thought you had

    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.

  • #2
    Re: Friends you thought you had

    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.
    My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

    "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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    • #3
      Re: Friends you thought you had

      Originally posted by Diggindeeper View Post
      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!"

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      • #4
        Re: Friends you thought you had

        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.
        My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

        "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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        • #5
          Re: Friends you thought you had

          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.
          This IGNORE button is by far one of the most useful tools I've used to keep my peace while navigating through some of the madness.

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          • #6
            Re: Friends you thought you had

            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.

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            • #7
              Re: Friends you thought you had

              ^ 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.

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              • #8
                Re: Friends you thought you had

                Originally posted by SteveL View Post
                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.
                24 August 2013 - I've decided to take a break from a number of internet forums, including this one, for my own reasons.
                I expect to be back at some time in the future, although at present don't know when that will be.
                I've been here just a few days shy of six years, and those six years have been greatly blessed.

                ---

                1Jn 4:1 NKJV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
                1Th 5:21-22 NKJV Test all things; hold fast what is good. (22) Abstain from every form of evil.



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                • #9
                  Re: Friends you thought you had

                  Originally posted by tango View Post
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Friends you thought you had

                    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.
                    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
                    - Mahatma Gandhi



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                    • #11
                      Re: Friends you thought you had

                      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.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Friends you thought you had

                        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.
                        Please could everyone pray for Mieke and Charles.

                        My testimony http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthr...ight=testimony

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                        • #13
                          Re: Friends you thought you had

                          Originally posted by Dani H View Post
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Friends you thought you had

                            Good decision, Steve!
                            My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

                            "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Friends you thought you had

                              Originally posted by SteveL View Post
                              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.
                              Slug1--out

                              ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

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