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Fallout with pastors family..was I sinning, were they?

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  • Need Advice: Fallout with pastors family..was I sinning, were they?

    I want to be careful here...because I don't want to make accusations against a leader...but I also don't know what to do or how to feel or what to think.
    Let me preface this by saying I wound up in a Calvinist church that I love so far...and teaches the Bible as best as they can, and have an extreme focus on just Scripture...whereas previous churches usually centered around apostolic signs, a couple verses with personal interpretation, excess of love with no mention of wrath/justice, or extreme hate-group mentality (solely preaching anti-homosexuality with no regard for any other doctrine). Very rarely was there an intent focus on Scripture in any of these churches...a few verses here, a few there...but nothing like I experience now.

    So, onto my story. I feel as though I should reconcile with my former pastor and his family, though they are an AofG church. I want to, but I feel like they don't...or at least it's very confusing. Perhaps I'm in the wrong. I really have no idea. I'm willing to own up to my mistakes, if indeed they are a mistake. When I first started going, after just a short time the youth pastor recruited me to be an assistant in the youth program...I didn't feel comfortable, didn't feel spiritually mature, didn't feel it wise...I told him this but he reassured me that God was "stretching my faith." Reluctantly, I agreed. Shortly after I came on board. the youth pastor stepped down, leaving me to teach the youth sunday morning on my own. They gave me resources to use...but I felt far from a reliable resource to the youth...I did the best I could. But what's important here is this is essentially how I got to know the youth, including the pastor's children, and in many regards felt like I was a friend of the family. Truth be told, this all did go fairly well for 4-5 years, and I hope that in some way the children heard the Gospel message, though at the time I would say it would have been more Arminian-focused than Calvinistic.

    But one of the pastor's daughters messaged me on facebook, to talk about Sherlock, and books she would read. I didn't think anything of it...and we messaged back and forth for quite some time...never anything inappropriate...just random hobbies or theological topics. Perhaps it was inappropriate of me to continue messaging her...perhaps I thought if the topics were safe then it was ok..maybe I was mistaken. Anyways, much time had passed and fast forward to 2017, this point all the pastor's children whom I had mentored were college age...the girl in question had turned 18 a few months before our fallout. So a few days before Christmas, this girl, and her sister ignored me completely, no hi or anything, and her brother approached me and said I was"barely tolerable." Apparently, this triggered some mental problem in me. I became depressed, went online trying to figure out what I did wrong...I vaguely remember reading an article about emotional abuse and became convinced that was what I had did...leading to being more depressed, which became an episode similar to schizophrenic bipolar (this is where you hallucinate while you are depressed...or sometimes have mania). In this state, because of believing I was emotionally abusive, I turned myself into the police for a crime I didn't commit. They took me to mental health, and this would lead to roughly a month of hospital visits, including a one week stay in the mental health ward, and months of seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. When I got out I saw that the girl I had been in contact with had essentially blocked me from messaging her, but I could still see her profile.

    The assistant pastor visited me in mental health and again shortly after I got out...and discussed with him...and he said he knew very little about what was going on, but did say he doesn't think I did anything to offend the main pastor or his family. And said I should talk to the pastor, and that the pastor was more than willing to meet with me. I also asked the asst pastor how he felt about me going back to church...and he asked if I thought about other churches...idk if it was his intention but because of everything it felt like he was pushing me in the direction of somewhere else.

    So I did. The pastor said it's "hard to love your neighbor when you don't love yourself." And that was there was no animosity, and they care about me, and that they were working on "boundaries," a concept they utilized from Henry Cloud's book. And that my actions have consequences. And that he did not view me as a threat. And that I could come back to church, but only large services, not smaller bible studies. And that the police talked to the girl in question, and then him. I asked if I hurt anybody, he said he didn't feel slighted in any way; and I told him about what his son said...and he said he didn't know about that but that he would have words with him. When I went back home, I saw that the girl had fully blocked me now on facebook and instagram (I had not contacted her at all since the comment was made); so to me, it still felt like I was getting mixed signals about the animosity. However, I understood the whole police thing probably made everyone really uncomfortable.

    I ceased contact for months...and occasionally would get a like or a birthday comment on facebook from the remaining family members, I had also decided to move to Texas with my sister, thousands of miles away from the I thought with a few months before I leave and having been distant for months, why not try reaching out to the pastor again. I explained how I felt, feeling like they didn't really want me there. He responded saying I am welcome to come and they will treat me with kindness and respect, but as far as the past they hope to grow forward and want to give me the space I need to move forward, and how we all grow at our own pace. I remember praying about reconciling, and listening to their sermon online the day before I was about not judging other people for their sins...and I ran into the girl in question and her mom at the mall the same day...the mom said hello but the girl did not. I just waved and went on my way not knowing what to do. Following this the mom and other daughter also blocked me on instagram, though we still remain listed as friends on Facebook.

    The pastor seemed really enthusiastic about me coming to church or meeting with me...but the other family members do things to confuse me and make it seem like I am not welcome. I so badly want to work this out in some way but perhaps I've done too much damage. I don't even know if I'm the one who did wrong, or if I was under false teaching, or what.

  • #2
    Re: Fallout with pastors family..was I sinning, were they?

    I'm not really sure what to say. I hope you did move to Texas - and although on my account you didn't do anything wrong - learned a valuable lesson. Do not talk on social network sites to fellow believers - us a forum like this - and most certainly not to pastors and their family. For what happened, do what Acts 13:51 says "But they shook off the dust of their feet against them...", and move on with your life.
    "Study to shew thyself approved unto God,
    a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
    rightly dividing the word of truth."
    2 Tim. 2:15


    • #3
      Re: Fallout with pastors family..was I sinning, were they?

      Hi Drivenfuture, you are welcome here.
      Most if not all the folks here will be honest with you, some even blatantly honest.

      I have to agree that moving forward as in leaving that matter in your past is great advice here, whether moving forward means moving to another physical location like Texas or just to another church in your current area, I'd leave that decision in the hands of prayer involving only you and God Himself.

      ....This is not a decision that you should allow strangers (whether they are christians or not) you should not allow them to influence this particular decision that 'you' need to make.

      I'm positive that your church leadership have faults in not being honest with you, but the reasons for them not being honest with you are not your or our business honestly, it is between them and God.
      I'm also positive that they have or eventually will have learned something about themselves through what has happened too, something that will benefit them in their future.
      ....But that doesn't displace what I see as your fault in this matter too, which would be having private conversation(s) with and a non-adult (no matter what gender), whether those communications were documented or recorded or not should not be the point.
      I hope that will be at least one lesson that you have learned through what has happened that can benefit you in your future too.

      The thing that I want to emphasize to you here is don't be hard on yourself over this matter, use it as a learning experience.
      Speaking of experiences, positive or negative experiences in life, look what Romans 8:28 has to say about negative or positive things happening to us as christians:
      Romans 8:28
      And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

      Meaning, you love God, and you are called according to His purpose, so He loves you and will use this any/all negative experience to work toward your good brother, try to remember that every day until you actually believe it.
      God will turn this experience into something very, very good for your future, Drivenfuture.
      Trust Him.

      God will bless your trust in Him. ...He already loves you, and so do we !
      Don't seek too much knowledge. You just may be putting more weight on your shoulders than you're able to bare.
      Let God be the one to decide how quickly you grow


      • #4
        Re: Fallout with pastors family..was I sinning, were they?

        I'm a huge fan of the Serenity Prayer. If you're not familiar with it:

        "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

        Hope this helps.
        Love is patient, love is kind; it does not envy, it does not boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Drivenfuture View Post

          The pastor seemed really enthusiastic about me coming to church or meeting with me...but the other family members do things to confuse me and make it seem like I am not welcome. I so badly want to work this out in some way but perhaps I've done too much damage. I don't even know if I'm the one who did wrong, or if I was under false teaching, or what.
          It's still pretty unclear what happened. You were chatting with a teenage girl via social media for sometime, perhaps a few years? That's not necessarily a problem though if she was the only youth from the church you were chatting with in such a way, then that could indicate there is something more than just a friendly chat between a youth pastor and one of his teenage members, though even then that's not necessarily a problem.

          However, it sounds like things spiraled out of control verrrry quickly. Her brother said something nasty to you at a party and suddenly you're in hospital with schizophrenia? It sounds like there's some very important information missing from this account.

          Anyway, it also sounds like you've pursued reconciliation as far as you can. The pastor has said you're welcome to attend church again. It may be that the relationship will never be the same as it was in the beginning, but that's how it is with many aspects of life; things change. You may find yourself relaxing a bit if you could recognize that things don't have to be the same as they were. You said you've tried to let them know you're willing to talk and be open; they've acknowledged that. It's time to move on. Unless, there really is something deep down that's still nagging you about your own behavior which you've not been able to confront. If that is the case, take some time to think about it carefully, but also be careful about how much of those personal details you share on the internet.

          Good luck.