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Featured Burned Out and Cynical

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Matthew Frazier, Dec 6, 2017 at 3:42 PM.

  1. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Hello Christian Forums. I am new here and I have had a difficult year due to various spiritual and personal struggles, so please bear with me here, as I really need help. I used to go to church, it was the love of my life, but now I feel burned out and just can’t stand the thought of going back to church. Throughout my undergrad years of college, I attended a non-denom church (Won’t be named here for privacy), which I fell in love with at the first service. I was showered with hospitality and kindness when I started going to both church and Bible studies, so I made this church my home and made it a priority to attend everything this church had to offer. However, once I got deeply involved with the church, there were many points that I strongly disagreed with in their theology. For starters, they were heavy on outreach, which Bible study leaders forced people to participate in, as if one’s salvation depended upon it, completely contradictory to Eph 2. I also burned out attending every function the church had to offer; I just felt that I needed to go to earn the congregation’s approval and I felt like I was going to be punished if I wasn’t there. This was the situation for the entire church, as seen in the constant involvement of all my peers in this church, and the judgment imposed on others who did not regularly attend the church's functions or appeared to be “different” or “worldly” compared to other members. Further adding to the pain was the lack of authenticity. I don’t know if I’m placing too high expectations on people I should just pass off as casual friends, but these church-goers, whether it be my closer friends or acquaintances in tis group, would get offended if I shared my vulnerable moments or shared difficult emotions or subjects that I needed help dealing with. I don’t feel as if there is anybody who values me or respects my feelings and how hard I’ve worked in school and church. After a year of struggling to keep up with my difficult balance between church and schoolwork I decided to quit this church. May not even come back to any church, this is my second bad experience at a church, with my first church being one that was damaged after the church fired their pastor. My previously joyous spirt is now full of cynicism, and I feel as if there is not a single church out there who will love me or value me as a person. How can I overcome these hard feelings? What should I do? Is the church really “God’s people”?
     
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  2. ToBeLoved

    ToBeLoved Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First, Matthew don't feel alone. Bad people and misguided people are in churches and it does hurt.

    I don;t want to know your denomination but I have several thoughts.

    First, for some churches 'love bombing' is a thing they do to 'outreach'; and they call it evangelism and put it under the premise of making the newcomer feel welcome and like returning. My cousin and brothers church does it all the time. It is pitiful to do and wrong, but maybe they did this on purpose for you to come back again.

    Second, when a church starts making demands on people and shaming them in some way for not participating, then that can be abusive. The one I know this follow holiness standards, or so they say, I don't call their way of being not genuine holy, but if there is a pastor who is misguided many times his being that way can lead the church into harmful and abusive behavior.

    Sounds to me like this church is way to controlling. Wanting to control what your emotions are or who you talk to or share things with sounds very over the top.

    My recommendation is find a church with Bible Church in its name. Sola Scriptura. Bible based because good teaching on God's Word is what keeps us all in check. Ego, money, temptation all of that is out there.

    Find a church that tells you to check everything they preach against the Bible. One that tells you to believe no man 's teaching.

    God's Word will strenthen you. If a church has the words 'Bible Church' in it's name, then it will probably be this way. Also check the churches website
     
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  3. ToBeLoved

    ToBeLoved Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh, and welcome to CF also . :wave:

    forgot my manners :swoon:
     
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  4. Luin

    Luin Christian Flower Supporter

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    I am so sorry you had these painful experiences in your church. I am going to pray that you find a church that is a safe and comfortable place for you. I am glad you are here at Christian forums. I have met many kind people here and they have encouraged me and helped me heal. I pray that you will also find healing here.
     
  5. Femi Williams

    Femi Williams Member

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    First of all, please be aware that there are no perfect church on this side of heaven, and if you do find one, please don't join it, cos then, it would cease to be no longer perfect. I think it's important to always have that at the back of your mind because in all truth a church is not made of the building but the people itself is what make up the church, and no one is perfect.

    Having had my own fair share of ups and down, I can very much relate to your story. In fact I was almost at a point that I was about to give up going to any church completely. But I thank God for leading the way and I'm now starting to settle down slowly at a church which I've been attending now for almost a year. It is important to be at a church were you can surrender to the church leaders, and if you find that you are having disagreement with doctrinal or theological issues, then I would first suggest you seek the mind of God on it and be sure of your conviction, then I would suggest you speak to the church leaders and other church member about it. It is better to stand alone with the truth, than to be wrong with the multitude. Above all else, I believe it is important to be at a church that not just believe all the Word of God but live by it all. So yes, there are churches I think its best to run from, ones where the truth of the scripture is compromised. Take heart my friend, and trust God to lead the way. Don't go it alone for no man is an island.
     
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  6. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Thanks so much for your response. I'm so glad I'm not alone in this battle! My last church really was controlling, I'm glad I'm not coming back. It's good that there's a church out there who will appreciate my openness, I sure hope I find it. And I will look into that for sure!
     
  7. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Thank you so much, Luin. I hope that kind of church is out there! and I'm already feeling loved here :D
     
  8. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Thanks a bunch Femi! This response is heartwarming and encouraging for me to see. Not looking for a "perfect" church shatters my expectations, I guess I'm being too hard on myself if I'm looking for perfection in a church. Perfect is a relative term. I really appreciate your advice and your encouragement for me to follow Christ and trust in Him! I'll keep this advice and Him in mind as I continue figuring these things out in my life.
     
  9. Luin

    Luin Christian Flower Supporter

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    I am so glad. God bless you :)
     
  10. Femi Williams

    Femi Williams Member

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    You're welcome Matthew. Lastly, can I just say:

    "Biblical unity is not unity at any price. Biblical unity is not unity that is to go along to get along. Biblical unity is unity of total agreement on the truth. It is having a common commitment to the truth of the Word of God (the Bible)."

    Uncompromising Biblical Truth {Part II}
     
  11. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Saved by Grace through Faith

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    Welcome to CF. As someone that can relate to disappointments with a host of Churches, I just want to remind you that, the earthly Church (in the sense we're speaking of) will never fully represent the Heavenly Church. One reason is because the earthly Church in the brick and mortar denomination institution sense is open to everyone, and the disadvantage is that you have apostates, non-believers, religious hypocrites and so on under the same roof. By human observation, there may not appear to be much difference, but there is, and God knows the difference. I think most of us struggle with wanting the approval and tender affection of others, but that should not be a driving force behind our devotion not to a Church per say, but God Himself. Said and done, the Lord has ways of bringing His sheep back into the fold, not one is so lost that He cannot at once rescue and restore. His mercy to sinners is beyond our comprehension, ours is dim dim reflection, often conditional, and more often than not an offense to our senses.
     
  12. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    God bless you too :)
     
  13. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Thanks so much again, and thanks for this link! That is well said!
     
  14. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Wow, this is well said. Thank you very much! I hope that I can put God at the center so I can keep my eyes on the heavenly Church instead of the worldly church. Glad I'm not too broken beyond disrepair!
     
  15. ToBeLoved

    ToBeLoved Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [Staff edit].

    God is patient. Your doing fine. If you are seeking Him. You will find Him. He loves it when we seek Him and His Truth.

    You will probably grow in Him pretty rapidly if you stay seeking. Don’t feel overwhelmed the Bible and God are fascinating. Have fun learning and growing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2017 at 4:25 AM
  16. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    [Staff edit].

    I began to develop anger against my church, but not until I was it in for awhile. To back up my post I recall several incidences when members harassed of one of my closer friends for being "introverted" and "anti-social" after missing several events, hes one of the smartest guys I know. A couple of other people have tried to seek friends in that church because they were lonely from bad home lives and were looking to start a new life after one was recovering from codependency and other just got out of jail and wanted start fresh, but they were shunned and both got kicked out of Bible study and church for "being too dirty" or "focusing too much on people". And then I get bullied by my congregation when I don't show up to events, even when I get busy with exams. They don't take any excuse for not showing up to church, Bible studies, and mission trips, and pressure people, even those who have followed Jesus forever to bow down to their beliefs. After seeing legalistic behavior within the church's groups and ignoring and guilt-tripping people who didn't follow the crowd or participate in outreach, my mother found out about this behavior also from someone else who previously attended the church and was worried sick after she found the complete dominating control that this church took over my life, as seen by myself and several others who used to go leave drained and feeling needlessly guilty. They also openly condemned themselves and other people who did not hold the same beliefs in highly sensitive topics, such as personal tastes, sexuality, and different ways of being, calling it "being vulnerable and holding each other accountable". How can this be "Christian"? That's when I called it quits.

    [Staff edit].

    Man and I thought that my struggling with a D1 school last year and suffering from anxiety and depression which I needed meds for was already enough on my plate :mad: All I want is people who understand me and after being bullied growing up I never found such friends until lately.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2017 at 4:27 AM
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  17. thesunisout

    thesunisout growing in grace Supporter

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    Hello,

    I can certainly understand being disappointed with your church. The issue is not church, but the fact that we all have a sin nature. Therefore, there are always going to be reasons to be offended when you attend church. The people in your church, no matter which one you attend, are going to say and do things which will offend you because of their sin nature. So, that is something you need to decide in advance about. How you will handle being offended.

    The thing that will get you through it is if you know that God has planted you in a church. I've been attending a church for the past 7 years because I know the Lord led me there and wants me to stay there. I would begin to ask the Lord to direct you to the church He wants you to attend. When you know the Lord has brought you to a church, that gives you the strength to overcome any offense.

    People will always be offensive because we all have weaknesses and problems; the fleshly nature. Realize that you're no different. However, through Jesus Christ we have the victory. You have to decide beforehand to overlook the offenses and do what the Lord wants you to do there. If you do that the Lord will open doors in your life through the church which will grow and enrich you spiritually. Anyone there who knows the Lord will be a benefit to you if you are willing to overlook their flaws and embrace them like the Lord embraced you, despite your flaws. God bless!

    Proverbs 19:11

    The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
    And his glory is to overlook a transgression
     
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  18. Tom Farebrother

    Tom Farebrother Active Member Supporter

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    I had a similar experience, my first contact with Jesus came through a church like that. Over time I realised that they were cherry picking the scriptures that reflected the personality and priorities of the church’s leader, a very single minded guy who sees himself as a modern day Moses. The teachings weren’t wrong per se, although not entirely right either, they just pushed certain ideas at the expense of a fuller understanding of God. Churches of this sort tend to base their theology on small sets of scriptures about different issues which seem convincing at first, but which lose their impact when understood not so much in the direct context but in the wider context of what else the bible teaches being ignored in favour of those scriptures that are used. What I did eventually was to invest in some good, solid commentaries rooted in careful and responsible scholarship, and started working my way through the bible from Genesis. This has deepened my understanding of God tremendously and given me a much surer footing, and more confidence in thinking about joining a different church.
     
  19. Matthew Frazier

    Matthew Frazier New Member

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    Wise words, Tom Farebrother! Thats how I felt about this church, not wrong but definitely something fishy about it, yet they were very didactic. Thanks so much! :)
     
  20. Tom Farebrother

    Tom Farebrother Active Member Supporter

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    No worries Bro! God is greater than all denominations, including the non-doms!
     
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