I've been thinking lately about the church I've attended since before I was born. No kidding; my mom said once they came to our church because it had a nursery.
I’ve known for years that there is an angry feeling toward our church and the people who attend there. Some people left our fellowship hurt, and they were hurt with good reason based on my memories. I’ve been trying to mend the relationships, but I have not been successful.
I've been thinking about why, because I'm no stranger to angry and malicious feelings that arise from my own hurt feelings.
First, it makes you feel 'good' to rebuff someone who has hurt you in the past. Well, it's not a godly response whether or not it temporarily makes you feel good, and ultimately, it will bring you pain and sadness.
Second, you believe you are justified in rebuffing me/us because our church is a cult. This would be laughable if it weren't so sad and evil.
Why on earth are we a cult?!? Because we put a high value on godliness? Yes, we do. In accordance with the Bible's teachings, we know we should be holy. 1 Peter 1:16. Holiness is defined the way God defines it in His Law. The 10 Commandments are a good, brief summary of the Law.
Is it because part of holiness is rejecting sin? Yes.... I'm sorry, but God is angry at sin. I can't help it, and our church can't help it. All the other churches that preach that God is love and that alone can't even help it. They try, but they only make themselves look foolish by tickling the ears of an ignorant people.
We see sin, and we fear because of God's response. Don't the plagues and sons of Korah and other events teach us this throughout the Bible? What about Ananias and Saphira? What about Eli's sons? God punishes sin, and again, there's nothing I can do about it, and I shouldn't hide the fact.
Are we a cult because we love and submit to our Elders? Wow. If this is the reason, it only serves to show what kind of a people (Christian or otherwise) the world is becoming. "I am autonomous... I don't need authority because I can do perfectly well on my own. I don't need any input in my life unless I choose to ask for it, and I know best what is true from God's Word."
Consider what it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: "But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another."
And again in Hebrews 13:17: "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."
There are no ifs, ands, or buts. There are commands that state: submit to your leaders.... appreciate them, etc..
There is another verse (1 Timothy 5:19) that says do not receive a charge against them except on the basis of two or three witnesses, and then: "Those [Elders] who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest [of the Elders] also will be fearful of sinning." (1 Timothy 5:20)
That has never happened at our church. Instead, people decide they have a beef with the Elders, and that we are a cult, so they leave and proceed to badmouth us and the Elders for years! I do not understand how that is godly, but they act like it is ok because after all, their feelings were hurt.
This behavior is reprehensible at best, and Satan-honoring at worst.
I don't currently have anything else to say about this. My guilt is swiftly being relieved because I recognize that I can't do anything else. I've reached out in love, and they have rebuffed in some ungodly emotion, what it is exactly I can't be sure.
Now we come to Romans 12:18. "If possible, so long as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." I'm sad we come to rest on that verse instead of these.
'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
"This I command you, that you love one another.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
1 Thessalonians 3:12
and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;
1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
1 Peter 1:22
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 John 3:11
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
1 John 3:23
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
And the pinnacle verse:
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Verse Search courtesy of Bible Gateway.