The Battle Ground and Sitting Among Friends Blog Party #20



Do you feel like going to church is a fighting battle? Then read on and find hope in the victory! 

Last week, I wrote to you, 3 Tips to Finding a Church You Can Call Home. Since I have had great conversations regarding the topic of the church. Some good and some not so good. I love that so many of you have engaged in the comments section because that is where this story ends and our real life journey begins.

 The Resounding Gong

What I have found in the many conversations this week is a resounding gong. People, in some way or fashion, have been hurt, disappointed, deceived or let down by a church or by the people of the church.

This has left them with several decisions. Realizing the church is full of sinful people, some found it necessary to leave their church and find a new church family. Some have left the church and have not been back for years. While others have been so deeply hurt or confused by “Christians” they have not even graced the doors. Still, others have come to the decision to leave the church completely and find it unnecessary.  

No matter where you are today in your journey, I want to encourage you to seek God, seek the truth because it will set you free.

First and foremost, I would like to say, I am sorry. I am sorry you were hurt, broken-hearted, embarrassed, let down, deceived, belittled, felt you were unworthy or disgraced in any way.

Last week, I gave a disclaimer in our conversation. The disclaimer was to remind us when we walk into the church how important it is to remember it is full of human beings. Humans are flawed.

The imperfect church

It should not surprise us that church-goers are not perfect but sometimes that is what trips us up. That is what catches us off guard. We can make the mistake of elevating the people there higher than God and then are surprised when they let us down.

We are expecting something that only God can give us from people who are sinners just like we are.

I am not saying this an error on our part. The church is supposed to be the hands and feet of Christ. We have to remember those hands and feet were intended for good but have sometimes, sadly, been used to hurt and destroy churches for generations from the inside out.

Friends, we have a true battle on our hands. This is not just a battle against Sally what’s-her-name and Bob I-make-the-rules. The battle was never intended to be against one another.

There is a spiritual battle going on and it is for your heart and for mine. It is for the lives of those in the business of doing Christ’s work, building His kingdom, and seeking to live a life honoring to Him. Satan is in the business of tearing churches apart.

Hold Your Head Up High!

As believers, together we are Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:27). We are to arm ourselves in the full armor of God to stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11). Friends, we are not alone, we are to remain steadfast in our faith and we have hope because we have been given the Holy Spirit to lead us into battle.

John gears us up for the battle when he reminds us: But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4

Did you hear that battle cry? You have already won the victory! The Spirit that lives in you is GREATER than the one who is in this world! The Spirit comes with Power!

We are reminded in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Life-giving, Life-altering power.

So, if you are reading this today and you have felt conquered or defeated by the church. Don’t give up! Get on your knees and seek the heart of God and let Him guide you to the next step.


Please come back next week. I am going to expand on the topic of the church even more. I want to encourage you and challenge you to think this through and add to this conversation in the comments.



While you're here, sit down with some of my friends. 

Wow! Last week had 112 posts. I am so glad you all are here. Please remember to visit other friends while you are posting.

They are amazing writers with so many great stories to share with you. Just clink on a link below and you will go directly to their site where you can get to know them more. 

Please, linkup (up to 3) of your family-friendly inspiring stories, recipes, DIY, homeschool, giveaways, or share your life's greatest passions. 

Friends are here to encourage and challenge us in our walk of life, so enjoy!

Thank you for posting and linking up. I try to read and comment on as many of these wonderful posts as I can and as time allows. I just want to say you are all doing wonderful work and praise the Lord that I have had the opportunity to come across the path of so many of you. 

This party has been fantastic and it is thanks to all of you who stop by and Share this party with your friends. Together we can make this our great place. There are easy share buttons to your left or at the bottom of each post (mobile) and after you linkup. 

               Thanks! From all of us at  #SittingAmongFriends 

  







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41 comments :

  1. Replies
    1. I am glad you are here, Debbie. I look forward to your visits.

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  2. Yes we've won the victory Thanks for a great party

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    1. Isn't it great to know how the story ends. Glad you are visiting today!

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  3. What a sweet party! Have just subscribed to reminders (I need all the reminders I can get, having apparently "donated" all my best brain cells to my children.) So glad I found you at Coffee & Conversation! :)

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    1. I here you, sister. Some days all the post-it notes in the world don't help. Glad you found us here. I look forward to seeing you again Wednesday.

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  4. These posts have been so timely for me, since we just started attending a new church around Christmastime because we'd been hurt too many times at our former church. It's been hard because my children had friends there (so did I!) so we still visit there about once a month, although it's a bit awkward. Thanks for hosting the link up!

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    1. Shelly, I have walked a hundred miles in your shoes. What it came down to for me was those were not enough reasons to stay. My family need to be in a healthy place. We needed to be growing Spiritually and the move became a necessity. We had originally thought about visiting and decided it would be too much for the kids and it became not necessary. Thank you for sharing with us. Praying your family settles into your new church family.

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  5. Wonderful words of wisdom, Jaime! Many people don't realize walking into a church that the people there are human, and as such are still sinners. As Christians though, we do need to show to love of Christ to others. One of the local churches near me has a sign that says, "You may be the only Bible someone sees." I'm excited about your upcoming posts about the church. Many people are in need of healing from being wounded at a church, and I think it's awesome you are being so encouraging! Blessings to you my friend and thanks for hosting :)

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    1. Thank you, Kelly. My next post turns out to be really long. I know it is a blogger, oh my goodness but I couldn't find a good stopping point. I really want people to be able to move to a place where they realize how vital it is that we are in being united.

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    2. I hear you, Jaime! It really is important to be united, and I think it's wonderful that you are writing about it. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

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    3. Thanks for stopping back by, Kelly and thank you for the continued encouragement. Glad to be linking up with you.

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  6. Thank you for the sentence:seek God, seek the truth because it will set you free.

    God is not limited to any church.
    I had a parting of the way with church groups a way back, but not from God.
    The church groups I belonged to forgot they were about love, and became about rules and judgement of others.

    That's not their place. It's dangerous. And it's not productive. Acceptance is loving and people should not be about the business of telling others the "right way" to worship.
    You are very sweet, and doing your part to encourage spiritual matters, I gather, since this is my first time here. That's a great service.
    LeeAnna at not afraid of color

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    1. LeeAnna, the key is exactly what you said. Sometimes it is necessary to part ways with a group or a church. It is not something that should not be taken lightly and should be covered in prayer. However, it is also key that when we are hurt by people to not walk away from God. He can heal us. He can repair broken hearts. It is what He is in the business of doing. We have to be willing participant so He can move us to a better place.
      You are right rules can be damaging, especially man-made rules that come across as rules from God. Many blessings in your journey, friend.

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  7. This is so good, Jaime. I missed reading your post last week (I was out of town), but really resonate with this subject. Even though my husband is a pastor and he's served (along with me) in several churches during our marriage, church has been hurtful to us on many occasions. As you've said, churches are full of humans so it makes sense that there will be hurts upon hurts. In fact, the conference my husband and I went to last week when I was out of town was a Peacemakers conference and Peacemakers ministry works within churches to help them find reconciliation and forgiveness. It's a much-needed ministry in this day and age. Thanks so much for the linkup, my friend! Have a great week!

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    1. Beth, I was having a conversation with my grandmother and the thing that we discussed was the fact that when we go to church we offer up our hearts. God asks for our hearts and so in turn we give it to the church family. When we leave our hearts open, they are bound to get hurt. I know that hurt feels bad but it is not always bad. God can take that journey with us and bring us on the other side stronger than before and walking closer to Him. It is a tough position to be in but in our honesty, openness, and frailty we together can be a stronger unit. You are right, peacemaking is a much needed ministry and it is going to increase in it's need as the return of Christ draws near. Glad to hear from you, friend. Thanks for the insight.

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  8. Jaime - I found you today at #womenwithintention where we are neighbors. This is a good read and sadly it is true that many people have been hurt by people in the church, which is so sad to me. I appreciate your thoughts and encouraging people not to break relationship with God. The church is full of hurting people and hurt people unfortunately hurt people... again, its sad and it doesn't make it right either. Praying for those who have been hurt to receive healing. Blessings to you

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    1. Thank you, Debbie for praying for those to find healing. I have heard story after story and I have experienced this throughout my lifetime, growing up in the church. It is truly sad but we have to find a way to become united as bodies of Christ. There are lost souls out there and we are at risk of turning them away by our sometimes petty behavior. Thanks for stopping.

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  9. We know how the story ends, amen? Thank you for the linkup!!!

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    1. Praise the Lord, Susan. We know can know the ending and be confident of the victory in Jesus Christ. I love those kind of endings. So glad you are here today, friend!

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  10. I appreciate that you have stopped by to share your post on the #OMHGWW this week!

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    1. Thank you, Karren. I love linking up with #OMHGWW. It is such a fun place to see so many great ideas and talented people. There is always lots to pin there. Thanks for sharing your space with us.

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  11. Very nice.

    My problem with some of the churches I have attended is that everybody cares more about everything but the word and God. When I was a kid, I was being judged because my parental unit was all messed up and we were poorer than poor but I was judged. I know that churches are full of humans but I feel that I shouldn't be judged on the car I drive, what I wear to church or any of that. When I go to church, the people I go with are more concerned about what I wear and if it matches than what the Pastor is saying.

    I have never told this but I will tell this. About 21 years ago, my (now ex) wife and I volunteered to work with the youth group. She was pregnant with our daughter and ended up having our daughter during the school year. Long story short, all the other volunteers quit and we stuck it out even with a newborn. In June, they hired a new youth coordinator, I went up and introduced myself and told him that we volunteered all year and would like to do it again. He looked at me and mumbled something to the Pastor about "my kind was the wrong type," meaning hue or skin.

    It has took me over a decade to step in a church after that. I am on the road to healing.

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    1. Patrick,
      I have written many messages to you here and I come back and they are gone. I think it happens when I use my tablet. Quite disappointing. Technology.
      I just want to start off by saying that you are on my prayer list and I am truly sorry for your hurt. I do appreciate you being honest with us here. One thing that I strive for is honesty because it brings such great healing. I know that when you serve God and then you have someone come along and downplay it or make you feel not important, it is crushing. I also believe that believers can be the hardest on other believers. I am not sure what it is exactly but I am going to start with pride. To think that someone gave God more than what we feel we can offer Him, hurts our pride. Instead of using the opportunities to build each other up so the whole body is stronger we get jealous and we hurt them. It happens so often and it is not right.
      Ephesians 6:9 is talking about how masters are supposed to behave to their slaves and what I think is key to remember is the last part of the verse. "Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him."
      In heaven there is no partiality with God. We are on a level playing field. So why not take the time to build up the team?
      I will pray for God to bring healing to your heart and to your story. I will pray for you to find a body of believers that will build you up and you do the same. I will pray for God to bring peace to your heart so you can move your journey to the next step. Glad your here this week.

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  12. While there are certainly legitimate reasons to leave a church, I think that our whole society walks away from relational difficulties rather that walks through them into healing and forgiveness. Like I said, there may be a time to leave, but there also is a time to stay and work through issues.

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    1. Elizabeth, I am glad you are sharing your thoughts with us today. I am completely with you. I am a person who has spent her whole life in church and have been hurt and have seen much hurt and destruction. I understand the realities of church life. In the same thought I am such an advocate of the church. I have been hurt deeply and could have easily chose to take my brokenness and walk away but I love church and so for me it was not even an option. I have walked through these battles and you are so right God does not want us to just pack up when it gets hard and run. He wants to walk us through all of life's difficulties while we are trusting and clinging to Him.
      I hope you will come back next week because I want this to be a healing process. Reading the comments here and on other social outlets people are hurting and they need for God to heal them so they can take the next step with Him. I want to promote this healing so people can use what God has equipped and called us to do together. Glad your here, friend.

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  13. Jaime- love this discussion. Thank you for starting it!!
    I am always amazed at how even the most soundly founded churches tend to drift towards "people rules." I'm not interested, at all, in upholding a church's standard of behavior unless is lines up with God's Word. We must keep this in mind as we choose where to worship. I think it's absolutely fine to change churches if there's a feeling of discomfort. There's some honor in sticking it out, but I don't think God is going to hold it against us if we just want to worship, listen, and contribute in an environment that feels comfortable. I think we're all too hard on each other, and take everything way too personally.

    What does God think? Who does He say we are? Where is He leading us? That should be the focus. Forgive and let the rest fall off your shoulders. Worship and serve with joy! And know that just because people set rules doesn't mean you have to follow them. Line everything, even a pastor's sermon, up with the Word. We are all human.
    Happy Thursday! #ThoughtProvokingThursday
    Megs

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    1. Thank you so much Meg for the thoughts. So great that you have shared them. I am just going to give you an Amen, Sister. We are who God says we are. We are not the rules, we are not our past, our circumstances, the clothes we wear, we are Children of God and He decides who we are. Thanks for stopping and encouraging us. I look forward to you coming back next week.

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  14. Well Jaime, this sounded like a post I would write, and yes Elizabeth is correct, the Bible gives us instructions for misunderstanding, differences, hurts, betrayals, and those things. However, sometimes the instructions do not work for one reason or the other, and humans have a tendency to believe their thoughts, decisions, examples are the 'only' right way. It is sad and it seems all churches are going through some ifs, buts, & whats. Unity of the spirit is what should be happening but it is Satan's job to come between friends, stir up trouble with the rules of the church, and to cause strife. The scriptures tell us that a "house divided cannot stand." Matthew 12:25, and then in Mark 3:25.

    Here is what I have been trying to do. I am looking inside Linda, seeking God to show me my own desolation (if there), my own weaknesses, and make sure I am walking in all the light that I see, and obeying His Words. Which are very notable: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8. Lord help me!!!
    Jaime, a great post!

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    1. Great thoughts, Linda. We have to begin the journey with us. We are the person we can control the decisions, behaviors and actions of. The Holy Spirit guides and convicts each one of us differently. God gives us a helper and a guide, His Word for Living. We have to know what it says in order to live out what He wants for us. Great tips for us here. Thank you so much for adding to the conversations here in the comments.

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  15. Also, please join me at http://christian-network.blogspot.com/ sometimes. Thank you and God Bless.

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  16. Hi Jaime! Tough topic. I find that my struggles through the years has not necessarily been with the body of believers but with corrupted leadership. I have seen such destruction at the hands of agenda driven leadership. My heart breaks for the casualties left the their wake. I've overcome with many tears and never leaving hold of my Father's hand--not judging God by those who represent Him on earth. It's a tender place to tread and there is much seeking of lost sheep we must do. For me, smaller, intimate fellowships filled with missional minded people with a thirst for God's Word alive and functioning IN the community at large is joyful living as the church. I have a passion for discipleship and mentoring families. May the church rise above our human frailties and fully embrace God's call in these perilous times.
    Joy!
    Kathy

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    1. This can certainly be the case. Problems can start right at the top. The trickle down effect like you said can be massive. It doesn't just affect individuals but it can destroy whole churches. I love your line where you said your not letting go of your Father's hand. That is key. Because no matter what comes down on churches, God is in control. They are His church and clinging to the one that holds the keys to the kingdom is always the best bet. Thank you for sharing this perspective with us.

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  17. I'm your neighbor at Suzie's today. Love this concept of linking together in faith as Christian sisters. We are stronger together

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    1. Thank you, Vickie. I am glad that you are sitting down with us today. I hope you enjoyed your visit and return this Wednesday. Have a great week!

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  18. Sometimes those hurts and enough of a push to leave a church that you have stayed, because you were comfortable there. All was well, and I stayed, but then I was told not to contribute verbally during the sharing time as some did not enjoy my comments. I went to a counseling session and was encouraged to get back to my Pentecostal roots. I left and found a church and immediately was put to work. Couldn't be happier. Thank you for sharing here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. I honestly think that we can become too comfortable. I believe we begin to stop pushing the bounds and become bench warmers. It is easy in a church to become so complacent that we stop doing what we are really called to do. God calls us out of our comfort zones. In fact he says we are to die to ourselves. That doesn't sound very comfortable to many people. In our complacency, we sometimes stop working or do just enough to get by. I don't think that is the place God intended us to be. I hope you are thriving in your place and staying close to the Lord in your journey.Glad you are here, Hazel.

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  19. Thanks for hosting found you at the Monday of Many Blessings party.

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    1. Thank you, Joyce. I have stopped by your site and will check it out more this week. Have a great day!

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  20. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  21. Your post made me think of Tim Keller's book The Reason for God. He makes the point that when people complain that Christians are "too Christian" because they have encountered people who are judgmental, rude, hypocritical, etc., the problem is actually that they are not Christian enough. The problem is that they have embraced rules and moralism without embracing the love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus, which is at the heart of Christianity and runs counter to these attitudes. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

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Be Still My Friends! You can rest assure that God is in Control.

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Seeking God

Hope In Him Alone!

Hope In Him Alone!
Thank You, Lord, for deciding who I am!

Seek Him First! Today's Bible Reading

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

It is of utmost importance that you know that Christ died for you. He died for all sinners so that our relationship with Him could be restored.

Because of His sacrifice on the cross we can have peace. Are you seeking more peace today? Peace of the soul can only be given through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you, too, know the saving grace of an amazing God.
If you have questions about how to know more you can email me at youresewtrendy@gmail.com

2 Timothy 1:7

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