In all Things, God Works…

Discussing major milestones in my journey out of a cult and to Christ can be difficult at times. Truth, while liberating, is always harder to write than fiction. When I left the cult I did so quietly, behind closed door meetings with the leadership, and not screaming out at my fellow church goers. I came to myself and realized how far their teachings had been from the Bible. How the entire church I belonged to was more focused on the words of a man long since dead, and the rules made by a man hell bent on controlling his flock. Out of a congregation of nearly 200 I received only two phone calls from people concerned about my devotion to the cult. Bitterness over that lack of reaction caused me to just stop attending church at all. I searched through every religion I could get my hands on. From the Catholics I was taught to hate, to the Jews I was taught to pity, to the Satanists I was told to fear. I read book after book on, and by, them all. I went in, and verbally sparred with anyone in authority I could find. I was trying to find the errors in their beliefs now that mine had failed me so suddenly. Lashing out trying to make sense of years of indoctrination.
There were days I laid in bed with the weight of my thoughts holding me down more effectively than any physical bond could have. Leaving the cult had cost me my family, my church, my friends, and any support I could have hoped for. Marital advice? Get back into the cult and God would fix everything. Family struggles? Obviously I was backslidden and needed to get back into the church and listen to the prophet some more. I was more alone than I had ever thought possible. My phone was full of numbers that either would push me back into the cult, or refuse to hear me out and tell me to just get over it.
The local Hindu Brahmin (priest) graciously tolerated my intrusions on his temple and rituals, explaining things to me as he went along. During a time of feeling alone, lost, and purposeless, I was given my next message from God in the most unexpected place. “The meaning of life is multifaceted. There are parts for taking care of yourself and parts about helping others. You’ve been here seeking enlightenment and we’ve allowed you to go through blessings, yet when you speak of others it is about what they have done to you, not what you’re doing for them. You did not arrive to this moment in your life alone. You owe something to each and every person who helped you become who you are. Your parents, your teachers, and most importantly you owe something to those who will come after you. You seek a lot but you are full and not giving into others. You must seek a balanced spirit.” This man’s words reminded me of my Sunday School Teacher from my youth, who I had succeeded in heading that youth ministry. I thought about the kids I had once taught. I thought about everyone still stuck where I had once been and how I had helped keep them there. I needed to balance that.
From the two phone calls when I left, to a barrage of messages when I became vocal, I realized one thing: groups like what I came out of will never change for those sitting comfortably on the pews paying their money. It will never change for those that never pick up the Bible and learn it for themselves. It will be business as usual until you are actively searching out your own personal salvation. Many of us have had those times when we wanted to change, we wanted out of a toxic situation, we wanted to say something to make it all better. Yet due to peer pressure or circumstances beyond our control we were stuck. Sometimes physically stuck in institutes, or in back offices of churches, or in a pew, or in our beds or within our own minds. At those times when our own words fail, when someone is making sure we aren’t heard or feel worthless for not going with the status quo, we look to others for inspiration.
Last week I mentioned some of the odd places God has spoken to me. He is not limited by our circumstances, by our peers, by anything. God will find you where you are and his gospel will set you free. We here at The Incomplete Message are simply trying to be a voice for those who feel controlled with no way out. Christ brings a freedom like no other. So for you who are feeling alone, for those stuck, for those afraid. Christ is right there. If we can help even one person become free from man’s religions, we have accomplished everything.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV)
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
There are times I wish I’d never been in the cult, it damaged my family in immeasurable ways that I’ve only just begun to understand. I fought with God for years thinking he had simply stood by while we suffered at the hands of greedy men. Only recently have I looked back and seen that this was all needed for someone to react and speak against them, for those who had already suffered before me, and those still suffering right this very day. The amount of control they hold can keep even the most determined and vocal of us from ever saying a word. The more timid and gentler have little hope of getting out of these toxic situations. So after running away from Church, God, and everything else, I found something to work towards. That my freedom from the cult was not something to take for granted, but that I needed to be just as active out of it as I had been in it. That my ministry didn’t end when I left one single church, but that I had finally found the focus and motivation to point people to God and his Word. To put up with the hate mail, the calls, the lies, being physically thrown out of churches for not agreeing with off-Bible teachings, and be a light for those in need. A voice for the silent.
I have lost much, but I gained so much more in finding my purpose. I cannot stand here and tell you I’ll understand where every one of you is coming from, but I want to stand beside you, to help you in anyway I can, and to encourage those afraid that there is always hope as long as we hold to God’s unfailing word and love one another. Whoever abides in Love, abides in God.

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