You Cannot Love What You Seek to Control

I thought others of you would be interested in this little exchange I had the other day.  The only reason I’m posting it is because I get this question often as it’s a very real part of our journey and the shift in thinking that happens when we move beyond religion to live in the Father’s affection. 

Mark:   I have a quick question for you. How do you respond, when people that you used to attend church with ask what’s going on in your life?  I don’t want to begin arguments and I don’t want to come across in a negative way, but how do I share this new understanding with those who don’t yet have it.









  


 
Its so odd because Church in America is always touted as being a place filled with love and acceptance, but the moment that you walk away from that organization you are labeled, ridiculed, and often belittled by the very people that claim to have unconditional love for you. When I try to share that I left church to draw closer to God, I find that the response is condescending, accusatory, or skeptical. Yet, at the same time many still in the church will say that church is not required for salvation, but, the sad truth is that being part of an organized religious group is required in their minds. For many in America, Christianity is more about membership within a congregation than about adoption into the Kingdom of Heaven. If you can lend me any advice I would greatly appreciate it.

Me:  Don’t you remember being there too, looking suspiciously at people who had withdrawn from a congregation you thought was essential to your own spiritual growth? That’s what gives me patience with others who are still there. They can’t see what they don’t see, and my trying to convince them isn’t helpful.  I simply engage such people with friendship, finding out how they are doing and, where appropriate, the things I see Jesus doing in my life that I hope will encourage them.  I don’t get into the “going to church” thing or why I’m not there anymore. I’m just interested to see if the friendship is bigger than whether or not I’m part of the same club with them and at the end I want them to know they are loved whether or not they are in a place to love me back. Don’t worry so much about what they are thinking, and you’ll be able to see how Jesus wants to love them through you.

Mr. M:  What a great answer!  Thank you for helping me to remember.

Escaping the conformity confines of religion doesn’t make us immune from its tentacles.  Because that system is built on our approval needs it leaves in a conversation more aware of what others think of us than we are what it would mean to love them and perhaps by grace open a door to a wider space for them to know God.  Any time our personal wellbeing rests on what someone else is thinking, feeling, or saying, then we have no option but to try to figure out a way to change them or make them stop.  In doing so we become like them and if we keep living there we will get lost in relationships because we will have to control them and when we seek to control we are not loving. 

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8 Comments
  1. Dan Cumins January 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks Wayne,

                                My wife and I have just had our hearts touched by Fathers love, it’s not an easy transition as you know. But abiding in our Fathers love is all we need to live the life that was paved for us by Christ. It would be so easy to turn back and grab onto what we know, but we know Gods love embraces us and thats all we need. Your Ministry And teaching are so precious to us and the Lord has gone before us and has made connections with other people that we can fellowship with. He never ceases to amaze me. Thankyou

                                

  2. Dan Cumins January 17, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks Wayne,

                                My wife and I have just had our hearts touched by Fathers love, it’s not an easy transition as you know. But abiding in our Fathers love is all we need to live the life that was paved for us by Christ. It would be so easy to turn back and grab onto what we know, but we know Gods love embraces us and thats all we need. Your Ministry And teaching are so precious to us and the Lord has gone before us and has made connections with other people that we can fellowship with. He never ceases to amaze me. Thankyou

                                

  3. Leah January 19, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Amazing blog post, as usual. Thank you for sharing what is so incredibly true and relevant to me on this stage of my journey. 

  4. Leah January 19, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Amazing blog post, as usual. Thank you for sharing what is so incredibly true and relevant to me on this stage of my journey. 

  5. Ross Turner January 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I’ve passed it on to one of my sons who asked me the identical question that Mark asked.  It’s so helpful to know when you are faced with these very real questions and experiences, to know that others are trying to battle through the same things.  I guess we all tend to see the world through our own eyes, and when Father begins to take you on a different journey, a freeing journey, many others are going to struggle to see what is really going on, and in so doing question the very heart and soul of where you are.  This can be disconcerting and causes you to question your motives – it’s so helpful to hear from others and their honest struggles in the journey.  It helps re-inforce the things that you know in your heart of hearts is true,  helpful in continuing to set your bearings, and strengthening in determining to walk in the freedom of living in our father’s love.  Thanks, for sharing the journey, it’s wonderful and so helpful.   

  6. Ross Turner January 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I’ve passed it on to one of my sons who asked me the identical question that Mark asked.  It’s so helpful to know when you are faced with these very real questions and experiences, to know that others are trying to battle through the same things.  I guess we all tend to see the world through our own eyes, and when Father begins to take you on a different journey, a freeing journey, many others are going to struggle to see what is really going on, and in so doing question the very heart and soul of where you are.  This can be disconcerting and causes you to question your motives – it’s so helpful to hear from others and their honest struggles in the journey.  It helps re-inforce the things that you know in your heart of hearts is true,  helpful in continuing to set your bearings, and strengthening in determining to walk in the freedom of living in our father’s love.  Thanks, for sharing the journey, it’s wonderful and so helpful.   

  7. Mary July 18, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Hi Wayne my name is Mary and I have been a Christian for a lot of years or what I thought was a Christian. I became a Christian in my early 20s and I’m now in my 60s. The first 20 years of being a Christian was wonderful I was in the church and was involved with the Jesus people here in London Ontario. Then things started to change my pastor left and we got new pastors who change things in the church so I left and I went to several different churches. I could not find that passion and the love for God that was there when the Jesus people movement was going. At this time in my life I was self harming which means I was cutting myself and couldn’t understand how God could Love someone like me. One day my pastor from a Pentecostal church called me in and told me I had to leave the church because people were complaining about me because they knew that I had self harmed. I walked away from that Church feeling like I had just been stomped on. I then tried the Salvation Army church and the first set of officers we had where wonderful. I was going through an abusive marriage at this point and the officer told me that if my husband hit me anymore that I was to call him and they would get me out. A new set of officers came in and my husband beat me up one night so I called and they asked me what I had done to deserve being beaten up. I went to church on Sunday and as usual sat down with the ladies that I had been sitting with every week and they got up and moved so I knew that the officers had told what had happened. I had told God when I went into this Church that if anything happened where I walked out of the church crying that I would never go back into a building again. I still loved God and I still wanted to follow him but I did not like Christians. I follow through on that decision untill I met people from the Vineyard. I have been with the Vineyard ministry for more than 25 years. With their help I got help with my self harm by going to a program in the states and started the program here in Canada to help others who self harm. The church is not the building it is the people and I have met such wonderful people who love God in coffee shops, in bus and train stations as well as on planes. I love it when you say in your book Finding Church that when you are conversation with someone about God that you are having church. I am now going to a small Vineyard Home church and love it. Most of times I leave feeling I’ve just met with God. Thank you for your book Finding Church.

  8. Mary July 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hi Wayne my name is Mary and I have been a Christian for a lot of years or what I thought was a Christian. I became a Christian in my early 20s and I’m now in my 60s. The first 20 years of being a Christian was wonderful I was in the church and was involved with the Jesus people here in London Ontario. Then things started to change my pastor left and we got new pastors who change things in the church so I left and I went to several different churches. I could not find that passion and the love for God that was there when the Jesus people movement was going. At this time in my life I was self harming which means I was cutting myself and couldn’t understand how God could Love someone like me. One day my pastor from a Pentecostal church called me in and told me I had to leave the church because people were complaining about me because they knew that I had self harmed. I walked away from that Church feeling like I had just been stomped on. I then tried the Salvation Army church and the first set of officers we had where wonderful. I was going through an abusive marriage at this point and the officer told me that if my husband hit me anymore that I was to call him and they would get me out. A new set of officers came in and my husband beat me up one night so I called and they asked me what I had done to deserve being beaten up. I went to church on Sunday and as usual sat down with the ladies that I had been sitting with every week and they got up and moved so I knew that the officers had told what had happened. I had told God when I went into this Church that if anything happened where I walked out of the church crying that I would never go back into a building again. I still loved God and I still wanted to follow him but I did not like Christians. I follow through on that decision untill I met people from the Vineyard. I have been with the Vineyard ministry for more than 25 years. With their help I got help with my self harm by going to a program in the states and started the program here in Canada to help others who self harm. The church is not the building it is the people and I have met such wonderful people who love God in coffee shops, in bus and train stations as well as on planes. I love it when you say in your book Finding Church that when you are conversation with someone about God that you are having church. I am now going to a small Vineyard Home church and love it. Most of times I leave feeling I’ve just met with God. Thank you for your book Finding Church.

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