by Living Liminal cross posted from her blog Living Liminal
“If You are struggling with any area of [this] information it is your problem, not ours. If you feel a breakdown in trust and relationship it is your issue not ours. If you don’t seem to be able to give a righteous response to what you believe was said and done then go and seek counsel. You have been ministered to, you have been included, you have been loved.” [Emphasis added]
These were words sent to me by a board member of my ex-church after I had written to the board, letting them know that I was struggling with being told, amongst other things, that I should submit to the “godly authority” of the man who was bullying me. The email I received in response explained that the board had done nothing wrong, and were, in fact, at peace with God and themselves. If there was a problem, it was mine alone. I had “been loved” and so it was about time I got with the program and performed acceptably again.
And the problem with me being viewed as the problem is that I wasn’t really the problem…
The real problem was that none of us seemed to know how to love like Jesus loved. Love was confused with control. The imperative was to control behaviour; control feelings; control the narrative itself.
As I have said many times before, my experience is far from unique. Hundreds of thousands have been, or are being controlled and abused by an institution which claims to be representing the One who is Love!
And although it will sometimes get us what we want, the trouble with using control is that we inadvertently make ourselves a slave to the response of the other person. If they won’t play the game, then we have to up the ante until they accede to our demand for compliance.
And when everything has been done to make others behave according to our rules, and they have still failed to comply, we are left with no alternative but to shun them.
Loving people the way Jesus did sets us free from the need to control their behaviour. In fact it sets us free from needing anything at all from them, because loving someone is simply wanting the best for them. And that is never dependent on their response. So we find ourselves at liberty to love… regardless.
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