I walked into the sanctuary/auditorium/whatever-you-want-to-call-it at church today, going to my normal place to sit. I don't move around from Sunday to Sunday, I have a "preferred" row where I sit and that's that, whether anyone else sits around me or not.
On my way there, I look around a pillar to see a woman from the past, that I hadn't seen since the church whose pastor shunned me. I was shocked, jaw-dropped while she expressed loudly: Well if it isn't BEN B******!!!!
In a nano-second, emotions of hate, anger and contempt came into my whole being. I was loathing this woman with every fiber of my being, my innards were crying out that I hated her and I couldn't stop it. THIS was the woman that had handed me a "word from the Lord", so long ago, that just short of told me I was going to hell because I was getting divorced. The letter was rancid, flesh-originated and full of condemnation and judgement. I will NEVER forget it because it was so hateful and also - because this woman, at THAT time, was on her FIFTH marriage!! Condemning me for getting divorced when she had done it 4 times already?
I was loath to sit there for the rest of the service. Leaders in the church came up to me on 2 occasions before the service began and asked me how I was doing. I told them but they could not, for whatever reason, find it within themselves to pray for me. I wanted prayer for ME, not her, my reaction to her being there was so incredibly outlandish - though I didn't express or speak it in any way - I could not believe what was suddenly going on inside of me. It was incredibly BAD.
I forced myself to sit through the entire service. People were staring at me. I know I had a bad look on my face, I didn't intend to but I couldn't stop it. The emotion coursing through me was raw and unrefined. I had NO idea I had been harboring this much hate against this person until I saw her, up close and personal. I kept looking over across the other side of the church, glaring at her and wishing she would just disappear. I know that's bad for a Christian, but what is the point of being dishonest and attempting to be someone you aren't?
I also came to the realization that - my belief - God had brought her there if for no other purpose, for me to realize the bitterness and hatred I was harboring against her and force me to deal with it. But you don't just get filled up with hate and anger towards a person you haven't seen in 8 or 9 years and have, unknowingly I might add, been harboring it against that person that whole time and then suddenly, 2 minutes later, just say yeah, I forgive her. You might be saying the words with your MOUTH, you will NOT be saying those words in your HEART where it REALLY counts.
At the end of the service, the pastor asked everyone to take other's hands and say some words after him and then - fill in the blank. Well, the only person sitting in my row was a very godly woman that has been part of that church plant from the beginning. We took hands and she started telling me some things. I then told her what was going on and she began ministering to me some truth that - I REALLY needed to hear. It was solid, gold, foundation stuff. Meat-of-the-Word type of stuff. We talked for half an hour or so and then I finally left.
I then got home and posted a note on my Facebook wall. It was about someone that once told me that I shouldn't wear my emotions on my sleeve. Yeah, and says who? American mindset that leads to nothing good. Let it build up inside of you until you HAVE to let it out SOME way and usually not in a GOOD way. You see, I told a couple of people at church - in leadership - what was going on and they couldn't help me. Or wouldn't help me. You aren't supposed to expose yourself, right? BUNK. If the body of Christ can no more deal with it's own people's problems, how is it going to deal with the world's? \
Well, there was a totally unintended consequence to that posting on my FB wall. FB chat messages. People who started exposing things that were going on in their lives. 2 of them, not a huge lot of them but these 2 were exposing themselves and issues that they had not spoken about to anyone else. Including a dear, sweet lady friend of mind who lives in Texas who has filed for divorce. No-one else knows about this, not even her own family or her kids. I spent an hour talking with her about it, it was soooo intense. She is going through hell, she has 9 kids. Yes, that's NINE kids, ranging from a 20 year old in the Navy to toddlers.
I discussed with her about a problem child. She didn't tell me this, I heard it from the Lord. I pushed it until she finally gave in, yes, a teenager with serious issues and in trouble. The marriage and what was going on with it. A LOT of stuff. She confided in me so I am not going to betray her trust, but wow. The other person facing a MS diagnosis. Double wow. I wondered if what I had gone through today was a bit selfish in light of their predicaments, but I came to the conclusion: no. What I went through during that time of divorce and the issues with the church was pure and total HELL. NO-ONE is going to tell me otherwise. But that does not mean I have or even want to walk around carrying that load forever. I had thought I was over all of it, I found out I am not and that's OKAY, and just as much, it is OKAY for me to have the feelings I had today and live through them as long as I end up DEALING with it - quickly I would like to add - and not fester on it.
Yes!! Christians can have those feelings, but you just don't live IN those feelings forever! I am a child of God but I am still in this "tent of flesh"! It doesn't like these kinds of things and it wants to lash out. But I did NOT lash out at that woman today and I have no intention of doing so. I DO intend on approaching her at some point and having a conversation about this situation - if she intends on making the church I am going to her church as well. But again, my heart has to be in the 'forgiving' stage, not the 'gee, why don't you get your ass the hell out of here because you are a piece of s***' stage.
Well, anyway. I talked with and more importantly, listened to those 2 (well, read their words on Facebook) for over 2 hours today. I poured my heart out to them in ministering to them what I thought the Lord had to say to them regardless of what I had just gone through. To be honest, after having such intense emotions of hate and anger against a person today, I didn't really feel very much in the position to be ministering to others, but they were hurting people and I couldn't just brush them off, so I didn't.
I'm drained. For a Sunday? Intense. I'm going to sleep.