I am very particular of the people I listen to, the books I read and where I send my tithe. I believe this stems from growing up and being very involved in a church as a child, a church my parents (through discernment) fortunately made the decision to leave prior to learning the pastor was living a lie. This lie ultimately hurt thousands and caused many to turn from the Lord.
That experience as a young girl taught me to be very discerning when it comes to those who preach the gospel. The majority of pastors I listen to, or read books they author, have long since gone home to Heaven and I wouldn’t even need a full hand to count the number of today’s pastors I would say I “follow”.
Yesterday, my sister forwarded me an email from the church I have called home for over a decade. This church has pushed my faith deeper, has forced me into the Word to find answers and to rely on the Lord for everything. The Pastor’s wisdom and insight has, over the many years of listening to him, inspired me to know the Lord more intimately and to stand on the Word regardless of what I see or feel. Although I no longer live in the state where this church resides, I still tithe there and listen to the services as often as I can. Whenever I travel back to the state, I make sure to book a returning ticket late enough to assure my attendance on Sunday morning service.
So, when I opened my messages and saw the below email, to say I was shocked, disheartened, confused or troubled, would be an understatement…I was, and still am, totally and completely heartbroken.
Through different life experiences, I have witnessed the effect of abuse on women and children, seen the terror in a child’s eyes after being attacked, talked with the addicted and forlorn, attempted to council the depressed, prayed for the hurting and walked through jails filled with the lost.
To tell someone they are not allowed into the House of God if they don’t wear a mask or that they may be turned away if they have a fever is not guidance from the Lord, but rather guidance from the world.
The thought that someone who may be suicidal could potentially be told to leave if their temperature is too high, or someone who is tormented with claustrophobia is not allowed to worship if they don’t cover their mouths, or someone who struggles with addiction and depression and desires prayer yet cannot approach the pastor after service, is so overwhelmingly sad to me tears spring to my eyes at the very thought of it. And, the fact that this demand is coming from a church I trusted, a church I looked to in times of difficulty and chaos in my life, just simply sucks.
I take the Word literally. By this I mean every promise given in the Word is a promise to me, every battle won is an image of battles I can win, and every miracle performed is a miracle I too, with doubtless faith in time of need, can one day achieve. So, when I pray Psalm 91 over my home, I believe I am protected because it says, “there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (10).
A church is the dwelling place of God and it is a Pastor’s duty, their calling, to “lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18), but if the Pastor’s refuse to touch the sick, how can they ever improve?
Jesus approached the leprous, He surrounded himself with the sick and needy, He never turned anyone away who needed help, not even once, regardless of the sickness that plagued them or the infectious disease that covered their bodies.
We, as a body, have lost our heart for the hurting, our need to be there in times of trouble and difficulty. We have become wrapped up in our 501(c)(3) status and have repeatedly, over time, looked to government over God. We have forgotten the power that comes with the Holy Spirit and the promises we were handed freely if we only believe.
I am hurt by how the church as a whole has reacted during this time. Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%, liquor sales gone up 300-600%, domestic violence and child abuse at an all-time high…if there was ever a time for the church to “be there” for their people, without restrictions and limitations, it is now.
This has been a “wake-up” experience for me. Those I thought would lead the charge have fallen in line with the masses and those I looked to for wisdom remain silent.
But, hope is not lost. There are those, though few and far between, who refuse to bend on their beliefs and who stand on the Word without budging. Like the two of the twelve spies sent into the promised land, there are some willing to take the heat in order to stand on the Word of God and refuse to allow fear, turmoil or confusion into the House given to them by the Lord.
I am thankful for those men and women and will continue to pray for their strength, wisdom and boldness; Lord knows we need it!
3 thoughts on “My Heart Is Broken”
I mostly agree with all this and have been, for my family, standing on these very promises. I was angry when churches simply agreed to close with no fight. But I struggled… Forsaking the gathering of ourselves was/is against our biblical instructions. Yet we are also told to obey the laws of the land (when they do not conflict with gospel!) Closing conflicted. But now, at least at this point, should the churches try to obey in order to congregate “legally” again? Is your church simply “saying” what law requires to fulfill the law – but will actually do as God requires?? Only a heart to heart discussion with individual pastors can answer this question. Standing on God’s promises is necessary every day! Yet people in the church do still get sick and die…not everyone is eating “meat” who attends. Not everyone who attends has the faith (or rather understanding of faith) to put faith into action. Jesus said almost every time “YOUR faith has made you whole.” We bear one another up; the strong bear up the weak. And if all the strong pastors would fight this tyranny and all end up jailed there would be no church at all in a congregate setting. I think of all the Bible stories that might be applicable but the one thing that keeps coming up is: we are not being ordered to serve another god – so is it correct to, at THIS, point try to obey the laws AND God? In the long run there is no Supreme Court Judge that could uphold the State’s case due to violation of the Constitution….but while awaiting a hearing churches would all be closed wouldn’t they? That would put us right back where we were a week ago, a month ago.
So…why not try to obey both at this point and make it an immediate priority for all churches possible/willing to join together as soon as possible and state, in writing, emphatically that never again will they agree to obey an order to stop meeting for any reason whatsoever as it is a violation of God’s Word and the People’s Constitutional Rights? Make a firm, joint statement so all states and federal government know that when such a thing happens again (and it surely will) God’s people will not give up their God-given rights. I am thinking what’s done is done – and how to prevent it from happening again. Just some thoughts from another very concerned believer.
Thank you for your insight! I appreciate your perspective and see where you are coming from.
Since the beginning of May, I have been attending a church, in-person, where masks are not required and the moment I walked in the door the Pastor came up to me and shook my hand. Majority of people are still watching online but I appreciate those of us who want to go to church with other believers are allowed to without restrictions. The CDC guidelines do not “require” masks, or demand people keep 6 feet apart or insist that no-one shakes hands or hugs, but rather “encourages” these things.
I have no problem with the majority of churches putting guidelines on their services, for I do understand that most churches are complacent and preach nice messages that never get their congregations ready for the inevitable battles ahead, but the church I’m writing about in this post is a “Holy Spirit” church (for lack of better word). For over 10 years I have listened to the preacher talk of power, anointing, fearlessness, standing when others sat and speaking when everyone else was silent. If there was 1 church in the nation I would have chosen to be the “tip of the spear” it would have been the church I discussed in this post.
Having been a mental health therapist, I am very sensitive to those who are struggling with thoughts and addictions and believe the best way to completely overcome such attacks is through prayer. So, to me, to put guidelines on who can and cannot come into the House of God is not something I can agree with or stand with.
Thank you for your viewpoint and support of this blog!
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I would like to also add that a Pastor does have the responsibility of tending his flock and I’m sure there are ways of doing that that don’t involve sending worshipers away.
Home services and fellowship, private services in a car, service by phone or any number of other creative loving solutions.