Am I wrong?

Nothing gets on my nerves more than people that try and make you live a life according to how they live theirs. I go to a church here on campus and I’ve been going for a little over a year. I have a member of the staff (which is just a recent college graduate that really had no motive to pursue anything beyond just graduating) which holds a bible study with me around once a week. At first he wanted to meet 5 out of the 7 days of the week, but there was no way I could do that with the busy schedule that I have.

Now to get things straight, God is a major part of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for the blessings that I have received time and again. Now with these bible studies lately it’s been getting to be more of an interrogation of what I do everyday, who I hang out with, my schedule of what I do right as I wake up to right when I go to sleep. Not only that, but lately this guy here has been pushing me to spend more of my time trying to evangelize and be more like a pastor, and preach the word. I tried to explain that I’m here to get an education and to ultimately become an officer in the Air Force. But for some reason, he doesn’t seem to get how much sacrifice it is to be here right now both in terms of time and money. God gave me this opportunity to take what I have and make the best of it, but no matter how much I explain that school and ROTC is my focus right now he wants me to practically squander this chance and just further the ‘objectives of the church’.

I’m really confused right now, because no matter what I say he always has some bible verse or passage to denounce my goals and dreams. The more I think about it, the more it seems like a cult to me (this church). And I’ve never been in a situation like this before. It really sucks because I can’t argue with this guy. Basically everything I do is wrong, the people who I hang out with is wrong (and also he assumes that since they don’t go to his church that they aren’t true christians and aren’t saved and all of this nonsensical gibberish). Basically, just because I may hang around people that drink every once in a while that I’ll turn into a raging alcoholic or something like that. All I know is that my heart is right with God, but this guy is just really smooth and turning everything I do into something that will send me on a path to hell. Wow.

All I know is that God put this desire for me to help other people and to give my best in everything that I do. But what this guy says is that the ultimate goal is to spread to message to everybody and to become an evangelical preacher. What have I gotten myself into? Am I the wrong one? I miss the days where everything was simple…

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13 Responses to “Am I wrong?”

  1. Well, if you’ll excuse the fact that I’m a godless heathen for a minute…

    I don’t think you’re wrong. You sound like you have a different path from evangelical preaching and you seem very comfortable with both this path and with your relationship with God. This is the thing that matters. You didn’t really describe his relationship to the church you attend or your denomination, but from what you’ve described he sounds like he’s claiming to know what God’s path is for you. How could he know all the signs and opportunities you feel God has given you in life that make you feel the path you’re on is right? You’ve seen them all your life. He’s known you what, a year or so? That sounds mighty presumptuous to me. He’s using guilt to try to make you do what he wants you to do, and that’s a dangerous, terrible game to play with someone’s head and an even worse one to play with someone’s faith. You have every right to not give up things you’ve worked hard to achieve. You also have every right to spend time with those who are not members of his church or who don’t adhere to his beliefs.

    Also at risk of repeating something you sound like you already know, this guy sounds vaguely fanatical from your description. I’ve learned you can’t argue with fanatics of any stripe, be they religious, political, or otherwise. Their worldview seems too narrow to not just hear another person’s needs but truly understand that it’s okay to have different needs and opinions, even regarding faith. Many will (possibly unknowingly, possibly with the best of intentions) twist words and situations to make it fit their idea of what is right. It doesn’t make it right, it just makes them confusing and hard to have an actual conversation with, and usually will leave you, a person trying to understand the other side of the conversation, feeling terrible. Don’t feel bad that he twists your words or can turn anything you disagree with him on into a problem, because that is what a fanatic will do. Have faith in your relationship with God and your conclusions that you’re on the right path. You’ve been given those feelings for a reason. Also, if you feel like the church is cult like – that’s a giant red flag that something is a little off.

    If you still feel frustrated, do you have a preacher back home that you can talk to? Someone whose opinions you trust on religious matters who isn’t associated with this church and may be able to provide a more balanced view? It might be a good idea to talk the situation out with someone who you trust and who has known you in a faith-based capacity for a while.

    This is just my (admittedly not very educated) opinion, and I hope I haven’t stuck my foot in my mouth or offended you at all. I hope things get better soon. Godless heathen out.

    • I thank you so much for your input. For one, you haven’t offended me at all. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s to always keep an open mind as well as an open heart. I just finished talking to my mom about this for over 2 hours on skype, and she said basically the same things that you pointed out. It’s been getting really bad lately, and as you said I’ve been feeling really guilty about myself and if I’m making the right decisions or not. But my mom (as also have you) also pointed out that he doesn’t know anything about me, or my own personal relationship with God.

      He is a staff member to this church I go to (which is of a baptist denomination) and has direct bible studies with the pastor, which is why I feel like I don’t have reasons to back up my own understandings. He acts if he understands what I’m going through, then turns around and continues to try to push the issue that I need to save as many people as possible “before it’s too late”. Its definitely too much. And what makes me really skeptical is that he started off as a computer engineer, couldn’t handle that, so he changed to computer science, still couldn’t handle that, so he finished with applied computing technology which he doesn’t even use to this day (being without a job/taking ministry as a full time job).

      I don’t mind that someone would be devoted to give their life to spreading the word, but that is not for everybody and I have my own dreams and aspirations. I don’t need someone telling me that what I’m doing is wrong and the people I hang out with are morally corrupt. Because then, he might as well call me morally corrupt as well because if there’s one thing that I’m not, it’s that I’m not perfect. I have dreams, and I’m chasing them no matter what.

      I may have to put my foot down here with this church if this continues, because like I said I’m in school right now to get an education and to become an officer. And I’m not going to let someone talk me out of that dream or make me feel guilty of… nothing really. And I do have some people that I can talk to back at home, which might actually be a good idea. You shouldn’t have to feel stressed out to go to church. That is not the purpose.

      Anyways, I appreciate that you stopped by and really dropped a piece of your mind. So thank you for that. I just thought that maybe I was going to lose my mind. My roommates all go to the same church and it is really uncomfortable living in this home since they all have the same mindset.

      • Ah, Baptists. Yep, I have a few Baptist preachers in my family. They are some of the kindest, most understanding people I know, but I have met others who are similar to the guy you’ve described. It can be difficult to deal with them, whatever your religious beliefs. Sucks about the roommate situation, but what are you going to do? Sometimes you just have to work with the cards you’re dealt, I suppose… It’s not forever, though.

        Sounds like you’re on good footing with your faith and have wonderful support from your mom. That’s great. Best of luck to you in this. It’s horrible to know someone is essentially using a core part of your being to try to manipulate you, even if they do have the best of intentions.

  2. I know how you feel. I was raised in church and I’ve met a lot of people like that, I even have family members like that. Its difficult because they pressure me to be who they want me to be. I’ve realized that at the end of the day it doesnt matter what anyone thinks or says. All that matters is that your heart is towards God… the only one that can say if you are right or wrong is Him. Life is confusing because people complicate the simplest things. I’ve been raised in church but I don’t call myself a christian or a religious person, because I dont want a religion. To me its not about following what someone thinks is right, its about loving and following God in your heart.

    • So true. All that matters will ultimately be between you and God. And it makes me frustrated because the more and more I think about it, the more it seems as if I’m obligated to go to every single church held sanction. I’m almost a prisoner of the church, a prisoner in my own home. For example, just today I couldn’t go because I was pretty sick. But then after service the guy I hold bible studies with (plus a few others) just randomly decided to show up at my house and see if I was ok (but more importantly why I hadn’t come). They didn’t even call me in advance or anything. Just showed up and made their way into my room. Rude much? They just make you feel so bad with whatever decision that you make. But in the end, they are just people. I don’t have to answer to them. I know where I stand with God and that’s all that matters. So thank you for that, it really does help a lot.

      • Yep, I know where you’re coming from. I’ve had to sit and listen to people judge other people, even been interrogated myself. I just shake my head thinking, you represent God? I don’t think that’s who He wants us to be. We’re all human, why can’t we all just get along and love Him and love others? Why does everything have to be held to your standard, you know? Lots of people think they are called to “teach” or “lead” others, but they don’t realize the manner they do it in ultimately just pushes people away. It’s frustrating and hurtful. Sometimes I have to remember He said, father forgive them, for they know not what they do. I have to remind myself to forgive them. At the end of the day the peace comes in knowing its just you and God. Glad I could help. :)

  3. Didn’t read any of the comments and I’m just gonna jump in. By the way, I’m not new here. This guy seems like he might be in the wrong. If he was really a man of God, he would see that the lord has made you the way you are for a reason and if your path in life is what this man says then it will turn out that way, but it seems like the lord has put ambition in your heart for the Air Force. I know I definitely don’t seem like it at all but I am a devout Christian and a Decipal of the lord. He gave me everything I have and our relationship is deeper than you might know. I hope everything goes well for you. Also your friends are fine trust me haha ( mine are worse)

    • I don’t even know anymore. I’m just following my dreams, and to have somebody tell me that that may not be the ‘right’ path, it is frustrating. Also, constantly making me feel as if what I do isn’t good enough or isn’t in line with the doctrine or whatever…no thats wrong.

      Exactly! I wouldn’t even be here with the dreams and ambitions that I have if it wasn’t for the lord. After high school, I didn’t really have a plan of where I wanted to be, money was a big issue. So I prayed for a bit of guidance, and look where I’m at now. Oh well, I hope the same for you too!

  4. …and that’s why is better to be Atheist :))))

  5. If something you like to do becomes something you feel you must do to make someone else satisfied, there’s something wrong with the situation. I’ve been an atheist since 3rd class when my parents parted from church, and because I was taken the peace I always got on religion lessons in school and singing gospel I started to build up own, really odd beliefs. When I moved to Germany I lived in a catholic village with 100% catholic population, and eventually I took that religion too. I have been baptized and I went to church many years on my free will, because I wanted to. And then it somehow became something I must do. I was tired, depressed, and I was forced to go, which made me feel more and more bad. I lost the peace and healing power of faith once again. When I came back here my dad immediately wanted me to part from church once again. What the….? I don’t understand why. He has told me he MUST control me. Why? That confuses me. I have not let go of my religion. It has changed and I’m indeed quite an earthy person, but I have kept all my catholic decoration pieces like Madonna figure, candles with Madonna and Jesus and text out of bible, the cross I got when I was baptized. I carry two Madonna amuletts and a praying chain every day with me. I feel better that way. I can’t tell about that to my family, but it doesn’t matter. My mum somehow seems to understand this better. She maybe feels the peace too. I have given her some votive candles and we have visited some of the famous german pilgrimage churches. I love sitting in a silent cool church in summertime, listening to the silence. And I always light a candle to Madonna altar if I have coins.

    There’s nothing wrong to want to belong to a community, but often they can be a pressure effect. The religion is personal. It’s ok to celebrate together, I love gospel but have lost my singing skill, but when other people start loading you with work you don’t see as your path it’s wrong. I wish you find a way around this annoying person. It’s rude and breaking the law to just walk into your room to check if you’re being true to your faith or doing something forbidden. Sorry if this sounds wrong to you but that’s how it sounded to me! It’s like they’d try to control you. I’ve seen enough control. It’s just wrong. You have faith, and you have noble goals in your life, and hearing about people like that makes me want to smack them to face. (Sorry!)

    • Absolutely. Thanks for that. I’ve been going to church ever since I was little and have known the kindness and the warmth that God will bring to you and not only God, but the people that he seems to put in my life when I absolutely need it. I was taught that everyone is different and that every single person has something to offer to your life, whether that be good or bad. There is no need to judge another person at all, just because maybe some of the views they may hold are different than our own. But what I feel in this house is something totally different, a very uncomfortable feeling.

      Basically, if I don’t see things the same way as my roommates do or put the same priorities first as they do it’s not acceptable in their eyes. It’s a very judgmental kind of attitude. It’s the ‘Oh, you don’t pray as much as I do? That’s really sinful” kind of attitude. And it gets really annoying after a time too. Yea, I understand that God will lead you to what he has planned for your future. But it’s not going to be so specific that you have to pray to him to decide what cereal you’re going to eat that morning. At first, I thought that I might have been a little too much. That I would just let some time go by and see how things would simmer down, but it really hasn’t. Basically I’m obligated to do everything church related or else they’ll just pull the card that I’m just a lazy sinner and I can’t really argue against that ya know? How do you argue against that?

      I just need the summer to get here. Hopefully I’ll be able to move out of this place. Once I’m gone, I’m never looking back. And I totally agree. Coming into my room just to ‘check up’ on me when I was sick really annoyed the hell out of me. A little phone call would’ve sufficed. But it was really rude.

      Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read through this. And it doesn’t sound wrong…control would probably be the right word to describe the attitude that these people have towards others. I don’t know…either I’m the bad guy here and am a sinner that is going to hell after I die (which I know is not true) or they’re just really good at making me feel like the bad guy…Oh well, just a few more months haha. Hopefully everything’s going well as usual and that maybe your (roommate?) quiets down lol.

      P.S. I did not know that you used to sing!! Crazy stuff :D You should get back into it! I love music and it calms me down so much…if I had the opportunity to have some sort of musical talent I would totally use it all the time haha.

      • This place I’m living atm makes me crazy, I don’t like neighbors or the personal, I feel like in kind of prison. I have talked with my sister about moving together with her next year, seems like it could become reality. Living in city would be better for me, and I still won’t have too long way to school. It would be much more fun to go out in the nature and woods when they’re not out there when you look out of the window. I feel like stuck in this place. But I believe it’ll get better. Also living with my sister would provide me more chances to go out (with her, and she could show me the city), and she could teach me to sing again as she’s in a choir. The only real problem could be caused by me being an insane bitch sometimes, and I would need to limit my gun hobby to my own room as she’s not comfortable with them. (Right now I like to keep them laying around my place).

        To move to a new place has always been a kind of new finding of freedom, but if the surroundings are too dull and “peaceful” (=lifeless) it kind of turns me into something dull too. Chunk of meat without any free will. No more dreams or power to live and fight for my dreams.

        Wish you can move out and find a better place to live too. There are people who are very succesful in making others feel bad about even being alive (or eating or having money for new clothes or not needing to work – even if too sick for work – or staying at home when sick like I had to do today even when I’ve had enourmous amount of missed school days this year, but when I was kid I had to go to school how sick I ever was, so being at home all day even when sick makes me feel bad. I even promised yesterday my schoolmates I’d be there today. This sucks). And using religious arguments to win against someone is a bit like a hit under the belt. Using something the other person cannot answer to in any reasonable way. Like arguing about different tastes.

        Or raising children…. Some people just fight for the sake of winning the fight and getting their way. I never want to be pulled into such thing – for example I’d never put my son to wear a pink shirt if I had kids, not because I think it looks gay or is a bad thing or something, it’s just my personal opinion and if I had a son and he’d really want to wear a pink shirt I’d buy him one, but dressing little kids in a way to show off with your money or opinions when the kids are too small to understand is wrong. I wouldn’t want my kids to be ashamed to look at their baby photos or to be bullied because of their clothes or stuff. Been through that by myself. I don’t mean everyone should just blend in, but if parents want to show their political opinion or size of house or price of their car it should not be by using their children as a medium. Well, what I wanted to say is that there are sure thousands willing to attack me if I tell about this opinion. Exactly those parents who don’t want to blend in and want their children to stand out of the crowd. Only, do they ask their kids of THEIR opinion? I don’t think so. I’d be told I’m a conservative intolerant bitch and should not have the right to have children at all.

        Whatever, seems like I lost my point… Happens often!! Sorry!

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