In the past we have dealt with a "certain group of people" who claimed Jesus’ precious name. We trusted them, loved them, shared our lives with them -- but only to realize in the end that we were lied to, betrayed, used by them, and abused by them.
How did all this happen, and why didn’t we actually recognize their true behavior before we were taken in by them?
We have many thoughts about this which may have been factors in the “how” and “why” we couldn’t recognize their true characters, nonetheless, it happened and we certainly have learned from our experience with them.
We were with this “certain group of people” for about 3 years, but even after our departure they have still tried to perniciously manipulate and control us.
I say “our departure”, but it was actually the LORD who “blew” us out of there, although not without great agonies with which we still live.
In my blog post, “Gossip #2”, I dealt with gossip at work. My solution was to not stay around those women who were gossiping. If one of them had asked me why I wasn’t there any more I would have shared with them my reason, but because it was a work environment I didn’t think it would have been appropriate to share it out right.
Years later it was a different situation, though, when we met this “certain group of people”. As we got to know them we noticed their love of talking about others. Every time we were with them they had to gossip. They relished it.
By this time, although we did not realize it, we were already under their manipulation and control where there was a huge undercurrent of whatever it was (their scary control of us and others) and so we said nothing to them. Yes, it was fear, but we did not think rightly about it at that time, so how we handled it was to just change the subject.
Every time they began to gossip we kindly found a way to change the subject. It became our exhausting job in this cult-like group of people to politely change the subject “to help them” (we thought) to stop gossiping about others.
Well, as you can imagine, it never worked at all. They would just go back to talking about others.
Why didn't changing the subject ever work for us?
Changing the subject was not the solution. The solution was to come alongside them, and gently point out their sin so that they could choose to get right with the LORD on their own.
I can pretty well say what would have happened in this cult-like group if we had done the Biblical thing, coming alongside them and helping them realize their sin ~ we would have been "in trouble", "only spoken to by them with their teeth gritted", and eventually shunned, all of which are Red Flags pointing you to get out!
So what is the Red Flag to look out for when you are with others who claim the name of Jesus?
Although we live in the agonies brought about by this "certain group of people", we praise the LORD for setting us free from them, we continue to cry out to Him, draw closer to Him, and trust Him with our very lives.
Praises to our Almighty God!