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I'm so bothered by a fallout with a pastor from my past, could never move on

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by drivenfuture, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    (Was going to post in DIR, but not available for me atm)

    I want to be careful here...because I don't want to make accusations against a leader...but I also don't know what to do or how to feel or what to think.

    So, onto my story. I feel as though I should reconcile with my former pastor and his family, though they are an AofG church. I want to, but I feel like they don't...or at least it's very confusing. Perhaps I'm in the wrong. I really have no idea. I'm willing to own up to my mistakes, if indeed they are a mistake. When I first started going, after just a short time the youth pastor recruited me to be an assistant in the youth program...I didn't feel comfortable, didn't feel spiritually mature, didn't feel it wise...I told him this but he reassured me that God was "stretching my faith." Reluctantly, I agreed. Shortly after I came on board. the youth pastor stepped down, leaving me to teach the youth sunday morning on my own. They gave me resources to use...but I felt far from a reliable resource to the youth...I did the best I could. But what's important here is this is essentially how I got to know the youth, including the pastor's children, and in many regards felt like I was a friend of the family. Truth be told, this all did go fairly well for 4-5 years, and I hope that in some way the children heard the Gospel message

    But one of the pastor's daughters messaged me on facebook, to talk about Sherlock, and books she would read. I didn't think anything of it...and we messaged back and forth for quite some time...never anything inappropriate...just random hobbies or theological topics. Perhaps it was inappropriate of me to continue messaging her...perhaps I thought if the topics were safe then it was ok..maybe I was mistaken. Anyways, much time had passed and fast forward to 2017, December...at this point all the pastor's children whom I had mentored were college age...the girl in question had turned 18 a few months before our fallout. So a few days before Christmas, this girl, and her sister ignored me completely, no hi or anything, and her brother approached me and said I was"barely tolerable." Apparently, this triggered some mental problem in me. I became depressed, went online trying to figure out what I did wrong...I vaguely remember reading an article about emotional abuse and became convinced that was what I had did...leading to being more depressed, which became an episode similar to schizophrenic bipolar (this is where you hallucinate while you are depressed...or sometimes have mania). In this state, because of believing I was emotionally abusive, I turned myself into the police for a crime I didn't commit. They took me to mental health, and this would lead to roughly a month of hospital visits, including a one week stay in the mental health ward, and months of seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. When I got out I saw that the girl I had been in contact with had essentially blocked me from messaging her, but I could still see her profile.

    The assistant pastor visited me in mental health and again shortly after I got out...and discussed with him...and he said he knew very little about what was going on, but did say he doesn't think I did anything to offend the main pastor or his family. And said I should talk to the pastor, and that the pastor was more than willing to meet with me. I also asked the asst pastor how he felt about me going back to church...and he asked if I thought about other churches...idk if it was his intention but because of everything it felt like he was pushing me in the direction of somewhere else.

    So I did. The pastor said it's "hard to love your neighbor when you don't love yourself." And that was there was no animosity, and they care about me, and that they were working on "boundaries," a concept they utilized from Henry Cloud's book. And that my actions have consequences. And that he did not view me as a threat. And that I could come back to church, but only large services, not smaller bible studies. And that the police talked to the girl in question, and then him. I asked if I hurt anybody, he said he didn't feel slighted in any way; and I told him about what his son said...and he said he didn't know about that but that he would have words with him. When I went back home, I saw that the girl had fully blocked me now on facebook and instagram (I had not contacted her at all since the comment was made); so to me, it still felt like I was getting mixed signals about the animosity. However, I understood the whole police thing probably made everyone really uncomfortable.

    I ceased contact for months...and occasionally would get a like or a birthday comment on facebook from the remaining family members, I had also decided to move to Texas with my sister, thousands of miles away from the church...so I thought with a few months before I leave and having been distant for months, why not try reaching out to the pastor again. I explained how I felt, feeling like they didn't really want me there. He responded saying I am welcome to come and they will treat me with kindness and respect, but as far as the past they hope to grow forward and want to give me the space I need to move forward, and how we all grow at our own pace. I remember praying about reconciling, and listening to their sermon online the day before I left...it was about not judging other people for their sins...and I ran into the girl in question and her mom at the mall the same day...the mom said hello but the girl did not. I just waved and went on my way not knowing what to do. Following this the mom and other daughter also blocked me on instagram, though we still remain listed as friends on Facebook.

    The pastor seemed really enthusiastic about me coming to church or meeting with me...but the other family members do things to confuse me and make it seem like I am not welcome. I so badly want to work this out in some way but perhaps I've done too much damage. I don't even know if I'm the one who did wrong, or if I was under false teaching, or what.

    I recently watched their online service and wanted to throw up. He was discussing the Ten Commandments and do not murder and talking about reconciliation with friendships that have ended. There's part of me that just wants to vomit everything out and put the truth out there and let the chips fall where they may. But the only thing stopping me is what little compassion I have left
    I have recently unfriended them because I just can't take it anymore.
     
    #1 drivenfuture, Aug 9, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  2. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    Wow, I am sorry to hear that.

    I am a pastor but the road to where I am today wasn't all a bed of roses.

    Of course, I don't know both sides of the story but as it stands, I really don't see what you have done wrong, nor do I know what the young girl told their parents. One thing I believe is that you aren't under a false teaching but simply less than perfect. And that includes me.

    What I have learned through my journey is that people are people and even Christians are people. Offenses is the number one weapon that the enemy uses to separate us and begin destroying our lives.

    The way I handle this is simple... I remember the parable of the King who forgave a man a big debt but the man couldn't forgive another man with a lesser debt and the King wasn't happy about that. That man who did not forgive was in torment.

    Jesus is the King, you and I are the man with the big debt and everyone else is the one that owes us a lesser. If we don't forgive what the lesser man did, it begins to torment us. (Maybe because Jesus died for their sins too?)

    So, realizing that he who gives mercy receives mercy, I give a lot of forgiveness so that when I mess up, I have stored mercy for me :)

    Just forgive them, move on (maybe go to another church since there is really only one church with many rooms).

    Did that help? I usually take a lot longer to explain this face to face.
     
  3. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    To some degree...this happened some time ago, and I haven't been back to the church since our fallout; despite several attempts from a few well-meaning members.
    Maybe its just me, but perhaps I don't feel satisfied cuz maybe I feel like I didn't push far enough for a better solution, such as getting the other pastor to talk with us. While there are parts to the story I'm not proud of, it also feels like the pastor's family were sweeping it under the rug. What bothered me was the thing about him talking about how my actions have consequences yet saying he didn't feel slighted...it makes it sound like I did something wrong but I didn't do anything wrong. Guess maybe I just want clarity more than anything really. There is a part of me that just feels like if I air it publically I would feel better, even though I'm pretty sure that's not true and would only hurt things further. I just feel like I was treated unjustly or something...I'm not even sure to describe how I feel honestly.
     
  4. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Reading what you wrote @drivenfuture , I hear the pain and the confusion. And I hear the desire for clarity and resolution.

    I can only hope and pray you find what you are looking for. And I'll add that finding someone you can trust who can explore this in a theraputic setting over time is my best advice to you.
     
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  5. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but by rough calculation, you were over 18 when you were recruited to assist in the Church's youth program, and the pastor's children were under 18, and the daughter whom you communicated with via Facebook messenger was still under 18 when you started communicating on-line, and you were over 21. If that's true, your mistake, IMO, was responding to the girl without/before informing her parents.

    I was 52 years old when my wife insisted that I go into her classroom and work as a volunteer teacher's aide. I did that for quite a few years, but insisted that she or another teacher always be present with me in the classroom if I was going to be alone in a room with fewer than 10 kids. An adult male's actions around and interactions with anyone under 18 have long been subject to greater scrutiny and construed negatively with very little reason to do so.

    I understand your desire for reconciliation and amicable closure, but it sure seems to me like you're not going to get what you want in this world at this time. Without knowing more, and possibly even if I did know more, I'm going to go way out on a limb and recommend that you walk away, ... quickly and thank God that you're able to walk away and haven't become a "registered sex offender." I make that recommendation assuming that absolutely nothing illegal took place between you and the pastor's daughter. It seems to me that regardless how innocent your interactions with her were, she does not want to be reminded of your previous interactions. Take the hint and move on. Find another church.
     
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  6. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    yes what you say is true---but my main issue is this: if they wanted nothing to do with me, then why all the liking and commenting on my facebook? Why act enthusiastic about meeting with me? Like, I literally gave the green light to no longer contact them if they wanted. This is literally word for word what I said in my last email prior to my last meeting with pastor: "While I would like to be on good terms, if your family wishes to no longer be contacted, I will respect it." He replied by enthusiastically inviting me for coffee...and then at said coffee placed more restrictions on how I can attend church.
    THAT, is my issue--is the mixed signals.
    As for the church, I walked away, and aside from those couple convos, I never went back and havent been back in years.

    As for the fb friending and messaging, I was told to accept their requests by the higher ups, and she sent the 1st couple messages; and eventually it turned into a sort of friendship i guess, but I felt guilty but also didn't really know how to handle it at that point, so I do take responsibility on that front.
     
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  7. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    I've been there. Not in a "church" or faith community context, but in a relationship between me and one of my wife's nieces who is 43 years old. To end the mixed signals coming in from outside in my case, I found sanity by wishing the other person well and telling them that I was moving on. People giving mixed signals don't know how to reconcile.
     
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  8. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    @drivenfuture -

    So, besides this forum, and one other that I am aware of, how on many forums have you posted this?
     
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  9. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    this and religionforums, though I did discuss it in a chat room somewhere else; though i don't think the transcript would show up anywhere.
     
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    It sounds confusing. Get yourself out of the situation. You could go to a different church. Some people go to two or three, or you could just switch. It only takes a month to get involved, meet people, find your classes and get adapted.
     
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  11. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I don't see this as a specifically Christian or church thing, just a human thing. You're certainly far from alone in experiencing something like this.

    It'd be pretty much impossible for anyone here to fully understand the situation and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the other people directly involved are as confused about it as you. The simple fact is that we can all be bad at really understanding each other and it's all too easy for something we say or do that feels perfectly innocent or irrelevant to us comes across as something significant to others (or vice-versa). And if you get in to information passed on to third parties it can be even more confusing.

    I'm not convinced your situation can be cleanly resolved, as is often the case in such circumstances. As you've described it, you seem to have taken many of the right steps but they've not quite worked out. That isn't your fault, it just happens that way sometimes.

    I think the plan to move away is probably for the best given you appear to have that option and, however difficult it might feel, putting this whole situation behind you and moving on to new and better things is almost certainly for the best. I'd also suggest that, if you're not already, you continue with professional psychological support. You've clearly not resolved everything within yourself and that is much more likely to give you the advice and support you need than random strangers on internet forums (which I appreciate is an ironic end to advice from a random stranger on the internet :cool: ).

    All the best.
     
  12. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    It is hard to express love and emotions through the written word - If I could do that, I would be a renown writer :) So read this through ears that hear love.

    1) You mentioned you did some things that were wrong. I'm sure you asked Jesus to forgive you. If so, good and if not, no time like the present
    2) You have attempted to fix things - great job
    3) Jesus is the judge and, as per your quote, it would appear that you are trying to take the throne of judgement and remove Jesus from that throne. I remember an angel who tried to do that. To call someone a "liar" is to curse with your lips while blessing God - James - this ought not be so. There is a difference between saying so and so lied vs an eternal judgment of "liars"
    4) Through judgment, you may have made yourself worse than they are (don't know their hearts) - Compassion is waning, bitterness is setting in which defiles your whole life.

    The Devil is now stealing, killing and destroying in your life.

    May I suggest a turnaround through true repentance?
     
  13. drivenfuture

    drivenfuture New Member

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    to the liar comment---i copid & pasted from the other forum and thought i removed that part cuz I thought the same thing..apparently i missed removing it in the paste...sorry about that.
     
  14. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    Not a problem, my brother.

    The point is love never fails and if we are out of love, we are in the enemies territory.

    What if you use this as a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block? Use this to grow in love? Jesus was on the Cross and said "Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing!" And they were guilty! WOW :) What if we just use this strive to become more like Jesus?
     
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