Disfellowshipped (A.K.A. Shunning)
Updated: Nov 15, 2021
I confessed. I went to the church to repent, and then, I was shunned.
You’ll never understand the pain the church can cause until you have experienced it yourself. Especially when the church is your community, your social network, and everything you have outside of work. For some of us, the church was also our family. Then, one day they rip it all away.
It’s when you’re hurting, and injured. That’s when they kick you, when you are already down. That’s what the church did to me. They threw me away as if I had no value. They treated me as if I was disposable. The months after my confession led to depression and despair. A deep gaping wound sat in my chest. I would uncontrollably cry and not have the ability to stop. Lying in bed without the will to move my head from my pillow.
I couldn’t understand why they believed my daughter and I were worth less than him. Why they were openly accepting his actions by continuing to fellowship with him, and not us. Why they would allow the appearance that I was the only one in the wrong, and he as the pastor, was a victim and was allowed to stay. They allowed the congregation to believe I was something I wasn’t and created a silent rejection. Leadership told us we couldn’t come back. That if we tried to come to church, we would be removed. We were shunned because I spoke up. But he told me that’s exactly what they would do to me if anyone ever found out. And for years, I didn’t tell anyone.
Months later I still cry. I am crying as I write these words. People may say you have to move on, but how? How do I move on? How do I trust again? How do I trust those who are supposed to be God’s people or a church community? How do I trust anyone or any group? I trust God, not those who profess to be his people. Actions speak louder than words.
If I had kept the lie, retained the secrets in the dark, would God’s people still accept me? SO……let me get this straight. As Christians we are rewarded with fellowship if we keep the secret sins of the church hidden. But, if we bring darkness into the light, we are ostracized and rejected. Does the church want to keep the sin and to keep it secret? Does that mean sin is O.K. according to the church? Sorry, but correct me if I am wrong, I haven’t read that in scriptures. It seems to fly in the face of everything the Bible actually says.
Social interactions in general cause me great anxiety. The one place that should have been safe, wasn’t. The place I should have been able to go to for help is the one who threw us out and basically implied we weren’t worth anything. But they stand there every service preaching love, acceptance, forgiveness, and restoration when in reality they don’t apply any of the words they speak in real life. Do they not read the same bible I do? Do they not believe in the same God that I do?
I wonder if they know how much pain they caused, how much worse they made it. Do they know the mental anguish and suffering as a body they imposed on me and my daughter? Do they care? It must be easier for them to wear blinders and falsely justify their actions so that they don’t have to repent for what they’ve done. And who’s kingdom are they building? Are they building God’s kingdom when they reject God’s children, or are they building their own kingdom here on earth?
I don’t know that I’ll ever get over the pain the church caused me, but I do know I will NEVER forget. I pray that I never forget, so that I will never inflict that level of undue pain and suffering on another human being, another child of God.
Father help me to forgive them. Help me to keep forgiving them every time the pain comes, help me to forgive them every time the tears fall from my daughter or myself. Father, don’t let a seed of bitterness sow in me. Help me to reveal the truth in love. I know that my heart has to break for them. Thank you for the pain that I may never forget, and never be vulnerable to this again. Please break the spirit of pride that leads to deception. Please father, open their eyes. Give me strength this day to lift my head from my pillow and do your will. Father, let me remember that even though they can’t forgive, you already have. Help me to remember that I am not a sinner, I am a saint who sinned, because of my identity in you. Help me to remember that I am loved and redeemed by you, and that your people and their actions are independent of that. Give me the ability to walk in grace and wait on your timing.