I left the church for about 5 – 6 years, it’s not accurate, because I don’t really want to remember when I really stop going. I have waited so long to tell my story and figured that I must let it out or else my heart and mind would not lay to rest.
There will always be a pinch of sadness, tears and anger, if anyone were to bring up that timeline or the topic.
My family and I were not born into the church but converts to the faith. Baptist was our starting point and later leaning towards charismatic faiths (speaking of tongues, travail prayers, etc.).
Our turning point was when I had a big conflict with the members of the church. I could not turn up to a last performance practice, and I did not inform anyone that I could not make it. I was certainly in the wrong, as I inconvenient so many people that day.
My parents and siblings at that time were outstation, Dad had to interview for a job. Only myself and my brother at home. Prior to that, I had 2 continuous bad weeks, my car had broken down that whole time, the repair guy was hopeless, going back and forth to hurry those idiots with the repairs, put a toll in my emotions. I had to go to school via Taxi and train. I was a teacher trainee with teaching and study responsibilities for Full Time. I also left my phone in one of my church friend’s car.
I was already mentally and physically exhausted, so I pulled non-notice absence from church, just hoping I can take one Sunday off before I have to deal with Monday again. I could have sent a Facebook Message to the people in charge, but I didn’t.
The people from the band practice were of course furious of the non-notice. I completely understand how they felt, because I really did a childish thing. I was remorseful. I really did.
However, I wasn’t lucky, people were still very angry about what I did, that they decided to post a public reprimand in my church’s facebook group. All members of the church who were not involved in that incident passed their judgements, people liking the reprimand message towards me and reading that crushes my already tired and defeated self.
At that moment, I was completely broken.
Of course I did go back to church, but I can never feel confident or happy. In my head, I always feel people constantly judging me, feeling insecure and disappointed. This emotion carried throughout my career and I had to battle this constantly even till today. From an outgoing and active church member, to a secluded, emotional, anti-social and pessimistic individual.
The whole doctrine of church is based on love. For Jesus said: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
I have a great portfolio in my faith:
- Converted to the faith with the leadership of my father at the age of 12.
- Accepted Christ because of his message of love and his act at the cross.
- Setup a Christian fellowship at the age of 13 in a public school and persisted through until I graduated.
- Through the school, I believed many of school friends some how found they faith and the path they choose to walk.
- Went for a mission trip when I was 14.
- Worship and music playing, covered for so many people when they cannot make it
- Prayer leader and coordinator, joined in satellite praying groups with other churches.
- Youth leader
- Actively participate Saturday youth without fail
- joined care groups meeting
- attended Sunday schools without fail
- sharing messages and teachings of the faith
Up until when I became a Teacher, when the career and studies became my priority, I slipped so much in my weekend “tasks”. I maybe a stubborn and emotional young man, but tell me, which teenagers are not? With one simple mistake, I left the church, followed with family, and hardly any one from the church came visiting, comforting and praying as they so believed in their doctrine of love.
It wasn’t easy.
My mom blamed me (perhaps even today) for the “drama” that I started. My siblings indirectly never agreed with how I reacted.
Dad protected me and went in conflict with many of the church leaders.
The family then experienced many different soul searching conflict, that I wish I could have just stayed there.
A pastor counsellor from other church told me: “It is a shame that they could not see how strong and wonderful you can be. You are a good teacher during the weekdays and even faithfully responsible for your family on your scholarship studies. You never failed, you lost battles, yes, but you persisted through the biggest goal. It’s really a shame that part of the story is not yours. You are not at all a bad person, don’t believe that, you are very strong.”
For that, even though broken, I may not belong to the church, or even to God, but let me continue to do good things, let me enjoy this world, helping and leading others well.