Now how do you feel when you realize that slick carsalesman talked you into buying that car that you didn't really want, that is actually too expensive for you? Don't you feel cheated? (If you got a genuine good deal on the right car for you, you most likely won't feel "buyer's remorse".) How are you going to react next time you have the option of "consulting" a car salesman for advice? You probably won't trust "them" and preferrably NOT deal with one, will you? Why is that? For one, I suggest, because we simply don't like to be manipulated and "taken for a ride." We feel especially hurt when we come to the bitter realization that the person just used our weak spots to get us to do what suits his selfish ends. Secondly, I believe that we tend to generalize, that is, to turn a single experience into broad, generalizing statements, such as "All car salesmen are bad!" Now does that mean all car salesmen are bad? No. There certainly are some who are ethical, having realized that on the longrun they will do better if they sincerely have the customer's needs in mind, if they try to serve them and give them a fair deal. But unfortunately there are many unethical car salesmen - and they leave a bad taste for everyone.
Christianity is about FREEDOM - freedom to choose God, to love and be loved, freedom from the control of sin (Rom 6 - no longer slaves to sin), freedom from the penalty of death, freedom from guilt and fear, freedom to realize our god-given potential. THAT's why it's called the GOOD NEWS, isn't it? So as Paul was always speaking out, teaching letters and writing letters to dispel false teachings that were enslaving believers all over again (do not allow yourselves to be taken captive..), let us speak out and correct what is wrong in our own rows! It's up to us to correct what is wrong because WE are the church! God gave you a mind to discern - use it! If you have been burnt by abusive discipleship, perhaps a principle that helped me may be of use to you: "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water!" Truth remains truth, whether we believe it or not! Test everything and keep the good. If you see abuse or control in your church, do your research, check the practices against the Bible and SPEAK OUT, like Paul did!
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