Local Church Discussions  

Go Back   Local Church Discussions > Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? > The Shunning

Oh Lord, Where Do We Go From Here? Current and former members (and anyone in between!)... tell us what is on your mind and in your heart.

Thread: The Shunning Reply to Thread
Your Username: Click here to log in
Random Question
Title:
  
Message:
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:
 

Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Topic Review (Newest First)
05-23-2020 10:08 AM
Terry
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
Shunning is obviously a characteristic of unhealthy churches, including the local church. It shows their relationship with you is entirely based on whether you subscribe to what they believe, or what they read, or who they follow, and whether or not you worship within the same four walls as they do.

But how have you dealt with it? How have you dealt with people who turn your backs on you.....except you know them so well you know where their forks go in their kitchen? And you know not to lean on the sink a certain way or else that hidden leak will re-appear? And you know not to step on that one tile in the corner because it has a crack just beginning to form that wasn't there years ago? And they've trusted you with all kinds of things in their life for years.

But all of a sudden you are a non-existent to them.

And then the ripple effect....the people who have no reason to shun you, but when you tell them others are shunning you, they take that as the cue to join in!
Many thoughts on shunning. It shows the system is more important than human relationships. Severed in an instant. I suppose the LC term for shunning is inoculation don't you think? Inoculation from the poison who as we know is the person to be shunned.
Growing up in the local churches one learns to express thoughts and opinions is not accepted. One learns to either develop a mask for the churchlife or keep thoughts and opinions between ones ears.
Have I been shunned? Quite possibly. Although I've been told "they're busy" I've never been told I was being shunned or purposely avoided, but you never know.
05-23-2020 06:03 AM
Nell
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
Yes, I've wrestled with forgiveness for quite some time, and have come to a similar understanding. The local church is ALLLLL about putting pressure on the person who has been sinned against to "cover, take life, forgive, don't lose the enjoyment of the Lord by allowing the root of bitterness to take hold", while putting absolutely no pressure on the person who offended you to do anything about the offense!! I've come to realize just how unbalanced it is, as well as how harmful.
Yep...and what about that “millstone around the neck” thing? This is the one who misrepresents God, who misrepresents God’s nature, who misrepresents God’s righteousness and holiness, and who misrepresents God’s justice...and God’s love for ALL his children. He doesn’t play favorites. We are all the same in his sight. He laughs with those who laugh and weeps with those who weep.

Here’s a good Witness Lee quip I heard from the horse’s mouth a long time ago (paraphrased):

“The Bible was written for YOU! It wasn’t written for YOU to point the finger at OTHERS and preach at them!”

An example he gave was the verse “wives submit to your husbands” was written TO THE WIVES. It wasn’t written for husbands to use, to beat their wives into submission. (RK may have missed this one.)
Neither was the verse “husbands love your wives” written for the wives to preach at their husbands who don’t seem to love them.

No matter how “scriptural” the sermon may be, context is important. The “preacher” may using God’s Word to preach a millstone around his own neck while excusing his own offensive behavior toward others.

Nell
05-22-2020 11:23 PM
Trapped
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Trapped,

This also is the gospel:

Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.


Obviously the burden of being shunned by someone you loved and trusted does not lie on you. Those who shun you should be rebuked. If they repent, forgiven. If they don’t repent, they bear the consequences of their offenses toward the little ones. As I said, this is also the gospel.

Nell

Yes, I've wrestled with forgiveness for quite some time, and have come to a similar understanding. The local church is ALLLLL about putting pressure on the person who has been sinned against to "cover, take life, forgive, don't lose the enjoyment of the Lord by allowing the root of bitterness to take hold", while putting absolutely no pressure on the person who offended you to do anything about the offense!! I've come to realize just how unbalanced it is, as well as how harmful.
05-22-2020 11:20 PM
Trapped
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by byHismercy View Post
Trapped, are you still somewhat entrapped by the LC? I hope you are not still dealing with the effects of the LC shunning. I thought everything was behind us, until something happened this week to reconnect us with the woman who shunned us. (Not by my doing) Can you share where you are so to speak, with the LC, currently?
bHm, I can't share much on a public forum, but just that I'm still dealing with the effects of the LC shunning. It's like having your own limbs sheared off of you, because even the people who were so important to you join in. I didn't realize how much people in my life were a part of me until they intentionally shun me. The pain is pretty great.
05-22-2020 11:16 PM
Trapped
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
There were times when all I could do was sit in the meetings and cry. When someone would be nice to me, that made me cry, too. Sometimes all the verses and all the “spiritual truths” that exist, and all the spiritualizing in the world just doesn’t help. Sermonizing doesn’t help. Even though the people you once trusted have betrayed you, it seems like God is the one who betrayed you. In your heart, you know he didn’t betray you, but it sure seems like he did. It seems he’s nowhere to be found.
I have had enough people in the church turn their backs to me that someone being nice to me was an actual startling event, so I understand!

Your observation that "it seems like God is the one who betrayed you" is what makes the LC issues such a huge deal. Because the effects of their shunning actions are SO MUCH deeper than outside the church because of the way it affects your view of God. It's so difficult to mentally divorce the actions of saints in the church from the actions of God. And for some reason it is a hard concept for me to wrap my head around that God might also grieve with me and agree that the actions of the saints are egregious.

I've also been wrestling this week a lot with feeling like God is nowhere to be found. I listen to the song that God is a waymaker and a light in the darkness, and I wonder "where is the way He is making?" and "why do I feel I'm in the dark for so long?" Sometimes it would be so nice if God were more tangible of a being.
05-22-2020 11:09 PM
Trapped
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
I believe the real root of the issue you and many others face is that you weren't taught the true Gospel of Jesus Christ within the LC's. Because of this, members (especially those born into it) are prevented and hindered from approaching a genuine relationship with God. Instead the group and community became one's absolute source of fulfillment and acceptance.
I agree. The healthiest thing for me has been to hear the true gospel. The setting free gospel. The "God loves you even when you fail" gospel and the "you can run TO Him rather than away from Him when you sin" gospel. (I know there's more to it too).

When you hear it, it's like "oh, THAT'S God!" It just resonates. Because it's the truth.
05-22-2020 06:55 PM
Nell
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
I understand, Trapped, really I do. There is an extreme when it comes to shunning and, yes, it can and does cause great psychological trauma. I suppose this is where I was going with my original post;

While the extreme fear based method of shunning undoubtedly exists, as you know well enough, there is a risk when you associate shunning solely with fear. When you make shunning itself the enemy rather than the lack of love then you'll find an actual relationship with God and a legitimate Christian fellowship a real struggle down the road. The reality is, shunning (meaning emotional distancing) exists in all aspects of society. When you reject that aspect along with the unhealthy extreme, then that's where entitlement and victimhood can take a hold of you and prevent you from moving forward. It's important to know the difference between the two otherwise you’re in danger of equating them.

I believe the real root of the issue you and many others face is that you weren't taught the true Gospel of Jesus Christ within the LC's. Because of this, members (especially those born into it) are prevented and hindered from approaching a genuine relationship with God. Instead the group and community became one's absolute source of fulfillment and acceptance.

The truth is that when God is the foundation of your hope, love, and joy rather than a group the impact of other’s actions will be lessened. It may still hurt but in Christ you’ll then have the means to truly heal.

We've all placed our trust in ourselves and others and in the end became hurt and disillusioned by our choices. Jesus encourages to us to repent and place our trust in him. This is the gospel.
Trapped,

This also is the gospel:

Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.


Obviously the burden of being shunned by someone you loved and trusted does not lie on you. Those who shun you should be rebuked. If they repent, forgiven. If they don’t repent, they bear the consequences of their offenses toward the little ones. As I said, this is also the gospel.

Nell
05-21-2020 03:43 PM
byHismercy
Re: The Shunning

By the way, I want to take the opportunity to mention, while the topic is shunning, that the last 4 times I tried to respond in PMs they would not go through. So for the record, I'm not shunning anyone! This goes out to Trapped, Jo S, Ohio, and I am not even sure who else.
05-21-2020 12:57 PM
byHismercy
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
Shunning is obviously a characteristic of unhealthy churches, including the local church. It shows their relationship with you is entirely based on whether you subscribe to what they believe, or what they read, or who they follow, and whether or not you worship within the same four walls as they do.

But how have you dealt with it? How have you dealt with people who turn your backs on you.....except you know them so well you know where their forks go in their kitchen? And you know not to lean on the sink a certain way or else that hidden leak will re-appear? And you know not to step on that one tile in the corner because it has a crack just beginning to form that wasn't there years ago? And they've trusted you with all kinds of things in their life for years.

But all of a sudden you are a non-existent to them.

And then the ripple effect....the people who have no reason to shun you, but when you tell them others are shunning you, they take that as the cue to join in!
Trapped, are you still somewhat entrapped by the LC? I hope you are not still dealing with the effects of the LC shunning. I thought everything was behind us, until something happened this week to reconnect us with the woman who shunned us. (Not by my doing) Can you share where you are so to speak, with the LC, currently?
05-21-2020 12:45 PM
byHismercy
Re: Shunning The Shunners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Most definitely J.N.Darby introduced "shunning" into so-called Recovery theology. He introduced the horrible concept that the basis for our oneness is the common judgment of evil. Obviously, once we swallow that error, it is only the leader, the Oracle, the MOTA, who defines who and what is "evil," and requires proper shunning.

You can read what he did to George Muller, the most shunned man in church history. Yet God Himself never honored that shunning, and some historians have reported that George Muller received more direct and miraculous answers to prayers than any Christian in church history.
The George Mueller story is awesome, and encouraging. I had no idea he was a shunned man. I would love to read the full history there.
05-19-2020 05:20 PM
Nell
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
But how have you dealt with it? How have you dealt with people who turn (their) backs on you.....
For me, it wasn’t so personal as what you’ve described. “Things” actually got a little better after a period of time, but it was never the same. I could never trust these people again. Eventually I left. Without trust, there is nothing left to build on and there is no way to heal. None of it made sense. This was supposed to be “God’s best”.

There were times when all I could do was sit in the meetings and cry. When someone would be nice to me, that made me cry, too. Sometimes all the verses and all the “spiritual truths” that exist, and all the spiritualizing in the world just doesn’t help. Sermonizing doesn’t help. Even though the people you once trusted have betrayed you, it seems like God is the one who betrayed you. In your heart, you know he didn’t betray you, but it sure seems like he did. It seems he’s nowhere to be found.

I dealt with it by withdrawing emotionally. I lowered my expectations of people. Somewhere in all of that I prayed “Lord don’t let go of me.” That was the best I could do. But he heard me. It took awhile to get through, but when I got out of that toxic environment I was able to “detox” and learn to trust again.

I hope this helps. Blessings to you, Trapped.

I pray that you find your way out of this toxic situation you’re in.

Nell
05-19-2020 11:07 AM
Jo S
Re: The Shunning

I understand, Trapped, really I do. There is an extreme when it comes to shunning and, yes, it can and does cause great psychological trauma. I suppose this is where I was going with my original post;

While the extreme fear based method of shunning undoubtedly exists, as you know well enough, there is a risk when you associate shunning solely with fear. When you make shunning itself the enemy rather than the lack of love then you'll find an actual relationship with God and a legitimate Christian fellowship a real struggle down the road. The reality is, shunning (meaning emotional distancing) exists in all aspects of society. When you reject that aspect along with the unhealthy extreme, then that's where entitlement and victimhood can take a hold of you and prevent you from moving forward. It's important to know the difference between the two otherwise you’re in danger of equating them.

I believe the real root of the issue you and many others face is that you weren't taught the true Gospel of Jesus Christ within the LC's. Because of this, members (especially those born into it) are prevented and hindered from approaching a genuine relationship with God. Instead the group and community became one's absolute source of fulfillment and acceptance.

The truth is that when God is the foundation of your hope, love, and joy rather than a group the impact of other’s actions will be lessened. It may still hurt but in Christ you’ll then have the means to truly heal.

We've all placed our trust in ourselves and others and in the end became hurt and disillusioned by our choices. Jesus encourages to us to repent and place our trust in him. This is the gospel.
05-19-2020 10:42 AM
Trapped
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
Parents shun their children when they misbehave. Paul shunned Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1:20) because they were damaging the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the same way cult groups shun members when they begin to question their methods and ideology.

I understand shunning can be a devastating thing, especially when you're being shunned by the source of all your social and emotion dependence. The key is to not remain a victim but to take advantage. It's not necessarily a bad thing to be shunned by an aberrant group like the Local Church. Instead look at it as a opportunity to pursue your relationship with God. He's the one that won't leave you nor forsake you.

When you're securely in Him then it won't matter who shuns you because you'll have the power to love and to forgive with the hope that those you care for will not only return to you but to the Lord. I know a thing about this. It'll take time but by God's grace you will heal. Just don't give up on Him. He's always standing at the door waiting.

While I understand what you're saying and agree to a degree, it doesn't actually bear out in real life.

Relationships matter. People matter. It's too trite to say "You have God so anything that happens to you doesn't matter". We are human beings and the violent severing of important relationships has a deep impact, whether you are God's best bud or not. You have to be as ice cold as the ones shunning you to be able to flip a switch and say "meh, I have God, doesn't matter" and walk away yourself.

There's the phrase that someone "shattered your trust". Shunning shatters something inside you.

I'm not talking about emotional distancing. I'm talking about shunning. Turning their backs. Ignoring. Acting like you don't exist. Avoiding. Not caring. Knowing you are being mistreated but repeatedly never responding to you because they would have to take a stand themselves. Walking in the other direction when they see you. Literally glazing over when you talk to them so you just have to turn around and walk away because they look right through you so they don't have to deal with what you are saying.
05-19-2020 10:30 AM
Freedom
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
But how have you dealt with it? How have you dealt with people who turn your backs on you.....except you know them so well you know where their forks go in their kitchen? And you know not to lean on the sink a certain way or else that hidden leak will re-appear? And you know not to step on that one tile in the corner because it has a crack just beginning to form that wasn't there years ago? And they've trusted you with all kinds of things in their life for years.

But all of a sudden you are a non-existent to them.

And then the ripple effect....the people who have no reason to shun you, but when you tell them others are shunning you, they take that as the cue to join in!
This is a difficult question to answer. Shunning is meant to be hurtful, and they very well know that. I can only speak to my personal experience, but it seems that in the LC, there’s an unspoken expectation of reciprocity. So whether someone doesn’t live up to expectations or chooses to leave, in the eyes of the LC, it’s a grave insult. Shunning is kind of like their "comeback" to that perceived insult.

I left the LC very gradually, and I experienced shunning almost as soon as people started to notice that I wasn’t participating as much. One of the biggest eye-openers for me was when a brother that I was very close to (almost best friends with) didn’t invite me to his wedding. I was still in the LC at that point. At the very last minute, I did get invited, but it was only because another guest couldn’t make it. He succeeded in making his ‘point’ nonetheless. And as hurtful as that was, I think it also helped to show me that perhaps some of the friendships that I was so invested in were not as positive or healthy as they had really seemed. That was really my main takeaway from it all.

Another example that comes to mind is when I was in the LC, one area of service I was highly involved with was music service. A few other brothers and myself had been coordinating, taking turns playing guitar, etc. Then all the sudden, someone whom I had never met or talked to (and was new to the locality) was put in charge of that service group that and basically among other things kind of arranged everything in a way meant exclude me from participating. He actually assigned me to serve under someone who was just kind of learning the guitar. By that time the real issue at play was that the brothers weren’t happy about my waning participation in the LC in general, so they didn’t like that someone could be ‘useful’ in their meetings, but care less about attending the conferences, trainings, etc. So instead of just approaching me and talking to me directly so see what was going on, they wanted to take the passive-aggressive approach.

In retrospect, some of these of situations were really discouraging and even aggravating as they happened. But it also helped to show everyone’s true colors. Who knows, if I hadn’t come to realize that, I could have been stuck there another 10 years or so.
05-19-2020 09:22 AM
Ohio
Re: Shunning The Shunners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Excellent observation Trapped! Is there any doubt that this dynamic was created by Watchman Nee almost a century ago during the infantile, developing years of the Local Church movement? I use this word "created" advisedly, for it is likely that Nee picked up on this notion of shunning from The Brethren.
-
Most definitely J.N.Darby introduced "shunning" into so-called Recovery theology. He introduced the horrible concept that the basis for our oneness is the common judgment of evil. Obviously, once we swallow that error, it is only the leader, the Oracle, the MOTA, who defines who and what is "evil," and requires proper shunning.

You can read what he did to George Muller, the most shunned man in church history. Yet God Himself never honored that shunning, and some historians have reported that George Muller received more direct and miraculous answers to prayers than any Christian in church history.
05-19-2020 08:57 AM
Jo S
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal View Post
I agree with your previous post except for this, assuming you are approving of it, and you seem to be. Shunning children is abuse, in my opinion. I don't see that God ever shuns his children. We leave his presence, but I would not say he shuns us. As you yourself said, "He's always standing at the door waiting."
Our definitions may differ. I look at shunning as distancing oneself from another emotionally. Then there is the extreme of complete social and emotional rejection. Also, adding context may help as well.

God doesn't stop loving us. If we resist Him, however, He may not shower us with His love but will continue to love us from a distance. The same happens with parents when their children misbehave. They won't stop loving their child but because of the child's disobedience a parent's immediate affection is withdrawn for a time until the child has learned they have done something wrong.

Unfortunately when it comes to cult groups, love is typically not a factor in their process of shunning their members. And so I don't think shunning itself is the issue, it's the lack of love that hurts the individual or rather the realization that love was never really present to begin with.
05-19-2020 08:40 AM
Cal
Re: The Shunning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo S View Post
Parents shun their children when they misbehave.
I agree with your previous post except for this, assuming you are approving of it, and you seem to be. Shunning children is abuse, in my opinion. I don't see that God ever shuns his children. We leave his presence, but I would not say he shuns us. As you yourself said, "He's always standing at the door waiting."
05-19-2020 08:22 AM
Jo S
Re: The Shunning

Parents shun their children when they misbehave. Paul shunned Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1:20) because they were damaging the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the same way cult groups shun members when they begin to question their methods and ideology.

I understand shunning can be a devastating thing, especially when you're being shunned by the source of all your social and emotional dependence. The key is to not remain a victim but to take advantage. It's not necessarily a bad thing to be shunned by an aberrant group like the Local Church. Instead look at it as a opportunity to pursue your relationship with God. He's the one that won't leave you nor forsake you.

When you're securely in Him then it won't matter who shuns you because you'll have the power to love and to forgive with the hope that those you care for will not only return to you but to the Lord. I know a thing about this. It'll take time but by God's grace you will heal. Just don't give up on Him. He's always standing at the door waiting.
05-19-2020 07:48 AM
UntoHim
Shunning The Shunners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
It shows their relationship with you is entirely based on whether you subscribe to what they believe, or what they read, or who they follow, and whether or not you worship within the same four walls as they do.
Excellent observation Trapped! Is there any doubt that this dynamic was created by Watchman Nee almost a century ago during the infantile, developing years of the Local Church movement? I use this word "created" advisedly, for it is likely that Nee picked up on this notion of shunning from The Brethren. Then our dear brother Lee did what he did so well...he took the errors of others and doubled down on them big time. And then VOILA!...You have a bunch of sincere, but sincerely deceived people who base "their relationship with others entirely on whether one subscribes to what they believe, read and follow, and if one worships within the same four walls as they do".

So all of this puts many brothers and sisters in the unenviable position of shunning the shunners. At some point, it is the only thing to do when peoples hearts are hardened, and they refuse to listen to the truth, reason or even common sense. Eventually God will have to get the attention of people by the most desperate of means...even by the speaking of a donkey's mouth. Then, predictably, the shunner is shocked and surprised when the beast of burden exclaims "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times!?"
May the God of all compassion have mercy on us all - the shunner and the shunned.
-
05-19-2020 07:14 AM
Ohio
Re: The Shunning

People shun others because of fear. Fear is a very powerful motivator. When your old friends look at you, they face a decision. You or everyone else in their life. Sorry, but you lose. Because shunning only works when the majority fall in line. Once the majority stop fearing the lies, then the power of shunning vaporizes.

Apostle Paul faced the shunning too, including attacks on his life. As he faced martyrdom, he boldly declared that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sober mind!" He told Timothy that the spirit of fear was not from God. The power behind all shunning is not from God. When you see people making fear-based decisions, cowardly decisions void of all love, which make no sense at all, then remember Paul's counsel.

The Gospel and Epistles of John also address this fear. Many who heard Jesus speak and work on earth were also gripped by fear. Fear of shunning, fear of being an outcast, fear of losing friends and family. Fear is definitely real, powerful, motivating, and disaffects our ability to think clearly. I believe that faith in Jesus includes the power to overcome fear.

On the cross Jesus faced these same fears. The shunning. The shame. The mocking. The intimidation. The rejection. Add to that the cruel tortures. He faced them, even despised them, so that He could help us endure the same. Some of the deepest and richest experiences of God's faithful love result during these times.
05-18-2020 10:54 PM
Trapped
The Shunning

Shunning is obviously a characteristic of unhealthy churches, including the local church. It shows their relationship with you is entirely based on whether you subscribe to what they believe, or what they read, or who they follow, and whether or not you worship within the same four walls as they do.

But how have you dealt with it? How have you dealt with people who turn your backs on you.....except you know them so well you know where their forks go in their kitchen? And you know not to lean on the sink a certain way or else that hidden leak will re-appear? And you know not to step on that one tile in the corner because it has a crack just beginning to form that wasn't there years ago? And they've trusted you with all kinds of things in their life for years.

But all of a sudden you are a non-existent to them.

And then the ripple effect....the people who have no reason to shun you, but when you tell them others are shunning you, they take that as the cue to join in!

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:05 PM.


3.8.9