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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.

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Old 06-16-2018, 08:31 AM   #1
Redeemed
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Default Being disciplined by the Lord

I would like to talk about an impression I have from listening to Witness Lee and others in the local church. Sometimes this troubles me in my walk with the Lord.

I remember hearing that if we sin or come under the discipline of the Lord, after we confess to him, though the Lord forgives us and cleanses us, He does not welcome us back into fellowship with Him instantly. Do any of you remember this?

Some of the verses used to support this idea were:

Numbers 12:14 -And the LORD said to Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again

Song of Solomon 5:6 - because the sister/bride reasoned (saying: My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night. I have taken off my robe— must I put it back on? I have washed my feet— must I soil them again?) she failed to respond quickly enough to the beloved's call. So he left and did not respond, though she called to him.

2 Tim 4 - bring Mark, he is helpful to me in my ministry. Here's an example I remember from New Testament: For a season, John Mark was out of fellowship with the apostle Paul because he (Mark) had turned back in the work. Later on, after he proved himself, he was recognized as valuable by Paul once more.

Other examples were given, such as when a child has done something "naughty." After the parent disciplines him or her, though they love the child and have forgiven the child, a violation of trust and relationship occurred. It will take time for the parent to fully trust the child again because the relationship has been damaged.

Does this sound familiar to any of you?
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Being disciplined by the Lord

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Originally Posted by Redeemed View Post
I would like to talk about an impression I have from listening to Witness Lee and others in the local church. Sometimes this troubles me in my walk with the Lord.

I remember hearing that if we sin or come under the discipline of the Lord, after we confess to him, though the Lord forgives us and cleanses us, He does not welcome us back into fellowship with Him instantly. Do any of you remember this?
I remember that it depended on the sin. Lying wouldn't get you punished, but sexual sins would (unless you were Nee or Lee's sons, and even Nee got punished. He was banned from the meeting for awhile-but not Philip ... He was promoted).

So not always. I remember a brother in the c. in Detroit (when Ron Kangas was lead elder) got busted for sexually assaulting a boy while he was working in a hospital. Ne was actually boarding with me in the basement of an elder.

And I still had to board with him, after he got caught, and admitted he was gay.

The elders didn't want to ban him from the meetings, cuz he might repent and be saved from his sin. So they let him come to the meetings, but he wasn't allowed to speak, take the Table, or initiate anything.

So Redeemed, tell us of your experience in the LC ... concerning discipline.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Being disciplined by the Lord

Hi Awareness

The situation you present about the one who sexually assaulted a boy needs more than just going to meetings to be resolved, though nothing says one of those elders couldn't be in contact with him in an attempt to help - like "you who are spiritual restore such a one" in Galatians 6. It's too easy to oversimplify an answer for something like that; people and situations are more complicated and need wisdom and time.

In terms of my experience with observing what you might call discipline, I remember one time a brother stood up during a prayer meeting and began to yell at one of the elders by name, and went on a rant. I was pretty new, but I remember thinking he did not sound emotionally stable - he was all over the place in his thinking. He was escorted out of the room. Soon afterwards (at another meeting) a different leading brother told us that they were talking with this brother, had asked him not to come to the meetings for a while, and that we should not speak or have contact with him (based on disassociating from people who speak divisively) They also told us that his wife (and kids) were not "one with this kind of speaking" and that she was fully welcomed in the meetings, etc. Some time later, another announcement was made, he was welcomed back, and life went on.

There were other incidents from time to time over 20 something years, that we could discuss, but that wasn't my primary reason for that initial post =) - I'm hoping to hear more about the effect that hearing this kind of message about discipline and resultant lack of fellowship, had on anyone's individual relationship with the Lord, i.e. though you confess your sin, the Lord doesn't establish fellowship with you again right away.

At the time, I wondered - well, how will I know when and if I can have fellowship with Him again?

Because of my own particular mindset and background (the silent treatment from a parent) at times I felt discouraged if I failed (lost my temper at my kids, felt lazy, had critical thoughts, etc.) I was, and still am, tempted to start subjectively analyzing my experience, which doesn't seem very healthy and may not even according to truth.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Redeemed View Post
...but that wasn't my primary reason for that initial post =) - I'm hoping to hear more about the effect that hearing this kind of message about discipline and resultant lack of fellowship, had on anyone's individual relationship with the Lord, i.e. though you confess your sin, the Lord doesn't establish fellowship with you again right away.

At the time, I wondered - well, how will I know when and if I can have fellowship with Him again?

Because of my own particular mindset and background (the silent treatment from a parent) at times I felt discouraged if I failed (lost my temper at my kids, felt lazy, had critical thoughts, etc.) I was, and still am, tempted to start subjectively analyzing my experience, which doesn't seem very healthy and may not even according to truth.

As a church kid who "knows the Bible" (memorized thousands of verses growing up, went to every YP meeting, conference, truth school/SSOT, etc) who but actually knows very little of the Bible, I'm currently stuck in the desert of being very closed off to the Lord because of my experience in the LCs, and thus having no desire to read the Bible FOR MYSELF (and not because I was forced to) but simultaneously realizing just how trapped I have been in almost every conceivable aspect of my human life because I took the words I heard for decades as the truth without holding them up to the truth in the Bible......yes I heard this thought too.

Although I never had the experience myself of confessing to the Lord and actually feeling forgiven or cleansed, I also wondered how I would know when and if, essentially, the Lord has "actually" forgiven me in a full way where the relationship has been fully restored, based on the teaching you described. As a young person, it basically gave me the impression that the Lord was flighty or held a grudge or would give me the "silent treatment" even after I confessed and repented. As someone who had trouble even getting to the Lord in the first place, knowing I would have to endure or deal with this kind of God was one of many things that kept me from even wanting to "reach out" to Him in the first place. I have been forgiven by saints and, much to my surprise, have had immediate fellowship restored with them with no feeling on my side that they "held a grudge" or did not trust me in the same way. If fallen humans can do that, I did not understand why the great God could not, or would not.

If the teaching in question is Biblical, fine, and the shortcoming is totally on my side. But if it is not, it is one of many that put an unnecessary wedge between me and the Lord.

In discussing some of these things (not this in particular, but similar topics) with an elder at one point, he made the comment that "maybe the Lord has been misrepresented to you all these years." My response to him was, "why then would I want to stay around the people who have so grossly misrepresented Him to me?" He had nothing to say in response.

Going back to how to know when fellowship has been restored......again, as someone who hasn't had their own personal experience with the Lord myself, the logical question to me is, well, how do you know when you had free fellowship to begin with (the "blue sky" with the Lord, as it were)? How do you know when you are touching the Lord and have unencumbered fellowship then?

As that is something I have struggled with (how do you know to begin with), I'll relay two experiences I had growing up. These aren't quite along the line of this thread topic, but it helps me to get them out as I have so few people I can say these things to in my life to begin with.

When I was in one of the weekly young people's meetings, the serving ones had the YP break up into groups of two or three to pray-read. The serving one over me and a second YP was pushing us to "touch the Lord" or "touch our spirit" through pray-reading. The other YP and I were pray-reading as we had been taught to do, and eventually exasperatedly we asked how we are supposed to know when we have touched our spirit? As we went on and on, the other YP and I just started to laugh with each other as we were each aware of how silly we sounded and how we were getting nowhere. As we fell apart laughing at each other, the serving one jumped in and said "There you go! You are touching your spirit!" when we so clearly were not. That stuck with me.....how could a serving one (the ones we as YP looked to) call something as touching your spirit that was exactly the opposite - frustration at being asked to get to our spirit when we so obviously couldn't and were hitting a brick wall feeling like clowns being told how to perform in a circus rather than getting to this Person we were supposed to get to?

One time I was staying with a couple temporarily who made me attend the trainings as long as I was under their roof. Halfway through another weeklong marathon boring training, the husband of the couple urged me to "see what the Lord is speaking to you through the training." Exasperated at being told that kind of thing my whole life with no help on how to actually work it out, I challenged back what I had been wondering in silence for years, "What does that even mean? How do you know what the Lord is speaking to YOU?" I held my breath as I thought I would finally get the helpful answer that I'd needed for so long. His response blew me away. He said, "When I'm in the training I sit there listening to the brother speaking and I wonder to myself, 'what is the Lord trying to say to me here? How can I apply to my life what is being spoken?'" I waited for him to go on but that's all he said. The ground fell out from under me as I thought...."all these people are sitting there trying to work out in their mind what the Lord is speaking to them? The Lord isn't actually SPEAKING TO THEM?" as I had thought for so many years of my life. No wonder it was so difficult to me to get to the Lord when the people around me supposedly shepherding me/serving on me/caring for me weren't apparently even touching the Lord themselves! My mind reeled as I wondered how it was any different than simply going to a motivational speaker-type conference and simply applying what you hear there to the benefit of yourself?
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Old 06-17-2018, 06:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
The ground fell out from under me as I thought...."all these people are sitting there trying to work out in their mind what the Lord is speaking to them? The Lord isn't actually SPEAKING TO THEM?" as I had thought for so many years of my life. No wonder it was so difficult to me to get to the Lord when the people around me supposedly shepherding me/serving on me/caring for me weren't apparently even touching the Lord themselves!
Here I think of 1 John 2:27 and Hebrews 8:11.

I physically left the LC 20 yrs ago & went "back to Christianity" but was so pickled in the brine (i.e. indoctrinated in non-thought) that I couldn't sit in a meeting or read a verse without Lee-speak in my head. "That's not God's economy", was my reflexive response.

But eventually, the Lord began manifesting his presence to me, in various ways, typically connected to the word. It might be a verse popping into my head. Or a study done by a scholar (Lee's work was either shallow self-logic or relied on 19th-century scholarship). I would allow other voices in, and the Lord would manifest himself.

Now, how do you know it's the Lord? The subjective response was so overwhelming that it could only be. If I go to my grave deceived that is God's problem. Look at the gospel record, how many times it says, "They were astonished beyond measure."

Jesus taught "seek and you will find". It is both command and promise. The LC indoctrinated us with the lie - "here we've given up our search" (notice how the LC changed the wording of William C. Martin's original hymn). No; keep searching. God will in due season reward you.

And yes I've failed and lost the light, at times (often?). But so did Peter, and Jesus never let him go. So keep going. Go on by faith and in due season the reward will come.

Believe me, you'll know when you find it. And that finding is the 'amen' from God to keep seeking the Shepherd's voice. "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me." The finding and the hearing are encouragement to keep seeking and listening. The journey isn't over. And you'll find, as you go on, that the "blank spots" in the journey become less pronounced, as the light increases.
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Old 06-17-2018, 08:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Being disciplined by the Lord

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Originally Posted by Redeemed View Post
Hi Awareness

The situation you present about the one who sexually assaulted a boy needs more than just going to meetings to be resolved, though nothing says one of those elders couldn't be in contact with him in an attempt to help - like "you who are spiritual restore such a one" in Galatians 6. It's too easy to oversimplify an answer for something like that; people and situations are more complicated and need wisdom and time.

In terms of my experience with observing what you might call discipline, I remember one time a brother stood up during a prayer meeting and began to yell at one of the elders by name, and went on a rant. I was pretty new, but I remember thinking he did not sound emotionally stable - he was all over the place in his thinking. He was escorted out of the room. Soon afterwards (at another meeting) a different leading brother told us that they were talking with this brother, had asked him not to come to the meetings for a while, and that we should not speak or have contact with him (based on disassociating from people who speak divisively) They also told us that his wife (and kids) were not "one with this kind of speaking" and that she was fully welcomed in the meetings, etc. Some time later, another announcement was made, he was welcomed back, and life went on.

There were other incidents from time to time over 20 something years, that we could discuss, but that wasn't my primary reason for that initial post =) - I'm hoping to hear more about the effect that hearing this kind of message about discipline and resultant lack of fellowship, had on anyone's individual relationship with the Lord, i.e. though you confess your sin, the Lord doesn't establish fellowship with you again right away.

At the time, I wondered - well, how will I know when and if I can have fellowship with Him again?

Because of my own particular mindset and background (the silent treatment from a parent) at times I felt discouraged if I failed (lost my temper at my kids, felt lazy, had critical thoughts, etc.) I was, and still am, tempted to start subjectively analyzing my experience, which doesn't seem very healthy and may not even according to truth.
For not accepting Lee as the MOTA I was disciplined right out of the local church. And all the saints, including those I brought in, and knew before the LC, were told that I was a serpent, and to not go near me. They were told the same about my wife, who was totally innocent. Saints would literally turn their backs on me, her, us.

It broke our hearts. We cried for days. We were crushed. It took a few years to get my head straight again, but it was the best thing that ever happened. She was Chinese. She went back to believing in nothing.

Life hasn't always been peaches and cream since then. We both have gone thru some very hard experiences. Our marriage broke up, and we lost our child.

But no matter how hard it's been, I could always find comfort in that it could be worse ; we could still be in the LC.
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Being disciplined by the Lord

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
As a church kid who "knows the Bible" (memorized thousands of verses growing up, went to every YP meeting, conference, truth school/SSOT, etc) who but actually knows very little of the Bible, I'm currently stuck in the desert of being very closed off to the Lord because of my experience in the LCs, and thus having no desire to read the Bible FOR MYSELF (and not because I was forced to) but simultaneously realizing just how trapped I have been in almost every conceivable aspect of my human life because I took the words I heard for decades as the truth without holding them up to the truth in the Bible......yes I heard this thought too.

Although I never had the experience myself of confessing to the Lord and actually feeling forgiven or cleansed, I also wondered how I would know when and if, essentially, the Lord has "actually" forgiven me in a full way where the relationship has been fully restored, based on the teaching you described. As a young person, it basically gave me the impression that the Lord was flighty or held a grudge or would give me the "silent treatment" even after I confessed and repented. As someone who had trouble even getting to the Lord in the first place, knowing I would have to endure or deal with this kind of God was one of many things that kept me from even wanting to "reach out" to Him in the first place. I have been forgiven by saints and, much to my surprise, have had immediate fellowship restored with them with no feeling on my side that they "held a grudge" or did not trust me in the same way. If fallen humans can do that, I did not understand why the great God could not, or would not.

If the teaching in question is Biblical, fine, and the shortcoming is totally on my side. But if it is not, it is one of many that put an unnecessary wedge between me and the Lord.

In discussing some of these things (not this in particular, but similar topics) with an elder at one point, he made the comment that "maybe the Lord has been misrepresented to you all these years." My response to him was, "why then would I want to stay around the people who have so grossly misrepresented Him to me?" He had nothing to say in response.
Trapped, I applaud you for how descriptive and honest your post is. You have just explained to me why a whole generation of YP have departed the LCM. The Bible talks about the Good Shepherd leaving the "99" to find the lost one, but in reality related to the LCM, the Lord has to leave the "one," and go seek the "99" who have departed in discouragement. I'm serious.

When it comes to a personal relationship with our loving Savior, honesty is everything. The enemy of honesty is public performance. That's why the Lord admonishes us to seek Him in our "closet," rather than some public setting. Jesus does not want a public relationship with you, but a personal one, one that you can call your own, whether you tell anyone else or not.

When your heart has an interest, I encourage you to read the stories in the Gospels, perhaps John's. Please don't "pray-read." Find a new way to read. Imagine yourself right there in the story. Consider if you were there watching what was going on with Jesus from a "stone's throw." You know, like so many others who were interested at the time, yet were hiding in the shadows, not understanding who Jesus was or what was going on.

There were so many loud voices back then, "He's a Prophet, who else can do what He has done?" and then others mocked, "The jerk's a liar and a fraud, no Prophet can come out of Galilee!" Isn't that kind of like what is going on in your own head right now? People shouting at you from different directions. But be like Nicodemus who found Jesus in secret, and then drilled him with questions. You are reading just for yourself. You are forming your own opinion.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:53 AM   #8
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I came on here and began wondering why we weren't sharing love and grace more often.
I apologize if my comments have been too critical in tone or harsh, and don't adequately reflect the love and grace into which we've all been called.

And I wanted to mention what I realized a few days ago. I was reading Psalm 107, and the structure of this poem was striking. It was a long psalm, 43 verses, and it kept talking about how God rescued Israel.

It kept repeating a theme, that through hardness and willful stupidity the Israelites found themselves in trouble: in chains, in darkness, wandering, destitute, afflicted, hungry, lost. And repeatedly, because of unfailing love, God burst through and rescued them. It kept repeating this, like 5 times: failure, loss, rescue, and then our thanks to God for His unfailing love.

Suddenly I remembered Paul's word: love is patient, love is kind, love endures, love never falls away. I thought, "If there was ever an picture of such love it's here in Psalm 107."

It's not about us - either our failures or our obedience. It's about God's love - so strong that no chains or bars can hold it back; no darkness is too deep and gloomy that it can't penetrate.

I daresay I was quite taken aback by this; perhaps not "astonished beyond measure" but close.
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