The newspaper reporter looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.
“I had some encounters with those Sound Doctrine folks, and I’m really troubled, how did you ever get mixed up with those people?”
I’ve been thinking about that ever since he asked. Of course my initial answer was they acted normal when I first met them. They were friendly, and really seemed to have a genuine love for God. They extended grace and mercy and did not overreact to things. That’s a pretty normal picture I’ve found for cults…”love bombing” is one term I’ve heard that describes the typical initiation of new members into the group. It took quite a long time before things actually started getting weird, and the change was very subtle over the years.
But there’s something else I believe I am seeing that attracted me, based on the wounding and vulnerability I brought with me.
Because I’d made a vow when I was nineteen that “I’d never let anyone use me again”, I became “the user” in an attempt to shield myself from any more pain. That vow led me on a journey of gaining more and more control over everything in my life, especially my relationships.
Since I used work as my drug of choice to escape the pain in my life, I was always successful even when it risked the health of those same relationships. And so I became the breadwinner in all my relationships, retaining control and the upper hand.
As a result of this unhealthy way of living my life, born out of my own wounding and wrong response to it, I believe way down deep I longed for a relationship where I would be taken care of, cherished, nourished, and led in a healthy way. So the leadership I initially saw lived and preached in Sound Doctrine filled a void in my heart and then drew me in as a result of that innate vulnerability.
As that leadership grew into extreme control and abuse over time, the fruit of my unhealthy vow ripened.
Matthew 7:1-2 says: Do not judge lest you be judged. For the way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
I judged (condemned) the man in my life who used and lied to me at age nineteen, setting myself up for the enemy to have the right to measure back to me the same thing I vowed to never let happen in my life. Actually pretty amazing isn’t it? I vowed that no one would ever use me again and these people in twelve years used me up and spit me out…got my business, my car, my house, and hundreds of thousands of dollars leaving me destitute…WOW!
So, how did I get mixed up with a group of complete control freaks who have brought incredible destruction to scores of people and families over the last 35 years in the name of God? I’ll tell you how.
By allowing the pain in my life to go unattended, ignoring the healing Jesus offered…that’s how. I can’t blame anyone but myself. And as I take responsibility for the tragedy of the last twelve years, I can continue to heal and move forward in restoration.
He will restore what the locusts have eaten…and I will learn to deal with my pain in a healthy way so I don’t have to reap anymore bad fruit!