Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: October 03, 2013 11:22AM
I hear what you're saying, Weary, and welcome to the forum.
The truth is that it takes time for us mere mortals to forgive and forget, never mind 'love' - Jesus was much better at this than we humans are. While it's admirable and indeed Biblical to love everyone as God loves you - it is not always easy to find a forgiving spirit especially when the extreme damage done to your spiritual and mental health is still very fresh in your mind and you become very aware of the nastiness and lies being spouted about you, from SMC pulpits, because you have dared to 'leave the fold'.
Most of us who left many years ago have managed to come to terms with and begun to overcome the damage done to us. In the wake of this, there is some acceptance that this part of your life can be put to rest and you can begin to look forward to life again.
To be able to forgive these people, who continue to wreak havoc on people's lives, takes far more strength than we have on our own and requires much strength from God. However, so many people who have been damaged by these charlatan pastors have never found a way back to a strong relationship with their maker and many will probably never enter a church again in their lives, except for the usual 'family' occasions.
So, while I agree that the verses you have quoted are admirable - and those of us who still have a relationship with God do try to live by the Biblical code - I personally feel that there can be no real forgiveness for people who continue to abuse and damage so many of God's children even although they are well aware of the damage they are doing.
Now, were they to come here and say 'Look, we know we got it wrong and we are deeply sorry for the damage we have caused and we will amend our ways and our teachings to come back into line with what the Bible actually tells us.' I would be the first to forgive and forget, if they showed real contrition and did indeed change the way they teach God's word and deal with members of their congregation - not to mention a complete change of leadership with proper qualifications for the job.
However, we all know that the FACT of the matter is that SMC leaders will not back down and prefer to make out that the mistakes they have made and the harm they have done is actually a test from God - and anyone who does not 'knuckle under' has failed this test and must therefore have backslidden or be possessed by demons. We know for a FACT that they outright lie about folks from the public platform and, where they don't know details, they will fill in the blanks themselves and just make stuff up. God of course, will be able to forgive these people if they repent and make amends for the damage they've done - but at this point in time, since the SMC leaders will not even acknowledge that they have damaged people, I don't believe that even God will be that forgiving of them.
The Bible also says that those who are shepherds of God's flock are far more accountable to Him than the ordinary member of the church is - and that ordinary people should shun and turn their backs on false prophets - it doesn't say that we should forgive or love them for leading us down the wrong spiritual path because, in God's eyes, those who set themselves up as spiritual leaders for their own gains are among the lowest of the low and the people should get as far away from them as possible.
When the Bible talks about spiritual leaders, there is no mention of love and forgiveness for those who use the Bible and God's name to control people and corrupt the message of the Bible to the spiritual detriment of even ONE of God's children.
The SMC fall-out is huge - there are HUNDREDS of damaged souls left in the wake of SMC's twisted and self-aggrandizing leaders. Somehow, I don't think that God is going to be very forgiving at all with these few people - unless they repent and make amends for the damage they've caused. Just before she died, Mary Black understood this and tried to make amends to at least some of the people she'd damaged during her reign - although some other SMC leaders tried to put a stop to her doing this - but at least she tried and, for that, I'm sure God would have forgiven her and perhaps some of those she damaged will also have forgiven her by now.
It takes someone to say 'Sorry' and to make amends and change the way they deal with people in the future - God requires that of us - and then forgiveness can make a difference to all concerned.
To use a very extreme example - someone I know lost their brother during a gang fight. The gang member who killed the young boy was later caught and imprisoned; after some months, the young man wrote a letter to my friend and asked for his forgiveness because he was deeply sorry and very troubled by what he'd done. It took a lot of guts and much soul searching but my friend, who is not a Christian or religious in any way, visited the young man in prison and, after a few minutes chatting, did in fact forgive him for murdering his brother.
To my mind, forgiveness comes AFTER contrition. This may not be very Biblical but I'm not a church-goer now - I had enough of that in my time spent in SMC - but I still believe in the higher power of God and I still try to live by the Biblical code.
When the SMC leaders step down to make way for proper, qualified, leadership and separately and individually make amends to those they have damaged over the years I think the forgiveness will be overflowing (although I'm not sure how many people would actually be able to go as far as to 'love' them as they love their friends and family etc.). Until that time we should turn our backs and shun and ignore the false prophets and make sure that as many people as possible are made aware of the damage this organisation does; in the sincere hope that we can put a stop to them being able to perpetuate this damage on current and future members - especially the kids, who have no real voice of their own.
We could all just stick our heads in the sand and say nothing more, maybe because we are 'weary', but then we would - in part - become responsible for those whom the SMC leaders continue to abuse because we could have made people aware and hopefully put a stop to that abuse. That's why we continue the debate and continue to ask the Struthers leaders to step up to the podium and answer for their words and actions, while making the whole world aware of what's going on inside SMC walls and enlighten those who may be looking to join the organisation or send their kids to the school.
It would, I guess, be easier for us to roll over and give up but I for one would not be able to live with myself in the knowledge that so many young folks will continue to be abused, damaged and hoodwinked by these people. For the sake of so many lives, it's our duty to expose the nature of the 'beast' just as much as it would be our duty to love and forgive them if they repented and tried to make amends for the huge damage they have done to so many people already. We live in hope and we do indeed 'pray for those who have persecuted us' but, more importantly, our love for the current and future members of the organisation spurs us on to continue this debate to its proper conclusion, which can only be one of two options:
1. The organisation disbands completely
2. The current leaders step down and are replaced by properly qualified pastors who will lead the people to God rather than to themselves.
As always biiiiiiig love and huge huggggggs to all
God Bless xxx