280. OSTRACISM BY FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS

(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 4)

Sometimes, people within your own circle in the Church or in your home, will not support you, understand you and some of them may even ostracize you. This can be heart-rending, as you expect the cold, dismissive treatment from those in the world, not those who have also named the name of Christ and not those who have professed to believe on Christ in your family unit.

Yet, sometimes, some genuine Christians experience this sort of treatment from other Christians.

This experience is never pleasant and the devil certainly uses it to try to create doubt, anxiety, worry, stress, insecurity and confusion in your life. Sometimes you may find yourself saying, is it that I am not truly saved? Why is it that I am being singled out and treated in this way? Even after you have gone to the Lord and asked him to remove from you anything that is not of him that they may be seeing and which could be causing their behaviour, the segregation continues.

It can leave you frustrated, especially when your brothers and sisters don’t tell you what the issue is and just avoid you like a plague. I even had one situation where our local assembly went out to a nice restaurant for dinner and a brother conversed with the others at the table but avoided me all night. Given that he was seated obliquely opposite to me, I said a silent prayer and then asked him a question, trying to get rid of the obvious tension. He smiled and did not even reply. I felt so bad, I wished I could disappear in that very moment.

This very brother and others, would sometimes greet me at Church and other times avoid me, making me quite frustrated and uneasy, as if I was walking on egg shells. For, I never knew how I would be treated on any particular day and whether I would be insulted yet again by him avoiding me.

Maybe I had been the subject of much discussion. I do not know. I certainly am not perfect and will not pretend to be so here. However, whatever the issue, whatever he may have heard, he never shared it with me or sought clarification from me, only gave me cold treatment on an on and off basis.

This was quite unnerving and troubling to me.

Also, some Church members draw conclusions as to your spirituality and whether you are truly saved or not and then watch you suspiciously, if you don’t do exactly as they (not God) expect you to do or are not as social as they are or don’t have all that you have done for Christ magnified with a glass for everyone to see, as their accomplishments have been showcased.

Such behaviour can make a genuine Christian feel anxious, self-conscious, discouraged, weary and even begin to harbour doubt as to his or her salvation.

When that individual also gets dismissed as if nothing he or she has to say is of any significance and as if God has imparted no wisdom whatsoever in that person because that person is a nothing, this can make you begin to wonder if God really gave you the work you believe he gave you to do, for the furtherance of his Kingdom.

It can paralyze you, make you abort the mission, even give up because nobody believes that God can use you to do anything worthwhile and nobody cares about your testimonies of the great things he did, involving you in the past.

Effectively, you find yourself silenced, unable to move because your fellow brothers and sisters don’t seem to be supporting you in anything and treat you as if you have the plague.

I have recognized that this sort of treatment happens not just to people who are imposters but genuine Christians. Apart from it being very hurtful, it can be very damaging as well. Apart from the fact that it creates disunity in the Church, that person feels isolated, scorned, left for dead and condemned and the work that God desires to do in that person’s life and through that person for his glory, can get stymied, if not for his intervening grace.

Sometimes, that Christian is a wounded soldier that has been through quite a lot and is in need of prayer, support, encouragement and help, in light of the aggressive attacks of the enemy. Yet, instead of being able to be vulnerable, he or she must bear the load of the burden alone, as it seems that brothers and sisters do not care enough or love enough, to reach out to truly learn about what that person has been through or is going through. Sometimes that person has stories that would shock them to the core but they never hear it. For, such brothers and sisters only seemingly care about distancing themselves from that Christian, much like the Priest and Levite (both men holding high spiritual poitions) did, when they saw their fellow Jew had been badly wounded.

In Luke 10:30-34, when Jesus was asked for a definition of who was a neighbour, he told the following parable:

  • “…A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

Thank God for Jesus, who is invested in the healing of his children. Brothers and sisters may turn their backs on you, family even but the Lord sticks closer than a brother and has promised to never leave you or forsake you.

Therefore, I say to you, as I say to myself, when fellow professors of Christ ostracize you and they have not told you why, when they give you up as a failure and condemn you by their behaviour, seemingly, to hell, don’t allow the devil to use that to make you bitter, discouraged, to derail you, make you give up on life (especially if you know you are dealing with some wounds) or to make you feel hopeless, doomed, condemned and as if there must be something wrong with you and your faith, to warrant such behaviour.

Note this: Sometimes the enemy will use those within to keep you from getting where God wants you to be and to achieve what he wants you to achieve.

If you are wounded, unlike the devil who wants to write you off as hopeless and condemned and uses people in his plan, God wants to heal you.

He says: “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)

In Jeremiah 30:14-15, God said of the Israelites, who were wounded due to their own disobedience and sin:

  • “All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.”

The Lord truthfully told them that their wounds in life were caused by their own sin. However because they were his chosen people whom he loved and had covenant with, he did not condemn them and leave them in the situation but also told them:

  • “THEREFORE all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.” (Jeremiah 30:16-20)

CONCLUSION

When being ostracized and condemned by some within your Church gathering therefore or even among your family, if you have not done wrong or you have but have repented before God and are genuinely interested in restoration and living the rest of your life for Jesus Christ, do not allow the treatment of people, who the devil sometimes uses, to keep you stuck in the past or in insecurity (because it now makes you question whether you are truly saved or not).

Send the devil packing and assure and remind yourself from the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit, the final authority and that which is more sure than the opinions of man), of your standing in Christ and your God-given purpose with the following verses and facts:

VERSE 1 -“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou SHALT be saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

There are no ifs, buts or maybes in this verse. It is a sure promise.

You believe that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day, just as the Bible states and as Jesus himself attested would happen and you have confessed him as Lord over all, including your life. In fact you have continued confessing him as Lord and truly believe that he is Lord, the one that created the earth and all in it. You are therefore saved and nobody, not even Church folk or family, can pluck you out of his hand or separate you from his love or condemn you to a lost eternity.

VERSE 2 –ALL that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.” (John 6:37)

Jesus turns away no one, not even those who are unpopular and who are disliked. You have come to Jesus, in your initial act of obedience (whereby you were saved through faith) and on many an occasion thereafter, for him to have his way in your life. When you did this with a genuine and sincere heart, he did not cast you out or refuse to listen to you, especially when you came with a broken heart.

VERSE 3 – “…That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the POWER of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)

You are saved and sustained by the power of God, not man’s opinions. God did not put as a pre-condition, that you had to be popular or people had to like you before he could save you. He loves you with an everlasting love and if people dislike you, they need to sort that out with Him. He is the one that created you, pursued after you and redeemed you.

VERSE 4 – “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, IS GREATER THAN ALL; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29)

VERSE 5 – WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

VERSE 6 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall NOT come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24)

If there are areas in your life that are wounded as a Christian, continue going to the Lord with them in faith, confess your issues to him and ask for his healing touch. Surrender everything to him and be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Believe that he will heal you and once you remain abiding in him, will use you for His glory. For, you may be weak but HE is strong. In HIM is everlasting strength.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever and as he once told the apostle Paul in the Bible: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

(Written on 24th November, 2019)

Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in the following:

  • Note 78 – ‘When The Enemy Tries To Make You Doubt Your Salvation’
  • Note 153 – ‘When A Sister Or Brother In The Church Rejects You’
  • Note 169 – ‘When Those Closest To You Don’t Encourage And Support You’
  • Note 171 – ‘If That Tree Could Talk’
  • Note 174 – ‘They Can Think Whatever They Like – God Will Do Whatever He Pleases’
  • Note 193 – ‘God Calls Me Hephzibah’
  • Note 195 – ‘When God Promises To Write-On A Write-Off
  • Note 196 – ‘A Hopeless End Or An Endless Hope?’
  • Note 197 – ‘Left For Dead… Then Resurrected’
  • Note 277 – ‘When Family Disappoints

Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ Page:

  • Note 8 – ‘Wounded Soldiers – Will You Just Pass By?’

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