Left to some church folk you’ll never feel you are worthy of God’s love, forgiveness, grace and favour. Your past shines brighter to them than your purpose and you wonder how many more hoops you have to jump through to ‘prove’ yourself to them. Not even God! They act as God’s middle men, self appointed and extremely unqualified. Using titles to validate the right they have to impose their archaic tendencies on people. They fail to realise they are in actual fact working against the heart of God.
I was raised in a traditional Windrush generation West Indian Pentecostal church. No make up, head covered, no nail varnish, no weaves, no trousers. They were so focused on the external requirements that if you didn’t match up to them you were not ‘saved’ or deemed rebellious. Your level of sanctification seemed measurable based on how closely you dressed to their liking. The more ‘worldly’ you looked the further down the holiness pecking order you were placed. For the young people who adhered to the strict regime, heaps of praise were given and to those who didn’t adhere well let’s just say we were always on their prayer list.
When I fell I don’t think they were much surprised because in their opinion though I had a senior role at church I didn’t ‘look like a Christian’. I know it’s bizarre but it was as simple as that. There was always a battle between the old school members and the new school members which was extremely hurtful and damaging. I can’t even count the many young people that left over the years.
I have the utmost respect for those elders that raised me. They taught me strength in the face of adversity, they provided a safe place to grow and learn, I raise my 4 children that mirrors how they raised their broods of 6,7,8 and 9 kids with strong values, good manners and a good dose of self pride. What I dislike about my time as a junior in their hands was that it took me a long time to shake their ideals, those measures they placed on me that made being ‘saved’ so complicated. Those traditions that held me hostage and bound, blocking me from the true freedom of being born again. When I finally broke free man I flew, never to be held down again. Knowing God for myself his love his grace, his commands and expectations. He created me and him and not man will I follow.