I went through a time in my life where I was basically fleeing legalism and oppressive manmade religion. I remember how exhilarating it was to feel those chains fall off as I danced into my newfound truth of what the Bible REALLY said as opposed to what I’d been told by bad doctrine. I was so happy to be free, but I was also really angry.
Mostly it was righteous anger, at a system that oppresses God’s people and keeps them afraid and addicted to a system of rules instead of intimacy with Holy Spirit. But eventually it went beyond being angry at the system. There came a point when I realized that I deeply resented the people who were holding up that system.
I still remember the day when God interrupted my prayers to say to me, “Darlin’, don’t get religious about not being religious……” (God speaks Texan sometimes, y’all)
“What???”, I wondered….. “What does that even mean, and MEEEEE: RELIGIOUS? No. I’m the free-est person I know. Don’t need those rules hindering my walk with God. Don’t need those weirdos telling me how to dress, what women can’t do, and who I can be around. Nope, don’t need them one bit…..”
And then it began to be clear to me. God was trying to show me that I WAS JUDGING THEM. I genuinely had become religious about not being religious. I had begun to think myself better than them. I would have never said those words, but it’s true I had. I had BECOME that which I HAD JUDGED. I had become the elite and pious religious person looking down on those not as enlightened and as woke as me.
Here’s what God revealed to me prophetically about this:
This is not just a thing that only I’ve struggled with. It’s rampant in the Charismatic church, in the Ex-vangelical community, and basically anywhere that people are leaving an oppressive or abusive system of doctrine and religion.
If we don’t get healed of the wounds they inflicted on us then we will grow to hate them (whoever “them” is for you) and judge them. If we judge them we will become just like them eventually. Just a different set of rules, a different flavor, and a different crowd.
And this is when God began to break my heart for the religious people. He began to shift the way I saw them from “religious people” to “people being oppressed by a religious system”.
One day I had had an interaction with someone I know who is deeply entrenched in a very abusive sect, and it didn’t go well. It wasn’t that we had argued or anything. It was that they had openly communicated to me how afraid they were that God would say to them “depart from me I never knew you” and that they would go to hell, even after following all the rules. I did my best to communicate that the true Gospel is not about rules, but about just receiving by faith what Jesus did on the cross. But after this conversation, once I was alone with God I began to sob and cry. My heart was shattered for this person who had been so oppressed by religion that they don’t even have an assurance of their salvation. This person lived in daily fear that the rapture would come and they would be left behind. I wept before the Lord because of how deeply sorrowful I felt for the state of this person’s life (there was much more that they shared of their deception that I just won’t include here, for their privacy). How terrible would it be to want to please God so much but to believe God doesn’t fully love you or receive you? I cried bitterly for about an hour.
And that’s when God showed me something that changed my life.
“God!” I cried, “Set them free! Please set them free! Send someone to be a voice. Send someone with the Gospel!”
“I know… this is a really bad situation….” He comforted me, “My heart is breaking for this too. I will send some one to set them free from these lies…” He said. “I’m sending you.”
“This is a very very bad idea. Remember, they HURT ME! I think you’re going to have to send somebody else” I argued, as I began to dry my tears and wipe the snot away (this was, after all, the ugly cry…. A good lament wouldn’t be official unless you get some snot flowing).
God showed me a Trojan horse infiltrating the most religious sects in the world. He showed me the horse being led into these churches, and then His glory and goodness pouring out of them.
He showed me how He loves to take people who have been set free from something horrific, and then send them back where they came from all healed and whole so that they can then set others free who are being oppressed by that same thing.
Prophetically this is what God is doing in the world today.
If you were once oppressed by religion and you’ve been wounded from the Church or by other Christians, it’s time to heal (and just know I’ve been there. I know how hard it is….) so that you too can one day set the captives free.
Those people who hold up these oppressive systems are victims themselves. It can be so hard to see it, especially while they’re still unrepentantly hurting others in the name of their beliefs. Seeing other Christians wound people “in the name of God” is one of the most difficult things ever. Ask for God to give you eyes to see them how He sees them.
It didn’t happen overnight but God began to show me how His heart breaks for those of His children who are in bondage to religion that oppresses people and keeps them in fear of Him. He wants intimacy with us, not to keep us afraid of a far away distant Judge who may or may not smite Him.
The day it all changed for me was the day God showed me that He loved the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the false prophet, the misogynist, and the cult leader as much as He loved me. He showed me that He grieved for their deception as much as He grieved over the people they hurt in the process.
I realized that being set free from those lies didn’t make me any better than them. Being set free came with a commission to set others free.
So now today I commission and challenge you to be a trojan horse of Father God’s love and glory. Ask Him what system you were called to infiltrate with His love.
Sometimes loving the unlovable is about loving the crack smoker and pimps, but sometimes it’s about loving the religious nut who screams on the corner with a sign condemning others to judgement.
Freedom has arrived in the name of Jesus! May you be compelled to set others free. Nothing will stop you!
Co-Founder of Kingdom Bliss Ministries
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