fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Losing my Religion

Losing my Religion by Julie McAllen

I wrote this piece two years ago on a support network for others who lost their religion. It’s a good follow up to last months article “Hand him over to Satan?” and because I’ve been too busy to write this month, it’s easy to cut and paste it here as is!

I was officially banned from my religion on December 2, 2004. To leave one’s religion behind for the sake of Christ is a blessing and I hope my experience blesses you today.

One of my favorite passages is John 9, the story of the blind man healed by Jesus and then thrown out of the synagogue. It is one of those personal “I claim this verse” kinda things ya know? I just love this story because here’s this blind guy, Jesus comes along and heals him without really going into a complete explanation of “hello, I am the Son of God, Jesus Christ, I am the fulfillment of everything you’ve been studying since childhood, blah, blah, blah..” Nope, Jesus just comes along and heals the guy. He’s kept in ignorance, though he’s been shown grace. When the Pharisees question the healed man, his reply changes as he goes…ever notice that?

10″How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded.

11He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12″Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.

At this stage he only knows others say he is a guy named Jesus and doesn’t even know where he is. He just states that he’s been healed. And they keep making him testify to this (see what a friend we have in doubters? They give us opportunity to testify and build our faith in doing so!)

17Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

Check that out! His faith just grew!

Now they haul in the parents who remain scared of religious authority (because they have not encountered this healing first hand as their son had). The man has to AGAIN explain his experience with this fuzzy, unknown character they call Jesus and all he can do is stand on his little mustard seed of a testimony ….

25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

This is precious!! He is not debating a bunch of doctrine with the Pharisees, he himself doesn’t know the answers we grapple with as JWs coming out like “is God a trinity? Who are the 144,000? What about the earthly hope?” All he has to go on is an encounter with someone he calls a man, then a prophet, and stands on the fact that he was healed. The interrogation of the Pharisees is what aided his faith to grow in the Son of God who he hasn’t even identified for himself yet! Is that so cool??

So then the poor soul gets kicked out!! We know he was blessed, but at the time he probably felt like a poor, confused soul, Amen? Man, can disfellowshiped people relate to this. He loses his whole life. His religion at the synagogue, his parents, his friends who now snicker at his lack in “giving glory to God” (John 9:24), the respect of the Pharisees who he probably looked up to at one time, his routine, perhaps his link to charity through all these venues, and for what? For a sure faith in Christ? NO!! He doesn’t even realize who he is yet!! Amazing.

But here’s the tear-jerker…gets me every time, thank you Jesus!

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36″Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus was aware of this guys “disfellowshiping” and He, yes, Jesus Christ himself begins to prompt the questions!!

“Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
“Who is he?” This guy has to ask!

‘Cuse me, I gotta run and get a tissue…..

No really, this is like the most touching passage to me because it reads like my own story. As I sat through the elder’s inquisition I really could not say exactly who Jesus was, I knew I’d miss the respect and companionship I’d gained in the Kingdom Hall, I was scared of that “what now?” feeling of being kicked outside. All I had was a tiny mustard seed of testimony of belief in a man I could not explain. But Jesus knew. Jesus knew. Jesus heard I’d been thrown out and he asked me what I believed about him.

I was blind too, but now I see. Praise God, I see!

It was the falling out of religion that was necessary for me to really fall in love with Christ. Just as that man’s faith stepped up a notch during the interrogation of the Pharisees, likewise it was during my hearings that I understood they were putting themselves on the throne of God. It was fuzzy before that, but I thank Jehovah for those trials now. He let them show me who they were and I knew they were false prophets. I know it even more so now.

Fallen out of the religion, tired of anger, tired of the debates, just needing his love, I was ready. And it was as I was reading John 9 that Jesus really began speaking to me and revealed His true nature as the Shepherd plain as day in the next chapter. Jehovah Rohi, the Lord is my Shepherd!!

 Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

November 29, 2010 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , ,

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