What Gave You Strength and the Courage to Face Life in the Months after Being Expelled?
- Personal freedom. Sadly, in my case, there were many painful moments after being expelled, but I had FREEDOM to decide for myself the things I really wanted. I also worked. It’s good for an expelled person not to be alone, without people around or with nothing to do. That only encourages negative thoughts. The most important thing is, then, for the expelled person to feel that he’s not alone. A good tip from your website: to invite him to do something together with other people.
Fortunately, I had already begun to work before I left the community. So I had some money in the bank. I can imagine that some of the people in the group aren’t financially secure. They could find themselves in a chaotic situation, without personal support from external sources (e.g., they could have lived in the community far from their home and then been expelled). Perhaps they have no job, too. In such situations it’s naturally good, if parents/relatives/friends can do their best to make clear that their home is always open and they want to help.
- My plans for the future played an important role in my “healing,” too, I believe. It seems to me as if I had a two-year-long dream, and now am alive again. I have goals and desires again, most of which I’ve expressed to my parents, or which I’ve planned together with them. The big change had some good effects: relocating, quitting a job, and giving almost all my old clothes to a charity. ☺ And a bit of indulgence: to pursue small desires, which are now no longer sins (like coffee and chocolate, for example). I know that I was also in danger of going too far with that, and doing things that I would have later regretted, but fortunately I was aware of this and didn’t do anything stupid. I also sought comfort and community from people who were perhaps not so trustworthy, but I figured it out, and stopped it in time. It certainly helped that my parents and my best friend made so much time for me, because being alone was unbearable (old memories and doubts would emerge then about whether I was now a fallen-away Christian). They also “warned” me to a certain extent, and supported me in a good direction. Once, my best friend said, “Do whatever you want, but stay away from unfamiliar men.” The loneliness was sometimes so terrible that it was really a temptation a couple of times, simply to seek someone for comfort... but then I realized that I would rather be with and talk to people whom I know, and who know me, and whom I can trust entirely.
The personal relationship to God.
The conviction that I didn’t want to leave God, but rather want to do my best to seek Hirn and live with Hirn.
Much prayer, especially praise and thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15), the reading and hearing of the Bible and Christian songs fforn the community. In the beginning, I was not at all in the mood for singing, but it was calming for me to read the lyrics which we had sung in the community. It also helped me to think that the worst-case-scenario (being excluded) had already happened. So there was no reason to be scared of it anymore. The hope that things [causing my exclusion] could be explained, and that I could retum to the community, helped. The memory of my relationship to God, and my encounters with Hirn, ffom the beginning, as well as from before the time in the community.
I would encourage an excluded person to search for a personal relationship to God, on the foundation of the Bible, independent of the community or group. And regarding the [non-Holic] church: to search for God’s leading.