Leaving is hard because you’re leaving behind the only life you knew–especially if you were in many years. If you know you must make the decision to exit, one of the first things that comes to mind is the friends you’ll leave behind. During the weeks before I left, and when I was reaching out for understanding, I was talking to an associate pastor of another Christian church. He was encouraging me to leave and I remarked to him, “Well, what about the friends I have in there?” I know he meant well and had been kind, but he didn’t understand the heart-wrenching pain one goes through as he replied, “Oh forget about those people, you’ll make new friends.” My answer to him now would be, “No, I won’t forget about those people. As I see them walking around in there, I see them as people who have great value and worth.”
Yes, leaving is hard because we lost so much. But we have the chance to gain so much in the end: the freedom to think and speak without fear, the knowledge that we are free from the Law of Moses; the understanding of grace, the security of everlasting life, the attainment of peace; the love of the real God. Does that mean that everything will be rosy once we leave? Oh no! There were times when it was almost impossible for me to express how hopeless I felt. It was like an accumulation of everything I had lost in my life. Things just seemed to go on and on and on and never end. It was like being in a big pit lined with depression, grief, fear and misery all around, asking “why” and feeling that you can’t take much more.
Sometimes I was haunted by the faces of the people I knew and the picture would fill me with sadness and pain because their life had been taken away and they didn’t know it. If some of them knew what they have been a part of, it would destroy them. One face that kept coming to mind was a man we used to talk to. Behind the shyness and constant smiling face was much loneliness and hurt. The pain in his life clearly showed through in a writing about himself that he shared with us one time. He never would have believed it if someone had told him he had so much hidden talent. We were unable to help him much, as his very life belonged to “God’s true Church.”
I was grieved to think of all the years that I lost the concept of what Jesus was really like. It still is hard at times to grasp His true nature: His gentleness, His faithfulness, His care, His love. All the attributes that Herbert Armstrong / Worldwide Church of God twisted. But I’m thankful He led me out of that terrible system of bondage and deceit and continues to reveal Himself and encourage me in ways I never knew.
By H. C.
Exit & Support Network™
“…all men forsook me …Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.”
~II Timothy 4: 16, 17
“Nevertheless I am continually with thee…” ~Psalm 73:23