I received my online Bible devotional this morning and the title made me to cringe. I have been following this Christian devotional every week day, for some time, and I totally enjoy the messages shared. Thankfully I have been gaining insight from these devotionals long enough to know that this reaction was not something I should be having. I realised that it must be a trigger word that my past experiences have caused within me.
As an Aspie I can take things literally
Only with age, LOTS of thinking and listening through my loops, have I learned that things/people are not always the way they seem. My many loops are constantly questioning and planning…that’s on my good days. On my bad days they are accusing and taunting me with words and memories of those who have not loved or accepted me for who I am.
The title of the devotional is, “Becoming more fruitful.”
Not really something that should make a Christian cringe.
Let me explain my understanding of why this happened.
My first reaction was to close my email and not read it AT ALL.
My heart called out to God with the words,
“Please God I can’t cope with the pain of any more people,
I don’t want to become more fruitful.”
I can giggle about this now but this morning this was very real and all confused in my head. I wasn’t understanding God’s word for me but hearing the words of those in positions of authority from when I was in a religious sect.
I opened up the devotional and read the following
The Vine and the Branches
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I then pondered on what the Bible says is the fruit of the Spirit.
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Then I allowed the replay of my past
I allowed myself to relive this visual, and it really hurt. I relived the interpretation and this time I KNEW it was not the truth. It was just another person following a doctrine that had been given to her from another. I know I also passed this understanding on to those that I believed God had put in my care. This kind of religious belief causes so much confusion, especially to those who are hurting, vulnerable and seeking for truth. Those who want to see good and trust too easily.
When you grow up feeling totally alien and misunderstood
Not knowing why you can’t fit, and not understanding why life is so complicated and people hurt you so deeply all the time. Then someone offers you answers and they seem to know what they are talking about. It is so very easy to just follow.
In this sect I was very good at imitating those in leadership
I believed in my heart that this was my calling. My obsessive Aspie ways and my need to know, pushed me to seek out the best ways to fit, to be accepted in a group of “very happy people.”
Only when it was put on me that I was responsible for the so called “spiritual growth” of those put in my care did I start to retreat/shutdown and eventually meltdown. I suffered total burnout from the constant pretence and plastic smiles.
I am very open and honest by nature, so in this environment I got heavily challenged constantly and rebuked quite often. I have always been a person who wants to please others, so I obeyed and submitted to those I saw as my leaders, I believed they were chosen by God. Also a lot of submission scriptures were twisted to the gain of those who used them.
Being fruitful in this particular church
Meant…You were mature enough spiritually to look after/oversee large amounts of people. You had proven that you could go out and find people who you would convert to this belief. This also meant you were expected to give a daily account for anything you might be doing that doesn’t fit with this particular doctrine, interpretation of scripture. Also give account for those you had in your group.
So I can see a trigger word now…”fruitful”
I wonder how many more there are?
A vulnerable Aspie looking after vulnerable people and being told to push them, using scripture, to be more productive. Eventually when I did snap, when I did refuse to do what I was told to do. I was seen as struggling and weak, rebellious a fall away and my group was distributed to others.
I can see now that this was totally God
At the time though it broke my heart. I went straight to my Bible and really got stuck in.
After studying scripture for myself, not for others. When I was then told what to do I already had my own conviction. The damage was done though because much of the Bible had now got a slant and reading it after leaving this church was impossible. I spent 4 years not being able to read the one book that gives me comfort. It took a lot of prayer and my Mom’s faith, her unconditional love and acceptance to bring me through this and still I would not trust anyone who said they loved God.
In the sect that I was part of, following its teachings. The word fruitful was twisted and used to praise and raise up those who brought great numbers of people to church. We had cranked the streets and been very persuasive in our choice of words. I will say when I was doing this I did believe, whole heartedly, that I was doing God’s work. I totally felt that what I was doing was right and I was helping people. I know that there are some wonderful and very sincere people in these type of sects. However mankind has its tendency to put power where it should not be, and raise up the wrong ideas.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruit of the spirit.
They are born in us through acceptance of God’s love, mercy and grace. With these we can share His love and our love with those in our lives. Also we naturally share our faith and love with those who are seeking and listening for Him who brings light into the darkness.
It’s NOT about Bible bashing and street cranking for me.
I’m an Aspie, it never was! God created me this way and He knows me better than I know myself. He saw my heart when I pushed myself, WAY out of my comfort zone and into crowds of people. I trusted He would guide me and lead me and keep me safe…I was terrified, but I did what I thought I had to do. I didn’t understand that God loves me unconditionally, because I felt worthless. I didn’t understand that I don’t have to please Him, just love Him back and accept His sacrifice.
My thoughts while praying today were,
The fruit when ripe drops from the tree and it is scattered; some fruit is carried away by animals and buried. It rots away and the seed deep inside germinates and grows roots. It remains hidden, resting, feeding. It is covered, sheltered while its roots dig down deep and then it starts to emerge, it grows. It blooms and blossoms and looks magnificent. Then when that tree is mature, healthy and ready it will bear fruit and nourish that fruit until the fruit is ready to be picked or to fall.
We all have dead branches, and pruning can be painful at times.
Sometimes it’s a case of finding those hidden branches, the things in our past that we don’t always see. Then allowing the healing through tears to water and feed the seed of truth and freedom.
I think this Bible devotional, that I nearly didn’t read, turned out to be pretty fruitful for me.
Love and hugs.
Lisa. xx 🙂