Grateful – feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.
Disillusionment – a feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be.
This is kind of an oxymoron when thought about. It’s like saying “happily disappointed.” Why would anyone ever be happy to be disappointed?
When I first started seeing “behind the curtain” of the institutional congregation I was a part of, my first reaction was severe disappointment. There wasn’t much gratitude. However, this was exactly what my spirit had cried out to God for—to be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus. In order for this to happen though, my eyes first had to be opened to what was really going on, even so far as hearing it directly from the leaders’ mouths.
I really don’t want to inflate this post with all of the things that I witnessed. I’ve written plenty of other posts denoting those things. In short, it was a far cry from how Jesus ministered.
It’s been a little over two years since my eyes were opened. For about 6 months after that, I was just going on fumes and was finding fewer and fewer reasons to even make an effort on Sundays and Wednesdays anymore. Eventually, my wife and I decided together that it was time to move on.
I searched through other congregations, but found, through their public statements and members’ views, that the same type of things were going on in all of the local congregations that I knew about. Somehow, this 1st century itinerant Jewish Rabbi of the Bible had become a white American conservative republican patriotic figure. And if you didn’t believe in that Jesus, and didn’t submit to that religion, you were labeled as sinner, backslider, heretic, doubtful…or worse.
It still amazes me how Christians attempt to cram the Bible down others’ throats without much understanding of Jesus’ teachings. Eagles and Flags are placed around Jesus and crosses in an attempt to amalgamate him with the American Dream. The American Dream was never remotely part of Jesus’ teachings though. In fact, it is mostly contradictory to them. We can’t serve two masters….
As may be evident above, I’m still working through much of my disillusionment. Though, day by day, I grow more grateful that Jesus allowed those blinders placed by religion to be removed. I’ve read many peoples’ stories that have gone through this same process. First, a shunning, shaming, or silencing when they try to speak to the things they begin to see. Then, a hesitant abandonment of the manipulated forms of love they’ve been subjected to. When walking away from man-made love towards the astonishing love of Jesus, a gratefulness infills and brings about waves of exponential spiritual growth. This is, often, much to the disdain of many of those who are no longer able to bind these by their forms of religiosity.
For me, while I’m still working through small pockets of bitterness, I can promise to any who have embarked on this journey—it does get better! This beautiful relationship of freedom in Jesus is far more filling than anything I was ever led to believe I could experience—in this life or the next. Human endeavors to replicate this from within a religion have, for centuries, fallen far short.
Only a direct relationship with Jesus will ever fulfill that emptiness that religion promises to fill week after week in the institutional settings. The fleeting and manipulated emotional injunctions do not compare with a direct love relationship with Jesus.
I pray for all those who’ve been sold lies in order to maintain a worldly business. I pray that we can all find the boldness to seek Jesus directly and cast off the shackles that we’re constantly bound with.
May you be gratefully disillusioned through the love of Jesus Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit to know Father’s heart of love for you!