What follows is a guest article written by Darin Hufford and posted on his blog May 20 of 2009.
I am finding more and more that people are suffering from a religious cancer that has eaten up nearly every healthy part of their spirit. Oddly enough, our religion, with its iron fisted teachings and oppressive practices is actually NOT the primary source of this cancer. Religiosity and spiritual tyranny are merely offshoots of a more serious and deadly malignancy. The very source of all these things has to do with our picture of who God is.
The reality is that the picture of God that most Christians in America hold in their heart, is not only corrupt and inaccurate; it's outright untrue to the very core. It's an entirely different person altogether. This is not something that can be fixed or repaired. Most people attempt to slowly and methodically correct their misperceptions one at a time in hopes that when they're finished, they will have the real God. In other words they believe that they actually have the real God in their mind, but they've misjudged Him in a few areas, and once those areas are corrected, all will be fine. While this may be true for some people I have found that for many more, it's not even the tip of the iceberg.
For countless Christians, their view of God is so twisted and fictitious that it's not even God at all. They have yet to meet Yahweh. The god they have been worshiping is not even an impersonator of Yahweh. He is something different altogether. He's a different person with a different heart and different motives and expectations. Nothing about him has anything to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He cannot be altered or restored into Yahweh. It just doesn't happen that way.
The bottom line is that a striking number of sincere people have been duped and brain-washed into joining a cult. They go into it thinking that they are going to meet and begin a relationship with Yahweh Himself, but almost immediately they are handed an impostor. It was the typical bait and switch move, and they fell for it hook, line and sinker. A year later, they are serving, worshiping and trying desperately to please an impostor.
Some people may read this and say to themselves, "Where was Yahweh when one of His children was truly seeking Him? Why didn't He step in and show them the truth?" My answer to this is that He did. Over and over He did, but most of us disregarded those checks in our spirit about what the preacher was telling us. He spoke over and over during sermons saying, "That's not right.....that's not Me" and if you recall, you heard Him loud and clear. Most of us purposefully numbed ourselves to Yahweh's voice because listening to it could cause us havoc in our relationships we had built within the confines of the Cult. We actually knew Yahweh in our heart, but we willingly traded Him out for something that would drug us and ultimately kill us.
Once we break free from the Cult, many of us follow the same predictable pattern of those who went before us. We try our best to salvage certain aspects of the Cult because, "It wasn't all bad." We do this because there is still a place in our hearts that just doesn't get it. There is still something within us that believes we can have our Cult and Yahweh too. We're not ready to admit that we have been wrong about pretty much everything for all our lives. This is perhaps the biggest obstacle I see people wrestle with. To believe in Yahweh, means that they have to admit that they've wasted their entire life putting time and energy into a fraud. Most people I know are not willing to do that. This is why they cling to their cult-god so tightly and attempt to give him a personality makeover in hopes that he will somehow become Yahweh.
I have found in most circumstances, a complete divorce from the cult-god is necessary. Getting to this point is the hard part because most people are terrified of what might happen if they were to actually abandon the god they grew up with. They also fear the in-between time where they won't have a god at all. This is precisely why most of us opt to fix the cult-god rather then leave him altogether. Unfortunately, fixing him is not an option, so divorce and complete abandonment is the only option.
The problem is, for many people, leaving the cult-god is like a battered wife attempting to leave her controlling and abusive husband. Almost supernaturally she finds herself drawn back to his embrace. Amazingly, people spend the first half of their life trying to hold on to their belief in their terrible cult-god and then they spend the second half trying to let go. Leaving is easier said than done. Relationships like these usually end in violence or death. Most abusive wives hate their situation but they aren't ready to leave. This is also true for people under the control of the cult-god. They're unhappy, but many times they're not unhappy enough. In my experience, a person never escapes the cult-god until they hate him to death. This is one reason why the institution programs every Christian to live in absolute fear of "becoming bitter or angry." They know it's the last step before a person leaves.
Understanding that the god many of us have grown up with is not Yahweh, is key to our healing. It makes it go twice as fast because you aren't dealing with a thousand things you have to forgive Yahweh for before you can love Him. It's must easier to walk away from the cult-god and come to Yahweh then it is to turn the cult-god into Yahweh. This is confusing for most people because when they asked God into their heart, they actually received Yahweh; however, almost every teaching after that was a description of the heart and character of the cult-god. This is why many people make the mistake of thinking they are one and the same. For healing to take place, it's imperative that you be able to separate the two. You must leave the one and embrace the other.
This is why we are seeing the recent phenomena of people leaving their churches. This is happening throughout America and the world on a massive scale. Studies, reports, and articles about the decline in church attendance have surfaced from all of the major news organizations. Meanwhile, the "Christian world" is at a total loss for what to do. People aren't leaving because they found a better church; they're leaving because they found a better God. They tried bringing their new God to church on Sunday, but they were sternly rebuked and told to shut up. Eventually they had no other choice but to leave the institution altogether.
The hierarchy of the institution is now scrambling to adjust to the mass exodus, and in doing so they are desperately seeking ways to keep the people they still have. Predictably,they attempt the same feat of giving the cult-god a makeover in an effort to fool those who stayed into thinking he is Yahweh. Those who never knew Yahweh will buy into it, but for those of us who have met Him, nothing will compare. Knowledge of Yahweh causes a mandatory freedom to spring forth in a person's life. Being trapped in a building once a week, under traditions, rules, and priestly control is contrary to the DNA of the Spirit of Yahweh. Knowing Him requires freedom. If you give up the freedom; you give up Yahweh. They are one and the same.
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