Posted by thrugracealone
I mentioned in my post on baptism that I’d been part of an “unhealthy group”. There’s really no need to name one… there are healthy and unhealthy churches under most-if not all-denominational banners.
What makes a church group-or any other group for that matter-unhealthy? There are lists published by people more qualified than I about exactly what constitutes an unhealthy group. My unprofessional synopsis is that if the group is consistently demanding or demeaning or a person finds himself doing things for them or with them in fear, the group is probably unhealthy for that person. Someone else may find the group to be healthy, but for the one living in fear, condemnation, shame, or other negativities, it’s unhealthy. And for anyone involved in creating those feelings, putting others down, acting disdainfully toward others, condemning and shaming others, the group is also unhealthy, though they might not realize or want to admit it. Bullies are victims as much as are the bullied.
What should a person in an unhealthy environment do? Some choose to stay there, hoping things will improve. Some try to change the group from the inside. Some ignore the problem or become part of it. And some leave.
I left. It wasn’t an easy decision, nor have things been easy since. Yet for me, it was the very best choice I could have made.
How does a person leave? Not pridefully or noisily. Not with fanfare or dramatically. Think about the high school clicks. Leaving with announcements of how terrible a click was only stirs their attitudes against the one who leaves. Trying to pull others out of the click, dividing people off, only leads to the development of new clicks. Too many people leave a group they despise only to do the same things they looked down on others for doing. The goal isn’t to start or find a new group that is just as unhealthy as the last, but rather to grow and mature into a healthy person. For that reason, to me, leaving an unhealthy situation quietly, carefully, respectfully and prayerfully seems the best in most cases.