“unhealthy groups”

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.


About thrugracealone

I'm a country girl raised city. I prefer open windows to AC, love a good thunderstorm, and enjoy hearing the owls and seeing lightning bugs. A bit old-fashioned, maybe, I can recognize many trees by name, resent elms and weeds, wish for a large garden and canning skills, and hope someday to downsize and get a few acres in the country. I am blessed with a terrific church, a good job, a sturdy house, two cats and a yard full of strawberries and mulberries in the right season. Some of my other favorite things to do are spoiling nieces and nephews, reading, swimming, biking, long walks, and blogging, of course. One of my favorite stories is creation. My abbreviated version goes like this: 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth wasa formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters... And God moved... And God said... And it was very good. If God can speak to darkness, to an earth without form and void, and make something like this that we see everyday, and make it very good (and it was even better before the Fall!), He will surely make something wonderful out of the dark, void situations I sometimes find myself in. He has, and it's been very good. Two top posts: Can a Person Lose their Salvation? http://wp.me/p1CY5z-1R Baptism! http://wp.me/s1CY5z-baptism

Posted on June 14, 2011, in Christianity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This was a great post. I’m in much agreement with you about how to leave these kinds of situations. The less noise you make, the less people tend to notice.

    – Chris (from DU)

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