Small Group Bible Study Leaders Are Bullying
(Seneca, SC, USA)
I had just been invited to join a small group bible study by a neighbor who is the leader of this group, sponsored by a church.
I did not realize that there is a fine line between a prayer request (sharing some details), and gossip. My prayers and situation resulted in the largest spree of gossip I have ever experienced. It is very painful, hurtful, and so very unfair.
I am already in a very unusually bad situation, and it only got worse because of the gossip. The person said that they were interested in helping me. Then this person proceeded to confide in all the other small group members in my absence, and then they talked to my property owners association group at a meeting. Then this person talked to their pastor.
Even though I found out that the church is considered "a cult," (they have about 19 different types of branches of this church in the south) this didn't make me feel better.
I just feel so stupid to have confided in someone claiming to be a Christian and wanting "to help." I do not ever think I will darken the doors of a church in this area ever again, for my own safety and privacy.
And the most hurtful thing? What could be more hurtful? This person now seems to dislike me intensely. I informally quit the group, telling them I need to work on my health. Which is true, but glad to have that excuse. Many of the group members began to talk down to me, as though I am missing something upstairs by which to think.
I have a disability, but I also have owned two businesses in my past, when I was younger and not as ill. I have two degrees. I have a daughter and two grand children, and have held responsible positions in legal position.
It is a part of the ignorance in this rural area about people with certain disabilities. That was a part of my prayer, that I find work. I have lived here six years and only had two job interviews.
It is not healthy for me to be around people where I am the target of gossip and people consider themselves so much better and more intelligent because of a seriously bad personal situation I fell into (relationship-wise).
I am just so torn up about this. I still believe in God, but I now know for certain, I am NOT a follower of his followers.