This is not meant to be an “Oh, poor me” cry for sympathy, or a “Look what I’ve gone through” statement. I am simply sharing some hurtful experiences I’ve had with brothers and sisters in Christ who have sat in judgment of me. I share these things because I am overwhelmed by the hypocrisy and the lack of love in the church. I am saddened that people profess one thing and live another.
My wife used to go to a certain dentist she really liked. I made an appointment with him for a problem I was having. I got to his office and the waiting room was filled with things representing Christianity. It pleased me that the dentist himself was apparently a Christian. After fixing my tooth problem he asked for my permission to try something. Trusting him, I gave my permission. Before I got out of the chair I asked if I could get a mouth guard for grinding teeth. My lower teeth were chipped from grinding my teeth. He told me it was too early for a mouth guard. I instinctively knew that was wrong. When I got in my car I looked at the mirror and saw that he had ground one of my front teeth down to the extent that it was shorter than my other teeth. It looked hideous. I never let him touch my teeth again, but every time I took my wife to see him he couldn’t look me in the eye.
This was typical of the treatment I have received through the years from all sorts of people, mostly Christians. For instance, at one time I attended a monthly Saturday men’s breakfast at a local church. About the third or fourth Saturday that I attended, one of the men began talking about speaking to our problems. A few others began admonishing all of us in attendance that we should learn to speak to our problems. I raised my hand and the leader called on me to speak. I said as humbly as I could that when I have a problem, I submit myself to God, and that He leads me in, and through, my problems, teaching me lessons as I go. You could have heard a pin drop. Nothing more was said on the subject. I attended two more of the Saturday breakfast meetings and no one so much as spoke to me. I quit going to them. This was three years ago. To this day, the gentlemen who were regulars at the meetings go out of their way to avoid me.
Years before this, in another state, I was invited to a Bible study at a friend’s home. When I got there, and before the study even started, a man who didn’t even know me, looked at me and said, “I don’t care who you are or what you know, I don’t want to hear a word out of you tonight.” It turned out that he was the leader of the Bible study. My friend told me later that this man had always seemed very humble and helpful. She was dumbfounded by what he said to me.
Some pastors have warned their people about me, calling me a false servant. One such pastor twisted my words and accused me of saying something I never said. He, or his church, posted a movie of his sermon on FB and I saw and heard him lie from the pulpit. The wife of a man who was raised from the dead when I prayed for him later accused me of several horrible things I didn’t do. She just made them up in an effort to hurt me. She also was a recipient of God’s grace and mercy when she had a bad cold. At a service she asked me to pray for her, and the Lord took her cold from her when I laid hands on her. I could go on and on about people who have done things for no reason, other than to hurt me, but I will close with one more experience that hurt me deeply.
One of the most hurtful experiences I’ve had was in the late ’70’s or early ’80’s after my spirit was caught up with Jesus, Peter, James, John and Paul, when Jesus told me of my call and several other things. A few days later my pastor, who was also my friend, and I were driving somewhere in my pickup. I started telling him about the experience, and he immediately interrupted me, calling me a liar. He then rolled down the passenger window of my truck and hung his head out to keep from hearing what I was saying. He was the first person I tried to tell about this experience. After his reaction, I didn’t speak of it again until 2017. I told only two people then, and they both thought I should share it with others. After much prayer, I wrote the letter, ‘A Little about Me,’ and put it on http://www.lettersforchristians.com.
These, and many more things like these, have been an ongoing part of my Christian life. It has been hard at times to accept this, but it has been necessary to accept it. For as Paul told Timothy, “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2Timothy 3:12. It’s just sad that Christians seem to be my worst enemies.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
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