Will I ever lose the fear of being judged by that group?
This is a question that is often asked when a person leaves an unhealthy church. Often it is in relation to the various standards that are taught.
If you have recently left, you shouldn’t be tough on yourself in this area. This will subside and should stop over time if you sort through the various issues and become confident in what the Bible truly teaches about them.
I shouldn’t look for the approval of man but even though I know in my heart what I am doing is not wrong, why do I yet feel this way? I don’t understand it!
Unhealthy churches are often performance based. The intensity varies from church to church and is dependent upon the leadership and to an extent the members. Your acceptance is based upon your performance. How you view yourself is also based upon how well you follow the list of rules. Many of us learned to judge others while in our group, or at least looked to see if they were lining up with all the rules. Many of us soon learned that others would look at us and judge us by the outward appearance.
It is not abnormal to have struggles in this area after leaving. You know people are going to look at you and judge you because of what was seen while you were there. Most people do care what others think of them, especially those close.
Here is what is important, as far as I am concerned: that you believe what you are doing does not violate what is shown in scripture. As a believer, you answer to God for these things. If your heart does not condemn you in what you allow, because you see the truth of the matter in the Bible, then the opinions of people don’t mean a thing. They are not your judge.
How does God see you? This is what matters. Fortunately, God will not judge you by what others think or teach.
As you get these things deeper into your heart, and as your relationship with Jesus grows stronger and more distance is placed between you and your former church, they should no longer continue to disturb you. You may still feel hurt for awhile if someone judges you or looks you up and down disapprovingly, but you won’t go around worried that others will see you.
I am still in a UPC church and people there clearly judge me, even shun me because I don’t see anything wrong with certain standards. This is hard!
It’s more difficult to break from this while one is continually exposed to it, especially in a situation where people in the church shun you. You are continually reminded of their disdain and disapproval and are regularly subjecting yourself to the performance based atmosphere. While not impossible, it will be much harder for you to break from this mindset while you are yet attending such a church.
Something that may help you as you come to terms with it all is to think about this: What is the worst thing that could happen if someone from the church sees you wearing (whatever) or doing (whatever)?
What can their words actually do? When you think about it, for most situations, not very much can happen other than hurt feelings.
Remember the mindset that causes their reactions and that should help you to process any negativism, though it doesn’t make the rejection feel better.