There was a time when I would automatically trust someone because they said they were a christian. That went doubly so for anyone in leadership in a church. Stupidly, naively, I bought into the idea that christians in general, and christian leaders in particular, could be trusted.
As much as I still sometimes feel angry at myself for that stupidity, the fact is that I did believe it.
And I learned the hard way that it wasn't true.
And in the aftermath of that disillusionment, I have now been able to admit that I have been left with a distrust of church leaders.
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Once bitten, twice shy.
That doesn't mean I'm bitter. And it doesn't mean I'm unforgiving. It doesn't even mean that the wounds I received haven't scarred over. It just means I've learned from what I went through.
I'm still willing to be open. I'm still willing to be loyal. I'm even still willing to be vulnerable.
But I won't trust automatically. And I won't trust blindly.
And I won't go back into a religious system which has proved to be so unsafe. Because it places one man (or woman) in a position of power and authority over their brothers and sisters. And I've never yet met anyone who doesn't eventually let that power go to their heads.