Later, Paul had to address a very similar situation with some other followers of Christ: You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
A lot of believers who have made the exodus from organized religion are angry, hurt and wounded at the institution and its leaders. But could it be their anger is misplaced? Note that Jesus did NOT say to beware of the religious leaders - but to beware of their 'leaven' (a type of yeast that caused fermentation in bread or liquid). Could it be that He knew how easily we would fall for this well-disguised, baited hook of corruption masquerading as truth? I mean, is it possible that Jesus initially gave this warning to ‘beware of the leaven' of the religious leaders because He knew that in our very flesh exists an innate liking, appetite or desire for this very leaven? Could it be that at one point in our lives leaven, or religion, was mighty attractive to us? Maybe our heavenly Father wants those who are still blaming their former religious leaders to take a sobering look at the possibility of the real fact - that hidden within their very own flesh is the very same spirit that was working in and through those they now blame for all of the religion-induced pain they are grappling with today. Why, then, should those who have left the institution be so angry at its hierarchy? Have those leaders not been duped by religion as well?
I know of no greater lie or deception than being SELF-deceived, and then passing the buck and blaming everyone else rather than seeing all that we have gone through as a wonderful wake-up call from our loving heavenly Father. Maybe He is bringing us to the place of recognizing for the first time the depth of the utter and total depravity of our fleshly thinking and the hidden inclination within US, to turn our lives over to somebody or something other than the Father of our spirit? Could it be that religion was instituted by Satan himself in the Garden for the sole purpose of enticing humanity with a substitute for the real thing (freedom) - and from that point on ALL humanity has fallen for the lie?