This book, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse,” that I am reading…wow, it’s eye opening! I resonate with so much of it from my own life experiences.
When I started this blog just over four years ago, I thought I was writing to people hurt by legalistic systems like Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Principles (the place that wounded me). But as I wrote and heard back from my readers, I realized that many of you had never heard of Bill Gothard. And yet, we still struggled with similar false ideas about God and performance based faith. At first I thought maybe Gothard had subtly influenced more of Evangelical Christianity that anyone knew. However, I’m starting to recognize a different truth.
This is just the brokenness of humanity.
I realize that spiritual abuse is a difficult term. The word “abuse” seems harsh. But what is more abusive than screwing up someone’s idea of the Bible, God, Jesus, themselves, and possibly jeopardizing their eternity?
Just like any other type of abuse, I really think there are varying degrees of spiritual abuse. Not everyone who is abused will spend time in a Christian cult like I did. It might be a lot more subtle.
- A church where the pastor is “the ultimate authority” and no one dares oppose him.
- A small group where people are pressured to practice the same spiritual disciplines or their “spirituality” is questioned.
- A youth group where teens leave feeling like all God cares about is their outward behavior.
- A Christian ministry where “correct behavior” is valued more than individual people.
Do you see where I am going with this? There are a lot of people out there who have been wounded (abused) by other Christians. It gets worse.
Too often, instead of recognizing the legitimate hurt of these beautiful, loved children of God, words get thrown around like “bitter” or “gossip” or “unforgiveness.” As my grandpa said, “Christians are the only armies in the world that shoot their wounded.” It makes me sick.
Ready for some truth?
You can forgive someone and also refuse to put yourself back into an unsafe situation. That doesn’t make you bitter or unforgiving. Taking care of yourself is a good thing.
Talking doesn’t make you a gossip. It all depends on who you are talking to and why. The “can’t talk” rule is not healthy and it only protects abusers. (More in a coming post.)
There are many fabulous, loved, valued people, made in God’s image who want nothing to do with the Bible, God, or the church because of things Christians have done, said, written, or left unsaid.
There are many incredible, valued, loved people, made in God’s image who struggle in their relationship with God…how they view Him, themselves, etc…because of things Christians have done, expected of them, or claimed the Bible said.
If this is you, I am so, SO sorry!
You have been hurt. You have been wronged. You have been lied to. It’s not okay.
My heart breaks for you.
Will you try and believe me when I say, this is not the real God?
Stick with me. Let’s keep talking and questioning. Because I have caught a glimpse of an amazing, mind-blowing, good, faithful, absolutely unconditionally loving God. He’s real and He wants you to know Him too.
If you have a story you want or need to share, please feel free to contact me or connect on Facebook or Instagram. I’d love to encourage you. 🙂