Sunday, January 08, 2006
So, what's a victim of spiritual abuse to do?
Thanks for all the input on this post for the last week. But here is some suggestions as to what are you to do if you find yourself in a situation that involves spiritual abuse.
Apart from serious emotional counseling, you will most likely face only two options:
First, Stay and Pray. This may be the most difficult option, but it still an option none the less. To remain in a climate of religious control is spiritually repressive, even toxic, to your spiritual health and the well-being of your family. But if you feel God (and not guilt!!!) requires you to stay, Stay and Pray.
As believer we know that situations can change in answer to prayer. But you need to know that in spiritually abusive groups you should expect change to come at a snail’s pace. Abusive leaders will vigorously resist any change that threatens their “anointed office,” especially if they, through training and upbringing, feel their position is scriptural.But if you decide to stay, do not stay to fight the leader or members.
Personally, I feel to stay in a contentious situation and to fight usually proves to be counterproductive, especially in an unhealthy environment of control, and does little good. If you have asked God to change the situation, allow Him to do so . . . without your help! Complaining and criticizing may give you a false sense of management over the crisis -- at least you are doing something, right? -- but it is a feeble and usually ineffectual way of striking back at your problem. Especially in abusively controlling relationships. It is best to leave the matter in God’s hands altogether or to leave the church altogether.
I also recommend, in these instances, that you seek wise counsel from an objective (and I stress the word “objective”), biblically knowledgeable and spiritually grounded pastor, friend or professional counselor. It is best to find someone outside your church. Openly and honestly share the problem from your perspective and listen and be prepared to listen to what they have to tell you.Secondly, Leave. This may be the most difficult option especially of you have strong ties to the church, but it still an option none the less. Leaving a church or organization is a difficult decision to make, especially when you have close friends and community.
But remember is it possible that your friends will resist your decision to leave their fellowship. Others may brand you as a troublemaker or accuse you of abandoning them. But, you need to know that the Bible supports, and even encourages, your decision to flee from spiritually abusive and oppressive situations (e.g., Rom.16.17-18; Col.2.4, 8; 2 Tim.2.14-16; 3 John 3 9-11).
Jesus made it very clear to His generation that they were not to trust nor submit to the oppressive control of the Pharisees. However, if you leave, Cleave to your faith in Jesus Christ. Avoid the temptation to become a casualty by dropping-out. Before leaving a spiritually malignant group, seek and follow the advice of a godly Christian leader who can advise you impartially. Simply running away from a problem is no solution, especially if you have no direction in which to flee. Locate a spiritual community that is based on servant-leadership and mutual respect and love for one another, whose priorities and leadership follow the model of Jesus Christ, and whose teachings are sound.
Just my thoughts…what are yours?
Posted by SoulPastor at 10:46 PM