Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Abuse in the name of God

The church is an appealing place for the power-hungry, performance-trapped, people-pleasing types and they often strive for positions of leadership to fill voids of love and acceptance. The flip-side of this are those that go to church to brown-nose and make the leader an idol.

We're all a work in progress, but those appointed as leaders are held to a higher standard/accountability, and some of them are abusing their position. They "help" others by using scripture and common misguided Christianisms to solve or fix someone that always leaves the person feeling guilty or more confused. Here are a few examples:

1. Person seeking guidance asks the leader why he/she can't stop feeling depressed. The leader answers dogmatically, "This is the day the Lord has made, you 'should' be glad and rejoice in it."

2. Girl having suicidal thoughts vulnerably asks the leader why life is so bad and intolerable and the leader provides a "lovely" platitude, "You 'should' pull yourself up by your boot-straps and marvel at all of God's creations. When you do this, you will never want to think negatively again."

3. Drug addict whose life is in shambles asks the leader if he could get some help/assistance in being free of the addiction. The hard-charging and ignorant leader says, "When you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, all the chains of addiction were removed. You are a new creation and never look at the past. Go and live in the knowledge of this."

Scriptures are true/God-inspired; however, they can be used to minimize and even dismiss pain the person feels. The scripture being used is an attempt too eradicate the smoke, but doesn't even come close to the fire burning deep within. Scriptures are better used after discussions on why the person is hurting to affirm God's truths over any lies the person believes about themselves or others. The mind will not be renewed by simply jamming scripture and platitudes down the throat of the hurting. Love is kind and is fully interested in why someone hurts.

Many people that I've lay-ministered in healing hurts have at least one very hurtful experience with their last church. Spiritual abuse is so very damaging, because it can have long-lasting negative effects on one's view of Christ and his followers. In essence, taking a wounded person and crushing him/her even more.

If you're not willing to listen and give mercy to a hurting person without giving a quick fix, please keep your mouth shut and refer them to me or others equipped to handle the situation.


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