I was talking to a friend at work today and somehow the conversation turned to the subject of spiritual abuse. As we spoke, I shared information with her and told her about my posts regarding spiritual abuse as well as my personal experiences in an abusive church.
She was shocked! Totally ignorant regarding this subject, she asked questions hoping to gain understanding. Her reaction confirmed what I’ve known for some time.
Spiritual abuse is a well kept secret that the church has swept under the rug. Rarely, if ever, is it addressed by the leadership. Yet, thousands of believers are being victimized today. People are still being held in captivity and new captives are being taken. Although these captives are brothers and sisters, there is no cry of outrage. For the most part, the institution ignores the problem.
Spiritual abuse is founded on the traditions that are the lifeblood of the institutional church. The primary tradition that enables spiritual abuse to continue is the clergy/laity distinction which places one person above the others. Although abusive churches carry this tradition to an extreme, if it were to be exposed for the lie that it is, it would have a ripple effect that would have serious consequences for all institutional forms of religion.
The primary goal of all institutions is the furtherance and growth of the institution. The mindset is that the institution is to be protected at all costs. The result is that people are left unprotected and are sacrificed in order to make sure that the institution continues to thrive and gain strength.
One of the lies that has kept people silent has been the teaching that it’s a sin to get angry. The truth is that Jesus was angry enough to use a whip in the temple when he saw the innocent being victimized by a heartless system. I believe as children of God with the nature of God, we also need to get angry when we see the innocent being victimized by spiritual abuse or any other man made tradition.
As I search the web, I’m excited to see that the silence is being broken and that people are speaking out. There’s a cry of outrage that is being raised up. Blogs and websites have been started to inform and encourage those who have been victimized. Many who have been silent about the hurt and abuse they’ve experienced are finding out that they’re not alone. It’s not hopeless. Others have been abused and moved past it to a place of freedom.
In an attempt to provide information to help those who have been victimized, I have a list of resources regarding spiritual in my sidebar. Also, for easier reference, I will be adding a special section giving links to my posts on spiritual abuse. My hope is that this will be a helpful tool for all who need this information.
After I wrote the first draft of this post, I read Darin Hufford’s latest post regarding "Anger Management." As usual, Darin has great insight which I believe the church needs to hear. After reading what he had to say, I added to my post a few additional thoughts regarding anger that his comments inspired. I think you’ll be encouraged by what Darin has to say. To read his post, follow this link.
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke