CHURCH HURT – OVERCOMING RELIGIOUS ABUSE FROM SPIRITUAL BULLIES

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized
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It’s been said that only Christians eat their own, and sadly has become more a reality than what some would like to admit and a subject many would like to simply avoid. But the truth remains the same regardless how much we would like to ignore this fact, that people have and are getting hurt in the one place where there should be no hurt – church.

We’ve all been there, where something was said about another believer and the result was that person on the receiving end of said comment became hurt to the point where they all but gave up, on the church, on the body and ultimately, on their faith. It does happen. But it shouldn’t. Yet astoundingly, there are three professions in the United States which have a high rate of abuse, they are; Police, Military and Pastoral (National Organization From Victims of Abuse). While not every pastor is an abuser, yet pastoral abuse, be it verbal, spiritual, or in some cases physical, abuse does happen. Even more disturbing is that in many cases, there is more abuse which occurs in the church than in some homes where abuse tends to happen more often. Why is this? It’s because in many cases where spiritual abuse takes place, either with leadership or with members themselves, they have lost their way by rejecting the cross and instead, the object of their faith becomes something else entirely.

When the cross is no longer the reference point (object of faith) then the love of God then becomes vacant in the life of a person and then flesh begins to dominate their ability to lead or to love. When that happens, the fruit of the spirit (which is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Gal. 5:22-23) becomes void and a spirit of the flesh yields up and the end result is the fruit of the flesh (hate, control, envy, jealousy, bitterness, pride, slander, gossip, religion, ego and lust).

The end result is people get hurt.

I have seen church leaders mock and even belittle another believer to the point where that person left the church virtually in emotional and spiritual ruin. I’ve seen the result of gossip and slander toward another believer to where the story wasn’t even true, but it was stated out of resentment and jealousy and the result was the same, the person being spoken about ended up leaving the church. To be clear, there is absolutely no reason for abuse, be it spiritual or otherwise in the body of Christ, actually, to do such is SIN! Yes, God hates gossipers and slanderers just as he hates perversion (Proverbs 19:5).

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19

Jesus himself made it even more clearer in Luke 17:2, when he stated; ” It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” The fact is, it’s a dangerous thing to hinder the life of someone who is in the faith to cause them to stumble. The apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 8:12 “And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.” It is wrong to abuse, gossip, hurt and cause another believer to stumble and those who do such need to repent.

So how does one overcome when they have been hurt in the church? The best answer I can give is to turn every hurt and every bruise over to Christ. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). The answer is to turn your hurt over to him who loves us unconditionally and desires us to trust him. It’s a terrible thing when someone is hurt in the house of God, it’s especially hard when the trust one has placed into another who is in the place of spiritual guidance falls into flesh and betrays that trust, but we must understand, while we do not respond in hate, we must love – always love. God will judge every matter that has not been repented of in this life.

Yet this is how the enemy destroys the lives of those whom have been hurt, and he uses that betrayal to sow discord to such a degree that the offended individual begins to fall into bitterness and then, over time, that bitterness, if left unchecked, will turn into anger and deep resentment that their heart will become hardened to the gospel and the spirit of God to bring about restoration and ultimately healing. The result is one who will then never listen to the word again, and quite possibly their soul will be lost. This is the ultimate betrayal – their soul. It has been said many times that the hardest person to deal with is someone who was hurt by the church.

Did this occur in the early church? Absolutely it did. Jesus had to deal on more than one occasion a spirit of pride which tried to slip into the 12 disciples. Peter questioned John’s role, while the sons of thunder – James and John, argued over who would sit next to Christ in the hereafter. Never underestimate that Satan’s role in all of this is what is at play here. For it is Satan himself who is troubling the waters of discontent within the church for one purpose – destroying the body of Christ. That’s why we must learn to understand that when gossip is being stated about another, our first and only response is to deal with it quickly so that that particular spirit does not infect the rest of the body itself. Nipping it in the bud before it can grow is the only answer.

Overcoming hurt and betrayal is possible and the only way is to simply pray for healing. Yes, men will always at some point, betray us, we’re all human beings, and as such flesh will, at times, lash out. But when we understand that the object of our faith is Christ and what he did on the cross, we will begin to walk in the spirit so that we won’t desire, nor seek to hinder another’s walk. Yes Gossip happens, yes rumors will occur, but the avenue for overcoming such verbal assault is to rebuke it at it’s source and allowing the power of God to lead us and guide us in such a way that when those things do occur, we will know how to respond, not out of flesh, but out of spirit – which is love. Love will always be the spirit in which healing can occur when we are hurt or have been hurt by others. The love of forgiveness. This is why Jesus said to But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

Religious bullies, spiritual abusive pastors will sadly always be around us, they are symptoms of a growing trend within the church who do not know the love of God. However, when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead and direct us, we will begin to spot those individuals and do as Paul stated Romans 16:17 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”  And if you have been or are being abused, don’t stay there! leave that place and those who would try to do you wrong. God does not advocate spiritual bullies, nor does he use such people, they are people who have lost their way, but you must remember that God loves you and his sole intention is for you to overcome and grow in Christ and in due season, he will help you heal and ultimately the pain of the past will begin to fade and once again you’ll walk in freedom from those who once tried to destroy you. That is his promise and his desire – to see you fulfill your walk in life and his perfect will.

 

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  4. Chong May Kuan says:

    Thank you.

    Last year in the month of October 2014, I was in the Bible study in one of the independent Prophetic school in Malaysia. I really don’t know why the lady pastor was suddenly demanded me with her question: “What is your problem?” In that beginning of the class I was quiet since the conversation was fully otime, ied on the work challenges shared by my friend. When the question asked by a pastor to me; I said “no problem” through my head sign. THen, she shouted at me: “What is your problem?!”. I looked at her stunt trying to digest what actually she means. THen, she said: “Are you sure you have no problem?!” and her finger pointed to me demanding me not to lie to her. But in fact all the while I had no words at all. …It doesnt mean I am being reserved or hiding. I just enjoyed the fellowship and friendship because I was blessed by the Prophetic school for 2 years at that time….and my life was transformed. I really appreciate and thankful and that is why I continued to attend seminars and Bible classes organized by this prophetic school. Then during the prayer time after she raised her voice to me: she prayed for me and I was very shocked…with her angry tone (as though i had done something wrong). Then, I attended the final day of seminar. ANd after that I no longer come to the Prophetic school anymore. THe reason I stopped attended their seminars and Bible studies because I feel very unrest, my heart, emotion and mental is striving, unrest, disturbed, confused, uncomfortable and not peaceful by that judgment. I just wished she could take her time to understand and listen enough before she let out all the assumptions that humiliated me. Dont get me wrong. Their teaching is pretty much aligned with the Word of God.

    I remembered in the past I didn’t have personal transport to go to seminar (Prophetic seminars organized by independent Prophetic school). At that tIme, I had been relying on 3-4 times public transport. AT night after prayer meeting and seminar in that Prophetic school, sometimes I ride along with other member to drop me at the train station for me to pursue another few round of transports to go home. There was time, at night I attended prayer meeting and I never tell anyone how I came. And after the prayer meeting finished, I stood outside and waited for a cab. I was a bit scared because I was standing alone in the dark at night. And I had to keep dial in to call the cab because most of the cabs do nOT interested to pass by that area. But I thanked God, it was amazing experience. At that time 7 months later I got my car and able to drive and fetch people to Prophetic school.

    NOw, its already one year past I had absent from this Prophetic school. I thanked God that the Lord is still looking after me and I am where I am heading right now in my life. Aside from serving in my own church, I still stick to my church cellgroup for almost 3years. ALso, I am with my current career for almost 6 years. ANd I am prune to learn more new things at fast pace environment of my work.

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