SPIRITUAL ABUSE: WHEN A PASTOR OR MINISTRY BEGINS TO ABUSE THEIR PEOPLE

Posted: July 13, 2014 in HOT TOPICS
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abuse

 

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly–not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.” 1 Peter 5:2-4


Never allow ANYONE abuse you in the name of Christ. Spiritual abuse within the church is a very serious occurrence and happens much more than you think. Pastors who beat their people into submission, ministries who manipulate the word in order to gain your last dollar and do it in the name of the cross, are symptoms relating to spiritual abuse within the church.

The gospel does not come with an iron rod and a imposing pulpit. The gospel comes with grace, tempered with love and humility. When anyone, be it another believer, pastor, prophet or anyone else, uses the word to condemn another believer, if they use their knowledge of scripture to harass or belittle someone else into what they believe as truth, that individual is an abuser, they are a bully and they should be ignored and left alone.

When someone pressures you into believing as they do, and they rant and carry on by using the word to prove they’re right, what they are actually doing is called intimidating the person through religion and it’s evil. Satan is the only one who works thru intimidation, guilt and fear. When someone begins to display certain traits relating to Christian behavior and ministry to where others begin to feel uncomfortable and uneasy, it’s a sure sign one needs to get away from that person, or ministry, regardless of how popular they are or it is, for the only result will be a believer who will become abused through the course of their time with that particular leader. It happens quite often.

When a church leader begins to abuse, the signs are very clear: control, intimidation, financial pressure to constantly give to the “gospel”, threats of a curse if one does not tithe, desiring to know personal matters, involving themselves with a members life outside the church and then desire to control those situations, even involving themselves in the personal relationships of a person, be it dating relationship or marriage, are indicators that leader is operating in an abusive role.

Even many popular ministries are by their own right, guilty of abusing those who offer their time and support in the work that is being done. Constant monitoring of others (spying), controlling where a believer goes as it relates to another ministry, even having an online presence, many times a ministry will begin to censor someone from simply engaging with others in an online forum, or a Facebook account and the result is that ministry then begins to dictate what they can and cannot speak about online. Again, it is spiritual abuse.

If a pastor states, “It’s my way or the highway” – leave them. Do not stay in an environment which the leader has made themselves supreme in behavior and conduct. This is again spiritual abuse.

Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you”, he never established the roles within the church (pastor, apostle, prophet or evangelist or teacher) so that those within that role begin to lord over others, we are all equal in the eyes of God and as such, there is no one greater than the other. Actually, Jesus made it clear that we are to SERVE one another. Serving someone means to humble oneself so that they are portraying the grace of God, not in a position of rule of authority, but simply allowing themselves to help others. That is the only solution to spiritual abuse within the church, coming back to the cross.

Spiritual abuse is damaging, it can ruin lives and end the trust of many who fall victim to those who abuse their role in the lives of others. They are abusers who have no genuine love for others, nor do they desire to be loved, they hold those positions because deep down inside, they were probably abused as well at some point by someone in authority, and the cycle keeps going.

The answer that can only break such a demonic cycle is Christ and a humbling of ones spirit, that is the only answer. Spiritual abuse can be overcome before it destroys others, but it takes a repentance of the heart and a humbling of the spirit of someone who has fallen under this spirit – and it is a spirit. Ours is not to rule over, nor abuse by our talents, gifts, wisdom or other, ours is to love and to motivate those around us, that is the reason why God has placed us within such a position, not to be vindictive, but to nurture others along the way. That is the spirit of Christ at work and not one who is a spiritual abuser.

 

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

Comments
  1. pwoeckener says:

    This is a difficult topic to discern, and even more difficult to root out. A lot of the time spiritual abuse is extremely subtle and unintentional. I also think the personality of leaders and the position that they are in sometimes leads to this unintentionally. So many pastors are inundated with a million things that they are just trying to keep their head above water. Sadly, the longer you stay in one church, the better your chances are of being “used” by a leader. Abuse is a bit more complex of an issue in my mind. But being a willing servant of the church will eventually require a break from service, so as to refresh and analyze to make sure spiritual fruit is still being produced. Good topic to discuss though.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately,I am in a church with an abusive pastor & I will have to soon find another church.This pastor has become more abusive incrementally. He has no deacons, tolerates no questions on any of his actions, He uses members to do more than what they are able,he punishes friends & non members of the church are have attended regularly (like myself) by withholding the church directory as to isolate folks like myself from contacting other people in the church for a ride or to find out about a meeting,etc (all because I won’t join the church). He devotes a large portion of the service to guilting attendees into giving more & more money above the regular collection. The daughter of a church member confided in her family & this pastor that she was pregnant so this pastor made her get up in front of the church one Sunday & she cried & cried as she confessed her sin. To make it worse this pastor smiled as she was crying & said(in front of the whole church) that he forgave her. I guess thinks he can act like a god?! He embarrasses,manipulates & humiliates people to achieve his agenda. Last week he was selling bibles & a new 2015 calender with instructions to go to your neighbors “strike up a conversation with them” -ask them to come to church-and then give them the fancy calender. Talk about guilting people out & manipulating them!? I told a church member that he would make a great deacon. He smiled & told me he’d like that “but it’s not in the Lord’s hands.” He’s right! It’s in the pastors hands who wil never allow a deacon the keep him in check.
    Saddened by this unchecked spiritual abuse!

    • You are not in a church, you are in a cult and you need to flee that man before it’s too late. And if he challenges you, send him to me. But you need to cut ties with that cult leader (because that’s what he is) and find another Godly church. Jesus warned us NOT to lord of one another, the greatest is to be the lowest, a servant – he has no desire to serve, but to rule. God doesn’t need a dictator, he needs servants. Leave that place ASAP.

  3. 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 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. 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 last seminar. ANd I now no longer come to the Prophetic school anymore. THe reason I stopped attended their seminars and Bible studies because I feel very striving, unrest, disturbed, confused 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 (organized by independent Prophetic school). 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 round of transport 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. 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. 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 the 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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