Archive for September, 2015

I truly believe that one day my former pastor will stand before God and God will tell him, “I gave you all of the knowlege you needed to handle the situation with Ellen correctly and you intentionally chose not to do so.  I even gave you more than a decade of opportunities to correct the situation – opportunities for you to apologize, to respond to her concerns, to answer her questions, to tell the truth, to seek restoration – but you didn’t.  Time and again I gave you the chance to rain upon Ellen my love, my grace, my hope, my mercy, my joy, my encouragement.  Yet over and over again, you disregarded what I would have you do and you went your own way – treating Ellen with disdain, judging, persecuting, ostracizing, disrespecting, and diminishing her until she nearly lost all faith in Me.”

I think my former pastor is banking on the fact that God is a forgiving God and even though He knows that the pastor mishandled the entire situation, my former pastor believes that God will accept him into heaven because God is a loving and merciful God.

I suppose we all think that way because we all have times in our lives where we are given the opporunity to make something right but don’t and yet, because of our faith in Jesus, we have a hope that we will be with Him in paradise.  Yet I also believe that those who are placed in leadership and authority over God’s people have good reason to be fearful if they have treated people the way that my former pastor and his cohorts treated me – if for no other reason than because they have caused this little one` to stumble.

In fact, I think this is why we believers are admonished to fear and love God.  For my former pastor to ignore what God clearly desires in the relationships between pastors and parishioners tells me that he does not have a fear of the Lord.  If he did, he would do the right thing if for no other reason than because he would have a healthy fear of millstones.  

Good Morning!

Posted: September 20, 2015 in When Church Hurts
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This is not a super popular blog. Those that find it are usually looking for information or commiserations on spiritual abuse.  Some days I get only a few readers, others days hundreds. But early every Sunday, I get one.  So, “Hello,” to you. Those of us who have been spiritually abused often worry or wonder if we are being stalked on our blogs or the comments we make on others blogs. I have wondered this about you, my early morning reader. 

Are you checking to see what I have to say about you or your brother or your church this week? Will I slip up and use a name? Are you looking for ammunition to share with my former friends to prove to them that I deserve to be thrown out, vilified, ostracized, shunned? 

I am so delighted each week to see that you have visited! I bask in knowing that I cause you such grave concern. Do you lose sleep over my blog? Do you worry that if the general population of the church read it they will wonder about the truth?  Do you hope that I never write that book you always said I should – because it will most likely be about how you spiritually abused me? 

Perhaps if you had only done the right thing from the beginning . . . 

This is exactly the situation in our former church.

 

Source: Church, Stop Hiring Preachers and Performers To Be Your Pastors

I often reblog or link to the writings, wisdom, and insights of others, not so much because I couldn’t have said it myself, but simply because I fear that were I to address these issues, it would appear that I am simply trying to argue for myself.  As those of us who are intimately familiar with spiritual abuse, doing so would create an immediate dismissal of my writing simply because I would be perceived as only making an effort to defend myself.  In the world of spiritual abuse, this would result in making me the problem for pointing out the problem.

So, here again is a very wise and insightful post by Jeff Crippen at A Cry for Justice:  allies of the abuser

 Those of us who have suffered spiritual abuse have probably all experienced those we considered friends and even family members taking sides with the abuser.  In my particular case, when we were told that we were not to return to the church, it became apparent that there was quite a bit of “damage control” with the pastors speaking to those with whom we had close relationships.  After that, not one person attempted to speak to us, to find out our side of the story, to extend any level of grace or mercy.  One woman, who swore she would remain my friend, suddenly stopped responding to text messages and emails.  It became very clear that we were to be shunned.

As Jeff Crippen states in his post, simply by believing the abuser is to participate in the abuse.  I’m sure that many of our former friends have no idea the level of abuse that I endured over more than a decade.  I sometimes wonder how they would respond if they knew that for all of those years I was told I could not so much as attend a Sunday School class.  And if that’s not mind-boggling enough, I was never given a reason for being so ostracized.  I was simply left to wonder and worry, weep and work to try to win their favor.  Ultimately, I suffered spiritual and emotional torment – questioning God’s love, grace, mercy, and acceptance.  After all, if the pastor and church found me so despicable, surely God did, as well.  

Yet, those whom I once called friends, if they have any idea at all (and a couple of them do), the abuse I suffered and that ultimately it was at the hands of the senior pastor, have chosen to side with him and the church.  Yet, I believe Jeff Crippen is quite correct in his assessment of those people in light of the scripture he shares at the beginning of his post:

“You shall not spread a false report.  You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.”  (Ex. 23:1-3)