There comes a time in many Christian’s lives where God moves them along from one place to another. Or begins to teach them things that don’t fit inside the church they happen to be in. One such thing is Mysticism. And before anyone tries to say that it has no place within christianity, look to the Orthodox church.. Older than the catholic church.
Now then. When church leadership decides to start doing things contrary to the scriptures, or even starts taking things that God put in place to the extremes beyond what God intended, then it is time to look anew to other places.
Now then, when things start going this way, spiritual abuse begins. It usually starts with the claim that one is in leadership, and thusly is going to correct you about something you are doing outside of the church to begin with. Church authority extends to things that happen within the church during church. Let me repeat this.
Church authority extends to things that happen within the church during church.
Therefore, within the church during church times, I must submit to the authority of the leadership.
Next up, the phrase of “older and wiser” comes into play in many cases of spiritual abuse and misuse of any supposed authority. Age has nothing to do with wisdom, nor does youth necessitate a lack thereof. Calling me a baby christian, as I have been saved for 7 years, is like me calling a 7 year old a baby. It’s a false label with absolutely no value. I’m not claiming maturity. Let me pull up my spiritual huggies and get down to this.
Then there’s the typical “respect your elders, boy.” Wow. Um. Respect is a two way street. The moment you have to order someone to respect you, you have lost any chance of it altogether.
Lets not forget about Rebellion. As that one has played a huge role in some of the things I have seen lately, and been involved in, I will actually define it for all to see, and debunk that one. Rebellion: the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. Now, with the explanation above of where church authority has it’s actual place, and where it’s boundaries are, unless I am within the church at that point, actively working against the pastor or other leadership, how can I be rebellious? I am afraid it is not possible.
Next up! Being called a bully. Or any other myriad of name calling. Better back it up. Have proof. Because you have continued to destroy any credibility if you do these things. And if you are name calling, Jesus says that you are putting yourself at risk of hellfire. Matthew 5:22
Sometimes, when you actually name what is being done abuse, there will be the silly individual who claims your acting a martyr and crybaby. I’m going to say that if we are, when we do this, then so was David the Psalmist. I mean, within the Psalms, he constantly cries out to God for deliverance, and even goes so far as to beseech God for vengeance.
Last but not least, of these few signs of spiritual abuse that I am going to cover here, is the notion that someone in leadership can decide you need correction, and then give it, but refuse to use the scriptures. If God wants someone to do something when it comes to you in that regard, He will validate them, either through a sign given by them, or through them, or He will tell you. Never will someone be allowed such authority to give you the rod of correction without any scriptures. God doesn’t work that way, after all, He is a God of Order, not of Chaos.
These few signs of spiritual abuse come from the misuse of spiritual authority, and begin there. There is absolutely no evidence of divinely given authority over any brothers of Christ in the scriptures, so the moment anyone tries to claim authority to tell you what to do, you are required to test them against the scriptures. Everything they say and or do. 1 Thessalonians 5:21, and 1 John 4:1. The only thing you can really do is ask them to back everything they say up with scriptures. Remember though: This can set off the name calling. Or the age notion. Or any of these really. Often it will be also thought that you are in need of correction for some reason, when you refuse to just knuckle under and let them impose on you. But lets be real, Jesus said we would have persecution and be hated in this life, for His sake. What He didn’t tell us was that it would be by others who claim to follow Him. These signs I have covered here, are just a few and likely there are more of them. Quite a bit more. But that is neither here nor there. These are merely examples.
Now, when it comes to the correction and removal of church leadership in deep sin, that in itself is another blog entirely. One that the scriptures are very clear upon. All I can say in this manner, is to have evidence, not suspicions, and lean into the presence of God, if He decides it is time for you to take that place. He will speak through you, with His words, and nothing will go against the scriptures.
In my next post, we shall look at what the scriptures say on how we will be able to tell His true followers apart from the people who merely claim it.
Now, to be fair, no one is perfect, and everyone is learning. You are, as a follower of Christ, responsible to discern these things and why people come from the standpoint that they do. You are allowed to make mistakes. They are allowed to make mistakes.
God will still love you, no matter what, and will still want to be in relationship with you regardless. Many pop off with that God doesn’t take sides, but that He expects you to be on His side. That’s half right. If you are on His side, then He chooses to be on your side. It is written, that if God is for us, who can be against us? This shows us that He chose to be on our side.
There is so much more to be said, but this post has come to it’s end. I hope that in this article, I have provided information so you can be on guard against spiritual abuse in your own life.