today I want to chat with you about a topic that can be really triggering and scary for some of us. it’s been weighing on my heart & I want to just get this truth out of me and shed some light on it okay?
many of us are probably familiar with the terms of sexual abuse/domestic abuse/emotional abuse… these are all deeply dehumanizing and disturbing behaviors that need to be called out & shut down. but something that so many people I know have been a victim of, and which most people don’t even seem to realize exists, is a despicable thing called spiritual abuse.
what is spiritual abuse?
spiritual abuse comes in many forms and wears many disguises. it can be subtle and hard to recognize or loud and blatant. here are just a few ways it can read its ugly head…
MISUSE OF SCRIPTURE
spiritual abuse most often happens when people throw around scripture incorrectly and without reverence, such as using it: out of context, to shame, to ostracize, to excuse or perpetrate cruel behaviors, to prove a point, to shut down a conversation, to silence, to blame, to mock, to build their high horse, to belittle, to brush off, to shrink your pain, to avoid the topic, to divert attention away from their own faults, with condescension, with anger, without kindness… the list could go on. the bottom line here is this: if you have ever been belittled, shamed, brushed off, silenced, or made to feel like your pain was irrelevant with quoted scripture, you have been a victim of spiritual abuse.
there’s something all too common in many evangelical circles that I like to call the narrow road complex. it begins with a misuse of scripture in one’s own mind when the passage about the road to life being narrow is interpreted to mean “exactly the way I live.” this causes the interpreter to become deeply judgemental and condescending towards those called to a different path than they. no one can be right unless they are following Jesus exactly the way the interpreter is. everyone else may be “unwise” or “foolish” or perhaps may need to “get right with God”. people with the narrow road complex cannot comprehend that everyone’s path looks different. people with the narrow path complex are hell bent on controlling those around them and “fixing” all of these poor, confused people who obviously don’t love Jesus as much as they do. if you have ever been told that your path cannot be right because it doesn’t look like theirs, and that you must conform to their way of thinking, you have been a victim of spiritual abuse. love does not control & conform- love invites & celebrates individual becoming.
LOVE VS TRUTH
this one is quite straightforward. truth & justice can often be disguises used as excuses to remain stubborn in pride and not to practice grace & love. which is ridiculous because the truth is that we are loved. God is love, and God is truth… His love IS truth. we don’t have to choose one or the other. that is only excuses, pride, and fear talking. freedom in Jesus says otherwise. if you’ve ever been shut down in the name of truth. or humiliated by “tough love” in the body of Christ… that wasn’t His body. that was spiritual abuse.
It is okay to stand up and say enough is enough to the spiritual abusers that try to hold you in the chains of legalism. it’s up to you to stop being choked by their judgements and begin to breathe the fresh air that is the freedom of Divine Love.
you have to do this. for you. for your path. for all the souls your path will touch. for the world.