Spiritual Abuse


I’m going to talk to you about spiritual
abuse. All abuse uses control and punishment. Emotional abuse uses
emotional pain to control the person; physical abuse uses physical pain or
force to control the person and spiritual abuse uses spiritual authority
to control the person. It could be a father demanding obedience from his
children because the Bible says that he’s the head of the house. It could be a
husband demanding submission from his wife because he is again the head of the
home and head of his wife it could be a spiritual leader, pastor, mentor, teacher,
prophet, whatever the person is calling themselves demanding spiritual obedience
because of that person’s calling from God. So they all have commonalities no
matter what relationship it is. When you’re dealing with spiritual abuse, the
first one is the spiritual abuser demands respect even when respect is not
earned and does not tolerate disrespect for any reason. In fact, it will even be
considered disrespectful if you question or if you say to that person, “I don’t
like that” or “That doesn’t make sense to me.” Respect is going to be demanded
and required. The next one is the spiritual abuser demands obedience and
becomes angry, hostile and punitive when dictates are not followed
immediately without questions. So it’s going to be kind of like an obey or else demand. So, “Do what I say. Shut up; don’t question. Don’t ask questions;
don’t hesitate, just do it.” And if you don’t, punishment follows. Okay, that’s not
a healthy adult marriage relationship. That’s not healthy. You know, you can
debate what you think about rearing children and stuff but when that’s used
to an extreme and the child is punished and the child is disregarded
then that can be an abusive way of handling your kids and then the other is
a spiritual leader who’s punishing you, maybe ostracizing, you not letting you be
in the in-group; not telling you things anymore; taking away your class that you
are teaching; leaving you out of the inner circle kind of thing. Whatever it
is, punishing you maybe talking about you. Punishing you because you questioned
that leader. The next one is the spiritual abuser limits access to
information that would allow the abused to question the abuser’s beliefs so it
could be keeping that person from reading material about abusive
relationships. I had one person whose husband took my book, “Ten Life-saving
Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages” and rather than finding out
why his wife needed to read it or felt like she needed to read a book for a woman in
a difficult marriage, he took that and he went to his pastor and he got all kinds
of little parts of it that he said that his pastor disagreed with and discounted
and then told his wife, “Don’t read that book” and took the book away and told her
it wasn’t scriptural and limited her access to the book. All of that work
rather than saying, “Honey, why do you think we have a difficult marriage?”
And
if I wondered if they did, I was convinced after that because that’s an
awful lot of control for a person to have over the spouse and why not just
ask, “Why do you feel we have a difficult marriage?” Next one is the spiritual
abuser makes the abused dependent by keeping the abused away from people and
things that would foster independence. So it would be keeping your child away from
other people; not letting your child go to counseling; not telling your child you
know you can’t see your grandma because grandma has questioned maybe the way
that you’re treating the child or telling that keeping your spouse
away from your spouse’s family and friends telling that spouse, “”You can’t go out. I
don’t want you doing anything else.” Maybe telling that person that those other
people can’t be trusted; that those other people are bad; that those other people
are lying, making up things to just basically cut you off so that you’re
isolated and that keeps you stuck in the abusive relationship and dependent on
the abuser. The next one is the abuser uses emotional blackmail or emotional
manipulation to manipulate the abuse and that’s all kinds of tactics using
manipulating your emotions to get what the abuser wants so it could be inducing
in you guilt, shame, obligation, you know love, fidelity, loyalty. You know, whatever
it is, fear, whatever it is. Emotion that can be you know brought out of you and
then using that emotion purposely to manipulate you to get you
to do what the abuser wants you to do. The next one is the abuser claims
exclusive authority given by God through a calling or through the Bible so
this is black and white like “I’m called. I’m the Prophet. I’m the pastor.
I’m the head of the church. I’m the one that makes the decisions. Nobody
questions me; nobody criticizes me; anybody who doesn’t follow me without
question is not a part of this exclusive group kind of thing. You know,
there’s so many examples of people who have been in abusive toxic spiritual
relationships and churches that have really messed people up that I could you;
give you all kinds of examples but exclusive authority through a calling so
it’d be the father would just say, “That’s it. I’m the head of the house. God’s
called me. Nothing else, nobody else, has any input. That’s who I am.” Or “I’m
your husband. I’m the head of the house. I’m the head of the marriage. That’s it.
I am the one and no matter what you’re going to do that. You’re going to
do what I say you’re gonna do it. When I say it, you’re gonna do it without
question.” I have a really good video on my YouTube channel here Change My
Relationship that is a teaching a sermon my pastor, one of one of my pastors,
Chris Ward that talks about submission and how submission should never have to
be asked for.A husband should never ask his wife to submit. It should be part of
their balanced relationship that works out in a really healthy way and it
does an awesome job of explaining it. You might want to look that up. The abuser
twists Scripture to invoke fear of God and prevent disobedience and
disagreement. So it’s basically a situation where they’re taking
Scriptures out of context, maybe saying, “You know, God’s gonna punish you. God’s
gonna get you. God will never bless you. You’re gonna get all the you know
calamities of Deuteronomy that are listed, if you don’t obey. They are gonna come on
you. there’s gonna be sickness. There’s going to be this, there’s going to be
that, so it’ll be taking you can take all kinds of Scriptures out of context and
you can use them manipulatively to get people to be fearful and to follow you,
especially if they don’t understand a balanced view of God’s Word and they’re
putting themselves under you and under your teaching and that whole thing of if
you’re under m,e I protect you and I’m like Be here between you and God. All that can be
used to kind of enforce this mentality of you put yourself under me and submit
to me and I’ll handle everything to get the person to feel like they have no
other choices. The last one is the abuser uses shame to pressure the abused into
compliance and to lower their self- esteem and self-confidence. This is
always a byproduct of an abusive relationship. The longer you’re in it the
more your self-esteem erodes; the more your self-confidence erodes; the more you
become dependent upon the abuser, the more you accept the abuse, the more you
feel responsible for the abuse the harder it is to get out of the abusive
relationship so that’s the normal way that it happens.
So if hearing this causes you to realize that you might be in a spiritually
abusive relationship, you need to get more information. Maybe talk to some
people; maybe go to a counselor; maybe talk to somebody outside the church or
somebody you know in your past that you can really trust to be a spiritual
mentor or you know get some help if it has to do with your marriage or your
children so because nobody should be in a spiritually abusive relationship here
are some scriptures that speak directly to each of these three positions or
roles. First Peter 5:2-3 to leaders or pastors or elders says, “Be shepherds of
God’s flock that is under your care watching over them not because you must
but because you are willing as God wants you to be.” Now, here’s the part, “not
pursuing dishonest gain but eager to serve, not lording it over those
entrusted to you but being examples to the flock.” So instead of lording it over and
demanding obedience, become a servant and be an example. For husbands, Ephesians
5:28-29, “In the same way, husband’s ought to love their wives as
their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever
hated their own body but they feed and care for it just like Christ does the
church.” So in other words, the husband rather than demanding submission loves
and cares for and nurtures his wife just as he does his own body, not putting
himself over her but treating her as he does himself. For fathers, Ephesians 6:4,
“Father, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training
and instruction in the Lord. Exasperate, it’s hard to say–exasperate means to
provoke your children to anger, to provoke in them anger and when children
feel abused they feel angry and then they feel discouraged and then they feel
bad about themselves. So I hope this has helped you
just to be more discerning about what spiritual abuse is and as I said, if you
are in any type of spiritually abusive relationship, please get help and get
yourself into a place where you can walk in truth and walk in freedom and walk in
health, not in abuse. Thank you for watching this video on Change My
Relationship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *