Isn’t it interesting how individuals quickly shift the blame toward others when they’re either just about to get caught, or when they actually are caught? Shifting the blame to God, or even to someone else is much easier than taking personal responsibility for making poor choices.
The practice of spiritual abuse and shifting of blame has existed since the serpent in the Garden of Eden lied and managed to create enough doubt in the minds of Adam and Eve to cause them to question the character of God and begin to shift blame. All humanity thereafter, has struggled with this same problem when wrestling with moral decisions and trust with those whom we place in positions of authority.
Whom do we often place in these significant positions in influencing whether we grow spiritually or not?
- Church Leadership
- Significant Relationships in the home/workplace/school
Have these people upheld a tradition of Christian influence for you? Shaped how you form thoughts about God and appropriate boundaries for life choices? Unfortunately for many, those in these positions have failed to uphold scripture and have created confusion in how choices in life are approached. They have misrepresented their God given position in your life and distorted how you view God in relation to your level of struggles. Ultimately, God does allow sin by freedom of will in making choices. However, He is just and will punish those who have spiritually wounded those who are His followers (Romans 12:19).
What is spiritual abuse? It’s the mistreatment of a person by someone in a position of spiritual authority which leads to the potential downfall of a person’s spiritual vitality and growth.
These significant people can influence how we think about God and how we feel about ourselves when making decisions if they are not spiritually aligned with scripture.
How does this become a problem? Within the boundaries of biblical standards, God gives us each a responsibility in choosing how to live our daily lives. How we make decisions throughout the day, how we represent ourselves to others and conduct ourselves in both private and public circumstances.
What are the symptoms of being spiritually abused?
- Low Self-Worth
- Do you feel like you must accept abuse?
- Are you afraid of disapproval?
- Authority figures?
- Excessive Guilt
- Do you feel like a failure?
- Have a sense of shame?
- Have a heavy heart?
- Unresolved Anger
- Do you feel frustrated from a need to be perfect?
- Struggle with not keeping all the rules?
- Lose patience with yourself or others?
- Limited Transparency
- Do you feel a need to hide the “real” you?
- Feel as if others would not like you if they knew who the “real” you is?
- Do you avoid getting close with others?
- Troubled Relationships
- Do you struggle with saying no?
- Struggle with forgiveness?
- Continually compare yourself with others?
- Keep others at a distance?
- High Self-Sufficiency
- Do you try to earn love by doing well at all times?
- Do you try to do things “just so” to avoid being rejected?
- Feel a need to be in control to find a sense of significance?
- Misplaced Priorities
- Do you have difficulty setting boundaries?
- Do you place importance on outward actions rather than on inward needs?
What relationships would you identify as spiritually abusive? Once you identify the thinking patterns that led you into the relationship and kept you in that relationship you can better evaluate your wrong thinking patterns, change your thoughts, change your behaviors, and ultimately change your life. What you think about does have direct impact on how you feel and ultimately make decisions.
The apostle Paul gave this warning……….”watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” ( Romans 16:17)
Spiritual authority is to be respected, but obeyed only when it aligns with God’s truth. You are accountable to God first and to human authorities second (Galatians 1:10). Consider how the spiritually abusive attitude of others has impacted your spiritual growth and attitude. This includes your relationships with family members and friends and then separate yourself from these abusive situations and seek help from those who are encouraging and wanting the best for you and your life (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
If you feel that you have been spiritually abused and God has been misrepresented to you as anything less than loving, full of grace and forgiveness with a plan and purpose for you, please reach out and allow us to share the truth with you (John 8:32).
To learn more about how to break free from a negative pattern of beliefs, call 678) 920-2608.
Resources taken from Hope for the Heart, June Hunt, Spiritual Abuse:Breaking Free from Religious Control, 2015.