Bondage

The Under-Discussed Damage of Spiritual Abuse (Part 1)

This is a two part article. See: Part Two

When someone mentions the term, "spiritual abuse" today, sexual molestation of a child often comes to mind. We have too many accounts of priests, pastors and Sunday school teachers preying on the children in their care. And yes, sadly, that is spiritual abuse.

But this kind of abuse can also take on a more subtle form as well. Its definition hinges on the manipulation of power enforced by a spiritual authority figure, with the abused party feeling helpless and coerced.

Children, of course, spring to mind as the most vulnerable. But the net spreads wider.

And a heartbreaking reality emerges: loving God does not exclude us from being hurt, even in the seemingly Godly setting of church. We are all susceptible when it comes to spiritual abuse.

"...Many spiritual abuse victims find themselves struggling to make decisions, and may even have a hard time disciplining themselves to do basic everyday functions such as getting out of bed and brushing their teeth. For so long, we allowed the group/leader to think for us, formulate our opinions for us, and make decisions for us. No wonder so many of us struggle for many years learning how to find ourselves again after leaving a spiritually abusive situation..."
"Spiritual Identity Crisis?" www.churchabuse.com
Used with permission.

Mistaking Addiction For Happiness?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

"Frankenstein" author, Mary Shelley's quote recently stopped me in my tracks:
By The Man in Question - Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff).jpg

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

You could insert the word "addiction" in place of "evil," and you'd have a fitting portrait of the chaotic addict.

For whether or not we understand it, face it or change it, the happiness lure is synonymous with our own addiction-prone hearts. We have more in common with Dr. Frankenstein and his obsessions than is flattering to admit.

We are creatures of what we treasure in our hearts.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

If we apply Shelley's quote directly to our dear scientist, we see how he has viewed the creation of life in a laboratory as his happiness, as "the good he seeks." This was his addiction. So consumed, he did bring to life a creation compiled of assembled cadavers. A little electricity and presto! We have our grotesque monster.

His frantic behavior is not far removed from us, in the grips of our own personal addictions.

Where Does Your "Precious" Lead You?

The character, Gollum, in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," is a study in addiction and its pitfalls.

This creature was obsessed with the powerful properties of a much-desired ring. Transfixed, he often referred to it as "my precious." This preoccupation, over time, led to his changed, grotesque form; it also contributed to both his torment and his tragedy.

The story portrays Gollum as a struggling being who had "come to love and hate the Ring, just as he loved and hated himself." His unfortunate fate inevitably followed. Upon finally seizing the ring, he fell into a volcano's fires. Both he and his "precious" were destroyed.

Now, how's that for a cautionary tale?

Do You Confuse Compliance with Surrender?

The 3rd Step of the 12 Steps reads as follows:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as revealed in the Bible.


We often confuse surrender with compliance. In compliance we grudgingly give in, hold back a part of ourselves. Our actions may appear to be going with the flow but our heart and thoughts are surely elsewhere.


Compliance leaves out the passion part. In surrender we have to be passionate about the surrender -- excited about it;
having hopeful anticipation of what God can and will do when we actually surrender.


Surrender is not admitting defeat. It is not a bad thing in God's Kingdom. It is a great thing! God's economy and ways of doing things are quite often contrary to the World's ways.


In reality, we often are hypocrites -- saying or promising surrender -- but in reality not wholeheartedly "all in." And in essence we rob ourselves of the fruits of surrender. Surrender means surrendering one's entire being: heart, words, actions, emotions, thoughts, body, soul and spirit.

Overcoming Self-loathing

I am astounded by the number of young people who approach me with such intense self-loathing. I frequently hear them say things like...

    "I hate myself; I'm so ugly, disgusting and stupid."
    "I hate myself. There's nothing good about me."


When I ask them, however, why they feel that way, I usually get this response:

"I don't know."

For what I am doing, I do not understand..." Romans 7:15

Statistics show...

"One in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly."

People Who Fail (No other kind around)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

I recently came across this little inspiration ditty circulating on social media:

    "God uses People Who Fail (No other kind around)."

That's become more of a revelation to me in the last few years, especially within the context of recovery. It's not a one-time, flawless thing. It's day in, day out, with some days being better than others. It doesn't sound glamorous or rewarding. Nevertheless, it is reality and embracing the process of life itself can be liberating if we, perhaps, give ourselves permission to fail. Part of that requires we not disqualify ourselves at the first -- or the one thousandth -- mistake; God doesn't.

"I have chosen you and have not cast you away." Isaiah 41:9

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

I often encounter people who are perfectionists -- and I get it. Among all the things I'm recovering from in life, perfectionism is, indeed, right up there. And, again, in the recovery context, it is

World's Worst Transgressor

I am the world's worst transgressor

I have murdered millions

I have made people failures

I have made millions of homes miserable

I have changed promising people into hopeless social parasites

I have driven untold millions to despair

I have wasted the weak

I have snared the innocent

I have caused starving children to know me

I have made the hair turn gray on many parents

I have ruined millions and shall seek to yet ruin multiplied millions

My Name is Addiction

World's Greatest Benefactor

I have given life to millions

I have made failures successful I have made millions of homes happy

Urgent? Why??

I must admit, my favorite question is "why?"

I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.

And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.

Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.

"Urgent? Why?"

It's not merely a question; it's a statement... about the significance of urgency.

And this is right up addiction's alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?

It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.

Patience: Are we there yet?

Visualize this scenario. There's a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child's view consists of the following: the back of the driver's and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there's even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy's head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child's song. But, instead, what do we hear?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Does this sound familiar?

If you have children or remember being one yourself, you're probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:

Are we there yet?

We want to get there already, wherever "there" is.

"Unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." Exodus 3:8; 33:3

It's the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.

Prince and The Elevator

Living in Minnesota right now, I am in mourning... and its color is purple.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard the news that singer, rock star and lightning rod of controversy, Prince had died. On April 21st, 2016, he was found dead in his Paisley Park home... in the elevator. He was 57.

It was an enormous shock to the world. Just imagine what the experience was for Minnesotans.

Yeah.

You might be wondering why I'm writing about Prince, of all people, in this Christian recovery forum. You, perhaps, may believe he was a creator of "the devil's music," encouraging all kinds of sin, debauchery and strange behavior.

I ask that you please stay with me for a few moments.

Something struck me within minutes of hearing the news of his discovery in the elevator. It was later confirmed by American record executive, musician, songwriter and record producer, L.A Reid. He revealed a private conversation he once had with the artist.

Prince asked him, concerning his lyrics to the song, "Let's Go Crazy,"

Yes, these lyrics...

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Wednesday November 22, 2017

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