Monday, July 14, 2008

Spiritual Abuse

Definitions:
Spiritual: in this case relating to matters of Christianity, relationship with God, Holy spirit, Gifts and day-to-day walk in faith.
Abuse: to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about (dictionary.com)

Meaning:One who speaks harshly about your walk with God, who might falsely accuse you of wrong spiritual practice, who might wrongly advise you based on emotional rather then spiritual. One who might falsely correct an aspect of your life that is not wrong. One who would preach to your life about things they have no right in. And last but not least making one feel less of a Christian then they.

History
In my past I have had many encounters with brothers and sisters in Christ whom have presented spiritual abuse towards me. The first time this happened was in high school. My friend was a newborn christian and in her excitement for Christ she often preached about this and that...mostly the good stuff. But sometimes she went over the edge a bit. I remember this one day some friends has placed a bible in a non working freezer along with a person who willing went inside. Apparently this was offensive to God according to this girl. At this point she continued to tell her friends that they were horrible and that it was a sin. Awhile later she spoke to me and said something along the lines of "I'm a better christian then you" and of course being such a high insult I told her "you have no right to judge other peoples relationships with God" at that point her response was with anger" I do not have to put up with this!" and she stormed off. I gave her time to cool down and even though I had done nothing wrong I approached her to apologize... for what? I have no idea... to this day she never said sorry. But I've moved on.

Another example was last year. I couldn't find a job and kept looking and praying for the perfect job. And I had all the faith to believe that it was going to happen in time. This man whom I knew a bit was a bit outspoken many times and has a high zest for Christ. Every time I had met him he asked if he and the rest could pray for me. Of course I said yes every time, but he never followed through. Of course in the end it was my fault for not reminding him according to his own words. But he had told me that I needed to repent and pray for my sins, for not letting him pray for me. And that if I would have let him pray for me I would have gotten a job because he is highly blessed and gifted according to his words. At this point I knew this wasn't right. I had even gone as far to show the written conversation to a pastor, whom agreed with me.I have been blessed by God. He has given me an amazing shield against these words. I am very glad that I have the ability to look past people like that and know that these people are misguided and need prayer. But that still does not make spiritual abuse right. Though I have learnt alot from those experiences, such has patience and loving those who hurt you, and resisting anger and harsh words. Spiritual Abuse happens WAY too often, and dealing with it can be very hard..specially by yourself.

Christ came to set us free, and we have the freedom to walk our own paths with God. At times it is appropriate for friends to advise changes in your life out of love. But regular judgement on your relationship isn't anyone business unless you ask someone.

Christ is love, and so we should act and show love. If you find yourself noticing an issue in someone, pray about it. Telling someone a fault without any knowledge of the situation is not right. Doing this can cause a lot of hurt and resentment. You could ask the person about it, or pray for wisdom or knowledge about it. But it is not wise to approach someone to say " you do not pray enough, you need to pray more" or something to that nature.

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