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Spiritual abuse and breaking free | A healthy church
There really is life after spiritual abuse. You may be tempted to feel that you will never escape the controlling grasp of an abusive leader. Satan will cause you to think that the controlling leader’s influence is greater than it
really is.

Don’t give in to Satan’s intimidation. Trust God to be your strength and your defense.

There are many times God writes Ichabod, “the glory of the Lord has departed,” on the door and leaves.  It’s the best thing for you to leave as well.  Do you want to be in a church that God has left?  The fact is, for many churches, “Jesus has left the building”  long, long ago!  But some refuse to believe it!

In fact, most local institutional churches are able to function just fine without the leading of the Holy Spirit, just like any other secular non-profit corporation!  They can grow as an organization without ever having to listen to and follow the Scriptures, and probably might even grow more! 

So yes, the preaching continues, the baptisms continue, the singing continues, the prayers continue, the fellowship, the retreats, the conferences, the new faces, etc., etc.  There will be the periodic, quaintly message or series of messages that you might hear concerning the “Roles of Husbands & Wives” or nice, little messages concerning “The Importance of the Family.” 

But be not deceived like the rest of them.  You will know that after all of the hot air has past; after all of the smoke has been blown away, that what you are left with will be the same actions and the same words of the same spiritual abuse that had been exhibited, and will continue to be exhibited.  Remember the words of the angel in Revelation 3: “…you have a name that lives, but are dead……for I have found NO WORKS of thine perfected before my God…” 

Sometimes staying in these authoritarian abusive “churches”, instead of being helpful, only props up its facade as a healthy, non-abusing, caring-for-people “church.”  Others might think, “It can’t be that bad.  If it was that bad, people would have left!  Right?”  Leaving does not kill a dead system, it just makes it look as dead as it is.

If we choose to live in captivity in these abusive systems, time will stand still in our spiritual lives. Physically we will grow older while spiritually we will continue to be treated and abused like animals!  As many others have done, its best to leave as quickly and quietly as possible.

"Wherefore, Come out of their midst and be separate, the Lord is saying. And touch not the unclean, and I will admit you, And will be to you a Father, And you shall be to me sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:17-18

"Come out of her, My people, lest you should be joint participants in her sins, and lest you should be getting of her calamities."  Revelation 18:4

Remember, God works in mysterious ways and works differently with each of His saints.  He reveals Himself to us at just the right time.  For some, it takes a lifetime of deception to appreciate the truth.

Try to reconnect with people who already left the “system”, because they saw what you now see.  Maybe there were former members who you used to have fellowship with before they left.  But when they began questioning and “taking the other side” so to speak, and warning you, you thought they were crazy.  You know, “crack-pots!” 

And the “church” told you to stay away from them.  Go out and find them. Search for the people who were caring enough to warn you before they left.  They will probably still be caring.

Another couple went through a different process of leaving an abusive church. It was said that the pastor did everything he could to discredit them and malign their character.

As it was described, they both were frightened that they would be blacklisted from every church in their community. At first, they wanted to defend their character. It seemed that this pastor continued to have control over their lives even after they left. They wondered if they would ever be able to escape his influence.

It is true that whenever someone exposes darkness and subversion inside the Christian establishment, the hounds will come against that person.  Whenever someone unmasks Satan's deceptive ministers along with the evil practices of spiritual abuse within the local church, the hounds will be sent out.

They will show their ferocious mouths, and lust and tear and pry and prowl - anything to shut out the Truth!

Remember the incident in Luke 9 where the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven? 

Jesus turned and rebuked them and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them."

I am afraid Jesus would have to repeat these words to a lot of "church going" people today, especially those in “church leadership” positions, because this spirit; the spirit of trying to silence (even to the point of death) anyone who would dare to oppose or expose them, that same spirit is still very much alive in many churches today. 
 
Perhaps for many others, in God’s providence, it might take a longer time to reassemble once again.

We all need to be deprogrammed to some degree or another. For some of God’s saints, a long stretch in the wilderness is just what the Heavenly Doctor subscribes.  Do not be discouraged. 

Learning something the hard way, is many times,................the better way.

If the Holy Spirit seeks to separate you for a season that He might detox you from shackles of religious abusers”, don’t let some other “religious leaders” or family members use the forsake not the assembly” card to keep you in the poison. Head for the hills.  As someone else said, "..A bride's most intimate moments with the Bridegroom are not experienced in public or observed by others. When we are alone in the wilderness, there is nobody else to turn to except Him, and that is wonderful, and the best thing for us.."

Be aware though, that to take this step will invoke Satan’s anger like nothing else.  If he can keep you inside of this type of  church system, he knows that he can keep you spiritually impotent for a lifetime.

You will learn very fast just how little interest indeed many of your supposed Christians friends have in God’s Truth.

Remember; Jesus Christ, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the followers of Jesus Christ were hated and despised by most of the religious teachers and spiritual leaders in His day. Do you think that anything has changed regarding this in today’s churches?  Yes.  It’s gotten worse!

There will be those who seek to hold you back; those from your family, your church, and those among your friends.

They will accuse you of heresy, of joining a cult, of abandoning your friends, and family.  It will get plenty rough before it gets better. 

Your choice to live by God’s Word will reveal enemies and persecution from sources you never dreamed of.  You will be mocked, lied about, slandered up and down, left and right, especially by those in so-called “positions of church leadership.”  This is all that these people know how to do.  The very people who are supposedly in the best position to inform their congregations of the truth of this matter, turn out to be the very same people who will destroy and silence you.

The day “church leaders” start to deal honestly with the Truth of Scripture, will be the day that many will quit their jobs. So don’t hold your breath. 

Just remember to count the cost.  If they hated Him, they will hate you also.  God will be with you.  He will sustain you.  So be patient and remain faithful.  It will all be for your good in the end.  You can do all things through Him.

God will reassemble you into His body when the time is right. Paul, the great apostle, spent some serious time alone with the Holy Spirit separated from the big apostles in Jerusalem.  David spent considerable time living in caves and among the heathen separated from Israel.  Moses spent forty years separated from His people before He was prepared to lead them out of Egypt.  Joseph languished in prison for years.  John the Baptist stood alone in the wilderness for God, because no one wanted to stand with him.  Daniel ended up in the lion's den alone, because he was the only one who cared enough about God to pray. 

Head for the mountains or the desert.  Seek the Holy Spirit and let Him sort it out and make you whole again.  The Good Shepherd, in His good time, is fully able to lead you into a green pasture where you can grow in your relationship with Him, wherever that may be (Psalm 23:2). 

And don’t be surprised where it might turn up!

Don't be surprised if you don't end up doing the Sunday "go to church" ritual, in a place that is mostly vacant, except on Sunday.

Don't be surprised if your whole idea of "fellowship" and "assembling of yourselves together" might be as different as when Jesus told His disciples about how that enormous, elaborate Temple will be brought down to ruins.  Jesus was, AND IS, building His temple with different kinds of stones.  He is using "living stones."

You might also be interested in:  The Christian Church: Distorted and Deformed
                                          

Ken Cascio
Webmaster

Recommended Reading: found on our recommended reading page

1) "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by by David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen

2) "Wisdom Hunter" by Randall Arthur
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