Stabbed in the Back with the Sword of Truth
"You don't love God!"
I can't count how many times I have been told that in my life.
(In case you're new here: I do, in fact, love God very much. More than my kids. More than my own life. More than anything. Honestly there's not much more to me than my love for our Creator.)
Have you ever been a victim of spiritual abuse?
If you know, you know. But you might not even know if you have been, I didn't know for many years, and many others don't realize that they are experiencing it right now. Because if you genuinely do love God, when someone says they want to call attention to your sin, you care. You want to fix it. You humbly accept the correction, because you WANT to be holy.
So when I heard things like: "you're not obeying me like the Bible says to", I thought: "I really could do a better job submitting."
And when I heard "You're a materialistic woman!", I thought: "Well, I didn't really NEED to go to Target..."
When I heard "God made me more spiritually gifted than you" I thought: "That's probably true"
When I heard: "You're making me look bad in front of the church" I thought: "How can I do better?"
When I heard: "you only reach out to teens because you have a Savior complex", I thought: "Is there a chance I am doing this for my glory...?"
When I heard "Your family are 'bad company', you need to stop talking to them", I thought: "Well, most people don't REALIZE when they are being negatively influenced...so maybe it's true."
I was being negatively influenced, but not by my family. By other people, who used the beautiful words of the God I loved to convince me that he didn't love me." It nearly worked. I was discouraged to the point of despair. I doubted my own salvation, I doubted that I had any worth to God. It certainly was affective in controlling my every move for year after year. But this is not God's plan. God's plan is for his word to be used to give life and freedom and peace. Not fear and doubt and loneliness. That's not God. Oh no.
It's important that we use wisdom when we listen to others' words. Sometimes we DO need to be corrected, And thank God for the friends who love us enough to do that. But loving correction, correction that comes from God does not sound like the above statements. It sounds like: "I'm concerned about what you said recently..." or "I have to be honest, I've been surprised by your behavior, and because I love you, I want to say something." or even just "Hey...you don't seem yourself lately, is everything ok?" Those are beautiful statements that we should be eager to hear when we need to. (Even though it does feel kinda gross and embarrassing!)
SOMETIMES people who start out with ugly statements that are more in line with the first paragraph are just poor communicators who can be gently guided to expressing their concern more lovingly.
But guys...not usually. Usually those things are spoken by hard-hearted people who are making themselves a god. And if you've talked with them about how it's hurting you and they won't change, you are being spiritually abused. What to do if you're being spiritually abused? Stop listening to them. Tell them to stop. It doesn't matter who they are, or how much authority they have over you, no one has the authority to misuse the words of the Almighty God.
Jesus says this in Matthew 18:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
Note the part where he says "unless it's your mom, friend, husband, pastor, etc., then respect them and just put up with it."---yeah that's NOT in there. Because, once again, NO ONE has the right to use God's word to harm. That is sinful. And it is very dangerous and harmful. Remember that the group of people that Jesus was least patient with on earth were the religious people who misused God's commands to harm people. Spiritual abuse is detestable to Jesus. It's literally satanic. It can't be allowed.
I'm not trying to get you all riled up, but I do want to plant a seed of thought in your mind on this issue. Whether you are being spiritually abused, or someone you know is, or perhaps if you are the abuser...it's a very serious, very evil thing. And you need to start thinking about how to make it stop. Because nothing good will come from letting it continue, even in the name of peace.
I love you so much. Thanks for letting me get heavy with so many topics lately. I'm getting older dude, and I'm losing time to say this important stuff. I don't want to waste my opportunities. 😅
Take care, friends!