God's Truth In Love

Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Abuse’

Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 11 – The Acceptance Factor

In Abuse, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Candy Cane, Christian Living, Church Growth, Exhortation, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Remnant, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Remnant, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on September 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

Please note this will be my last posting until mid-October. I have something I must attend to. Please keep me in your prayers.

A church that finds the appropriate balance between lovingly accepting people while at the same time remaining true to God’s Word and Principles will grow.

If there is one thing that false religions have learned it is the art of acceptance. Multitudes of people have been dragged into sin and evil out of a desire to be accepted. It is a form of validation we all need to some degree.

Knowing that we are all in need of acceptance, the question then becomes what form of acceptance should be given and what degree of acceptance should the church give. There is a delicate balance between upholding the Word of God while at the same time loving and accepting people. We do not have to validate someone’s sin in order to accept him or her. We can accept them without accepting their sin. We will make that our jumping off point.

The church is called to love people regardless. Loving them does not mean we keep silent about their sin or that we ascribe to a “don’t ask don’t tell” mentality. It means we treat the individuals with the same kindness and respect we would anyone, and we share God’s truths with them as He allow us and opens the door for us to do so. We never reject them because of their sin or because they do not agree with us, and we also never validate their sin or partake in their sin as a means of showing love.

When pressed to accept something in someone’s life which is in contradiction to God’s Written Word we should express our care and love for the person but also express a refusal to embrace that aspect of the person’s life or that particular belief they ascribe to. We explain, with Scripture, why we believe something different than they believe and reaffirm our desire to accept and love them despite the fact that we do not agree with them.

There are those individuals who are hard to accept not because of their choices in life, lifestyle, beliefs, or sin but because they are wounded, difficult, because of their attitude, or perhaps a physical, mental, or emotional handicap which makes relating to them more challenging. In these cases, we must call more upon our own character and spiritual development to step up to the task of acceptance. The ability for change or modification by the individual may not be an option or at least not an option initially. A person with a handicap cannot change their circumstances. A person with wounds cannot change until emotional, mental, and spiritual healing has begun. A person with a challenging demeanor or attitude will mostly likely never change without a community of people who offer them love and acceptance. Therefore, in all such cases it will be up to you to allow God to stretch you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in order to exhibit His balanced and appropriate form of acceptance.

More individuals would embrace the church if the church would embrace them. If we refuse to accept individuals because we do not agree with them, we are limiting our capacity for love. When we refuse to accept another person, it is because in some way, we have judged that person, or we have judged that person’s actions. Furthermore, our lack of acceptance of them to some degree, despite their sin or issue, is a form of condemnation. Judging that results in condemnation, is not discernment judging [1 Thess. 5:19-21, 1 Corn. 2:14 & 12:3, 1 John 4:1-6, Ps. 119:18, and 1 Kings 3:9-14], it is sinful judging [John 7:24, Rom. 14:1-13 and Matt. 7:1-6]. No one can hear us until they can see us, and no one can see us until they feel a certain level of acceptance from us.

Individuals who have never felt accepted have found a home within the Christian Community and some individuals within the Christian Community have never felt accepted. Fear can hinder a person’s ability to accept another person. If they fear the person’s lifestyle, sin, demeanor, ideas, and/or points of view, they will not be able to accept the person. However, if they can accept the seventy-five percent of the individual that they do like and agree with, they will find themselves to be in a better position to influence the other twenty-five percent of the person or to grow themselves as a person.

Acceptance never makes room for sin, but acceptance makes room for sin to be abandoned. The next time you see the individual whom no one else seems willing to accept and embrace, make room in your heart to do so yourself. You just may find that the Kingdom of God is expanded by one because you did.

Please note this will be my last posting until mid-October. I have something I must attend to. Please keep me in your prayers.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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Why My Church is NOT Growing – Part 10 – Abuse and The Church (Spiritual and Psychological Abuse)

In Abuse, Advice, Apostasy, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian Living, Church Growth, Evil, Exhortation, Holy Spirit, Renewal, Repentance, Revival, Suffering, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized on September 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm

This blog will alternate with each post between two subjects. One week will address why churches are not growing, and the coming move of God. The alternate week the blog will continue with the in-depth study through the Book of Proverbs.

One of the worst forms of abuse, in my belief, is spiritual abuse. This is when someone uses the things of God to control, manipulate, abuse, use, degrade, etc. other people. This has been done in extreme forms such as, ‘If I do not get X amount of money from my people God will take my life, close our church, etc.’ ‘If you do not read your Bible daily, God will not have fellowship with you.’ ‘If you are not in church each time the doors are open you are not a committed Christian.’ On and one we could go. I am sure each of you has your own example. The examples provided are damaging forms of spiritual and psychological abuse pure and simple.

A desire for a leader to obtain unquestionable dedication, which is free from accountability to the ones asked to give said dedication, is spiritual abuse. Does the Word of God call us to submit to the authorities He has placed in our lives? Yes. Who are those authorities however, and do we submit regardless? We do not submit regardless. We are accountable to God first, then to other people. We submit to our spiritual leaders when they are following the Will of God as found in God’s Word. We do not submit to sin or follow a leader into sin. How many cults, which started out with religious undertones, ended in disaster? Too many to recall. Why? Because people followed, even in the face of sin, because they believed they were to submit to authority without questioning authority.

A more hideous form of spiritual abuse is to distort and misuse the Word of God in order to get what one wants or justify one’s actions. So many people sit in church with their Bibles closed looking at an overhead screen trusting that the text on that screen matches what is actually in God’s Written Word. It only takes subtle and slight changes to God’s Word to distort its entire meaning and purpose. No matter how long you have known someone and no matter how much you trust them, you should have your Bibles out and open when they are speaking or teaching so that you can confirm that they are rightly dividing the Word of God. Especially grievous to the heart of God is this form of spiritual abuse that uses the Word of God, and God will deal with this abuse quite harshly.

When a person uses another person’s love for God to advance their own cause, regardless of what that cause might be, to get their way, to attempt to mislead or deceive the heart that trust in God both people are in danger. The abuser’s target is in danger of being spiritually and psychologically abused resulting in spiritual and perhaps psychological damage, and the perpetrator is in danger of the wrath of God that does come upon those individuals who use spiritual things to hurt God’s children.

Abuse in the Body of Christ, in all its forms, can stop when we become willing to both speak up and be spoken to when necessary. Accountability is a responsibly not an option. It is the basic fabric that holds the cloth of Christ’s Body together. Without the courage to question our leaders, we will find ourselves impotent and frustrated. Without the willingness to be questioned, we will find ourselves isolated and insolent.

This concludes the addressing of this difficult subject of abuse found within the church and how that abuse effects the growth of individual congregations as well as the universal church, which is the Body of Christ. We will continue to reflect on reasons why churches are not growing from various angles aside from the abuse angle.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Church Shooting – Questions about Compassion and Evil

In Agape Love, Anger, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Compassion, Confusion, Demon, Demon Possession, End Times, Evil, Exhortation, Fear, Forgiveness, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Loss, Mental Disorder, Mental Illness, Persecution, Suffering, Truth, Wicca, witchcraft on December 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Please feel free to send me any of your own thoughts or questions, locate and click the comment link below. I will continue to address them in follow up posts. This post and/or related posts will be the only post[s] I will be making available for the next few weeks, as I believe this topic needs to stay front and center for a season.

To address some additional thoughts and questions…

Compassion for Perpetrators

Yes, if we are unable to find compassion, which is an aspect of agape love, for those individuals who are so wounded or damaged that they wound and damage other people we are no different than the world. Scripture makes it clear that it is easy to love those who love us but not so easy to love those who mistreat us.

Luke 6:32–36 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

I was wounded just recently by someone I care a great for, wounded more than they most likely realize. However, I have chosen to trust God to deal with the matter and not retaliate. I realize that the individual can only treat me with the spiritual, mental, and emotional maturity they currently possess despite what my heart might desire.

Evil

Yes, evil does exist! It is a powerful spiritual force that can destroy individuals and lives. Evil is a byproduct of the fall of both Satan and the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. If we had to trace goodness back to one source that source would be God. Likewise, if we had to trace evil back to one source that source would be Satan. Evil and its father, Satan, are a very powerful force second only to God and not one to be taken lightly.

Please understand this point. Without God man is completely powerless over evil. Whether you are a child of God through the rebirth of your spirit or a child of God through creation who has yet to recognize God as their Father you would not be able resist evil without God’s help. Without God this entire world would be consumed with evil. The world is Satan’s playground, his domain in some manners and therefore we are not to be naïve when it comes to the evil that surrounds us in our society.

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The issue of labeling evil as demon possession, demonic influence, congenital evil, or consensual evil is in all honesty an extremely difficult thing to do. People like to place labels on things or actions but in order to truly label almost any action or behavior a person would require so much information that gathering said information would be almost impossible. This is why I find it difficult to respect people who place labels. Yes, we can offer insights and possible reasons for why someone will say or do something but to say, “we know” without doubt and place a label on that person is in my belief almost impossible – it also borders on condemning a person, the worse form of judging another person. Most people do not even talk to people enough to get a good understanding of what they think, believe, or to understand why they took certain actions much less gathering enough information to slap a label on them. Therefore, I would exhort you to be very careful before deciding what type of evil might be presence in a situation.

Evil is a topic that is challenging to undertake in such a forum as the sheer volume of what could be written on the topic is enormous. I will address just a few matters here but in no way, will I even scratch the surface of what should or could be written on the matter. I will confine myself to the previously mentions aspects of evil – demon possession, demonic influence, congenital evil, and consensual evil.

Demon possession did exist during biblical times, and does exist to date. Evil spirits aka demons where sent upon King Saul (1 Sam. 16:14). Both Jesus (Luke 7:21) and Paul (Acts 19:11, 12) acknowledged demons and demon possession casting demons out of those afflicted. There are situations where people are labeled as being mentally ill, which I believe without much doubt are cases of “demon possession” yes, demon possession. With that said, I also believe some people have been considered possessed by a demon when they were legitimately mentally ill. Overall, I believe there are a great deal of things labeled as mental illness or mental disorders that are in truth a form of evil influence or a result of sin.

People are prompted to do evil by the demonic influences around them or around someone who has access to their life, such as was the case with Ahab (1 Kin. 22:1–23). Demonic “influence” is possible for all people including Christians. For this reason it is extremely important that we examine our every thought, feeling, action, and prompting against the Truth found in God’s Word. Every thought must be taken captive, so we do not fall prey to the insidious influences that find their way into our own hearts (these influences enter people’s hearts through various means which I will not go into here, but it is not always the person’s own fault.)

2 Corinthians 10:3–6 (NKJV)

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Matthew 15:19 (NKJV) Jesus Speaking

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Congenital evil has to do with those things we find that run in our families or as some would like to say, ‘are in our DNA.’ Evil can be passed on through families via the environmental influence that opens the spirit to such evil. There can also be evil in the heredity of a family, evil known as generational curses. However, through the power and blood of The Lord Jesus, The Christ, generational curses of all type can be broken whether physical curses, behavioral cures, or mental curses.

Exodus 34:6–7 (NKJV) – When Moses was being given the second set of Tablets in the Wilderness, after the Hebrew children of God had left Egypt.

6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Exodus 20:5 (NKJV) In relation to and inclusive in the Ten Commandments.

5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Restated in Deuteronomy 5:9 (NKJV)

9 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

That leaves us the final form of evil we will address here, consensual evil. A person can become demon possessed through opening themselves up to evil in their actions. Through choices they have made to involve themselves in evil actions, in satanic activity, etc. Christian can open themselves up to evil influence in a greater degree by involving themselves in sinful behavior and even evil activities. There are those people who claim to be Christians yet partake in tarot cards, horoscopes, evil media, attempting to channel, consulting spiritualist or fortunetellers, etc. These are not actions God would have His people partaking in, He expects them to shun all evil and cling to goodness, godliness, and Truth. I exhort you not to think you can play or tamper with evil without getting burned – run from all forms of evil, run quickly and far!

Deuteronomy 18:10–12 (NKJV)

10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.

Romans 12:9 (NKJV)

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NKJV)

Abstain from every form of evil.

John 17:15 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples is my prayer for each of you.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Church Shooting – Questions about Spiritual Abuse and Hypocrisy

In Abuse, Anger, Anxiety, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Courage, End Times, Evil, Exhortation, Fear, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Hypocrisy, Jesus, Persecution, Religious Freedom, Renewal, Revival, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Activists, Spirituality, Suffering, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on November 28, 2017 at 8:47 am

Please feel free to send me any of your own thoughts or questions, locate and click the comment link below. I will continue to address them in follow up posts. This post and/or related posts will be the only post[s] I will be making available for the next few weeks, as I believe this topic needs to stay front and center for a season.

Several thought and questions have come my way. I will attempt to address these in this and the next posting.

Persecution and Church Effectiveness

I do not agree that there is one source for the anger and hatred toward the Body of Christ, the Church. Is there hypocrisy in the Body of Christ? Yes, absolutely. Is there spiritual abuse within certain denominations? I would say there is some spiritual abuse within all denominations as well as within churches that have no denominational affiliation. Have both hypocrisy and spiritual abuse affected the effectiveness of the Body of Christ? Without a doubt. The cause of persecution directed toward the church and the ineffectiveness of the church is not “just” or “simply” hypocrisy or spiritual abuse nevertheless I will address both.

There are different forms and motivations for hypocrisy. There is worldly hypocrisy (Matt. 23:5–7), legalistic hypocrisy (Rom. 10:3), evangelical hypocrisy (2 Pet. 2:10–22), and hypocrisy satanic (2 Cor. 11:13–15). Therefore, attempting to get into each in any depth does not truly serve any purpose in addressing the concerns here. Different groups or denominations may in fact show various forms of hypocrisy somewhat distinctive to that group but despite the current popular fade I do not believe “rebranding” those denomination is the answer. Dealing with the hypocrisy, the spiritual abuse, and the spiritual deadness is the answer!

There is a general distain for organized religion in the form of denominational religion for religion sake. It does seem as though people have assigned certain perceived acts of hypocrisy to certain denominations. The denominations answer to how turned off people are by organized religion is to rebrand themselves. However, a denomination renaming themselves to hide or remove all traces of denominational affiliation is counter productive in the long run because they go from being perceived as hypocrites in a specific area to being perceived as both hypocrites and deceiver regarding who they are and what they stand for.

We are seeing a great deal of the “rebranding” today because non-denominational congregations are the fastest growing and largest congregations in America today, while denominational congregations such as Baptist, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Methodist, etc. are shrinking and dying off all together. There is a very good reason for this dynamic, one I believe is God driven (I believe this based upon something God showed myself and many other godly spiritual leaders in the 1990’s about what He would be doing with the Body of Christ during our lifetime). My response, I too left denominationalism at that time and involved myself in beginning what would become a very large non-denominational church and school of ministry.

To say that the ALL of the persecution or ALL of the ineffectiveness the Body of Christ is undergoing at this point in the history of The Church is NOT OF GOD, would be inaccurate – aspects of the persecution are God driven, some are society driven, some are sin driven, and some are driven by evil. To place a single label on any specific persecution can be vey difficult.

Spiritual abuse to me is not a denominational issue it is an individual issue with a leader. Leaders who repeatedly spiritually abuse their people should be removed, period! People should not put up with spiritual abuse, nor should they allow hatred to build for a denomination because they were spiritually abuse by an individual within a specific denomination. Spiritual abuse happens almost everywhere unfortunately from the Catholic Church to a non-denominational church and all denominations in between.

I acknowledge that the spiritual abuse is there, and I sympathize. I have seen it, counseled those who have been through it, and heard of all kinds of spiritual abuse – ranging from sexual abuse, verbal abuse, public shaming, manipulation, gossip, character assignation, exploration for greed or profit, deliberately damaging a person’s reputation with people through misrepresentations, lies, and gossip, leader driven shunning, over working people, misrepresenting the Scriptures, and so forth. All spiritual abuse causes wounds, wounds can cause anger if not dealt with correctly, anger can lead to bitterness, and bitterness can lead to persecution of a person or group. If you have been spiritually abused in any manner get godly spiritual and emotional help from a godly minister, please.

It saddens me that both of these issues, hypocrisy and spiritual abuse, have diminished the respect people once felt for Christianity as a whole and Christian people in general.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.