Tag Archives: spiritual abuse

What is True Love? Not This…

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Every form of abuse is about power and control. True love is about mutual respect and honor.

PLAYGROUND BULLY: I’ll punch you if you don’t give me your iPhone.

PHYSICAL ABUSER: I’ll punch you where no one will see the bruises, act the hero, and tell everyone you’re crazy if you try to talk about it. No need to give me the iPhone.

SEXUAL ABUSER: I’ll hurt you and have fun doing it, then you’ll know your worth is bound in how you satisfy me. I own you and your iPhone.

VERBAL ABUSER: You &%#$! Give me the iPhone you little piece of $%&! Oh, you can’t give me the phone because you’re a nobody. You’re worthless.

EMOTIONAL ABUSER: Give me your iPhone because if you do not I will not love you. If you want it back you have to give me what I want or I won’t love you.

FINANCIAL ABUSER:  Your money is mine. My money is mine. I will decide how much you can keep or spend.  iPhone? You don’t need an iPhone because I want a new set of golf clubs.

SPIRITUAL ABUSER: If you do not follow the religious guidelines I made for you, you will go to hell. Guideline one: give me your iPhone.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Corinthians 13: 4, 5

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

“Help, Church Leaders Don’t Want Me to Divorce Husband with Porn Addiction”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

In April, the following message came using the contact form on this website. (printed by permission)

“Thanks. Your articles were helpful. My Google search that led to your page was – ‘help church leaders don’t want me to divorce husband with porn addiction’.  We separated, with the elders wanting that time to be for us to work towards reconciliation. I still see abusive attitudes that are so tied up in the porn use. They see [his] tears and ‘repentance’. They haven’t spent time with me or the kids – only him. The emotional abuse is so HEAVY. That is what I feel most compelled to run from – someone who plays the victim while he is abusing himself, his wife, kids, and those used to make the content he has indulged in. I think this is the part where wives and kids need help – after YEARS/DECADES of this cycle (sin comes to light/tears and repentance and new accountability partners/ etc.) – when is it finally enough? Their argument is that he seems genuine this time – so who am I to not give him another year? These guys haven’t even chatted with me. That happens too often. And if we say, “but that seems unsafe to me” – we are told we’re being unsubmissive. I wonder how many people have been completely finished off by that sort of spiritual abuse. I hope you are able to help others still love God and trust Him, but navigate through these murky waters. Thanks again.”

The writer’s articulate description of the cycle of cheap grace hopefully draws you in, dear reader. Perhaps you’ve lived it, or are seeing her point of view for the first time. 

Cheap grace 

1) Sin comes to light. 

2) Tears and repentance

3)New accountability partners

4) Sin continues

This wife’s story draws tears to my eyes because she, her children, other watching families, and the testimony of Christ are twice hurt.  Both the husband’s sins and the church’s short-sighted response to pornography in Christian families have emptied grace of its beauty and power.  Along with her, I ask, when is it finally enough? How many observers have been completely finished off by that sort of spiritual abuse?

Here’s the thing, dear reader.  In my experience, most believers and followers of Christ want to do what is right. There will always be power-hungry leaders among us, however they are relatively few. The rest of us make these mistakes based on lack of knowledge. 

Christ’s grace

1) We all sin and fall short of God’s holy nature (Romans 3:23)

2) People return to sin like a dog returns to its vomit  (2 Peter 2:21-22)

3) Our “righteousness” is as pure as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)

4) Enter Jesus. He lives the life we cannot – one without sin (Hebrews 4:15)

5) He pays the blood-price for our forgiveness (1 John 1:7)

6) We confess our sins and turn away from them with his strength (Romans 8:5-9)

7) We become more and more like him, loving others as he did (Philippians 2:5)

8) In marriages, we lay down our selfish ambitions and pursue loving each other as Christ loved his church, and gave himself for her, submitting to each other as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-21)

Where does adultery, lust, and addiction fit in this picture? Where is the false repentance (that is actually only remorse) in God’s story? Did not Esau sell his soul for a pot of porridge? And though he begged for forgiveness with tears, he could not receive it. That is because his tears were remorseful, not repentant. (Hebrews 12:15-17)

True repentance is observable

Repentance accompanies  deep, honest and humble confession,  true understanding of the pain one has caused others and God,  long-lasting change (with the family as the star witness, not tears),  continuous humility,  and a blame-the-victim, blame-society, and blame-God ceasefire. By the way,  “I can’t help it” is blaming God. 

Cheap grace sounds as the wife in this story describes it (Romans 6:1-3).  When is enough?  In my opinion, it is easier to accept someone’s tears than to do the hard work of exploring their heart. At the very least,  I wish her church leaders would chat with her and the children!

There are common misunderstandings

  • Forgiveness and trust are confused
  • Submission as unto the Lord is diminished into enabling and endorsing sin
  • Separation and divorce are equaled with remarriage
  • We are unwilling to do as God did – allow divorce due to the hardness of mens’ hearts
  • There is little concept of the connection between porn and adultery, or porn and abuse
  • There is little respect for the death sentence emotional abuse hands down to victims 
  • Legalism trumps holiness. 

Thank you for reading today’s blog, and I pray you are encouraged by the truth written here. Let’s do our best to understand wisdom, and to love these families harmed so deeply by pornography.

Related Posts:  Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse pt 1, pt 2;   Series on Emotional Abuse in Christian Marriages pt 1, pt 2, pt 3, pt 4, pt 5and An Open Letter About Porn to Christian Husbands, Pastors, and Husbands-to-be

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*help sign and typing pic from kozzi.com

Spiritual Abuse May Be Happening in Your Church (or to You)

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness  (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-24800475-businesswoman-covering-her-earsAbusers do not listen. They argue or twist your words so eventually whatever problem they are experiencing is your fault. Maybe they badger, or roll their eyes, or repeat the same thing over and over until you respond with what they want to hear.

A spiritually abusive church leader can accuse you of horrible things because you disagree with him on a matter and he cannot stand to be challenged. Share with a spiritual abuser a differing point of view, and you will find yourself suddenly not good enough.  You are willingly blind to the truth, your feelings are sinful, you are disobedient toward God, and no, you cannot sing in the choir anymore.photo-24757830-an-angry-businessman

From my experience with these types, it seems they will argue a point with nothing to back it except for some form of “I know.” An abuser will not be willing to hear you out. They will claim to have heard from God or be quoting scripture, but it’s like they are wielding a hammer on your head. They may “talk over” you in person, on Facebook, in texts, etc. Their responses to you will be as if they never listened. Well, they didn’t.

We are all sinners, and often carry opinions or act out in ways contrary to scripture or love. Any one of us may screw-up and fail to approach others in ways that are satisfactory. Normal, mixed-bag, imperfect people still can wound each other. We have to learn and change our ways, that’s why we need a Savior and church in the first place.

However, a spiritual abuser will, over time, create an atmosphere where you begin to question your right to be you, and whether you will ever be good enough for God. They will tear you down with oppressive speech, attitude, or behaviors, and by yielding to them you lose yourself, no longer knowing who God created you to be.

I am not all-knowing, nonetheless it seems to me God wants his creations to fulfill the purposes for which he created them. By standing by and making excuses for someone’s (or your own) abusive behavior, you give the abuser room to repeat his or her sin. By submitting to the abuse, you withdraw your own gifts and potential to change the world.photo-24751599-vector-of-businesswoman-with-question-mark-board.

It’s all so unnecessary. Your loyalty to an abuser cannot trump your loyalty to your Creator. Willingly submitting to abuse comes from a misunderstanding of duty.

Jesus suffered and submitted to his abusers, yes. He only did so in his time, avoiding beatings and arrest until the chosen day he would fulfill his mission. If you are no longer certain who you are or whether you have any value, you are not fulfilling your godly mission. You may be enabling a sinner to beat you down.

A spiritual abuser is at fault. Not you. It’s okay to walk away and say, “no more.” It’s not selfish to be who God designed you to be. You matter too.

*****

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

What is True Love? Not This…

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-24737764-a-man-holding-the-globeEvery form of abuse is about power and control. True love is about mutual respect and honor.

PLAYGROUND BULLY: I’ll punch you if you don’t give me your iPhone

PHYSICAL ABUSER: I’ll punch you where no one will see the bruises, act the hero, and tell everyone you’re crazy if you try to talk about it. No need to give me the iPhone.

SEXUAL ABUSER: I’ll hurt you and have fun doing it, then you’ll know who is boss and that I own you and your iPhone.

VERBAL ABUSER: You &%#$! Give me the iPhone you little piece of $%&! Oh, you can’t give me the phone because you’re a nobody. You’re worthless.

EMOTIONAL ABUSER: Give me your iPhone because if you do not I will not love you. If you want it back you have to give me what I want or I won’t love you.

FINANCIAL ABUSER: I will tell you how much of our money you can have and I will withdraw our money from you when I do not like how you are using it. iPhone? You don’t need an iPhone because I want a new bike instead.

SPIRITUAL ABUSER: If you do not follow the spiritual guidelines I set out for you, you will go to hell. Guideline one: Give me your iPhone.

******

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com