Spiritual Abuse

It’s possible to become so determined to defend a spiritual place of authority, a doctrine or a way of doing things that you wound and abuse anyone who questions, or disagrees, or doesn’t ‘behave’ spiritually the way you want them to. When your words and actions tear down another, or attack or weaken a person’s standing as a Christian –  to gratify you, your position or your beliefs while at the same time, weakening or harming another – that is spiritual abuse.                                                             ~ David Johnson / Jeff VanVondoren

My blogging buddy, Chaz @ One Direction Forward, made some comments on Wednesday’s Ashes to Go post that stirred up my thinking about the whole concept of spiritual abuse. I’ve found it lurking in all corners of the Christian community, from Fundamentalists to High Church.

Just as I was reading some excerpts from The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, my email notifier gave a whistle and Dictionary.com Word of the Day popped up. Today’s word was Adamantine, which means: Utterly unyielding or firm in attitude or opinion. A few of the synonyms are: unbending, unbreakable, uncompliant, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding.

The book was talking about churches and their culture. The dictionary was talking about individuals and their nature. The parallel was striking. Just as I was mentally gathering a few smooth stones to cast at some stain glass, I had to suck in my breath. Adamantine. Am I?

Father, make me bendable. Break me when I need to be broken. Teach me to compromise, relent and yield in all of the areas of my life that grace allows and grace dictates. Amen.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

25 thoughts on “Spiritual Abuse”

  1. Yet, Jesus is the truth and He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever; the Truth never changes.
    He said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    But WE, WE are to speak the truth IN LOVE and let Him bring the sword. When we do the sword part, we just cut of ears and He has to fix it.
    We forget we are all HIS clay. Our fingerprints do not belong on His clay.

    1. dear katharine – “our fingerprints do not belong on His clay” – wow – that is really, really right! Thank you!
      ~ Debbie
      PS – I loved the ear part, too! Brilliant! 😀

  2. Double Triple LIKE! I am with Paulann on that one!

    and this too,

    “Time to stop arm wrestling and start shaking hands”

    If we could only get there! That is all we are called to do In my humble opinion.

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED this post!

    Thank you so very much for giving this such beautiful voice!

    you really are who I want to be when I grow up too! (Seems Mel and I used to want to be Joan Jett, You are WAY better….)

    Love, Jen

    1. Dearest Jen – Better than Joan Jett? Gosh! Thank you, but truly, you two need to set your sights a little higher or you might end up in an RV with a bunch of scorpions and mad bulls! 😉
      Thank you for the ping. I’m honored. 😀
      It seems my computer has been sending all my comments to infinity and beyond… Hope some of them reach you someday!

  3. Your writing made me wish there was a “double like” option. I need to say adamantine to myself every morning, and then purpose to not go there. I can’t think of any thoughts more timely than these for where we are in terms of religion, politics, and relationships. Thank you for planting seeds for me to water! ~ Paulann

  4. I often feel I have learned to curb those not encouraging/grace filled words but lately I am digging into why even the thoughts enter. Love…….build one another up. Jesus knows how to put a challenge in front of us all. Thanks for sharing yours.

    1. dear judi – You have put your finger on the beat of my heart and the prayer of my soul. It isn’t enough to simply not say things, I pray for thoughts that are grace filled. If my treasure is where my heart is, I still need some silver polish.
      Thank you, my new found friend, for sharing your heart here.
      ~ Debbie

  5. Gracious one . . .you have me remembering all the times I’ve had to suck back in a comment I was about to leave on a blog. And the times that I didn’t, but should’ve. Thank you for the cup of grace that you offer us here! Loved the prayer at the end too. God bless you as you let His grace rule over you! love and prayers – the other deb

    1. Dearest Deb – While I don’t often say or write anything that I have to take back, it’s more out of my aversion to conflict rather than any grace on my part. That’s the sad truth. You, on the other hand, are a joy to my heart! Thank you!
      love and grace to you, my sweet friend,
      ~ Debbie

  6. I am forever thankful for those who teach me about grace by their actions. Some unlikely men in recovery are wonderful teachers of that and you, dear friend, are ever at the top of the list. Thank you for your gentle words and spirit.

  7. Oh, this is so good, Debbie–brings tears to my eyes. It’s so easy to appear self-righteous, thinking we’re boldly proclaiming or defending our faith. My mother used to say, “it’s not the words you use–it’s the tone in which you say them.” Thanks, Sis–God bless you BIG this weekend. love, sis Caddo

    1. Dear Caddo – Grace comes knocking whenever I begin to get a little too comfortable examining the weakness of another. Your mother was wise – we say far more with an eyebrow and a tone than with lips and a tongue! Thank you for always being here and being such an encouragement to my soul, sister! 😉

    1. Hey Greg – You’ve named it! I like your analogy. It IS time to stop wrestling. We certainly need to find a gentler way to touch people. Thanks for adding to the picture!
      ~ Debbie

  8. Adamantine … ouch! I don’t want to think about it. Now you made me do it. Think, I mean.

    How many years have I been trying to grow out of that mindset??? I guess I have to give up and let God remove some character defects. Trying to do it on my own doesn’t work.

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