I don’t know which issue I despise worse. That I stayed as long as I did, that I didn’t see what was happening for what it was or that I am still confused and broken enough to consider not writing this post.
For the most part, blogging has been, for me, about living my life wide open and hoping that as I work through my issues, you will be challenged and blessed to work through yours. All under the loving and gentle supervision of the Great Comforter, Bringer of Wisdom, the Holy Spirit.
And yet, over the last couple of years I’ve seen myself become more and more quiet while my heart became more and more desperate. As mind boggling as this is, this change happened in whispers. Subversively. I couldn’t recognize it until it was so far entrenched, so deeply embedded into my soul I was shredded by it’s removal. I was seduced. By familiarity, by access, by affection and by opportunity. When I began to see how the intimacy of relationship, friendship and working together had turned into a perversion of relationship I was sickened. And frightened. Sickened as I began to see how I had allowed myself to be used and frightened I didn’t see this happening sooner. I didn’t stand up. I was frightened to see I’m as weak as I am and appalled that I was not as strong as I’d like to be.
Why wasn’t I stronger? It’s not as though this was the first time I’ve ever been in this situation. Likely it won’t be the last time a predator shows a snarly face. A face well-hidden under genteel smiles and warm handshakes.
It’s shocking how this looks from this side. I couldn’t believe. I made excuses until I could no longer function normally. I tried to insulate myself from the reality of what was happening. I pulled my heart away and figured while I could be used, no one would be able to touch the “real me”.
I buried my conscience and my spirit under the shame of not speaking up sooner. I have been consumed with fear of the very ones who cared not for my real well-being but only what services I could provide for them.
The fall out from this situation became apparent as I continued to function in a twisted and dark relationship and everything around me that was a part of it felt dirty, compromised and un-safe.
And then, because of G-d’s great Grace and through a series of events I would not have chosen for myself… Free. Delivered. Rescued. All of the above? From this dirty little secret I share with thousand of others throughout the Body.
What is this dirty little secret? Abuse. From people who preyed upon my heart for the Lord. From people who used the gifts and talents G-d intended for His people to glorify themselves.
Abuse: To misuse, excessively use something, to pervert the original intent.
Spiritual abuse. It’s nebulous, it’s slimy, it’s hard to put into words, but if you’ve been the unfortunate recipient of this form of “ministry” you know it when you see it.
It’s Christianity’s dirty little secret. And like all the other varieties of abuse?
It continues as long as the perpetrators maintain control and the victims stay silent, confused and ashamed.
It’s time to wake up! My brothers and sisters, we have created an environment of spiritual idolatry and the result is that we excuse the very people and the very behavior which is damaging us. We have put our leaders up on little white pedestals and then we refuse to hold them accountable to the mere fundamentals of our faith, the minimum of decency required by Scripture. And when these mere mortals fall prey to the insidious pull of pride and license (and they are doing so by the droves) they begin to believe they deserve the adoration of the people who look up to them. These leaders begin to believe they are The Most Important Thing and the common, sincere, naive people become less and less important until they are merely a means to an end. Stepping stones. Fodder for the Ministry.
Well, I for one, will no longer keep silent.
This isn’t about love “covering a multitude of sins”. This is about those of us who have been damaged, maimed and battered realizing that our Great Shepherd, who died for us, who desires to bring us from death to life, who loves us beyond measure didn’t give these men and women the RIGHT to hurt us or harm us.
This is about realizing that we are precious and valuable in the Kingdom. Even if we provide nothing of “value” to our church or congregation. This is about understanding that we can come in to fellowship with our hearts hanging out, bleeding all over the place and our Savior won’t call us “high-maintenance” or too “complicated”. This is about trusting a Faithful Creator and knowing He who wouldn’t take our pain and let it be used for “interesting conversation” around the after-church lunch table.
All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to stand by and do nothing. ~That One Guy~
Not here. Not anymore. I won’t waste another minute of my life believing these people deserve an excuse or a justification for their behavior.
And who knows, maybe this will be just what they need to wake up, repent and start living like the men and women G-d created them to be.
That’s my prayer.