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Victims become preoccupied with observing others in the congregation to see who is living up to the rules and who isn’t.
In my church, If someone wasn’t living up to the standards set forth by the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination they were considered rebellious and we were not to have any associations with them.
We all stood around in a circle gossiping about how she had backsliden and how she was being influenced by the world since she obviously didn’t go to an Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination affiliated college.
Churches that abuse promote extra-biblical rules and standards and equate them as doctrine or at least as coming from God, with your salvation or spirituality in jeopardy if they aren’t followed.
We celebrate diversity, honoring and respecting all peoples and spiritual paths, acknowledging truth in whatever form it appears.
Brief Introduction Spiritual abuse is similar to emotional abuse and occurs when the leaders of a church or religious organization use their power and position to manipulate, control and/or coerce their congregation/followers/members, whether on purpose or with good intentions.
describe spiritual abuse well when he said: “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.” One of the biggest problems with spiritual abuse is that it is VERY subtle. Pastors and other spiritual leaders become adept at using spcipture to back up their subtle manipulation and control.
Spiritual abuse includes, but is not limited to mind-control, thought reform, coercion, manipulation, deception, legalism, authoritarianism, guilt trips, judgementalism/”Phariseeism”, holier-than-though attitude, and a “we are right and everyone else is wrong” attitude.
Spiritual abuse is often done in the name of proclaiming the ‘truth’.
The trouble with spiritual abuse is that the perpetrator often has been deceived him/herself into thinking that they are helping when in actuality they are doing more harm than good.
One of the rules was that dying one’s hair is considered worldly and therefore a sin.
I remember when an older girl who had graduated from our school came back from college and her hair was died.
Trivial matters are brought to attention such as the way one dressed or styles his/her hair, the music one listens to, the clothes one wears, etc.