Spiritual Abuse

I wrote this post last year during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and thought it was worth reminding ourselves that this does exist and it’s something we should be aware of.  Be blessed!

Researching information for this month’s articles I ran into something, that yes, I’ve seen but it had not clicked in my mind when I thought about abuse and it’s the term “spiritual abuse” in a relationship. This relates to when a spouse uses God to control or manipulate the other spouse with the Word of God or an alleged spiritual gift or “power”

These abusers use their spouses faith and a legalistic vision of the Word of God to manipulate, control and undermine their spouses. With this behavior the enforced their authority and the victim submits to avoid consequences not only with their perpetrator but with their higher power, as they believe this is coming from God himself.

The fact that the victims are being abused will make them be more submitted as they think that they must be doing something wrong, as they continue to be criticized or chastised by their abuser. On the other hand this can hinder their faith as they would have trouble understanding why God would allow them to live in such conditions, when it’s not God, it’s the other person’s free will that is attacking them.

Jeremiah 23:16 says “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” But if this is your husband or boyfriend, how can you tell?

  • Study the Word yourself.
  • If your spirit says something is not right, it probably isn’t. Look it up before you agree to do something.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for clear direction.
  • Read the Word in context and not singling out scriptures. Sometimes just reading a few more sentences can bring clarity to the context.
  • In doubt, research. Sometimes just reading different versions of the same scripture will bring clarity to our notions.
  • Talk to other Christians (be careful about this one, you don’t want someone who is misguided as well)

If you want to identify a potential spiritual abuser, read Matthew 23:1-39 ESV Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long”

Be safe!

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Did Jesus talk about Grace?

There was a recently heated discussion on twitter about Grace. The points of contention where the following:

  • One side argued that Grace was the invention of born again Christians, but that Jesus never spoke of Grace, therefore there was nothing to it.
  • The other side argued that although Jesus per se didn’t mention the word Grace, his action and other statements implied the concept of Grace.

I think we need to start by defining what is Grace to have a frame of reference. I looked in dictionary.com and it defines Grace as mercy, clemency and pardon. It also says that it’s a manifestation of favor especially by a superior.

Starting from this frame of mine, I think that both schools of thought would agree that we consider Jesus Christ our Superior and Higher Power. I found in John 1:14-17 the following scripture “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying,

“This is he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Now if I’m understanding this correctly Jesus is the Word who became flesh. The scripture says he was full of grace and truth. It also says that the law was given to Moses, meaning all those rules about the things we needed to do to be able to obtain favor in the eyes of God, but that grace (meaning clemency and undeserving pardon) came through Jesus Christ.

Jesus actually said that he didn’t  come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;but to fulfill them. Truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (John 5:17-20)

So does that mean that the other parts of the bible are just as important as his literal words? I think so. Does he call us out of legalism when he says that we should do more than the Pharisees and teachers of the law? I think so too.

As someone who has sinned and have been recipient of the Grace of God, I’m very glad that it does exist. No, Grace is not a license to sin and relay in the Grace of God, which I think is the misconception that those who feel that Grace is not real believe is the interpretation of born again Christians. But I didn’t deserve forgiveness for the sins I committed and break the laws established by God and I have to be thankful to Jesus for redemption and Grace and giving me a new opportunity to start again.

Don’t forget to check out my new Devotional Growth Lessons, and obtain a 10% discount with the coupon code PN34W.

Be blessed.

Spiritual Abuse

Researching information for this month’s articles I ran into something, that yes, I’ve seen but it had not clicked in my mind when I thought about abuse and it’s the term “spiritual abuse” in a relationship. This relates to when a spouse uses God to control or manipulate the other spouse with the Word of God or an alleged spiritual gift or “power”

These abusers use their spouses faith and a legalistic vision of the Word of God to manipulate, control and undermine their spouses. With this behavior the enforced their authority and the victim submits to avoid consequences not only with their perpetrator but with their higher power, as they believe this is coming from God himself.

The fact that the victims are being abused will make them be more submitted as they think that they must be doing something wrong, as they continue to be criticized or chastised by their abuser. On the other hand this can hinder their faith as they would have trouble understanding why God would allow them to live in such conditions, when it’s not God, it’s the other person’s free will that is attacking them.

 

Jeremiah 23:16 says “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” But if this is your husband or boyfriend, how can you tell?

  • Study the Word yourself.
  • If your spirit says something is not right, it probably isn’t. Look it up before you agree to do something.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for clear direction.
  • Read the Word in context and not singling out scriptures. Sometimes just reading a few more sentences can bring clarity to the context.
  • In doubt, research. Sometimes just reading different versions of the same scripture will bring clarity to our notions.
  • Talk to other Christians (be careful about this one, you don’t want someone who is misguided as well)

If you want to identify a potential spiritual abuser, read Matthew 23:1-39 ESV Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long”

Be safe!

Remember to check out my new devotional Growth Lessons, and obtain a 10% discount the coupon code PN34W

Time to stop playing church

I’m learning everyday more that being a churchgoer and being a disciple of Christ are very different things. It’s very easy to memorize scriptures and spit them out every time you open your mouth, dress a certain way, behave a certain way in front of people and go around church singing, throwing yourself in the floor when the spirit gets a hold of you. Is all of that real?

I’m not saying it’s not, but the Word of God says “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize the”(Matthew 7:15-16) That’s a self evaluation that we all have to do. Are we bearing fruit or are we playing church for our family and friends?

In the times when Jesus was on the earth the Pharisees were the religious people who lived to “obey the law” but not to commit to the Word of God. From what I’ve read, Jesus was not too fond of those people.

  • But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” Matthew 3:7-8
  • For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:20

Jesus was all about love and compassion. Do we reflect that in our daily life? Are we like the priest who passed the man left half dead by the side of the road because we’re running late for church?

Worshiping God , spending time with him is the best thing to do, but it also goes along with the second commandment: “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’(Matthew 22:39)

I just think that yes, Christianity is a lifestyle, but that is more than our behaviors, our friends, the activities we engaged, the way we dress, the music that we listen to. It’s our purpose and our mission! I think that sometimes we get lost in religiosity and separate ourselves from the real life of a Christian.

We talk about Paul, Peter and James, but are we willing to go to jail and die for the cause of Christ? Are you really involved in causes that save souls? Or do you think that they are too dangerous? For example:

But it doesn’t necessarily means only being or supporting an organization.

  • Do you call the police when you hear that couple again fighting where you know there’s domestic violence?
  • Do you intervene when you have knowledge that a child is being abused?
  • Do you raise your hand against an unethical decision at work?
  • Do you support products that promote programs on the different media sources that show things that degrade women, children or devalue Christian values?

So are we the real deal or are we like it says in Matthew 23:1-3 “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

Food for thought

Naty