Blog Post by Sister Diane Foster

Spiritual Abuse

Greetings readers! Wow! Compassionate Soul Care Ministry, through its newsletter PURPOSE, has been on a journey to discover and share information and insights on spiritual abuse for the last ten months. The series began by identifying spiritual abuse. It then went on to discuss spiritual abuse during biblical times and, further, even back to the Garden of Eden. The posts spoke of what purpose spiritual abuse fulfills. A correlation was made between spiritual abuse and narcissism from a biblical perspective. No discussion could go without highlighting leaders who entrap, manipulate, and lead astray the innocent and vulnerable, including those they apostatize to become abusive leaders like themselves. During the series, others shared their experiences of spiritual abuse and their stories of healing. The title of this blog captures the journey as it now brings focus to healing. All healing comes from Yahuah; Yahuah mends brokenness and heals the brokenhearted.

While gathering information together, I decided to conduct a grass-roots survey to find correlations between spiritual abuse in the Set Apart community and other populations. The findings confirmed that the threads of spiritual abuse run throughout all religious organizations, sects, and cults. Learning about spiritual abuse became an eye-opener as the depths and complexities began to surface. My eyes of understanding grew as I began to connect it with Bible history. Spiritual abuse is nothing new, and it becomes even more apparent when looked at from a biblical lens.

 

Understanding spiritual abuse is so critical that each post begins with a definition, as will this one. As I moved through the different posts, the wording may vary somewhat, but the meaning is the same.

Spiritual Abuse (SA) is “any attempt to exert power and control over someone using religion, faith, or beliefs.” SA can happen within a religious organization or a personal relationship. SA is not limited to one religion, denomination, or group of people. SA can cause severe trauma and significantly affect the victim’s mental health. SA takes many forms: physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, social, and spiritual.

The data was collected and analyzed. A video is available for you to watch; it, too, is listed below. Once the results were in, I began to seek willing respondents to participate in a panel discussion so you, the reader, could hear the voices of those whose words you had read. This video is being readied for your viewing. In the meantime, enjoy a clip.

“How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You sail the seas and cross whole countries to win one convert, and when you succeed, you make them (emphasis mine) twice as deserving of going to hell as you yourselves are! (Matthew 23:15).

 

Common Threads of Abuse

  • Mental and or psychological
  • Sexual abuse or harassment
  • Verbal or financial abuse and manipulation
  • Spiritual leader’s god-like behavior

 

What attracts people?

  • A sense of identity (wanting to belong to a community.)
  • Heard great things about the community.
  • Wanted to feel accepted or loved (validation).
  • Seeking truth.

 

When did you begin to notice things were not as they seemed?

  • Backlash for questioning Scripture.
  • God-like personnel of leadership
  • Mental and psychological abuse.
  • A decrease in spirituality.
  • Abuse from older women to conform.

 

Survey results showed that mental, psychological, and sexual abuse is a common thread. Healing will continue to be a focus of Compassionate Soul Care Ministry. Through the leadership of the Ruach haQodesh, we plan to develop a platform where women can begin their healing process. The following is a sample plan; each stage has a broad and narrow focus.

 

Stages to Healing

  • Stage One: Acknowledging the abuse
  • Stage Two: Determine to heal and inform myself
  • Stage Three: Receive and accept Yahuah’s forgiveness. His forgiveness is your comfort.
  • Stage Four: Become a positive role model for others.

 

Breaking Free

Some walk away, some run away, and some describe it as escaping. First, it is healing to understand the deception that transpired during your indoctrination. Do not carry the burden of shame or guilt. Realize that you are not alone. Know that there is nothing right about spiritual abuse. Return your focus to the love of Yahuah; know He loves you. Understand co-dependency and trauma. Develop critical thinking skills. Learn who you are and, most importantly, who you belong to.  

 

When understood, these statements are tremendous antidotes for healing. With the help of the Holy Spirit, focusing on each of these with single-mindedness closes doors of bondage and opens avenues for healing.

 

As this series develops, Compassionate Soul Care Ministry (CSCM) have plans to initiate Roundtable discussions on “All Things Spiritual Abuse.” We would love to hear from you. If you have any ideas or feedback to what we seek to accomplish please leave your comments in the Comment section or email di***@co***************************.com.

To learn more about spiritual abuse, I have posted the link to the beginning of the series, with easy-click links to move to the next topic.

Spiritual Abuse Discussion Panel

 

 

You can still participate in the survey!

 

We will continue to gather data as our community changes daily. Your input will help us grow in insight and knowledge. The link is below.

 

 

 

 

 

Diane Foster

Masters Social Work, Masters Divinity, Masters Pastoral Counseling, Certified Mental Health Coach, Certified Suicide Prevention Coach, Coaching/Counseling, Licensed Professional Counselor, Bible Counseling Candidate (Association of Biblical Counselors)

 

Email:

di***@co***************************.com

Website:

https://compassionatesoulcareministry.com/

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