I will say to all who read my blog that, yes, you are very welcome to peruse my posts and read away, and as much as you like, but really, there is a core group of individuals that I am trying to reach through this blog and it is those who have been directly affected by spiritual abuse and in all forms. Spiritual abuse from churches, from fellow parishioners, from pastors, from certain denominations, etc. Yes, there is physical abuse, which may seem like the worst kind of abuse to the average person, including me. There's verbal, mental and emotional abuse which to me can almost be equal in the terribly potent affect of physical abuse.
I may have attempted a meaning a few times on my blog in my past posts, but I think I need to take a stab at it again through my ongoing story here. And we will start from the beginning, the beginning of me, a baby in my mama's womb, with MY experience. Just mine, not yours. I don't know yours.
The horrible truth is that I was programmed in my home since birth to be a lean, mean, smiling on the outside, hating with the private talks on the inside, judgmental, seemingly loving on the exterior "under certain circumstances" and otherwise just self-righteous, bible verse cherry-picking and misquoting, fighting machine. Programmed. The buttons were pressed for me, almost every one. The digital designers had done their work and the real Designer had to get a hold of me, that loving hold, an embrace.
I just didn't have much of a choice in how I was raised, many of us don't. I embrace the loving Jesus now, God and His word in the proper context, but when I was a child I was highly confused by a very contradictory way of life...one of hatred and soul winning and bible reading. One of force. One of manipulation. One of fear. One of physical, emotional, mental and above all, spiritual abuse and smiles, lot's of empty smiles at church greeting the laity and from our whole family. Maybe they weren't all empty, but most of them were...for me.
And I am going to a place now that is dark and hard, but I know it will help someone. And I repeat, this blog is expressly for spiritually abused souls. May the true God grant them all great grace, real, affecting grace.
I remember my Dad, who was my pastor for the majority of my childhood, trying to get me saved. I think I was seven. And this may be painful for some to read. This particular event I am going to talk about wasn't painful for me as a child as much as it was just sheer confusing, exhausting and frustrating.
Dad(and again, I was like seven and I recall this time to the best of my ability): "Okay now tell dad what it means to be saved."
Me: "Uh, Jesus, died, dad?"
Dad: "No, no, no, no. That's not salvation. What does it actually mean? I need you to tell me why he died and what it means for you?!"
Me: "He died for my sins. If I believe in Jesus, he forgives me?"
Dad: "Okay, now listen, listen. You know Jesus is the son of God. In order to be saved, you got to understand that he was 100 percent God and man."
Me: "What does that mean?"
Dad: "If you will just listen, I will tell you. Now, if you believe that He was 100 percent God and a 100 percent man, if you believe that Jesus was the son of God, now, you have to know that, understand? If you will believe that Jesus was the son of God, that he was infallible, his word is infallible, and you see, you need to repent, too. And if you don't have faith you won't really be saved at all. He died for your sins, your filthy, stinking sins and he wants you to pray and confess and get saved."
Dad: Go ahead, pray.
Me: "Dear Jesus, forgive me for my sins. Amen."
Dad: "No, no, no, no. You have to tell him how sorry you are for your sin and repent. You have to thank him for his goodness and ask to help you read the bible and pray every day. And I don't think you were really sincere. Repeat after me....
And my dad persisted in a thirty minute session of getting me to repeat just the right words to be saved, but also to make him feel like I meant it. It was exhausting, confusing and frustrating and downright...
This event would actually depict a calmer, yet angry side of dad, and yet the force and control was still there in every tone and word.
And I will say it loud, proud and clear as a bell that it is ONE thing to present an idea, a belief, especially if someone asks and REALLY wants to know or even to teach something, but not forcing anyone to adhere to something spiritually minded. And it is totally another thing, another really horrible thing and I have also been guilty in my former life of this, my former life, sometimes even yesterday sadly...it's another thing when someone is being kept when they don't want to be kept, when a person is being persuaded when they are not ready or express the signs of confusion by your perpetual wheel of thought you may have them on. And, I repeat, I am or have been guilty of this. This is a lesson for ALL of us. But I see my crud for what it is and say, God, help me! I don't want this for my life!
And the raw reality is when a person is not interested in what you are saying, they are being honest. If someone is disagreeing with you, they are being honest. If someone is not ready to hear a line of thought, they were being honest.
Honest, honesty. Real, reality.
I had this happen to me at the store this very day. I ran into a married couple that I knew casually that I have not seen in a while. I said hi to the wife buoyantly and asked how are you and said a statement or two. She said, hi and good. I was going to strike up a convo. She was totally uninterested. She was polite, but silently looking at her books. Her husband came over, they were perusing together, I also said hi to him, I don't know him well at all. He said hi, but nothing more. Well, I was very put off by their manner of being so short, but the reality is...they were being...
Honest. They were in a hurry maybe. Maybe they couldn't talk. Maybe they talked all day at work and didn't want to talk anymore. Who knows? I let it go. That is hard for me. I didn't push a convo with them, but I was about to and I could tell it was totally unwanted for whatever reason. And why would I ever want someone to do something they do not want to do? It's programmed. The buttons are pressed, they are actually jammed and I need a butter knife to un-stick them.
Why do so many Christians want to override honesty with bullying tactics? I could right another whole post about that, and I might.
To impose, to impress, to enforce, to control, to push, prod, poke beyond exhaustion is abusive. It is. It really is. Sometimes spiritual abuse comes in a passive aggressive manner...and this is my least favorite kind.
And see, there is honest spiritual abuse and dishonest spiritual abuse. And maybe that's another post.
So from the cradle to the grave there's a new kind of abuse in town, actually it's a really, really old one that gets ignored a whole lot, by a whole many people. I ignored it in my life for so long and I ignored the past that shaped who I became and will not be some day, hopefully, and fully not be. But that's a fix I need from the real One. The Source. The Life. The Real Hope. The Real Jesus. Not the one conjured up for me. Not the way of life conjured up for me. And I want to do is notice.
Notice you. And not just notice you, spiritually abused, misused and used up soul, but ENCOURAGE you.
His yoke is easy, His burden is light, His love constrains us and His hope fills us. And if you want to, poor out your cup, my friend. The one the Misled have handed you. Poor out your cup...that bitter cup of abuse and a skewered view of who Jesus is...you and I know it's mingled with pain, sorrow, loss and a hopelessness that engulfs the very true nature of God Himself. Pick it up and pour it out at your own pace. It's not what He really has for you. You were lied to by so many well meaning people. You were misused by so many ill-willed, hurtful bent up souls of darkness needing the True Light of life and love. If you want to, pour it out let it fall out as fast or as slow as you want, take your time and it's okay. And in that puddle, that mingled puddle of pain and abuse that you stand in, He is waiting there for you in His own puddle...blood, mingled, flowing down and His arms are outstretched for you whenever you are truly ready to receive them and not one single minute before.