2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
We understand what it means to be bound up in sin. We understand depression and anger and all of the mental battles that go on in life. The one thing we don’t ever talk about is being spiritually abused or being in bondage in church. If you don’t feel free in your church and you are in bondage something isn’t right. If you are under an abusive leader, something isn’t right. Many people don’t even realize that they are in bondage because they are in so deep that they ignore all of the signs. Others know they are being spiritually abused, but are too afraid to leave. One question that always comes up is, “How do you stay in a church like that?” And once you get out, you will ask yourself, “How did I stay in it for so long?”
Unfortunately, being in an abusive church is like being in an abusive relationship. It starts of real good. Then little by little, they make you feel insecure in who God called you to be and you begin to second guess all of the things that you know. They strip away your self-esteem and cause you to believe that they are the only ones who will ever love you and the only ones who can feed you spiritually. They do a lot of material things for you and make you dependent on them. They start making decisions for your house, your job, your relationships, until you can no longer decide for yourself. They always remind you that they are the leader and any time you question them you are rebellious or in the wrong spirit. If you try to leave they will throw in your face everything they have done for you, and make you feel like you will not be blessed when you leave. Abusive Leaders maintain their ministry by making their followers dependent on them, swearing allegiance to them, and alienating them from the outside world. They reprimand you for associating with people who have left the church. They lie about why people have left the church and they speak derogatorily about former members. They have a hard time loving those around them and repenting when they are wrong.
Signs of spiritual abuse and being in bondage in church.
- If you find yourself making decisions based on fear of repercussion from the Pastor instead of the leading of the Holy Spirit, you are in bondage. Psa 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
- If you are afraid to take your family on a vacation because you don’t want to be reprimanded by the Pastor for missing church, you are in bondage. There is no scripture that says you cannot miss one service due to illness or a trip. You must have a balance in your life. If you are missing church on the regular, check your relationship with God. Church is a place to learn, be strengthened, and worship corporately as we build the kingdom of God. Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- If you have discussed something confidentially with a Pastor or leader in the church and it comes across the pulpit and is used against you, you are being abused. Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
- If the only thing keeping you at your church is loyalty to man, the fear of being ostracized, or talked about even though you are spiritually dying, you are in bondage. 2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
- If you dread going to church because the messages are very hostile and target individuals instead of Satan’s tactics, Satan’s kingdom, and Satan’s forces, you are in bondage and being abused. A message of truth is delivered in love and does not condemn, it convicts. Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
- If you are constantly making excuses for the negativity that comes across the pulpit even though you don’t agree with it, you are in bondage and living a lie. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
- If you constantly find yourself saying, I am waiting on a release to leave the church,when you know your spirit man is dying, you are in bondage. Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Abusive Leaders love to use this scripture:
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Yes, your Pastor has to give an account for your soul and you need to be submissive, but don’t you realize you have a choice in whom you allow to pastor you. The same way that you found that church you can find another. Or the same way that God led you to that church, he will lead you to another. God is aware of the circumstances. Jer 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. God is politely leading his sheep to a place where they can grow and be productive naturally and spiritually.
Pastors are losing compassion for God’s people. They are forgetting the great commission. They no longer care about building the kingdom, they only want to build their church. God doesn’t require anyone to submit to things or people contrary to his word. So why are so many Pastors treating God’s people so badly and why does God allow it? That is a question like, why do bad things happen to good people. Sometimes life just happens, but here are a few simple answers.
- As long as there is life, there will be tragedies and disappointments.
- As long as there are humans, there will be error.
- As long as there is power, there will be abuse.
- As long as there is Satan there will be evil.
- But the most valuable one of them all is as long as there is Jesus, there is hope!!
You just have to be strong enough to walk away. You already feel bad while you are there. You might as well be free. Don’t fear walking away. God already has a place prepared for you, a place for you to be healed and restored. Everything that the enemy has taken or destroyed God can and will restore. And for all of the pastors and leaders who are reading this post. Jer 23:1-4 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.
God will not continue to allow his sheep to be mistreated by men and women who claim to do all of these things in the name of Jesus. People will continue to leave your ministries until you repent before God and his people that you have wronged. As leaders we are responsible and accountable for many souls and their blood is required at our hand if we don’t do as God instructs us in his word. Get back in right standing with God. Stop making it all about you and think about the mission. “SAVING SOULS” If your members are walking away and they have told you it was something you did, don’t ignore what is right in front of you. Evaluate yourself before pride takes over. We all get off track, but repentance will put us right where we need to be.
One more thing! To all of those who have been abused, you must always remember, it is not the person, it is the spirit. There will always be great churches and great Pastors. But when the wrong spirit takes over, the results will lead to a spiritual death if you are not careful. Love is the simple test that all Saints should pass if you want to know if he/she is a follower of Christ. Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. If the leader does not know how to show love to God’s people, you may not want to sit under him/her. Love is the prerequisite to ministering to anyone.
1 Cor 13:4-8 NLT Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
If you walk away from the church and they stop loving you….you have your answer! Pastors after God’s heart will love you no matter what church you belong to.
This is just the surface of spiritual abuse and church bondage. There are so many other aspects that can be included. If this shed light to your situation and you can identify with any of these things, you may need to make a change. If you are afraid to come out or don’t know how to, message me. You are not alone and you are not the only one who is feeling this way. It is a trick of the enemy. As long as you are in church and in bondage, the devil wins. Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is,there is liberty.
It is time to stop living in fear. It is time to be free! #FreedomFriday