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Misusing Christianity For Abusive Purposes

So many people I have spoken with were abused under the guise of Christianity.  Parents abuse their children because they think Proverbs 13:24 basically saying,  “Spare the rod, spoil the child” means parents have the right to beat their children.  They are also often the same parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them by refusing to tolerate their abuse.  There are also husbands who demand blind obedience from their wives because Ephesians 5:22 says wives should submit to their husbands.  There are even those active in their church who abuse other church members.  Some sexually abuse children, others ostracize other members for not fitting their ideal of what they should be & more.

There are so many things wrong with such situations!!

Personally I believe that as wrong as abuse is, when it is done using God as a justification or as a way to lure victims in, that somehow makes the abuse even worse.  The person in this situation not only has the fallout of the abuse to deal with, but also is going to have a lot of spiritual damage as well.  They may believe God doesn’t care about them or maybe that He simply doesn’t exist at all because what happened to them was so horrific.  I felt the same way.  My mother went through a phase when I was a teenager of telling me that she knew she was going to Heaven when she died because she was such a good person.  I, however, was terrible to her so I was destined for Hell.  I thought no God could exist & let me go through what I was going through, but if He did, I clearly wanted no part of Him if that was truly how He was.

Also, it seems to me when people twist Scripture around, if you look at the Bible, somewhere there is at least one nearby verse that clearly proves their interpretation is wrong.  Look at Ephesians 5:22 for a second.  Yes, it does say that wives should submit to their husbands.  It also says in the verse immediately before that a couple should submit to each other.  It clearly isn’t one sided, but you won’t hear an abusive husband mention Ephesians 5:21.  The same goes for abusive parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them.  The Bible also mentions in Ephesians 6:4 & Colossians 3:21 that parents shouldn’t provoke their children.

Truly toxic, abusive, narcissistic people will use the Bible or the label of “Christian” to justify their wicked behavior.  To combat this, you have to know the Bible at least a bit.  Nowhere in there does it justify any form of abuse!  If you have any doubts, do your research with a good concordance or the internet.  It won’t take you long to see how wrong the abuser is.

People also claim they are Christian to be underestimated, so people will feel safe with them or if they’re on the fence about something, they will think it’s OK because this person said they’re a Christian.  Most people hear someone say they’re a Christian & somehow think those people are impervious to mistakes or bad behavior.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  EVERYONE makes mistakes for one thing.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And for another thing, no true believer is going to be deliberately abusive towards someone else.

Rather than take someone on their word, observe a person’s behavior.  Any true Christian’s behavior should show that they are doing their best to live a good, Godly life.  Sure, they make mistakes, but they quickly try to fix them.  If they hurt someone, it isn’t done intentionally, they are fast to apologize & change their behavior so it never happens again.

There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, looking for innocent victims.  Remembering the points in this article can help you to avoid them.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Just Because Someone Is A Christian Doesn’t Mean They Are Perfect

It seems to me that people who aren’t Christians think those of us who are should be perfect, never making mistakes or having bad things in our past.  I assume this mindset is perpetuated by the holier than thou Christians who act as if they never made a mistake before.

The truth though is Christians make mistakes.  Before & after we became Christians, we’ve made mistakes.  It’s part of being human.  Accepting Jesus as our Lord & Savior doesn’t change the fact we have made mistakes & will continue to do so until the day we die.

I’m no exception.  I have a divorce in my past that I’m not exactly proud of.  I cheated on my ex husband too.  I’ve also hurt people & I’m not a particularly good daughter.  Do these things mean that I’m a hypocrite or a bad Christian?  I don’t think so.  They show I’m human.

One of the most inspiring pastors I’ve heard preach is a lovely woman whose first book I edited. When I saw her preach, I was moved to tears.  She is a powerful woman of God, yet in her earlier years, she was a drug addict.  Now?  She is an inspiring pastor who helps & inspires countless people on a daily basis.  God is obviously at work in her life.

Don’t let it bother you when people pick apart your walk with God because you have made mistakes in your life.  Everyone makes mistakes, especially before accepting Jesus into their life.  Even after, you’re still going to make mistakes because you’re human & therefore not perfect.  What is most important is that you are trying to be like Jesus.  Your effort counts with God.  He knows you are imperfect, & only expects that you try your best.

Also, don’t forget to apply this to others as well.  Other Christians are just as imperfect as you, so they too will make mistakes.  They may even have sordid pasts.  Don’t let that affect how you treat them, however!  I’ve found the people with the worst pasts are often the most grateful for God’s love & try the hardest to please Him & treat people well.

Of course, if someone is deliberately hateful to you, there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.  In fact, I believe that to be loving, Christian behavior.  God wants what is best for His children, & sometimes “no” is what is best.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

If You Have A Mental Illness, Does That Mean You Aren’t A Christian?

Have you read this??

 http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-right-wing-evangelicals-claim-good-christians-cant-get-ptsd

If not, I’ll summarize this for you- a couple of evangelists say that you can pray away PTSD, & if you live life God’s way, you won’t get PTSD in the first place.  I’m sure this kind of thinking can induce a LOT of guilt & shame for many Christians who suffer with PTSD, C-PTSD or other mental illness.  I know I have certainly felt something was wrong with me for having C-PTSD.  I’m a Christian- why do I still suffer because of things done to me so long ago?  When I was born again, didn’t I become a new creature in Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17?  Didn’t I have enough faith?  Does this mean I’m really NOT born again like I thought I was??

While I firmly believe that God can & does deliver some people supernaturally from mental illness, I think the majority of people have to walk things out.  A supernatural deliverance is great, but it doesn’t teach you much.  Living through your experiences, however, will teach you plenty!  If you battle depression, you may need to learn new ways to think, focusing on more positive things, & to cope when troubles come your way, such as leaning more on God than yourself to fix problems.  If you battle anxiety, you may need to learn to lean on God & go to Him more often.  These are things that can’t be learned through a deliverance.  Also, let’s not forget the apostle Paul. God didn’t remove his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Even that great man of God had something to deal with that he would rather not have had. Sometimes God would rather walk with us through a dark place than let us live in the sunny, happy places all of the time.

I also believe that having C-PTSD or PTSD doesn’t mean you aren’t a Christian.  I have been a Christian since 1996, & my C-PTSD didn’t develop fully until 2012.  It wasn’t because I was distant from God at that time.  It was because a lot of damage has been done to me in my life.  I have forgiven my abusers, but even that didn’t heal the damage.  I think of it like this- if someone drops a gallon of paint on your foot, you can forgive them the moment it happens.  But, you’ll  still have a broken foot to deal with, no matter what your religious views are.  That is what C-PTSD is like.  

There is absolutely nothing wrong  with asking God to heal you of your mental illness.  However, He may have plans to use it to bless others & even you, so you may not be delivered.  As much as I dislike living with the forgetfulness, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression & agoraphobia, sometimes I count C-PTSD as a blessing, because it has enabled me to help others who live with it, or who survived narcissistic abuse as I have.  There is no greater feeling than helping others!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism