My friend who has been in active ministry for 30 years was recently delighted by an opportunity for a visit from his relatively new local church minister. This Minister had been directly involved in the running of this congregation for over 12 months, but had never visited my friend to know his life or personal circumstances. This meeting was expected to challenge and bring a fresh insight into a person he knew was visibly trying to bring change in his congregation.
Several minutes into the meet and greet, the true intention of the meeting become evident. He strongly indicated to my friend that his attendance wasn’t satisfactory (benchmarked against other attendees and the role of attendance) over the last few months and unless he improved, his role in once-a-month services he would no longer be required. To my friend this gutted him, he had been involved in active congregational life for many years and this was a low blow to his ‘spiritual calling’ he could never have predicted.
I was discouraged hearing this story by the tenacity of this person thinking they could can place judgement on others without seeking understanding my friends personal and family circumstances, heart, love and passion for Christ and his body. The worst thing is, over the last few years these stories among others, are becoming a usual occurrence as I minister to people the life of Christ. The consequences of such spiritual abuse are profound, invasive and destructive.
People, if some have reduced our Christ to a 2 hour slot on a Sunday where we sit and conform to the likeness of a stream of our religion then we truly have lost sight of our first love – our Saviour and King Christ Jesus. For those who are familiar with this behaviour, I encourage you to persist in the faith and strive toward Christ, don’t conform the the likeness of man and his expectations but to Gods – found in His Word.
I would encourage all who seek a relationship in Christ that we worship him ‘in spirit and in truth’, that is, we seek him the other 98% of our week and know that judgement man brings will be burnt up like chaff when its tested by fire!
‘Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. And God permitting, we will do so.’
– Hebrews 6:1-3
‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.’
– Galatians 1:6-10
I found a great article that helps identify spiritual abuse in Christian churches, a must read!