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The way out of spiritual abuse.From role fulfilment and fear of man into living relationship with Jesus and new identity.
My dear brother, my dear, precious sister,
after the last articles have shown very factually the mechanics and the ways INTO spiritual abuse, I would now like to write from my heart about what is due to you, what is given to you.
First of all:
I am sorry.
I am sorry that people have misrepresented Jesus in such a way that you have been hurt and attacked in your dignity.
I am sorry that doubts were sown about whether Jesus really sees you and can love you. I am sorry that your faith has become a corset in which you could no longer breathe, and that fear and anguish have taken the place of freedom and grace.
It was to understand how it could be that you ended up in these structures in the first place that I wrote the articles.
It has been your sincere desire for community.
Your insecurities in faith that you tried to orient to leadership, to have them taken away and answered. Maybe it was also good to hear so well after long years that you are chosen, special, and with all zeal you threw yourself on God like Peter, in hubris that was disappointed, in a fire that was burning and not purifying and sanctifying. Perhaps you have become fanatical, and you are sorry, so sorry. Let me tell you: it is a dynamic in which we can all end up.
Many years ago there was an experiment called "The Third Wave" experiment. Maybe you know the movie "The Wave" or the book. It was an experiment to explain how this could happen with fascism under Nazism. The mechanics were the same that occur in extreme, sectarian communities: Chosen-ness as opposed to those who are not. Secret signs and altered language. Totalitarian leadership. Leader salute. Leader cult. Serving the desire to be chosen, to lead the masses, to stand out, to be better, to be more elite. The experiment was stopped within a few days in horror because it got completely out of control.
The reason for this is: it works with punishment and reward - and people are deeply controllable, conditionable by this. Group dynamics and the desire to belong: These are the basic needs of our soul. To be seen, to be really recognized and to be found good- it is another one.
It's bad, very bad, that these things happen in church communities. It is bad, very bad, that you had to experience how others ruled over you and tried to rob you of your uniqueness.
It is bad that such awareness can take root in Jesus followers. The reason for this is not Jesus. It is human fallibility and human striving for power. That what was supposed to give you support, to make you blossom, the desire for a spiritual community that serves the good, was so abused - I am so, so sorry.
If you recognize the structures, then you will be angry, hurt and perhaps also so served by all that that you want to seek distance from the church and everything that belongs to it. First..become yourself again. At the same time, the sentences you have heard will echo in your head: That you must not separate yourself. That you are running into the arms of Satan if you withdraw from the community. That your critical thinking is nothing but an attack of Satan. That you will get lost and YOU are the problem.
I want to promise you: All this is a lie. No, you don't have to be absorbed into a collective to be saved. You do not have to dissolve. And no, you don't come under God's curse because you are protecting yourself. You may go, and He will be with you.
Your relationship with Jesus is not dependent on how well you fulfill the Christian role. Your relationship is not dependent on your perfect performance, nor even on your holding the only correct doctrine. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 that none of us sees the whole truth, only piecemeal. You are not saved because you know the Bible so well, but because you have realized that you need Jesus, have decided to accept Jesus' redemptive death and resurrection for yourself. To lay down your own dominion so that He can take over from now on.
He. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. No one else.
You are saved by grace.
No one can or should add to that.
And God loves you no more when you are sanctified than at the hour you were born. Jesus loved us first. Jesus loved us while we were still sinners. And he will love us until the end of time and beyond.
Christianity is not about filling a Christian role as perfectly as possible, nor is it about living a double life and condemning worldly life. It is solely about really getting to know Jesus and really understanding what He says about you. It's about you drawing closer to him. You may trust that he will guide you. And you may trust that he will not ask you to mutilate yourself beyond recognition, but that he is for you. No, you are not cursed. No, his wrath does not strike you. His love awaits you.
It is important for you to find out where your identity lies. Do you understand that he sees you? And is that a threatening or a hopeful message for you? It should be the best message there is-because God is good.
Yes. We are all not perfect, and he wants to teach you to become a reliable, clear, righteous, and straight person who loves and becomes a blessing to others. Yes. Many things get in our way, and we sometimes get in our way the most.
But that doesn't change the fact that He has made you a promise:
If you only trust him and seek him from your heart, you will be saved. If you accept him, then you will no longer count as a sinner. When God looks at you, it is full of love, because then He sees the righteousness of His Son Jesus.
There is no condemnation, even if you fall, stumble and are not there yet. And there's no curse on you, and no one to get anything said for you by God, without which you can't finish your journey, can't see clearly.
You've heard a lot of lies. And maybe the Bible is scaring you right now. Your brain needs to relearn. You need to retrain, and maybe you really need therapy first, someone to listen.
You can take the first step by contacting me. I will be happy to sort things out with you. This is my offer to you: Let's sort it out. Let's look together in the Bible what is really there. What sets you free is the truth.
You will be angry with those who did this to you. Take that anger to Jesus. Ask him to comfort you. Yes, it is sin to treat you this way. The important thing is not to become bitter about it.And forgiveness is a process. For now, it is enough to tell Jesus that you are asking to find the will to forgive.
It will probably be the case that leaving the community that is hurting you so much will be bitter. Lonely, because often such communities make other members cut off contact with you, you are no longer welcome.
Please look at it this way:
if you end a relationship because you were beaten, you will not meet with your ex-boyfriend or ex-husband anymore. But you will be sad. Take time to grieve. And know that it will pass.
There is hope where you seek your salvation in Jesus alone. Ask him to give you your very own relationship with him. To guide you. To teach you. To love you.
And then...little by little, you will realize, not everyone is like that. There are others with this experience. It was not your fault. But: it is your responsibility, your very own decision, whether you continue to let trample over your soul as if it were a road, or whether you flee into the arms of a God who loves you.
And time to sort out your share, to examine your behavior, to figure out hurts and insecurities, that comes when you are out of the burning wreckage to safety. He will not condemn you. Jesus will stay. For sure. I can testify to that.
Blessings to you, Sibylle.
Contact: email@example.com or via contact formular.
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