The seriousness of spiritual abuse and its effects cannot be overstated!
Spiritual abuse is the abuse of a person’s spirit. The deception accompanying spiritual abuse often keeps the victim in a state of confusion and disbelief. They may ask themselves, “How can people who are supposed to be helping me grow in the things of God be abusing me?” Unfortunately, spiritual abuse happens more often than one might imagine. The results are ugly and extremely damaging.
Since I began ministering to the brokenhearted, I have prayed with many women who have been spiritually abused. Yes, there are the obvious ritual abuse and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) survivors who suffered horrific levels of spiritual abuse. There are also those who have come out of mainstream churches, “Christian” organizations, and non-Christian organizations where there was intense spiritual abuse that caused them substantial amounts of emotional and spiritual pain and trauma. Spiritual abuse can happen in religious organizations, but also in homes, schools and the workplace.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”
Matthew 20:25-28 (AMP)
Exerting power and control over another person using Scripture or religious beliefs is spiritual abuse. Anytime a person places themselves in authority over another person—in place of the ultimate authority of the Lord Jesus Christ—that is a recipe for spiritual abuse! When someone is told that the person in authority knows better because they “have a better connection to God,” that is a wide-open door to spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is evil and it increases if left unchecked.
One of the ladies to whom I ministered in the past told me about an abusive incident, which was one of many, that she experienced with her husband. She had disagreed with him about something that a man in ministry was teaching. She said that her husband grabbed her arm, twisted it behind her back, and repeatedly yelled at her that she needed to repent for disagreeing with the minister. He told her that she needed to ask God to forgive her for having the “horrible” thought that the man in ministry could possibly be wrong. This lady was in tears as she shared the details of this event with me. It was physical, emotional, verbal, and mental abuse, as well as spiritual abuse! This is just one example of spiritual abuse being accompanied by other forms of abuse. It is often the case that emotional, verbal, mental, physical and/or sexual abuse happen together with spiritual abuse.
The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?
Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)
The damage that is done to a person’s heart, mind and spirit—to their whole being—as the result of spiritual abuse can be overwhelming. It can be devastating. It can lead to the victim not being able to function normally. Survivors of spiritual abuse often struggle with anger. They experience different levels of anger as a result of the abuse. Most of the time, it is righteous anger and not sin. The pain and trauma of spiritual abuse can also lead to suicide attempts, or a successful suicide, if the victim becomes hopeless about the possibility of relief from that pain.
…we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.
2 Corinthians 1:8 (ESV)
People who are spiritually abusive often twist Scripture. They take Bible verses out of context. They manipulate people in ways that are absolutely inspired by the kingdom of darkness. Perpetrators of spiritual abuse also use isolation, secrecy, and fear to control their victims. They count on the victim’s silence about their abuse. All of these things make it very difficult for a victim to break free and receive the healing they desperately need for the emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.
Spiritually abusive people are sometimes deceived themselves into thinking that what they are doing is right. A lot of the perpetrators of spiritual abuse are deceived, and the nature of deception is that the person does not realize that they are deceived. However, that is no excuse and does not forgive their deeply harmful behavior, nor does it release them from accountability. They will answer to God for their actions. On the other hand, many perpetrators of spiritual abuse know exactly what they are doing!
Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.
Jeremiah 13:23 (NKJV)
Leopards cannot change their spots and abusers do not discontinue their abusive behavior, because they are accustomed to practicing evil. The perpetrators of spiritual abuse do not respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, nor does their conscience tell them that they have gone over the line. Normally, someone who is spiritually abusive only stops if they are forced to do so by an earthly authority or by the Lord.
Several of the women to whom I have ministered were survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). One of those ladies told me the reason that the abuse finally stopped for her. The high priest was in the process of murdering her when he suddenly and unexplainably died. His neck snapped. The lady told me that she believed angels came to her assistance at the precise time when the perpetrator was going to end her life. I do not believe that the high priest would have stopped otherwise. The Lord came to her rescue!
Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]
Hebrews 1:14 (AMP)
People may ask, “Why does God allow people to be spiritually abused? Why doesn’t He stop it?” It is the same reason that He does not stop sin in general in this world. God has given a free will to everyone. We need to stop blaming God for all the horrific things that happen and put the blame where it belongs—on the human beings who make the choice to be abusive and on the kingdom of darkness that inspires those evil choices. Spiritual abuse is one of Satan’s many tools to destroy human hearts, minds and spirits.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 (NKJV)
When people sincerely invite Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, they are often brokenhearted because they have experienced significant pain and trauma in the past. Many times, what draws them to the Lord Jesus Christ is that He is so loving and forgiving, and it is an opportunity to be accepted in spite of all their past sin, pain, and trauma. However, their woundedness also makes them easy targets for those who are spiritually abusive. Christians, especially new Christians, can be too trusting of other people, which can lead to them being spiritually abused.
Jesus Christ is never spiritually abusive. He never tries to force anyone to do anything against their will. Jesus understands the frailty of human beings. He understands the sin nature of human beings and how it can interfere with our relationship with God. He did not accept or condone sin, but He forgave sin and told people to “go and sin no more.” That is God’s will for us—that we would be forgiven and that we would not repeat the sin in the future. That is called repentance. Abusers rarely repent! Although they may call themselves Christians, they are not truly following Jesus Christ. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)
If you are currently suffering spiritual abuse or you are a survivor of spiritual abuse, I would highly recommend that you seek help from a trained, Christian prayer minister or counselor who can give you the assistance you need to obtain freedom from the emotional and spiritual pain you are carrying. Seek someone who can help you receive the healing you need from the effects of that abuse. There are suggested resources on the HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website (CLICK HERE).
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].
1 John 4:10 (AMP)
God loves you and He wants you to be whole. He wants you to be free. He wants your heart and spirit to be healed. He has a destiny for your life and it is not for you to experience or suffer spiritual abuse and its effects any longer. Please make the decision today to step out and pursue your healing and freedom. It is worth it. You are worth it!
May God bless you! My prayer for you is that you will have the strength to stand up and make today the first day of the rest of your life—free from spiritual abuse.