I didn’t know it was abuse…

Abuse is a word that shouldn’t be flippantly thrown around, so I’ve never considered myself an abuse victim. That is, until I became more aware of spiritual abuse. It was when I finally stepped out of and away from the church that I was able to see things from the outside looking in, and I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t like having to face the way I was made to feel. I didn’t like having to admit that I was a victim of spiritual abuse.

My gifts and talents of teaching and leading were never utilized in the church, no matter how much I begged to be used; because I’m a female, and females must stay in their places and set roles.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

My voice was silenced every time I tried to speak up about the issue of the inequality and oppression of women in the church.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

I was told that it was “my fault” that the other church members didn’t like me and didn’t want to be around me, because I dared to challenge the views of the church leadership.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

I was told that I was the cause of disunity, division, and strife in the church; because I was constantly trying to hold discussions about the inequality present in the church.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

The church hated me when I dared to correct the pastor when he used his pulpit as a platform to misrepresent and trash egalitarian theology. One male individual from the church even sent me nasty messages on Facebook that called me names, insulted me in every way, and even threatened to “find me” the next time I showed up for service.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

I thought I had an opportunity to discuss gender theology with the pastor one day, but about 15 minutes into the conversation, I was yelled at and commanded to get out of his office.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

After sending the pastor an email with the intention of trying to understand a theological point about marriage and gender roles that was said in his sermon, the reply I received back simply said, “I’m not going to discuss this with you,” but that was followed by several paragraphs of personal attacks against my character and explanations as to why I wasn’t liked in the church.
I didn’t know that was abuse.

Even after going to college for an undergraduate degree in Theology and continuing on to the Master of Divinity program, I was not allowed to openly voice my theological views and opinions; especially if they were contradictory to that of the church leaders. If I did, both church leadership and lay people were ready to rip my head off. When I would explain that I had the knowledge and credentials to adequately speak to an issue, the males with the higher education degrees were the first to tell me that “degrees don’t matter.”
I didn’t know that was abuse.

After quite a few comments “suggesting” to me that I leave the church, I finally left–and I left church altogether. Lately I’ve been on the outside looking in, and what I see is theology and practices and attitudes that are harming real people–people like me. I’ve had to take a good look in my spiritual mirror. What I see are bruises, wounds, and scars. There’s a lot of hurt and bitterness. This is all going to take some time to heal. Why did I let all of this spiritual abuse go on for so long? Because I didn’t know that it was abuse. I didn’t realize that I was being abused, but abuse is exactly what it was.

5 thoughts on “I didn’t know it was abuse…

  1. Neither I or my really husband fit in any church because he supported my teaching and preaching calling. Then we found Glory of Zion in Corinth, Tx. It meant moving 1,100 miles away from family but 6 months ago we made the move. They have streaming services for those too far away to attend and feel disenfranchised from the body of Christ. http://www.glory-of-zion.org
    Hope this helps! We have many women speakers at our conferences. You can listen to prophet Jane Hanson in media replays tonight at the above website. you can also,attend,streaming video tomorrow morning 8am central time
    Be encouraged, and move on!
    Julie

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have seen and experienced abuse and injustice in the church. I have tried to speak out, too, at times, only to be silenced. Here’s the thing…if you are in a church, you really have two choices…either play by their rules or leave. Getting them to change the rules doesn’t work.
    I have not gone to a church regularly for quite some time. I tell God that I will go anywhere He wants me to go, but He tells me to spend my Sundays with Him, so that’s what I do.
    I believe God has a plan. Oh, many churches will still carry on the same way, but God is raising up and will continue to raise up communities, gatherings and churches where justice, equality, love, and respect are present.
    Lord, please bring one to where I am soon!

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  3. Thank you so very much for sharing this. Oh how you speak my heart. It grieves my heart deeply to see the church in such disrepair. In such a state that I, and those who dont know Christ may just be safer on the outside. This ought not be. I pray for courage to be as bold as you. And to not shy away from these difficult situations. Praise God for you and your heart! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe, thank you! This is the sweetest thing I’ve read all day!
      And, remember, Scripture says “be bold and courageous…for the LORD goes before you.” God bless!

      Like

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