…it was not just the Pharisees’ false authority that made them dangerous but also their false teaching. They taught a false view of God and a false way of serving him. They pictured God as a legalistic judge, favoring those who kept his religious rules and despising those who did not. Modern preachers who make God’s acceptance contingent upon religious performance are the Pharisees of today. Jesus says, in effect, that high-sounding religious lies spoken by respected leaders are ruinous to spiritual life.
The quote is from Ken Blue in his book, Healing Spiritual Abuse. It is a good book on spiritual abuse and this ministry has given away many copies over the years.
I have been posting quotes on the Facebook Page that are from books on spiritual abuse. This one stood out due to the last sentence. Some people do not take spiritual abuse seriously. They have this misguided thought that people are just crying about things that do not really matter and that they should be able to easily set aside. Some believe people only have hurt feelings and need to develop some thick skin and just get over whatever it was that happened. And, of course, others think we were foolish for remaining as long as we did. We weren’t held captive in our former churches.
What these uninformed people do not realize is that while there are more minor cases of spiritual abuse, where some people escape mostly unscathed, there are hundreds and hundreds of other cases where people have been severely harmed, some irreparably. There are people who can no longer read their Bibles. There are people who cannot attend a church gathering. There are people who cringe and have panic attacks when certain things happen which remind them of their former churches. Some are scared to death of taking communion.
There are people who are confused, who do not yet know what to believe. Many have developed trust issues. There are people who suffer in silence because previous attempts to share how they were sexually abused were not believed or they were told to keep their mouth shut for the good of the church. There are families who have been torn apart due to interference from church leadership and doctrines that teach shunning. There are people who developed PTSD. There are those who can no longer pray. There are others who believe they will be cast into hell because they left ‘the truth’ and cannot live up to the expectations of their former group. Yet others cannot get past the warped view of God they developed due to their former church involvement. There are so many things that can be added to this list.
Yes, a pastor can be ruinous to your spiritual life. Some do not speak words of life, but of death. Some are building their own kingdoms instead of following God. Some only care about themselves and will do whatever they have to in order to keep everyone doing what they demand. They do not serve, but wish to sit in the honored places and be served. They have not the heart of a servant, but rather are harsh taskmasters and lords over people. They can leave your spiritual life in shambles, creating in your mind a distorted view of God and his love for you.