“The lips of the righteous know what finds favor, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.”
The phenomenon of spiritual abuse is very complex. It often includes more than just the leader or leaders who are the spearhead of the attack. Many times, there are abusers who are simply on staff or in the congregation of a broken church group. This makes the impact of the abuse even more damaging because so many people are involved, usually people who are supposed to be trustworthy to the targeted individual.
Spiritual abusers and their enablers will do whatever they can to justify their wicked actions. Just as domestic and child abusers will always have their supporters, so do abusive church leaders. Very often the abusive leader or his minions will seek to destroy the credibility of their target by spreading gossip, lies, and other false information.
The enablers, or yes-men, of an abusive leader will do whatever they can to destroy an abused person or family. Sometimes they will put out just enough dubious information to lead others to make false conclusions. That fictitious info then gets passed on as fact by those folks, and more gossip and slander drivels on to those even less in the know. This can be particularly devastating in a small town where everyone is either related to, married to, or grew up with everyone else.
When a group is especially well-practiced at the spiritual abuse game it takes place in a very slick, almost second nature way. Before long the abusive situation takes on a life of its own and the targeted person or family ends up being relentlessly abused by simply residing in the town they are in. The target or family can end up facing a cascade of fallout from the abuse in the forms of financial, social, emotional, and verbal abuse in addition to the spiritual abuse that comes from twisted and misapplied Scripture.
The most important point to grasp on to as a spiritual abuse survivor is voiced here in Proverbs 10:32. The gossip and slander that the abusive leaders and their supporters employ is recognized by God for what it is: wicked. Just because someone says something evil about you does not make it true. Leaving those possessing an abusive, broken spirit to God to deal with is never an easy task. But it is the only thing that will set the abused soul free from the control of those who are verbally and emotionally abusive to God’s sheep.
Find peace today in the promise that God knows what wicked men and women do to His flock, and He will hold them accountable for their evil when His time is right. Remember too, just because someone says something slanderous about you does not make it true. In fact, the evil they spew about you says volumes more about them than it does to you, especially to those with true Biblical discernment. Don’t buy into what evil men and women say just because they are good at being evil. God knows the truth, as do those who know and love you. Let that be enough.