by AJ cross posted from her blog I Am Phoenix
(Editor’s Note – Let’s all welcome AJ as she is the newest member of NLQ’s Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network! Welcome AJ!)
Religion makes abuse easy. There it is, pure and simple. A truth I’ve born witness to.
Walk with me down this road. Travel back in time with me, and open the window to the kitchen in my parents’ house. Poke your head in and listen with me. Look at the old farmstead kitchen table, and the meek kids with their heads lowered in submission, while the patriarch booms on at the head of the table, lecturing and teaching after dinner before everyone’s dismissed from the table.
Let’s learn about meekness. When a boss yells at you at work, it’s 100% of the time because you deserve it. When your parent yells at you, it’s 100% because you deserve it. If the preacher ever judges you, it’s 100% of the time because you deserve it. Does the parent or boss ever make a mistake? Oh, no? Because they are in a position of authority and anyone in a position of authority is there because he is appointed by God. Only men are supposed to be in positions of authority, and women aren’t to be there. God does not speak through women like he does men. Even if you think the man in authority is making a mistake, he is not. You probably have some hidden sin in you that God is judging you for, through the chain of command.
What should you do if you are in a situation when you think you are being yelled at, misused, or treated wrongly? Should you talk back, or try to escape? No, you should turn the other cheek and take it silently. Whether you think you deserve it or not, the answer 100% of the time is – “You DO deserve it.” God works through authority, and if it is a man, such as a boss, pastor, father, etc, then this is God speaking through that man. Being in a position of authority is a God given position. Whether the boss or parent even knows it or not, whatever they do is God-inspired. So if they seem to be hurting you or demeaning you for no reason, even if they truly have no reason at all, God himself is using that person in authority to punish you, the sinner, and to chip away at you to perfect your character. So, children, what you see as injustice is always a punishment from the very hand of God. Be thankful for it, accept it, and welcome these opportunities. Suffer in silence, because you know our mysterious God has a greater purpose for your life. He is perfecting you like a diamond in the rough through these trials. A man in authority is never wrong. Because God breathes and moves through this man. Any man.
You women who are married. Does your husband beat you? He is performing the work of God. There must be some sin in your life you need punished for that God is putting you through the refiner’s fire for. Thank God for it. Do not run; take your punishment in silence. The Bible states that a woman cannot get divorced unless her husband cheats on her. So if your husband beats you and yells at you, even if he threatens to shoot you and your two children, stay with him. He did not cheat on you. God is putting you through the refiner’s fire. The Bible says that a woman who divorces her husband without him committing adultery is committing a sin. So that woman will be judged at judgment day. In addition, God would turn a deaf ear to her prayers for the rest of her life. He wouldn’t come to her aid if she was in trouble. God would allow curses into her life, and he would release Satan to plague her in her health, finances, mind, friendships, etc. This would go on until she confessed and got back under the protective authority of that same man. <
My sister Louisa is married to a solid Christian man that beat her and her two children. He is graduated from seminary and is looking for jobs as a pastor. He has been involved in Christian ministry for the last 20 years, and has been abusive toward Louisa since he met her over 13 years ago. He calls her bitch and cunt and screams at her regularly. He makes sexual comments to my younger sister and me, about our bodies. He has a gun and threatened to shoot Louisa, their two kids, then himself. It wasn’t until there were bruises on her and the kids that Louisa had the courage to tell us and my dad. My dad told her to stay with her husband, since he hadn’t committed adultery. He told her that God would protect her, but that she needed to be in her situation because God was working directly through her husband to refine Louisa’s character and possibly punish her for her sins. My dad refused to let Louisa and her kids come stay with him. Basically, her husband would have shot her and himself, but my sister Thalia opened her home immediately to Louisa, and Louise moved into Thalia’s house a month before I joined her.But back to the homestead, to the kitchen window where we look on at these young serious faces bent over their dinner plates. The father figure is wrapping up. I look at myself, the thinnest and most serious of the daughters. I ask my father in a moment of courage if we are supposed to be doormats? He says- Yes, absolutely. But you are a doormat for God, and He knows what is best for you. He will protect you.
Even if you get shot by your husband and lay in the coffin dead with your family looking on, weeping. If this happens, it will be God’s will for you that you die, and he is protecting you now in your afterlife. His idea of protecting you is letting you possibly die at the hands of your husband, while your father openly looked on, nodding wisely and approving.
Note: Louisa was not murdered, after all. She left her husband and took her two kids to my sister’s house and then got her own apartment for a year. Her husband went to live with his parents. Then Louise got lonely and told her husband he could come back because he said he was a changed man. This husband is Clark.
I used to believe this theory of abuse for my whole life. The “turn the other cheek” belief on steroids. I thought most Christians believed this. It caused me to, not surprisingly, fall into one abusive relationship after another with various men. It made me seek out job situations and living situations that deeply demeaned me as a human. I felt that the more abusive the situation was, on some level, the more God was happier with me, and the God was able to refine my character. And I wanted so much to be good, to make God delighted with me. I wanted to make my dad proud of me.
I don’t believe these lies anymore. I believe that I am good, and always was. I was born amazing. God has been delighted with me since my birth, and always will be. He sees no sin in me. If there ever was any ‘sin’ in the world, it is a figment of our imagination. Each human is born completely sin-free and loved with an enormous love. We are each God inside of us. God is love. We are all love. We are all one. The whole world exists as one, is powered by the sheer creative driving force called love. God doesn’t choose to send me situations to refine my character, at all. That’s cruel. The only way I get into an abusive situation is if I create the situation completely by myself, usually in a subconscious way that I don’t even realize, by believing that I deserve to be in an abusive situation and need to be abused. I create my own reality. My reality is that I am love. I am loved. I am amazing. I naturally attract good to myself like a magnet, and I accept it because I now I know my true worth.
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AJ was raised in a spiritually abusive cult based on the teachings of ATI’s Bill Gothard. She has five siblings. After enough time AJ developed Chronic Fatigue, Adrenal Burnout and PTSD from the stress of her childhood. Her parents refused to help her in her ongoing health battle. She is married to a man that has recently emerged from spiritually abusive religion and together they are healing and moving towards daily joy! She blogs at I Am Phoenix
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce