Siding With The Many

Siding With The Many September 9, 2015

WhenChurchHurtsby Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church Hurts

I often reblog or link to the writings, wisdom, and insights of others, not so much because I couldn’t have said it myself, but simply because I fear that were I to address these issues, it would appear that I am simply trying to argue for myself.  As those of us who are intimately familiar with spiritual abuse, doing so would create an immediate dismissal of my writing simply because I would be perceived as only making an effort to defend myself.  In the world of spiritual abuse, this would result in making me the problem for pointing out the problem.

So, here again is a very wise and insightful post by Jeff Crippen at A Cry for Justice:  allies of the abuser

Those of us who have suffered spiritual abuse have probably all experienced those we considered friends and even family members taking sides with the abuser.  In my particular case, when we were told that we were not to return to the church, it became apparent that there was quite a bit of “damage control” with the pastors speaking to those with whom we had close relationships.  After that, not one person attempted to speak to us, to find out our side of the story, to extend any level of grace or mercy.  One woman, who swore she would remain my friend, suddenly stopped responding to text messages and emails.  It became very clear that we were to be shunned.

As Jeff Crippen states in his post, simply by believing the abuser is to participate in the abuse.  I’m sure that many of our former friends have no idea the level of abuse that I endured over more than a decade.  I sometimes wonder how they would respond if they knew that for all of those years I was told I could not so much as attend a Sunday School class.  And if that’s not mind-boggling enough, I was never given a reason for being so ostracized.  I was simply left to wonder and worry, weep and work to try to win their favor.  Ultimately, I suffered spiritual and emotional torment – questioning God’s love, grace, mercy, and acceptance.  After all, if the pastor and church found me so despicable, surely God did, as well.

Yet, those whom I once called friends, if they have any idea at all (and a couple of them do), the abuse I suffered and that ultimately it was at the hands of the senior pastor, have chosen to side with him and the church.  Yet, I believe Jeff Crippen is quite correct in his assessment of those people in light of the scripture he shares at the beginning of his post:

“You shall not spread a false report.  You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.”  (Ex. 23:1-3)

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Ellen is a member of the SASBN and she blogs at When Church Hurts

More about Ellen:

Several years ago I was the victim of a most heinous form of abuse unlike anything I had ever thought possible. Not having been raised in a Christian home, my first experience with Christians and pastors had been one of joy, grace, fellowship, love, and delight. When faced with the horrors of having the very essence of who I was as a woman of faith stripped from me in what I can only describe as spiritual rape, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. This was church, after all, and I believed that everything works together for good for those who love God. Somehow, it didn’t make sense that everything was not working together for good. When I was finally able to resign myself to the fact that God was not going to “work this out,” I made my escape and sought a safe haven. 
 
Little did I realize that I was going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Oh, how I tried to beat back the flames! Oh, how I prayed and pleaded for mercy, for grace, for a chance. “But hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will toward” Ellen. 
 
He who began a good work . . . had forsaken me . . . and the silence was more than deafening . . . it was defeating. So intertwined were we, that as God went missing, so did Ellen. But I am nothing, if not tenacious.
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