Bibles, Churches, and Spiritual Abuse.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to write a blog post about Biblicism, but I keep getting angry and losing focus…

I wish I could approach this topic with humor, happiness, and/or scholasticism. Yet, every time I start to write about this, I find my emotions stir and anger burns in my face. So no educational, fancypants writing today. Just honest thoughts.

I’m angry because something so beautiful and precious to me was used against me to keep me oppressed and subjugated to the “authority” of others. I am the recipient of spiritual manipulation and abuse by those who took scripture out of context and were too prideful to check themselves and their facts.

I was one of those devout Christians in my childhood, teenage, and college years. I still am but I am not as zealous in my opinion as I used to be. So I get pegged as being more backslidden than devout.

When I sometimes didn’t meet unspoken expectations, such as never express anger towards your authority figures/elders, I was reminded that only those who “honor their father and mother” get to live long on the Earth. I might also be told the scriptures telling me to be submissive to authority, etc.

For a plethora of other reasons I might have someone “rebuking the spirit of rebellion” that apparently I had following me or in me or whatever. Considering that my primary punishment in my late teens was not being allowed to go to youth group or prayer meetings, I don’t think that I was very much a rebellious individual. Though certainly depressed, angry, and hurting.

When I moved to Knoxville in the fall of 2014, I began to realize all the ways that scripture had been misused in my life and all the unreasonable expectation that had been forced upon me, and that I forced upon myself because of these false teachings. Exposure to other people – churches, families, coworkers, etc. – gave me feedback and lens to see my life more clearly.

I recognize that a lot of my current frustration with people is rooted in pride. The gaining of knowledge often comes with a bolstering of pride. I struggle to love well those who I believe to be misguided and get angry when they won’t listen to me.


This is, in part, because I still feel the pain and hurt of years of enduring these things. When one is freed from captivity, they might find themselves wanting to lash out against their captors, to get payback for the time lost. It’s as if I’m entitled to vengeance or compensation for what I experienced.

So here I am, a Christian of 21 years wrestling internally with the pain that was brought on by the hands and mouths of those that were trusted most and respected as spiritual leaders. I think a lot of Christians in my generation struggle as I struggle now. Too many feel this same pain that has arisen out of an Americanized Christianity. Slowly we are awakening and choosing to deal with our wounds rather than ignore them; to heal.

I know that one day the pain will subside and the Spirit of truth will bring about restoration. Until then, I’m going to keep on walking this path and do everything I can to live the love of Christ. Especially to those who reject my baptism and citizenship in Christ.

2 thoughts

  1. I didn’t really want to “like” this post but there is no other way to acknowledge reading it and finding it useful or moving. All I can say to your dilemma is forgive. Not for them, but for you. I was subject to a different sort of abuse and it took years for me to heal. The real healing began with the Spirit urging me to forgive my abuser and to pray for him. I found myself spiritually flinching each time I recited the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Even though I didn’t mean it, I prayed to forgive him. God knows my heart. He wasn’t fooled by my empty words. But as I continued, I found my heart slowly changed and I have forgiven him.
    And it has set me free.

    • Thanks for the comment 🙂

      I have found forgiveness has been far more difficult that the way I had been raised to think it is, or should be. In earnest, I’m trying to reach that point. It’s just taking a lot longer than I would like. Overall I think that I’m getting there, but as the layers come off, anger surfaces and it isn’t something that I can shrug off and pushing it down doesn’t help. But I am definitely trying!

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