Spiritual Abuse

We continue to post a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.


January 22, 2021 E-Letter

Spiritual abuse victims share the same symptoms as victims of incest. The common denominator between the two is that the parent and the spiritual leader are both the most intimate caregivers, and the boundaries they cross are the most intimate. Therefore, the damage is far greater, it strikes at the very soul of a person.

The victims then withdraw from the source of their injury whether it is the opposite sex or the spiritual leader. They fear letting themselves be ‘touched’ again. In the case of spiritual abuse, the church represents trauma not refuge. This is why so many abuse victims leave church and don’t come back for years or never.

One of the reasons spiritual abuse reaches deep into a person’s soul is that church is a refuge from the world. We expect to be able to let our guard down among our best friends, fellow Christians. We expect our spiritual leaders to wisely lead us. When the shepherds beat God’s sheep (Ezekiel 34), it is so completely unexpected that we don’t know how to process it.

And those who would presume to advise victims of spiritual abuse MUST assume that the victim is telling the truth. This is not something ‘whiners’ can imitate. I have dealt with this subject for many years and ‘whiners’ don’t sound anything like abuse victims. I do see those past injuries being opened up leading to raw emotions that are experienced all over again.

Finally, anyone advising spiritual abuse victims must never say ‘Get over it’ or ‘Just put it behind you.’ This is not simple like an insult; it is like losing a limb. You can adjust, compensate, or make do eventually, but you can’t just get over it. Can you tell a paraplegic to just get over it! It is like a huge part of our soul has been ripped out leaving a vacuum. We will never be the same again. Gone is the innocent trust of spiritual leaders. We doubt first and trust later, maybe.

My Spiritual Abuse Recovery workbook has been given to around 1000 people. I know that because I print it and send it out myself. I have sold maybe one dozen because I cannot let someone go without it if I think spiritual abuse is in their experience.

I have had my own experience with such abuse and I know how freeing it is to learn that the “problem” is in the system not oneself. If you know of someone who has experienced spiritual abuse ask them if they want a copy of the workbook. If they do, contact me at the email below and I will send it to you to give to them personally.

Copyright© 2019 Watchman Fellowship, All rights reserved. Used by permission of David Henke.

Website: www.watchman-ga.org

Email: [email protected]

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