Saturday, November 22, 2003

Recovery From Spiritual Abuse - Article
How You Can Help

By Sharon Hilderbrant, M.A.

"Churches on the fringe exist in every major metropolitan area as well as in small towns and isolated rural areas. Some are large, "mega-church" organizations, while some may be small house-church gatherings. Most of them look fairly normal to outsiders. That is, until abused persons begin to leave and tell of their experiences.

Getting out of the group is only the beginning of recovery. Recovery involves, according to one survivor, getting "the group out of us." The effects of abuse are long-standing. The following outlines how Christians can help the spiritually abused in their recovery..."

...Many who begin to trust God again have much more difficulty trusting people in any church. It helps to confront the truth about God’s people with statements similar to the following:

• Leaders are not more favored by God over others in the church.

• All struggle spiritually, even leaders.

• All are in various stages of growth (no instant spirituality).

• All make mistakes, none are infallible.

• All can learn to hear God’s voice for themselves—no need to remain spiritual children who must submit to parental leaders.

• All need each other—none are needless.

• All have something to give and are valuable to God.

• All—leaders and lay persons—are called to live by the same standards.

• All need to have their own relationship with God apart from the involvement of other believers—including spouses.

• The church is not just one building or one gathering, but believers

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