1 Corinthians 14:33 – “For God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.”
My spiritual confusion was the result of the actions of man, not God. I know that today, but for over thirty-five years all I saw was what God allowed to happen to me. Man had used the word of God and twisted it to justify their actions and behaviors. Not only towards me but to many others in their lives. It wasn’t always in a bad way that they would deceive others, to many others they appeared to be saints. I learned in Alcoholics Anonymous that we are to practice our newfound spiritual principles in all our affairs. I’ll be honest with you, and this is from my viewpoint only, these people would speak one way and act another. Whatever principles they might have had, were rarely if ever practiced at all, other than the many hypocritical words I would hear them speak. As I shared in my blog titled “The Narrow Road” last week, it was the hypocrisy displayed by the elders of the church and my parents that turned me down the wide road to hell.
Today I know that everything that happened to me was all part of God’s bigger plan for my life. However, for many years I could not understand why such a loving God could be so cruel. That is until the day I opened a book at a bookstore that had handwritten in the front of it. That scripture was Genesis 50:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” After reading this scripture it all made perfect sense to me. If I had not gone through all that I had in my life, I would not be able to help the many men and women I have helped today. In the past ten plus years of working with men and women, I have discovered that my story is not unique. There are so many men and women in this world that have had experiences very similar to mine.
Matthew 18:6 – "If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.”
When abuse occurs (emotional, physical, spiritual, or sexual) in the family, rather it is your nuclear family or church family, especially abuse involving a male authority figure such as father, stepfather, guardian or pastor, a deeply profound hurt can be unleashed in a young person’s life. Not only a profound hurt, but confusion, anger, dysfunction with others, self-destructive and distrust of people and God can also be unleashed. It is a little-known fact that we have a strong tendency to view God the same way we view our earthly father. Many men and women have expressed this to me. When abuse happens, especially by a male authority figure, the intended role model of a father that God wanted these young ones to see is shattered, skewed, and becomes confusing. So, what does God the Father really look like (not physically.)
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul tells us what love is. “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” In my opinion this is exactly how God our father treats us and exactly what a loving earthly father should be mirroring to their children. Yet unfortunately for generations, not in all families, abuse has become the norm and handed down from generation to generation creating millions of wounded men and women. To prove my point about how our image of our Godly father is so often related directly to our earthly father. This is what I have heard over and over again.
Proverbs 25:26 – “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
“Randy, so you are telling you want me to believe and trust in this God that you are talking about. This God that is somewhere out in the universe. You are telling me this God I cannot see or talk to is going to love me unconditionally, forgive me of all my wrong doings, and meet all of my needs and then some? Right. You expect me to believe that when my earthly father, the father that is right here in my presence, the father that I can talk to, the father that abused me, called me names, put me down, belittled me and made me feel less than a man, couldn’t fulfill those needs. That’s pretty hard for me to grasp.”
This is the spoken and unspoken truth of so many of those that have addiction problems and issues with religion and God. It is also the truth of many of those that are sitting in church pews today. They show up to church on Sundays with a painted-on smile, appearing to all of those around them to have a great life. Yet, they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They come to church to make themselves feel good again by mowing and watering the grass on their side of the fence. The issue here is that they are likely watering and cutting down only weeds. The reality is we must get out the garden tools and dig up the roots that keep us returning to our old behaviors and addictions, many of which are only symptoms of a deeper underlying issue that includes Spiritual abuse. So then, what is the solution?
Matthew 7:11 – “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
When I read this verse and tied it in with this topic, I thought, “Well, my mother and stepfather gave me plenty of materialistic gifts, which is always nice and does make life more enjoyable. However, their motives were not pure. Their motives were to buy back my love for all the abuse they inflicted on me. For someone that has not been abused this might be hard to understand. The abuse and the affects it had on me and so many other victims stay with us for a lifetime. The materialistic gifts and their memories on the other hand fade very quickly. There is no power greater than that of unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, and grace. Sure, there were good times in my teenage and young adult years. Most of those however were times when I was alone surfing or walking with my dog in the undisturbed hills of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.
There is a very distinct line drawn in the sand of darkness and light between the short time I had with my biological father and my mother and stepfather. My father showed us love by his actions. He was a man of his word and never abusive. He did not cover me with materialistic gifts or belittle us when we made a mistake. Instead he covered me with his protection and love. He taught me how to respect the outdoors, nature and people. He encouraged me to get up when we tripped and do it again with instruction on how to be better. My mother and stepfather were completely opposite of that. Dad showed us the Love a heavenly father. As for my mother and stepfather, well let’s just say they were extremely broken.
There are so many realms of spiritual abuse. From religions forcing and reinforcing their beliefs in harmful ways to those of lesser power. To parents doing the same as well twisting and skewing scripture to justify their abusive actions on their children. I believe the solution to spiritual abuse at all levels, rather from the church or parents lies in the instructions given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I am not saying that all of us, regardless of age, do not need to be disciplines, we do. However, That’s a topic for another day.
For a deeper discussion on this topic, be sure to visit the CHF YouTube Channel. Click on the link below to watch my discussion on “Spiritual Power.”
Also get my book Healing The Wounded Child Within where there is a complete chapter on this subject