If you’ve been victimized by an abusive pastor or church, I think you’ll find this article very helpful. From the title you may think I am suggesting just to “move out and move on”. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are those that have told me to “just get over it”, that if I were mature enough in Christ that I should be able to do just that. I feel I have…since the time I left the abusive church, or should I say, the abusive people in those churches, but this article isn’t for me, it’s for others who may still be in bondage in such churches and perhaps confused, hurt, in fear, and unsure about whether to leave or not.
When I left the abusive apostate church I was in, I was literally crushed in my spirit. I felt I had been betrayed by people I thought I could trust. No, let me rephrase that. I had been betrayed.
I was confused and hurting. At that time there was no one I could turn to that would understand. After all, all my friends were in “church”, and wasn’t “church” where you were supposed to meet God, and wasn’t it ordained that one should not forsake the assembling together with the brethren?
I thought to myself, what brethren? They were all locked into the system, and the system I thought I could trust, the one I’d believed in was a sham, corrupt.
God had been good to me since my conversion, or I should say since my baptism in the Spirit. I had grown in the Word, and the LORD had blessed me in so many ways.
It took a lot of disappointments and more growth in the Word before I began to get my eyes opened to the things in the several churches I’ve been devoted to, that just plain were not of God.
It took months to even begin to recover physically and emotionally from the trauma I’d suffered from the years in church. But spiritually, I was devastated, and had to “rethink” my entire belief about “church” and what it was supposed to be scripturally. What I found was that it had no resemlance to the early church…and the way the LORD set it up.
I’ve learned later that many people who leave an abusive church walk away from God altogether and just try to get on with their lives as best they can. But for me, I had some serious issues that I needed to work out spiritually and wasn’t satisfied with walking away from God, because I knew he was real, and my experience was real, and like Peter, I felt, “Where would I go LORD? Only you have the words of truth”.
About that time I had been wishing I had a computer. Then, by the grace of God I received one as a gift. It was then I began searching for what others had experienced and found that the doctrines I’d been taught in the churches I’d attended were wrong….what the LORD had been telling me in my spirit all along.
I also found others like myself who were leaving the apostate organized churches for the same reasons. They weren’t “backslidders”. In fact, they were people who were devoted to God and completely serious in their walk. But they had also eventually seen the abuses and wrong doctrines, and controlling natures of the bird cages they’d been in bondage to.
After you come out of an abusive church or spiritual situation, expect to have some emotional healing to go through. It’s not pleasant to be sure, but it’s normal. You may look at it as a blessing in disguise because once you’re out, you’re no longer being under the control and expectations of others to conform to their ways and doctrines. You will not have the liberty in the Spirit to come to know Jesus according to the Word of God in a personal and living way. The Apostle Paul spent much time alone with the Lord after his Damascus Road experience, learning from Him directly before he ever made contact with the other Apostles and brethren.
This time alone with the Lord, for me, became a time of refreshing, reorganizing my spiritual thoughts…and a time of healing eventually.
In a way, it was the biggest weight off my shoulders I’ve ever felt, even if at the time it felt beyond strange, with Satan laying a guilt trip on me that it was somehow my fault. No, it was not and I’ve come to accept that. For where the Spirit is there is liberty.
And God bless you as you continue your spiritual journey of healing and on to maturity in Christ.