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Spiritual Abuse: Seeing What We Don't Want to See

By Kyle Borg - Posted at Gentle Reformation:

I wasn’t even ten years old when I first saw the truth of abuse. One evening a policeman showed up at our door. After talking to my mom and dad I was brought into the dining room. The officer gently explained that our neighbor — who ran a daycare out of her home — was in trouble. He opened a manila envelope and hastily showed me pictures. The pictures were of a boy younger than me covered in bruises. The officer was clearly uncomfortable. He knew he was exposing my ignorance to a harsh reality. He didn’t want me to look but he needed to know if I had heard or seen anything. He knew that to bring light to the situation I needed to see the darkness. In the end, seeing those pictures was more important than not seeing at all.

This is the world we live in. It would be nice if we could close our eyes and leave unseen the sin in, toward, and around us. But that kind of naivety isn’t proper for Christians. It’s not appropriate for people characterized by truth and light in the midst of darkness and falsehood. Being a child of God means we need to be willing to see the things we wish would remain unseen.

As uncomfortable as it is the church needs to open their eyes to the harsh reality of spiritual abuse. Even writing those words — with every key-stroke — is hard. Abuse is one thing but when you add the adjective “spiritual” it becomes something else, something more. To think that spiritual things like the Bible, church, leadership, grace, forgiveness, vulnerability, and even the gospel can be used to wrongly harm and wound others is something one cannot look at long without needing to avert the eyes. But the manila envelope can be opened and one sad picture after another can be pulled out to show the bruises and marks left by those whose message should have been one of binding up the brokenhearted.


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