I met Carolyn Custis James in a parking lot in Chicago, though she lived in the Northeast and I in the Deep South. We hit it off instantly.
Carolyn’s books and posts on her website offer much wisdom and encouragement regarding women and the church. One blog series that I particularly appreciate focuses on spiritual abuse (which can certainly happen to men, as well as women).
The posts in this series include:
- Part 1: This Can of Worms Must be Opened!
- Part 2: The Perfect Storm
- Part 3: The Many Faces of Spiritual Abuse
- Part 4: Identifying the Triggers of Spiritual Abuse
- Part 5: Standing Up to Spiritual Abusers
- Part 6: The Underlying Belief System of Spiritual Abuse
- Part 7: The Enablers of Spiritual Abuse … or When Silence isn’t Golden
- Part 8: From Angst to Action – Preventing Spiritual Abuse
What Carolyn writes about, I’ve experienced – my life devastated and relationships decimated because sincere Christians, some of whom I deeply love, persist in committing, enabling and denying spiritual abuse.
For this reason, I’m deeply committed to being a dis-abler of abuse (Carolyn’s term). Looking back, I realized: I’ve explored different aspects of the issue in four of my recent books.
You might expect to find rather stunning explorations of the subject in my two “run toward Goliath” books:
Less obvious, my two E-Blessings e-books also offer significant insights. In both, people who lived with abusive leaders refused to go along with, or be overcome by, brutal abuse. Consider:
- The Esther Blessing: Grace to Reign in Life. How did Esther and Mordecai reign in life in the place where two supreme narcissists, Xerxes and Haman, ran the show?
- The Elijah Blessing: An Undivided Heart. How did Elijah cultivate an undivided heart in the days of Ahab and Jezebel, the two-headed snake?
In all these writings, Carolyn and I share a similar heartcry, poignantly expressed by Jewish professor Yehuda Bauer: “Thou shall not be a perpetrator; thou shall not be a victim; and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.”
So, now, I urge you: Be strong and courageous. Read and learn. Whether or not you think this issue even touches you, determine in your heart that you will not ignore, agree with or be party to spiritual abuse – but rather will act in ways that dis-able it.
As you consider this commitment, know that God is the one calling you to it. Know also, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24). He will pour out the superabundant grace you need to hear, to see and turn, to rise up, speak out, stand firm.
Source for “thou shall not” quote: Professor Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust Studies at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a speech delivered to the German Bundestag on January 27, 1998.