There are many reasons why abused victims remain victims: suppression, anger, unforgiveness, lack of counseling or therapy, bondage of Satan, their lack of wanting to be delivered and the church. The last one, "the church," will be the focus of this blog.
First and foremost, I am an abuse survivor (and speaking on this is my area of specialty), and second of all, I became a Christian in 1996. So, how does the church play a role as to how some abuse victims remain victims? Within the first few years in my Christian journey, many churches had deliverance ministries. Now, it's almost unheard of or if there is one, it's for show and to promote one's ministry. As I observe people in the church (of course, not every church will fit this), I find that attitudes are snobbish and leaderships are more focused on control and church growth.
I was provoked to address this after reading a Scripture this morning. It reminded me of a ministry call that I listened in on last night, and what Prophetess Tera Hodges tweeted over the past weekend.
The call last night focused on deliverance and the lack thereof in ministries today. The guests that were on the program were reading my mind as I listened. Many churches see no need for them, or they are following the tradition of their denomination, or they have leaders don't know about deliverance (or don't want to know), or their focus is on church growth and mind control.
Prophetess Tera Carissa Hodges over the past weekend was tweeting on churches using mind control techniques to control people in the congregation. I have known about it for some time, but I guess now it's more prevalent and many in the congregations are sleeping. When mind control is implemented, no one can be delivered from the issues they face, because the focus is on the leadership's demands and the congregation's time, talent & resources solely belong to the local church. And that can be very dangerous.
The Scripture I read this morning was Isaiah 61:1-3. The focus was on Christ coming to heal the broken hearted, those who are afflicted. In short, those who are hurting and bound. As I think about the topic and why deliverance fails for those who need and want deliverance (there are those who don't want it - and I'll discuss shortly), it fails mostly because of our attitude and self-aggrandizement. What are some examples?
1. When you yell at a hurting soul saying, "you are bound by Satan and you need to be delivered!" If anything, you just destroyed your witness. That statement is true, but it didn't require your yelling.
2. When you yell at a hurting soul saying, "You are in sin because you're acting out of anger!" That may be true, but that leaves the impression that they have no chance of redemption.
3. When you yell at a hurting soul, saying, "So what if you're rejected. You are in sin because you were rejected!" This is completely false. They're acting out what they only know. Most cases, the house they grew up in was so far from Godly, that's all they know.
4. This one irks my nerve. You speak in a condescending to a hurting soul, "I'm sorry you're hurt, I'll pray for you." But it's a one-minute prayer. Now if it's someone in their AMCC circle that's hurting, they'll stay with them all day and all night. AMCC stands for American Middle Class Church - where it's all about me, my family & my clique. This mentality only focuses on their circle being delivered and nothing hinders their world.
Jesus had compassion on those He delivered and the focus was on who He is. Many of us force deliverance on those who may not want to be delivered or as was stated on the call last night, they call out the wrong thing to be delivered out of someone. Never force deliverance on those who don't want it. But leadership needs to be aware when people are hurting and need deliverance.
I was glad when Apostle Clary posted on her wall a question why deliverance is lacking. My response was because it's about growth and also so the leaders can prove they are in control. If you're not on the pastoral staff (or if you're not part of the clique), you're not authorized to minister to a hurt soul in the congregation. There are many gifts within everyone's congregation and it frustrates me at times when leaders want some control (and then they're burned out). Don't get me wrong, I get that there needs to be order in churches (and believe me, there are many that are out of order and need it severely).
Now here's my two cents on how we can help abused victims become victors (and believe me, this is not hard to implement). This comes from my novel DDBS (and this is how I was treated by some in the church world when I was going through).
It's amazing to me how we treat each other, especially if we say we’re Christians. A person who’s lost, depressed or has suffered under the pain of domestic, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can have a gun to their head, and we have the unmitigated gall to simply say, “I’m sorry,” or “I’ll pray for you.” That’s not helping a hurting soul – in fact, you’re enabling them. Try coming out of your comfort zone for once and stop being so selfish. Try saying ‘Can we talk about this? I want to listen to you, and you have my undivided attention.’ Talk to me somebody! Band-Aids and clichés and prideful statements like, ‘I'm the leader,’ or ‘come to me with every problem you have’ only to make you the poster child or for you to be chastised; though I don't have to share my problems with you unless I reveal what I want, will never heal a serious wound in a person who really needs healing for their mind, body and soul. We do need a healing for the soul of mankind, because mankind is full of darkness and death. Let's try giving unselfish love and compassion away. Someone needs it! If we as a church don't want to bear burdens or pray, we are rendering ourselves motionless-- together we stand, divided we fall. Love is lacking in these last days. Yes, some will say it's not their fault; again, it's on them, and they have to answer to God for how they treat people.”
Pray for those who don't want to be delivered, and be a vessel for Him if you run across someone who wants to be free. It pains me to see abused victims remaining victims. All it's creating is angry souls who become bitter with life, God and themselves.
In closing, just know that this post is not going to go unchallenged. The enemy is mad! I started writing the post and was near the end, and the post was wiped out not by my doing. So, I had to retype it (and now I believe this is more powerful - smile)
The Mayne Man