Four characteristics of a spiritual abuser

Four characteristics of a spiritual abuser

Four characteristics of a spiritual abuser

1 Comment on Four characteristics of a spiritual abuser

Donald Miller

A Christian leader who is manipulative will:

– Never be truly vulnerable. They will never tell stories about their weaknesses. If they do, those stories will be about how they are too strong, too devout and too many other things that are more or less humble brags.

– Always have the true answer, and the truth is truth because they said it. The truth is the Bible is complex, but a manipulator knows they can’t get you to submit if they don’t have ALL the answers. Certainly trained pastors have answers, but nobody has all the answers. Manipulators do. They want to tell you how to live.

– They make you jump through hoops. If you want to get married, you must go through hours of classes so they can approve. If you want to be a member, you must sign a contract or a statement of theological belief. Now many wonderful churches do this sort of thing, but when there is a manipulative leader, you’ll normally find an endless number of hurdles to jump over. They want to test you, over and over, to make sure you’re being submissive.

– They will never let you off the hook. A manipulative leader can never, ever let you be fully free in Christ. There must always be something wrong with you or else you will no longer need them and will no longer have to submit.

If you’re in a church with a manipulative leader creating the culture, I believe you should leave. The only way a manipulator stops manipulating is when the manipulation stops working, and by staying, you’re saying to the manipulator that it’s working. If you fight them, you’ll lose.

The respect I already have for Miller just doubled. Though I definitely wish he had gone further, someone had to at least go this far and we all knew it would take someone with his storytelling and personal credentials to even be heard… I just can’t help but honour the guts he has in going up against the kind of forces this will stir.

And, he still took the easy way out.

We know, for example, that 3% of women in the church are subjected to clergy based sexual abuse – that works out to about 32 persons in your church alone. But, after an hour of research, I have been unable to find a single credible study of how many persons in those same pews have been subjected to spiritual abuse.

Maybe no one ever thought of doing that sort of study. Ya, maybe…

Except we know that domestic sexual abuse is usually only started after emotional, mental and physical abuse is already commenced. It’s exceedingly doubtful that churches would find the sequence inverted…

Or, perhaps no one wants to be the messenger who delivers the news about how few churches DON’T fit the above list or be the one who suggests they all walk out the door and never look back.

Miller delivered the definition of spiritual abuse and the suggestion to flee. If only he would have delivered some actual stats of how many people he just told to leave the building and never set foot in it again…

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