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Definition 1. Spiritual abuse is the misuse of spiritual authority or “power” by one person or persons over another or over others causing damage to their spiritual well being and or hampering their spiritual potential 2. Actions or words that cause someone to have a distorted picture of God’s heart and will for that person’s life could be classified as spiritual abuse
Is Spiritual Abuse New? Ezekiel 34:2, 4 and 16b Matthew 9:36 Matthew 23 Spiritual abuse can be unintentional but never the less causes great damage.
God’s Plan For Our Spiritual Well-being God places us in relationships with our brothers and sisters in the body. Within the body there are God ordained shepherds to lead the flock. Our shepherds are to be servants not masters. Ezekiel 34:11,15,16a Psalm 23 John 10:11 Luke 12:37 John 10:11-12 Matthew 20:20-28
Forms of spiritual abuse that may be encountered Threats and intimidation Public humiliation Dogmatic assertions with no allowance for disagreement Control over private lives Uninvited personal prayer and ministry Harsh and unfair church discipline Extortion of money Soulish prayers Stimulating false guilt and condemnation Un-empathetic or insensitive counselling Using the sheep instead of serving them Circumstances within the Church that could develop into a breeding ground for spiritual abuse Within the Leadership • Strong hierarchical systems • Insecurity of the leader • Independent church leadership with no accountability Within the Congregation • Congregations in which discernment is lacking • Vulnerability that comes from a desire to be totally committed • Insecure or immature groups seeking someone to lead them • Individuals or groups undermining their leaders (Absolom Spirit) .
Unbalanced or unbiblical teaching • Focusing on externals not heart attitude • Small deviations from the truth • Focusing on the traditions of men (Matthew 15:2-8) • Leaning towards legalism Counterfeits (soulish or demonic) to the gifts of the Holy Spirit • False prophecy • False visions • False faith How do Leaders Abuse the People …And People (You & Me) Abuse the Leaders and Each Other .