10 Questions Churches Can Ask Themselves About Spiritual Abuse
"Questions About Spiritual Abuse" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
Did you know the purpose of the law is to protect the rights of the individual? Therefore, I think it is important for churches to establish at least unwritten laws concerning the way it treats its individuals.
In any relationship, those involved need to constantly check to ensure that they are treating the other fairly, compassionately, and justly.
This includes churches. I've come to believe that all churches are prone to spiritual abuse. In fact, I claim that the abuse of people is the gravitational pull of all institutions and organizations. So we must be diligent to ensure that they don't go there.
I've assembled these 10 questions the church can ask itself to see that it isn't abusing its people:
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- Do we use guilt, shame, humiliation, or fear to motivate people?
- Do we elevate the church's wellbeing over the individual members'?
- Do we employ peer-pressure to get our members to do things?
- Do we treat the truth as though we have it and the people don't?
- Do we speak before we listen?
- Do we try to distance our members from their other relationships?
- Do we punish with demotion, isolation, or silent-treatment those who differ?
- Do we trivialize our members' feelings?
- Do we get jealous when our members seek out other spiritual helps?
- Do we always blame the people for when something goes wrong?