10 ways abusive churches turn their people into the sinners they hate
"Stiffnecked Sheep" (cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward)
I want to make it clear from the beginning that victims of abuse responding to it are not necessarily sinners, but are actually justified in defending themselves. The word "sinners" suggests¬†that the church considers their people sinners because they are not behaving the way they want them to. They are not sinners really, but in the eyes of domineering leadership they are.
So here's how abusive churches and pastors make sinners out of us:
- resisting being controlled is interpreted as stubbornness
- questioning a leader's actions is interpreted as rebellious
- doing other than exactly what you're told is interpreted as disobedience
- questioning authority is interpreted as not submitting to authority
- stronger offense creates stronger defense that is interpreted as obstinacy
- talking about your questions with others is interpreted as divisive and seditious
- knowing a leader is human with weaknesses is interpreted as disrespectful
- when you decide the church is not healthy and leave is interpreted as unfaithful
- thinking for yourself is considered maverick
- trying to learn how to live your own life is considered immature and unruly
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