I had been in the church for many, many years.
I was also involved with the leadership of the church for most of those years.
Most spiritual abuse is inflicted sincerely.
That is, most leaders really do feel that they are doing the right thing... the best thing for their people.
They really do believe it's necessary to hurt people if this is the only way they can achieve their goals.
And they all believe their goals are good.
If it takes harsh discipline, debilitating correction, and crippling shame to turn you into a righteous person, then it's all good.
They will inflict it with a clear conscience and a joyful heart.
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