(By Mark Dejesus) I’ve spent years helping people recover from abusive situations. They range from abusive marriages, homes and even abusive church environments. Over the years, there has grown an awareness of how church and ministry environments can misuse their influence and authority in a way that damages the spiritual and emotional life of people. This has become known as spiritual abuse. The ramifications are more harmful than most people realize. I find that the majority of Christians who have served God for a long enough time have, at some point, been a part of a spiritually toxic environment.
Yet I rarely see people walking through any kind of process to heal from those harmful situations. The best that is offered is “the past is the past” or “get over it.” Meanwhile, believers left and right are walking around with spiritual and emotional lacerations that they don’t know how to heal. Often it’s because they have been in spiritually abusive environments for so long they don’t know any better. In fact, I find that people in these kinds of settings lose their sense of judgment. It’s like being with an alcoholic for so long that you begin to think that living with the ups and downs of addiction is normal. CONTINUE