This is an excellent article excerpted from Mike Fehlauer’s book, Exposing Spiritual Abuse.
Mike Fehlauer is pastor of Tree of Life Church in New Braunfels, Texas. He is also the founder and director of Foundation Ministries. He travels extensively throughout the United States and the world, sharing God’s message of love, hope and restoration. More from Crosswalk.com.
CBN.com — Crosswalk.com — The idea of spiritual abuse is not a new phenomenon. In the Old Testament, God spoke against those who operated in their own authority while abusing the very people they were to bless. In Jeremiah 5:30-31 we read, “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?”
In these verses God is bringing an indictment against the religious leaders of the Old Testament. We see the Lord’s anger expressed against those who operate in their own authority. Consumed with their own ambition, these leaders have convinced the people that their power is divine. Yet in reality, these false prophets are merely wielding their self-imposed influence for personal gain, claiming they speak for God.
In Jeremiah 6:13-14 we read again of self-absorbed prophets and priests who are so preoccupied with their own needs being met that the needs of the people are being ignored. We read: “From the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (NAS).
A common characteristic of an abusive religious system is that the real needs of the people are lost in the never-ending quest by the leaders for personal fulfillment and happiness.
The tragic story of Diane, a young woman in her late teens who had recently given her life to Christ, illustrates this point. Diane went on a missions trip with a group from the church she had been attending. One day the missions team was enjoying some recreation time when Diane suffered a tragic accident that caused her leg to be so severely injured that it was necessary to amputate it.
Read the rest of the story…