There is much about spiritual abuse that is not talked about; especially the signs. People today just follow without thought; clueless of the sheep in wolves clothing preying- just waiting for the attack. It’s time to get it folks! Spiritual abuse and the warning signs are there-if you only pay attention.Forgive yourself if you haven’t and keep reading! Warning signs of spiritual abuse:
1. Misuse of scripture. If your pastor, spiritual mentor, adviser, etc. is misusing scripture it’s a red flag. If that person tells you things like ‘those who give the most get blessed the most’ and cites a variety of scripture- it’s wrong.
2. The person is controlling. There is a difference in leading, managing and controlling people. Oftentimes people get them confused and believe they are being led when in reality they are being controlled. Controlling people create expectations of you where you fall under their accountability, you become responsible to them; and you begin to live according to their ideals and expectations.
3. The person tries to change you. When someone tries to change you it may be blatant or subtle and it is your responsibility to discern between the two. A person who tries to change you will do is slyly with things that seem as coaching when in reality are not. It may be under the guise of a different lifestyle because you are now a Christian when in reality; that is the job of the Holy Spirit to bring about change and not other people. If someone tells you how to dress, wear your hair, who to spend time with; and other things like this it’s time to see it and run fast. Run Forest run!
4. The person has an agenda for you and your life or future. At time of meeting this person your life may not be going in the direction you thought. Well; great news! The person has a perfect life for you- and it just meets his or her agenda. You get involved and your life will become this or that when in reality it probably has nothing to do with what you set out to do for yourself. By the time you realize it; it may be a few years later and you are worse of than you were before you met. If someone has the goal of changing your life for his or her benefit that is not someone you want to follow.
5. The person puts down things you like or don’t like. If things you like or dislike are made fun of it’s a red flag. You do not have to like what everyone else likes and if a leader or spiritual mentor attempts to change what you like in the name of whatever religion that person is following it is not right. What happens to those following such leaders is that they start second guessing what they actually like; lose their identity, and then become lost people with no ability to think for themselves. It’s a great position to get people in for the leader because people with no identity or ability to think for themselves are much easier to control.
6. The person isolates you. If you change all of your friends in your life because they are not on the same page as the direction you are going; rethink it. Rethink it especially if it’s unanimous of all of your friends. Someone who attempts to remove those closest to your life is only gaining more power and control over you by mind controlling you to think that your friends are just not with the program and are not going where you are. Duh. No one is going right where you are because your life path was already made for you and no two people have the exact same life path; twins included. Isolation from friends and family is a control tactic so be wise to it.
7. The person steals your identity and value. If you begin to lose who you are, the things you like and enjoy that is a problem. If you are around someone who mocks what you eat and where, how you style your hair, your wardrobe choices or even what you do for a living; run. If someone tells you that the changes you are going through are normal and when you are finished you will be who you are; run. You were created in the image of God and no man has any authority to change that-unless you give it up. Don’t. Changing who you are is an insult to God.
8. The person is the only authority in the group. If your spiritual mentor, adviser, pastor; etc. etc. is the only authority and one allowed to speak that’s a red flag. It’s a control of information and the person in charge is the only one with it. When people start bowing down to one person as the leader and all knowing it is not right!
9. The person keeps group members isolated from one another. If members of the group, study, etc. are not encouraged to spend time together it’s a red flag. Why? Because they will talk and if they talk- who knows what will be talked about. When people are isolated from one another the only contact would be from each person to the leader and not person to person.
10. The person has no fruit in his or her life. Look at who you are following. Where is the fruit? Does that person walk in love? Forgiveness? How does that person treat his or her spouse? How does that person treat others? Is the person a racist? What are the relationships of that person like? Is there fruit in the family and friends? If there is no fruit then there is a reason. While the reason may not ever be your business the fact that there is no fruit is all you need to know.
Spiritual abuse is something that is more common than people think. Those who are unsuspecting get themselves into situations that they didn’t even realize and before it happens to you- take note. Be wise and discerning and pray for wisdom daily and then apply what you learn. After all; it may be save your life.