Healing for Spiritual Abuse
by Niral Burnett
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"Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm" (Psalm 105:13-15).
Few things are more troublesome to behold as the confusion in the eyes of an abused child. The very one to make them feel safe and secure is the one from whom they need protection. Many such children will soon find themselves trying to cope with living a life without a foundation.
Day after day, they will have to live in a world that was created for them by their abuser. Inside of this once innocent heart is rage, fear, and the constant impulse to fight or flee every relationship that comes their way. They don't want to be hurt again. Yet in time, their worst fears come true when they, themselves become abusers because they never knew how to live life any other way.
Sadly, our world is packed with people who must live out their spiritual lives in much the same way. Such people have everything needed to impact this world for the better. Yet, they are crippled because they are so badly wounded, they cannot be effective.
This would be easy to write if such persecution originated in this lost world. Yet, the crippled masses I speak of have been wounded in the place where they should have been safe -- the church.
Over the past few years, the headlines have been as constant as the nightly news, or the Christian magazine articles. Influential Christian leaders all over the country have fallen, or have been accused of actions that are sometimes criminal (or close to it). Those who defend such preachers often combat the accusers by referring to Psalm 105:15, saying, "Touch not God's anointed, and do his prophets no harm". Yet, the ones wounded by such irresponsible leaders often suffer spiritual injuries that can last a lifetime if healing does not come quickly.
Touch Not My Anointed
Psalm 105 never tells us not to question spiritual leadership, whether good or bad. In fact, when you read the entire chapter, it gives you an entirely different view of the issue. Starting from the preceding verse, the scripture says:
"He permitted no one to do them wrong; Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, Saying, 'Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm'" (Psalm 105:14-15).
Who is the "them" in verse 14? Who is God speaking of when He gives such a grave warning to heathen kings? If we move further back in the chapter, we will clearly see that person:
"O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth" (Psalm 105:6-7).
When God gives the command to "touch not" his anointed, He is not only speaking of a spiritual leader, or the pastor of a local church. Throughout this chapter, God is speaking to the seed of Abraham - that means you.
Spiritual leaders are to be respected and even reverenced. But none of them are infallible. To say that they cannot be questioned puts many people in danger of being spiritually abused.
You may be one of those who has been abused. Perhaps you are what I often call a "victim of faith". Perhaps right now, you are in a situation where it seems that an abusive leader has emotionally seized your life, and there seems to be no way out. Don't allow yourself to be "touched" anymore.
Victims of Faith
Wounded warrior, there is hope for your situation if you choose to place your life back into the hands of the Father, and out of the hands of man. God's desire for you is to have a pastor, "according to mine (God's) heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding"(Jeremiah 3:15).
While it often does not seem so, the church is overflowing with leaders who have integrity, compassion and a love for people. Yet, you will never find those people unless you learn to discern the spirits of individual "leaders" through the Word of God. There is no need to fear testing the spirit of a Christian leader. In the early church, this had to be done constantly.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (1 John 4:1-3).
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God every spirit. A false teacher's mouth can easily say that they believe something that they really do not believe. But the spirit that believes the truth of Christ will take upon itself the gentleness of the One it identifies. Such a spirit has overflowed with the love of Christ, and would never do anything to bring harm to you. Such a spirit would never try to fleece the flock of its money. Neither would such a spirit strip away the liberty and freedom you have in Christ, in order to control your life.
The ungodly spirit that "touches" you in order to bring harm is the spirit of anti-Christ. It defies the person of Christ in your life, in order to replace Him with itself. It replaces the grace of Christ by bringing to you innumerable demands, in order to "please God." It replaces voice of Christ by falsely prophesying after its own gain. The spirit of anti-Christ replaces the truth of Christ by teaching you that a corrupt leader cannot be questioned. No one should have this much power over your life.
You no longer have to be wounded again, if you hold every spiritual leader in the light of the Word of God.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (1Timothy 2:24-26).
Is he or she gentle towards everyone? Are they quick to give godly instruction? Are they patient? Do they instruct those who have gone astray, in humility? If not, it is very possible that they, themselves were victims, and are only doing what they were taught as babes in Christ.
While it is not a sin to be angry for a season, there is a need to have compassion enough to pray for those who may have been spiritually abused. Yet, such a hurting person should never have jurisdiction over your spiritual well-being. Because of this, it may be possible that it is time for you to move on, and allow God to bring into your life, a spiritual leader whose character and readiness lines up with the Word of God.
Remember, you are God's anointed, and you have the Spirit and Word of God inside of you to discern right from wrong. When you hold a spiritual leader up to the light of scripture, it will not be long before you find someone who will be instrumental in healing those wounds you suffer, and build in you the confidence you need in order to be victorious.
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