By Debbie Ellis

To begin, I would like to thank the moderator of this website for following through with its inception. I think it is a useful forum for those of us Christians in our personal study of the Word and in sharpening and comforting each other in our faith.

And, if I may offer a critic – This type of forum serves a much better way of contemplation and discussion of the subjects that are offered and posted than that of so many “CHAT ROOMS” and other forms on the internet today. There is just something about taking the time to prayerfully write down what you believe before you pass it on. And I pray that what I’m about to offer is a help to those who choose to read it.
I wish to discuss a phenomenon that has been happening in the body of Christ for thousands of years and we (the Church) have been perpetuating it (knowingly or unknowingly) decade after decade. It is that of “Spiritual Abuse.”

The type of Spiritual Abuse I’m referring to is the passing on of false knowledge about that which we Christians profess to honor, praise, and worship as our Heavenly Father, Comforter, Creator and Savior (among many other names we can offer up). Not only about God, but about what He thinks about us.
Please believe me when I say it is not my intent to “BAD-MOUTH” the church. I love the body of Christ (the church) of which I am a part.

In speaking with others about their experiences coupled with my own, I am convinced that there are many, within the church, who have been and continue to be spiritually abused. And it is so subtle and can even be more wounding than other forms of abuse. I know that if you are a counselor, you may balk at that, and I don’t mean to minimize the other forms of abuse that are very real, often talked about, and to which many institutions and clinics are dedicated to help the victims of such abuses. But spiritual abuse (whether intentional or not) put people at odds with their Creator and closest Friend. They question, doubt, and even run from their Source and strongest Support and Ally, Jesus Christ. I have had some of my closest childhood Christian friends tell me in anger, after years of spiritual abuse, that they don’t want to ever hear of or talk about God or Jesus Christ again. So that can have eternal consequences.

First of all I believe we (the body of Christ) can never forget who our Source of [nothing but] the truth is (John 14:6). When we keep reminding each other of this we can be the place of refuge (safety), comfort, love, and grace. Constantly reminding each other who we are in Christ and offering ourselves so that others can see what the love of God does when it transforms us by the renewing of the mind. That is what the body of Christ (the church) was meant to be…..Not a place of ridicule stemming from all sorts of other agendas, no matter how good, righteous, or biblical they may seem to be. I believe this is why there are so many different “Religious Denominations, Sects, and yes, even Cults” in existence in the world today. These agendas get to be more important and more significant in the minds of some who give way to their ego/vanity than the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and before you know it, another “different gospel” is born. The apostle Paul admonished the church of this very thing a number of years ago (Gal.1:3-9).

We all need to be convinced that there is really nothing significant that we can add to the pure gospel. Jesus Christ is who and what we need to be focusing on. What He has done for us and given to us. Not on the dos and don’ts that someone may think is more important.

I used to be swallowed up in a religious system that preached one of these “different gospels,” so I know of what I speak. For 40+ years I was a victim and a perpetuator of spiritual abuse without knowing it because I accepted and believed what I was being fed. I wore myself to a frazzle trying to be the best follower of an agenda I had been taught and passed on to my own children and others as “The Truth.” And I now believe that most of the teachers from whom I learned didn’t realize that what they were teaching was not the pure gospel that they thought it was. But I’m confident that as they become aware of their True Source, they will be enlightened as to what they really have inside them, just as all of the true believers in the church have.

That is the amazingness of grace and the faithfulness of God.

We can all be thankful that God with His unlimited grace is in control. And the truth of His word has been kept and sanctified throughout history.

Below, I have written down just a few scriptures of which we all need to keep reminding each other.
Romans 5:1-having been justified by faith, we have peace with God
5:10-we were reconciled to God
6:2-we who died to sin
6:6-our old man was crucified with Christ
6:11-dead to sin
6:14-not under law but under grace
7:6-we have been delivered from the law
8:1-there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus
8:16-we are children of God
1Corinthians 1:2-those who are sanctified
1:5-you were enriched in everything
6:11-you were washed, you were sanctified, and you were justified
2Corinthians 2:15-we are to God the fragrance of Christ
5:17-a new creation
Galatians 3:27-clothed with Christ
3:29-belong to Christ and heirs according to the promise
4:7-a son (or daughter) then an heir
Ephesians 1:3-blessed with every spiritual blessing
1:4-holy and without blame before Him
1:7-we have redemption, forgiveness of sins
1:11-we have received an inheritance
2:5-made alive
2:6-raised us up together with Christ, and made us sit with Him in heavenly places
2:10-we are His workmanship
2:13-have been made near to Him
2:19-fellow citizens of the household of God
3:6-fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise
Philippians 1:11-being filled with the fruits of righteousness
2:15-shine as lights in the world
Colossians 1:13-has delivered us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of God
1:22-holy, without blemish, and free from accusation
2:10-you are complete in Him
3:1-raised with Christ
3:12-the elect of God, holy and beloved
Hebrews 3:1-holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling
1 Peter 1:23-born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible
2:9-a chosen generation, a royal priesthood

None of the scriptures I just listed is based on our performance. These Scriptures are simply a statement of our identity and resources, received as a gift, by faith, made possible by Jesus Christ. For the Christian life to be more than an exercise of positive self-effort in the name of God, we must act by faith in a way that is consistent with who we already are and what we already have because of the performance of a God who is faithful. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all things, have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Offered by Debbie Ellis (a child of the Living God – temporarily living in Colorado, USA)

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