Here is the message of God’s love in paraphrased words from scripture in a six minute video. Be blessed!
Or maybe not.
If you’ve experienced spiritual abuse, you might be thinking, “But what does that mean?? God let me get really hurt – how is that ‘love’?”
God has many reasons for the things he lets happen to us. First of all, remember that God isn’t behind the evil that is in the world. He tells us that he’s at war with the powers of evil, and he’s let us know that we, too, play a part in that struggle. Revelation shows believers overpowering satan by ‘the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony’.
So how on earth does that work? God doesn’t tell us a whole lot about it, but he does tell us to be wary, and get armed and pray. We have the story of Job to encourage us to hold on tight to our faith when bad things happen. Remember, Job didn’t know why he was getting so beat up and losing everything. So far as we are told, God didn’t let him in on the behind-the-scenes drama with satan, at least in his lifetime. But it’s safe to deduce that, like Job, spiritual abuse happens to some folks because their faith in God through it all counts hugely in the eternal scope of things. If you’ve lost years, and experienced many losses, maybe you can take courage from Job.
Sometimes God lets these things happen to prune us so we can become more fruitful. “Yikes,” you say, “this has been a terribly drastic and painful pruning. Was I that out of hand?” Well, it wasn’t necessarily all about you per se. Whatever your environment had been in Christianity prior to your involvement in an abusive group, it had been insufficiently clear about the gospel and the basis of God’s love for you. You were somehow vulnerable to a performance-driven appeal. (Which is to be found in all sorts of guises throughout Christianity, by the way, not just in abusive or cultic churches.) Maybe as you educate yourself out of wrong teaching, you will shed light for others in a way you couldn’t previously.
So what about the biggie, the reason most of us think God lets bad things happen to us – to punish us. Isn’t that the first thing that comes to mind? We were stupid, we got ourselves into an abusive group, and God punished us with the suffering. Or maybe there was some sin in our life, and God punished us by letting us get into the group. Etc. etc.
There are two things to get clear about. The first is that the just punishment for our sin, all our sin, was born by Christ. Period. If you have put your trust in him – there. is. no. more. punishment. for. your. sin. No more judgment. The second thing is, yes, God disciplines those he loves, but the word ‘discipline’ does not mean catastrophically painful punishment. It comes from the Greek word for the servant who taught the children or took them to school. It means to instruct, correct and nurture. No doubt that is happening in your life. Because God loves you, values you, and wants to nurture you up in his ways. Maybe you could watch the video, and be encouraged by his love after all?