Mia suffered under a leadership that was more concerned about following their church rules than the love of Christ. Their spiritual abuse was worse than her experiences of sexual abuses.
Emily's church leadership not only turned a blind eye to her rapist, but told her she was shut out from the kingdom of heaven. Rather than be reminded of her "worth in Christ," she has been crushed by God's shepherds.
Mia's change in behavior at home and struggle with the church had its roots in her experience of sexual abuse. It was not too late for Mia, but the church and her parents were going to need to respond to her struggles in light of these horrible experiences as a child.
Abuse. Devastates. People. Not just the abuse that involves hitting. But abuse of all forms - emotional and spiritual.
Generally, positive stories about how the church responds to abuse are far and few between. But, Janice's is different.
It is bad enough when men (and women) do not believe our story of abuse in the home or workplace. But, when you feel that God is not even answering your cries for help. That is isolation.
Abusers actually have a great deal of self-control. They know when to dismember and when to charm.
It is not uncommon to hear people speak of the good that has come from a leader even though he or she is toxic. Let's not draw those lines.
Those who suggest emotional or verbal abuse is not really abuse need to consider scripture and psychology.
Will the "evil" God returns to my abuser be in this life (through trials and tribulations), the end of his life, or simply in the final judgment? He says, in faithfulness, he will "put an end to them."