"Consider it joy! It will make you stronger." Yes, the Bible tells me so. But it so often seems so callous for someone to remind me of it. Rather, Weep.
Biblical repentance is difficult to understand. The word is used freely as though everyone gets it. But identifying the actual repentant heart is not so easy. Restitution can help.
Having spent nearly a decade working for a mission college in Africa, I have a keen interest in African leadership. When I spoke with Praise (not his real name), he shared his own experience with leadership abuse in the African nation in which he grew up.
One particular result (and technique) of abuse is isolation. It is deeply hurtful. And it is almost always, in my experience, a result of or intentional tool in the abusive individual's kit.
Those who are honored to hear an abuse victim's story need to hear Job's story. They need to hear his words . . . and they need to hear his friends' words.
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.
Why do survivors of domestic violence go back to their abusers? The same reasons pop up within the toxic workplace for why employees stay with an abusive organization.
Abuse. Devastates. People. Not just the abuse that involves hitting. But abuse of all forms - emotional and spiritual.