Susie's story is not uncommon. Her story is an example of a church work environment that is destructive and extraordinarily complex because highly authoritarian leadership is destructive and extraordinarily complex.
Jada said she "felt like a prisoner set free" when she left her sexually and spiritually abusive pastor.
Amber, a young adult, was committed to church. She loved the fellowship and teaching. Then something happened.
"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.