Recently, as Wil and I reminisced about the event I covered in the past several posts, when I called him to ask permission to write about it, he said again what he has always said, “What still bothers me is that I allowed them to do that to me. Why did I do that?”
This led me to contemplating: What it is about the nature of Spiritual Abuse that makes us surrender to it? Why does being stripped of free will and personal choice not make us run for the dear life, rather than make us lay down and die? We allow it, even when everything in us screams against it–if we have any life in us at all. The answer, simply put, is that spiritual oppression renders us helpless if we sincerely long to serve God, and are brainwashed to believe that the perpetrator represents Him. If we believe it is God’s voice, and we want to honour Him, we will surrender to almost anything.
Within religious experience, if operating outside of the grace of Christ on manmade rules, and apart from Christocentric ‘true religion’, we are taught to be lifeless, taught to mindlessly follow, mindlessly allow control. In essence we are taught to be victims of religion, and told it is the only way to God.
It is not possible to have an intimate relationship with God, to whom we have access solely through the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins, and remain mindlessly surrendered to a religious system as ‘the way’ to salvation. Those two realities are at odds. Either Jesus is The Way, in which case the way He did life is the example, or religion is the way apart from Christ. Both cannot be the way. It is not possible.
However, it is possible to be part of a culture or religion and follow the practices and still walk in intimate relationship with God. But only when we see the culture as a way of doing life, and see Jesus as The Only Way to Heaven, completely separated from the culture and religious denomination. The things we do are our way of showing God our love, our way of honouring Him, but our salvation hinges not one iota on those practices.
Oswald Chambers says it best in Growing Deeper with God, “If our best obedience, our most spotless moral walking, our most earnest prayers, are offered to God in the very least measure as the ground of our acceptance by Him, it is a denial of the Atonement…”
The good news is that freedom from religion is as simple as surrendering to God and transferring our allegiance from religion to Jesus. God is not a harsh taskmaster. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In other words: If you’re tired–whether from carrying your sins or serving religion–come to me and I will give you rest. Come, walk beside me, and I will pull the weight of your burden so that you don’t have to carry it any more. Place religion, and all the pressure of performance, on me and let me set you free.
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to First Post In This Series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/
I just want to say that your blog is insightful and very useful. We definitely have to be careful what we believe and what we fall into practicing.
Thank you for reading my blog, and for your kind words!
come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden an I will give you rest, Found in matt.11 , In context was definately spoken to ppl who were trying to please GOD or find there way to him thru a religous system . Keep writing !
Thank you for that encouragement! I appreciate you posting the verse and context reference–thank you. If what I say does not line up with Scripture, it is useless!
I found your blog just this past week. It was “heaven ordained”. I have found myself anxiously awaiting each new post to this series. May God bless you for sharing of yourself, the pain & wrong as well as the “good in broken places”.
Thank you! I am grateful that God not only heals us but also uses our broken stories for His Kingdom, to encourage one another. It is an honour and a delight to know that this is blessing you! God is a Redeemer! Wishing you many blessings!