As time passed, the man missed the companionship of his wife more and more, and grew increasingly lonely. He stayed faithful to the marriage, praying that one day his wife would return.
He read his Bible. He prayed. He dressed right. He didn’t smoke. He didn’t drink alcohol. He did all the right things, and followed the formulas he was given, but, still, he was lost in grief. He was a good man. And saved. But he struggled, because he was human. And he was lonely.
Years went by. Finally, the man desperately needed someone to understand, to be there, so he went back to the leaders. He told them how much he missed his wife and how he struggled. How deeply he desired companionship, and a wife to share life with. But the only answers they had were the ones they had already given him. Except the Bishop. He knew the answer, how to help him and fix his problem.
So the Bishop gave the man some information on a paper—maybe a business card, I can’t recall for sure. The information told the man where he could go to be emasculated and remove the struggle permanently and make him a eunuch.
The man didn’t take that advice. Instead, he left that church because they couldn’t help him get through the struggle. They couldn’t walk that lonely path with him. The path they had forced him to walk by interfering in his marriage and abusing their power, not only in his life, but also in his former wife’s.
But that’s not the end of the story…. He continued to pursue God, to read his Bible and develop a relationship with Jesus. He saw that what religion could not do for him, God could do.
Today this man knows the real Jesus.
This is a true story, nothing fabricated. If any part of it is inaccurate, it is only because the details have faded in my memory.
After this man left the church he received ongoing harassing phone calls for what seemed an eternity, telling him he would go to hell for leaving them.
Of all the stories of abuse I have heard, this one has always topped that list. I expose it because of the extreme shame it imposed on the victim, and so that, if your story is ‘unbelievable’, and you have carried it in silence, you will know that you are not alone.
To be told, “Why don’t you just quietly go remove your manhood? You don’t need it anymore”, is to have your very core identity attacked.
And that, figuratively speaking, is what religiosity and spiritual abuse has done to men for years. One of the most tragic things in the world, and one for which we are paying a huge price, is men being stripped of their manhood.
Adam was placed in the Garden, as a leader, a protector, a caregiver. Eve’s role was one of partnership. Yes, there was equality—she did not have a ‘lesser’ role. Adam’s role was one of leadership and responsibility at a level different than Eve’s but not better, greater or even more powerful. They empowered each other, without competition, complimenting one another in every way.
Together they were the most beautiful reflection of God. And then along came sin.
Through the knowledge of good and evil we lost that intimate relationship we were created for, because of a shift in focus. We went from knowing only good—God—and focusing only on Him, to knowing good and evil—sin and Satan—and pouring our energy into trying to determine what is good and what is evil.
That shift in focus is the cause of judgement, religious arrogance, pride in our humility, and many other evils in the church, as we compare with those who see things differently than we do. Immediately when someone disagrees with our doctrine these ‘more Christian sins’ come into play, and we don’t even recognize them.
The reason they have such power over us is because we look to our goodness to validate ourselves, rather than looking to God, and we have determined these things are good. And that shift in focus is the very thing that has robbed men of their masculinity.
What if Jesus came to restore what we lost? What if raw, real and intimate relationship with Him, rather than butting heads with religion, defined us? What if we were not distracted from what is truly good—relationship with God—by the war between differing views of good and evil?
Evil exists. Just watch the news. Sin is prevalent. And the church should not turn a blind eye. Sin should be confronted—that is biblical—but if repented of, it should be quietly forgiven, without causing a scene. No shunning. No exploiting. No humanistic ‘righting of the wrongs’, with an agenda to make the church look squeaky clean and ‘good’.
Why settle for ‘being good’ when God is offering all out redemption? There is so much more to life! God has called us all into dynamic, spirit-filled living.
Men, you are called to lead the way. God is offering to restore your masculinity, to again breath His life into you, as He did in the garden and give you your rightful ‘warrior’ spirit.
Will you accept that gift?
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to First Post In This Series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/