Refer to Step 4: I recognize that God is not the abuser; people who misuse their authority are the abusers.
Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence; it is the action of impurity upon impurity.
—T. S. Eliot
In modern day Christendom, the idea of being called to the ministry has undergone a change—at least for many. Because of this change, which at first is subtle in a person, the seeds of religious abusiveness become fertile. In the early church and in the Scriptures, being called to the ministry meant that a person was called to serve others, regardless of how those served might respond. Because the person called was serving the Lord, while serving others, fulfillment came by being faithful to God and to no one else.
By the nature of the office, a minister is the servant of others; or, at least, that’s what the person is supposed to be. In this generation, however, this is no longer the norm. It has flip-flopped. Now, it is the minister who is served and not the other way around.
Because of the minister’s skill and calling, they have been elevated to a class above those to whom they have been called to serve. This reversal of positions has become so entrenched ministers have become celebrities, adored by their followers like rock stars or sports figures. This transformation has become so accepted that few realize how far it has drifted from the original model.
Part of the problem is that the terminology hasn’t changed. Ministers still obsequiously refer to themselves as servants but, in their hearts, many are anything but servants, especially those who become abusive. They are the lords; and when someone gets in their way, the offending person is castigated and discarded, being maligned by “God’s servant” in the process.
This kind of treatment has become so routine that millions have been abused by those who have been called to serve them. It’s one of the major reasons why there are so many have abandoned going to church.
And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.” (Acts 1025-26)