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Posts Tagged ‘Worldview’


Christian Narcissism—“I Have a Higher Calling than You”

Refer to Step 6: I made a commitment to turn away from my pride and refused to become just like those who abused me.

 

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

A surprisingly large number of narcissistic men and women lead major Christian ministries. Because their unique “Christianized personality disorder” is not easily recognized, these leaders routinely abuse those they have been called to serve. As part of their disorder, they never recognize or acknowledge the true nature of their wrongs or the consequences of their behavior, which influences nearly every aspect of their ministry. This isn’t simply an omission; it’s not in their nature to do so.

They behave ruthlessly, while calling it God’s leading, misleading many in the process. Their egocentric worldview allows them to embrace a mind-set, which equates their will with God’s will. From their perspective, the two are one and the same. Because their calling is higher than all others, they consider themselves to be more important and act accordingly. To them, what they think and say carries more weight than anybody else. Leaders like these actually feel contempt for people who don’t agree with every word that flows from their mouths.

By the message they preach, they would deny this but, by their actions, they validate it consistently. They rarely admit wrongdoing because they never believe they are wrong, which is integral to their disorder. They not only lack empathy for others; they don’t comprehend what compassion really is. Feigning sympathy, they have to mimic the emotions of others to approximate normal behavior.

What makes people like these so difficult to recognize is they have great empathy for “the lost”—for nameless, faceless people, who are idealized and not tangible. While pursuing the lost, they are quite willing to trample upon anyone who gets in their way. They do this often.

Narcissists love loosely defined groups rather than real people because they are incapable of dealing with normal interpersonal relationships. It’s the idea of helping people they love, not getting involved in the lives of ordinary human beings.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. (Philippians 2:3)

Jack Watts   Recovery Resources

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I have been doing a weekly radio program from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. (EDT) on recovery issues. You can listen live or to the archived messages at : http://tobtr.com/s/3400101

This is always the link, and here is some recovery material you might like.

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Refer to STEP 4: I came to believe that God understood my wounded-ness, and He alone could heal me. I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted. I recognized that God is not the abuser—people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

If working the 11 Steps is the key to recovery from religious abuse—or any type of abuse for that matter, developing a different mindset is the key to making recovery easy or difficult. You can make things difficult for yourself—or easy. The choice is yours.

To begin with, if you insist upon understanding why your abuse occurred in the first place, you are destined to frustration, bitterness, and failure. At some point, many people understand why, but most never do. God knows why; that’s for sure, and He’s in charge—no matter what. If you can accept this, you’re on your way. If you can’t, you’re experience heartache, whether you like it or not.

You’ve heard the Bible verse that says, “Yea though He slay me; yet will I trust Him.” To most, it seems like sentimental nonsense or poetic hyperbole. To those of us who are in the process of recovery, however, it’s neither. It’s exactly how we feel. Having our spirit crushed and nearly killed by abusers, we understand the Phoenix—rising from the ashes to experience new life and fulfillment.

That’s the attitude each of us needs to have: “Yea though He slay me; yet will I trust Him.” With it, God is free to work in our lives to produce everything He wants from us. Without it, we chafe at the bit and produce nothing of value. Our lives will amount to nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble.

If you want more, renew your mind. Accept the Lords purpose as your own and press forward. If you can do that, your life will begin to exhibit valuable characteristics—qualities like gold, silver, and precious jewels.

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with God, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to give me the power to carry it out.

Father,

My spirit has been rejuvenated.

Even my step feels lighter,

As the burden of my past has been

Lifted from my shoulders.

Now free to walk into the future,

Unencumbered by guilt, shame,

And all of my self-defeating behavior,

I want my life to have more meaning

Than the mediocrity that has become my routine.

The pursuit of valueless materialism no longer

Has the appeal it once held for me.

In fact, my definition of success has changed.

My spirit has been awakened, and I want

To spend all of my days, which You have numbered,

Doing what You would have me do—

What You have prepared for me.

I’ve learned that I can understand

Your leading as I look back,

Far better than by looking forward.

Whatever You have in store for me, Lord,

Regardless of what that might be,

That is where I want to spend my days.

Having wandered so far from You in the past,

I know the mischief I am capable of,

Which is not what I want for my life.

Father, guard my heart so that

I do not wander away from You again,

Pursuing fruitless, meaningless endeavors.

Let my heart rejoice in Your ways.

Give me peace, purpose, and the resolve

To accomplish Your will each day,

For as many days as I have left.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Each of the 11-Step prayers is part of the recovery program contained in Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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Refer to Step 7: I will make a detailed, written account of my abusive experiences, as well as my subsequent behavior. I commit to being as thorough and honest as I’m able.

There is a weird power in a spoken word. . . and a word carries far—very far—deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.

—Joseph Conrad

Words are more powerful than most people can comprehend. No matter how much you desire to do so, you can never retract hurtful words spoken in the heat of an argument. Once they leave your mouth, those words can never be retrieved. Nearly everybody can remember hurtful words that were maliciously spoken when they were children, even if it was decades earlier. For many, the pain from a rebuke can be felt years after it was delivered.

Hurtful, scolding words make indelible imprints on our minds and on our hearts. The wounds they inflict may last a lifetime. Unfortunately, apologies don’t erase them from our memories—nothing can. The Scriptures tell us that no man can “tame the tongue. It’s a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” The power of words is incredible, especially negative, abusive ones.

Several years ago, a survey asked mothers to keep a daily record of how many times they made negative and positive comments to their children. The results were startling. The mothers documented that they made critical remarks ten times more often than encouraging words.

Statistics reveal that in an average household, children hear “no” or are told they “can’t” more than 148,000 times by the time they reach eighteen. One school did its own three-year survey and discovered the teachers were negative with their students 75 percent of the time. The study also determined that it required four positive statements from a teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement.

Why not take a few minutes and write down the negative things you have said to someone you care about? If you do, it will help you to think before you speak, and it can also help you make a positive impact upon another. Saying something positive can help heal a broken relationship. By encouraging someone today, it will also help advance your recovery. So, be merciful to someone who is wounded—someone who is in desperate need of validation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Psalm 18:21)

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Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

Everyone’s life is an object lesson to others.

—Karl G. Maeser

In modern-day Christianity, purity is still highly valued, but it is also misunderstood. Without purity, there is no way to understand God’s will accurately. In an attempt to achieve and sustain purity, however, more Christians than not withdraw so completely from mankind’s depraved situation that they have little impact for good in the world.

This isn’t the way it is supposed to be. In fact, it’s completely upside down. We live in a fallen world—a world that needs Christ and a heavy dose of solid, substantial, caring Christian people. It doesn’t need self-centered believers who refuse to get their hands dirty doing what is necessary to meet the needs of others.

Being pure, while refusing to be available to the destitute, is an aberration of Christianity that is counter-productive to the cause of Christ. Unfortunately, there are more Christians like this than not, which makes many call us hypocritical—a charge that is often accurate.

This is where the value of recovering from religious abuse becomes quite obvious. By experiencing the pain, anger, and resentment of being abused, millions of Christians have experienced substantial wounds. Although it’s not a pleasant experience, it can have tremendous value for others. Recovery makes the abusee empathetic—not judgmental. It also helps the victim restore purity to his or her life, but a purity that has more value than when the person enjoyed a life of pristine innocence.

By weathering the storm of abuse, the abused Christian becomes more capable of understanding the needs of others. Such people are better prepared to recognize evil and not wince in horror when they see it. That’s when they become mature in Christ and their value grows exponentially. That’s when they become capable of showing love and not just talking about it.

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. (Romans 15:1-2)

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Being intolerant is the primary sin in America’s cultural religion, followed closely by being a racist—just like pride is the first of the Seven Deadly Sins, followed closely by lust and greed.

The politically correct crowd are just as self-righteous about their tenets of faith as any Sunday school teacher, preacher or priest is about theirs. Any deviation from the norm in political correctness is soundly repudiated by those who hold this perspective. They are as militant as any Prohibitionist was during the 1930s. Castigating any criticism of their beliefs—whether real or imagined, these zealots use ridicule to to force conformity. If that doesn’t work, they resort to fear and intimidation.

They venerate freedom of speech—just as long as the position espoused conforms to their worldview. If it doesn’t, the person holding the contrary position becomes the object of scorn and contempt, paying a heavy price for their disagreement. Similar to a racial attack, those who espouse political correctness criticize a person’s character—not the person’s beliefs. They reason that any alternative to the politically-correct position stems from ignorance, so ad hominum attacks are appropriate. The deviant deserves no better.

For example, if a charge of racism can be used against an opponent of the politically correct crowd, the opponent never recovers. His or her reputation suffers a mortal wound. Dealing with the person swiftly and mercilessly, they destroy his or her reputation as thoroughly as a spinster would destroy the reputation of a girl who has numerous beaus.

The problem is that racial intolerance is only criticized where white people are concerned. Black Americans can say anything they want with impunity. It’s OK for them to do so; at least it’s politically correct. Additionally, whenever the issue of race is brought up, whites are expected to back down. It’s our duty and the politically correct thing to do. It’s payback time. After all, it was white America who created slavery and segregation. We have to make restitution for the abuse—restitution which never seems to have an end.

It’s time for all of this nonsense to stop and for someone to speak the truth boldly, regardless of the consequences.

Racism is just as wrong when it’s black racism as it is when it’s white racism. Just because black racism is politically correct, doesn’t make it right. This worldview is flawed and unsustainable over a long period of time. It doesn’t work because it’s not founded in logic or truth. It’s founded on emotional empathy, which is a foundation built on sinking sand.

Racism is wrong and unjust, which is my firmly-held belief, but my belief is based on Scriptural truth—not political correctness. My perspective is clear, coherent, and reasonable—unlike the belief system of the politically correct. It also has a long tradition—at least two millennia.

I’ll explain my perspective—the rationale for what I believe—in tomorrow’s entry.

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