What is Spiritual Abuse?

By Grantley Morris

Christian Definition of Spiritual Abuse

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Spiritual Abuse Identified



Spiritual Abuse Defined

What is spiritual abuse? is a crucial question. What makes finding an accurate Christian definition of spiritual abuse so important is that few victims realize while it is happening that this is what they are suffering. Typically, they presume that they are at fault, not the abuser. Even long after the abuse has ended, victims often continue to suffer but keep blaming themselves rather than realize they have been spiritually abused. Just as alarming, is that most spiritual abusers themselves think they are doing the right thing and do not realize they are guilty of abuse.

I’m embarrassed to admit that for years I was mystified as to what spiritual abuse actually means and I never bothered to find out. My only excuse is that spiritual abuse is not a biblical term. The offense is so serious, however, that the concept is frequently mentioned in Scripture. Biblical knowledge had therefore familiarized me – and probably you – with the concept, even if modern terminology had left me scratching my head.

So what is spiritual abuse? There might be different definitions but here’s mine: spiritual abuse is wrongly giving the impression that God approves, while doing something that ends up harming the victim physically, emotionally or spiritually. Sadly, it is rampant everywhere and is often not deliberate. What makes spiritual abuse particularly despicable is that it is claiming, or implying, divine approval for acting in a way that grieves God. The result not only blackens God’s name but hurts people who are dear to him – and everyone is dear to the God who is love.

In How to Recover from Spiritual Abuse, Lost Confidence & Self-Hate, I explain why it is psychologically so hard to recognize spiritual abuse, especially if it had its beginning early in one’s spiritual life. It also explains that among the many causes of confusion is that abusers typically surround themselves with people who think they are wonderful. This inevitably shakes victims’ confidence; making them ask themselves, “Who am I to think that not only this person but all his admirers are wrong?” Moreover, abusers always slip their poison into genuine spiritual truth. There is so much indisputable biblical truth in what they say that we swallow not just the bait but the barb; not just genuine spiritual food but the hook that keeps us from fleeing.

You are likely to benefit from reading the page just mentioned. For further help in understanding the nature of spiritual abuse, see Spiritual Abuse: Its Cause & Cure






Spiritual Abuse of Christians



Understanding Spiritual Abuse




Related Pages

Jim Bakker: A Case Study in Healing from Spiritual Abuse

When Church Hurts: Help When Your Church Fails You

Slandered by Fellow Believers!

Husband, Head of a Submissive Wife?

When Exorcism or Deliverance Ministry Turns into Abuse

Abusive Church Leadership: Spiritually Abusive Pastors

How to Comfort the Hurting

God & Suffering

Real Christians Grieve

Forgiving Yourself
(And keep following the first link at the end of each webpage.)

Truth: An Awesome Responsibility

More About Spiritual Abuse

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Not to be sold. © Copyright, Grantley Morris, 2016. For much more by the same author, see www.net-burst.net   No part of these writings may be copied without citing this entire paragraph.