|

Sorry, But Correction Is Not Spiritual Abuse

Sorry, But Correction Is Not Spiritual Abuse | By Jamie Rohrbaugh | FromHisPresence.comDear Body of Christ,

My spirit is grieved about a new theory that some folks are embracing. I started hearing about it a couple of years ago, and it’s just wrong. It’s a trick of the enemy to keep us from growing spiritually. This trick of the enemy harms people in the Church, and I hate it.

The problem is this:

Sorry, family, but correction is not spiritual abuse.

Apparently somebody wrote a book. I haven’t read the book, because I do read The Book (the Bible), and I know what it says about this. (I don’t want to read the other book, so please don’t send me any emails about it, ok?)

We have to understand that books can be written about all manner of things, and magazine articles can be written about all manner of things—such as an editorial article from decades ago which opined musical instruments shouldn’t be in the Church, and people were seduced, and an entire denomination abandoned Biblical worship because of it.

And then there’s, you know, Wikipedia (the encyclopedia anybody can edit), and all sorts of people out there that can say anything they want from their own lens or own perspective rather than God’s.

But the problem is, just because somebody believes something, or writes about it, doesn’t make it true. We have GOT to understand this if we’re to stand against the wiles of the devil.

There’s only one truth, and His name is Jesus Christ, the Word of God incarnate, whose written Word, the Bible, is inerrant and infallible.

So back to this thing about spiritual abuse.

Apparently somebody, somewhere, wrote a book. And some people, somewhere, have gotten on this bandwagon about spiritual abuse. And all of a sudden, spiritual abuse is the new buzzword.

Now, I’m not saying that spiritual abuse isn’t possible.

It is possible, and I’ve actually been through it. And I definitely believe that there may be any number of churches or even cults out there who are, in fact, abusing their people. I hate that, and the people involved need to leave or be rescued. Yes. Absolutely.

There may be other situations that are actual spiritual abuse also. Or, if you prefer—and I do—you could chalk up those situations to bad theology, bad people skills, bad management skills, unholy attitudes, and just plain bad shepherding.

But this isn’t a blog post about what IS spiritual abuse. This is a post about what ISN’T spiritual abuse.

And what ISN’T spiritual abuse, my friend, is CORRECTION.

I have been corrected multiple times. But you know what? I value that correction. How can I grow without feedback? How can we be safe without boundaries?

Boundaries exist for our safety. God allows us to receive feedback from our brothers and sisters in Christ, and from our leaders, for a reason. It’s because we need such feedback (and sometimes correction) to help us grow.

Feedback, correction, and boundaries exist to keep us safe. They exist to help us see our weak spots. And if we will listen to those who offer us such feedback–even when it hurts, and even when it’s unexpected, and even when we’d rather not hear it–we can grow and avoid going down paths down which we should never go.

See, the Bible says that whom the Lord loves, He corrects. Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us:

Start-quoteAnd you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?

For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:5-11).

If you are an earthly parent, and your small child keeps trying to touch a scorching-hot stove, you would do something about it, right? You would correct your child, and you would be a terrible parent if you saw your child in danger and you did nothing about it.

Well, spiritual parenting works the same way. Our fathers correct us for our own good. They actually have a mandate from God, because they are our spiritual fathers, to correct us when we need it. In love, yes, but still to correct. They would be terrible parents if they didn’t.

And I’m tired of hearing us in the Church pull the “spiritual abuse” card when we get corrected, just because we don’t want to be told we’re wrong …

… or out of order …

… or in sin …

… or that we need to simmer down.

And it needs to stop.

Brother, sister: correction is for our own good. And God has placed our leaders over us because, well, WE NEED THEM. Romans 13:1 tells us that God Himself has placed us under the leadership of our authority figures:

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

I know correction hurts sometimes.

Like I said, I’ve been corrected before. I will tell you right now that it’s not always pleasant. It’s not fun. I do not enjoy it, not even one bit. But I need it, and God in His mercy has allowed me to be corrected. He has put people in my life who give valuable feedback that is helping me grow.

In the future, I pray the Lord would help me line up with His will and His Word so perfectly that I don’t need any correcting. I don’t want to disappoint my spiritual fathers and mothers, and I don’t want to sin against God, and I don’t like the embarrassment of needing to be corrected.

But if I do–God help me–I pray He’d correct me, because I know He gives more grace. And I’d rather be kept on the straight and narrow path (even if it hurts) than wander into rebellion or sin.

Wouldn’t you?

So in closing, I’d like you to consider this:

If you’re in a truly abusive relationship with some people or group, please leave.

But if you’re being corrected by your spiritual fathers, or by your brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and have a broader perspective than you do, who can back up their actions and directives with the entire Word of God, taken in context:

Please don’t start claiming spiritual abuse.

I’m sorry that you’re upset, beloved, but I beg you to embrace the correction God has sent your way, believing that He knows better than you do.

Even when it hurts.

Because the quicker you do, the quicker it will be over and you will have learned and grown from it. The faster you listen to godly feedback, the more quickly you will become like Jesus.

Do everything you can to avoid needing correction, of course. Submit yourself completely to God and to His godly leadership that He has placed over you, as long as it lines up with the Word of God.

But if you mess up and do something wrong, hurting yourself or the Body of Christ, and your fathers correct you, know this, beloved, directly from the Word of God:

Correction is for your own good. It’s called “good fathering,” and it’s essential when we’re doing life together as the Body of Christ. It’s not spiritual abuse.

Selah.

Have you been corrected and seen it help you later? Please leave your thoughts about this below!

Similar Posts

25 Comments

  1. Yabaki Seeto says:

    Great article. Always blessed by them.
    Just want to say that since we have moved from the revential fear of God we have moved away from the word conviction to preference and no longer see correction as correction but in defence, name it spiritual abuse to suit our preference.

    May God bless you for calling whatever it is in its right manner.

    Ps – stay strong and bold and keep posting. Love your stand for truth.
    Praying for you.

    1. Thanks Jamie , I knew you had a word for me today , so I tuned in and read your blog. I was corrected yesterday at work , by a leader , and profoundly my spirit was convicted . I prayed and asked for forgiveness and now reading this , it just goes to prove that our Father does listen and answers when it is required . I still feel bad about what I had done, but now know that correction is for my benefit . Thankyou your blog was very appropriate and very well received . Keep up the good work

      1. I’m so sorry that happened. I know it can really hurt. But I’d encourage you to take it to the Lord and let Him help you grow through this, and He will work it out for your good, even when it’s hard. Peace and hope and courage to you today in Jesus’ name.

    2. Amen. Thank you so much, Yabaki. Yes, it’s a sad thing that we have moved from calling things what they really are. May we all speak the truth in love as we preach the Gospel of Christ, with or without words.

  2. Hello Jamie. I am 100%with you on this. How can we grow up to full Maturity unless we are taught and train. I had a spiritual Dad for many many years and have a awesome Spiritual Mom. I would have not have grown up Spiritual if not for my parents in the ministry. It has been hard but I endure it and applied the correction. Tks for posting.. A strong word but needed. I still get correct n I’m glad for it.

    1. Amen. I still get corrected too, but thank God He gives more grace!
      Thanks for reading!

      1. Pastor Dennis Parker says:

        This is nothing but pure truth. Keep teaching woman of God.

        Pastor “P”

  3. I think some might wonder about the actual process of correction. I think you might explain that it is confronting verbally, in love. Some might confuse a form of spiritual attack with, ‘God is punishing me.’ It is also specific, ‘You have been touching the hot stove, and it isn’t safe.’ It isn’t something that just makes one feel badly, guilty, condemned, generally, and not explain the expected change. It also brings refreshing from the Lord, when it is embraced.

    1. Amen. Love is essential. The Holy Spirit brings conviction and correction with hope and relief, never condemnation.

  4. What I have seen is leaders being partial. They will correct some, but not their “inner circle”.

    They will pet the goats and try to beat the sheep to death.

    I am in that situation right now. I went to her, one on one…that didn’t work. I called a witness and went back to her. But I made the mistake of using my Pastor as the witness… He never opened his mouth. Even though, like the Bible says, “Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.”…this person was so out of whack, that this actually happened, but leadership still didn’t act. Even when asked openly by one of the elders. And leadership still insisted that I was being unforgiving because I felt like she needed to repent. So they tend to throw shade on me every chance they get and knock me for my knowledge of the Scriptures, rather than speak against her bad behavior.

    All I can say is, “Get me out, Jesus!”

    It didn’t matter how much Holy Ghost Timothy had, or how much faith he possessed…or how gifted he was by the laying on of hands…Paul STILL told him to study. His doctrine had to be sound. Without it, you will only pervert your position.

    1. I do not know the details of your situation, but I am sorry you went through a hard time. I pray Papa would bring healing to your heart, and resolution to whatever you have been through in this situation.

      In general, though, I believe pastors hold a pure heart for the sheep and do their absolute best to take care of them. Pastoring is such a hard job in every way, and although we are all human, they are called to shepherding. Only the call, and only love, can keep them there. So we must extend grace and forgiveness, the same way we want to be covered in grace and forgiveness. Striving toward love and unity is the only way to grow and heal in the Body.

  5. Gina Trahan says:

    Hi Jamie. …..I’ve actually never heard the term spiritual abuse before. I know about correction and that the Lord corrects those He loves,and how we are to submit to governing authority and to spiritual authority.
    I did however know of an assistant pastor who was fired for lack of a better word…his pastor used the scripture about submitting to Spititual authority out of context; by telling him that he was just supposed to do whatever the pastor said weather right or wrong, without question. When that assistant pastor questioned that,he was let go….because it was something that was unGodly. It had nothing to do with correction at all. Good post Jamie!
    Gina

    1. I’m sorry that happened, Gina. We should always be able to stand for Biblical truth. We should seek to stay in the unity of the Holy Spirit and the bond of peace. If we cleave to God and seek His truth in His Word together, I think many hard situations could be avoided.

  6. Jamie,
    I am sorry that I didn’t express my gratitude to you for your blog! It is a great blessing, and a real help to the Body of Christ! I have personally been encouraged and challenged by your words. Another thing I am being challenged by, is praying the Proverbs. Some of them show me my deficits, which I pray over. I pray diligently that I will not be a fool, nor have folly, so that correction is not felt. That attitude and a spirit of meekness, go such a long way in our ability to change. Mine has been so slow at times, so I encourage others to embrace God’s Word and the fear of the Lord. Thanks again!

    1. Helen, that sounds awesome. I love the Proverbs for the same reason. They clean my clock every time, but in a good way. If we will humble ourselves and submit to God’s correction in the secret place alone with Him, odds are we won’t have to be corrected nearly as much (if at all!) in public. I vote for the secret place. 🙂 LOL. Thanks for reading!

  7. RAYMOND HEMPHILL says:

    hi jamie i like the post. my question is was i out of order i attended this church was there for a short time however what i was told or asked to do i did my best, my best was not best. i taught, served others, collection, ect. after service one day all ministers went into pastor prophets office i was called in was asked questions still i had no idea whats its about? but i was being corrected for some thing i was’nt doing. so afterward i admited of what i did’nt do. now i recieved the correction but was hollowed at i took it. afterwared i left the church i felt abused without LOVE.

  8. Hey Jaime, I haven’t heard of the term ‘spiritual abuse’, but it brings to mind of the pharisee’s that Jesus had to battle. I’ve been corrected and yes, it does sting! But it is something I welcome. I don’t want to be abused in a church, but neither do I want a sickly-sweet attitude that whatever I do is ok. It’s about balance. I have spiritual mentors in my life that I check with if I have been corrected by someone else….just to make sure it’s not the enemy pulling a fast one. And if it is a justified correction, I repent and move on.

  9. Cecilia Carro Harvey says:

    Hi Jaime,
    I have been reading your posts for a while. I have also been using your prayers. There are powerful! I want to encourage you to continue writing and not to let the enemy discourage you. Those of us who seek God’s face align with your spirit and the Spirit of God. Just know that you are making a difference! ? Cecilia

    1. Cecilia, thank you so much for your enouragement. It really blessed me. Have a wonderful day, and thank you for reading!

  10. I have also been in a situation where leadership in a church called themselves “cursing” my husband because he called him “Mr.” rather than using his official title.

    So, I guess it would be hard to come against a book that hasn’t been read. There is such a thing as “Spiritual Abuse” after all.

    1. Dee, I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your situation, but from the brief way you described it above, I can’t agree that such a thing would be spiritual abuse. As I wrote in the article above, some things are simply lack of people skills or discernment.

      I once had a customer at work get very angry with me because she was a professor with a Ph.D., and I called her “Ms.” instead of “Doctor.” That wasn’t business abuse. It was simply a lack of people skills on both our parts. I should have remembered that she was a doctor, but at the time, I was too busy and didn’t particularly care either. I should have cared, because it was important to her. It would have been the loving, courteous thing to do.

      We need discernment and forgiveness in the Body. We are all human, and all of us occasionally need correcting–but when we hurt each other, by accident or on purpose, we simply need to forgive, chalk it up to sin and humanness, and move on. With love and mercy.

      1. Given the person was the Pastor, and he wanted to be called “Apostle Prophet XYZ” and my husband was unsaved, I would not call that a lack of people skills. How does one get so high a calling without the Holy Ghost checking his humiliation along the way? If Peter was Peter, and Paul was simply Paul, since when do God’s people get so caught up in a title that the unconverted can get under his skin by calling him “Mr. XYZ”? And this is something that bothers me, because the same people that get caught up in a title are the same ones that enter into the prayer closet and call Jesus, Jesus…without acknowledging His titles. The disciples did not do that. They only referred to Him by name when speaking in 3rd person. But when speaking to His face, they called Him, Master, LORD, Rabbi…never so casual as to call Him Jesus.

        It’s abuse to crack a whip over people and lord over them when we are supposed to be brothers and sisters. Regardless of the calling…

  11. Maria Rizzi says:

    Hi Jamie, you know what I love the most about you and your blogs? Is that you don’t compromise your values or the Word of God. I love it that you speak the TRUTH no matter what the repercussions are. My personal motto has always been, TAKE A STAND FOR TRUTH, EVEN IF YOU STAND ALONE. You are a woman after God’s own heart and mine. Keep on doing what you’re doing all for the GLORY of God. Love and blessings, Maria Rizzi

    1. Amen. Thank you so much, Maria. Sometimes I quake in my boots when I do it, but speaking the truth in love is definitely something we are all called to, according to Scripture! I don’t want to give up my voice and let fear reign instead. Out with fear, in with love and truth. Thank You, Jesus. 🙂

  12. Stacey Tilton says:

    I am so glad to have seen your pin about correction being called spiritual abuse. I just recently went through a situation where a loved one was calling our pastor’s correction “spiritual abuse.” This brings a lot of clarity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.