While I don’t think I have been abused by religion, I am taking the time to do the exercises as outlined in the book; Recovering From Religious Abuse, 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom written by: Jack Watts. I do know I have been hurt by religion, but hurt and abuse as described and presented in the book, and I believe are two different things. I will admit, one of my greatest concerns is that I may have at times been an abuser. I don’t think I have been but this journey will hopefully help me understand where I am at, and in the process, help others as I journal each day of the steps outlined in the book.
I’m to write today a short bit about where I am with God right now, where I am at in life, and to be totally honest about it. I guess in doing that, I can’t help but admit; finances come to mind. I have made sacrifices for most of my life regarding doing ministry work. It seems like, for various reasons, I have screwed up. I no longer have any retirement, I feel guilty at times for the need of my wife’s income, and yet I also know I have done the work of God. If I had it all to do over again, I would make some changes. There is that 401-K I would have without touching it or a retirement plan and investments. I see these things now as being more critical than ever, especially since those funds were depleted away to do ministry. We had a dream house we invested in and lost because Christians weren’t dependable. I have had several experiences like that, I paid taxes, at least they came out of my check, yet I was audited because those taxes were never sent in to the appropriate IRS agencies, I had to pay them again, the second time with penalty. I have had all kinds of things like that happen, far too many, at times I may have felt like blaming God, but I don’t believe I did.
I guess the truth is, from Christians who didn’t pay rent, to schools who didn’t honor the work I did, to churches and denominations which didn’t honor their commitment; I have been hurt in the area of finance. God has surely been there as people continue to meet our needs, whether through a gift certificate that allows my wife and I to eat a good meal, to a friend providing a plane ticket to attend a funeral or even a wrestling tournament, to donations that come in at times through the mail. God has also used other churches to touch and bless and help us when other churches hurt us. But I still struggle with the financial needs. My wife deserves to retire, she has given so much, but we need the extra income. Where churches and Gods people have hurt us in the past, I ask God to intervene and remind us that He is our provider.
God I thank you for what you have done, and I thank you for what you are going to do in our life in regards to finance and the way I have been abused. Give me power Holy Spirit to overcome.
As I close today, I realize there are areas where I didn’t think I had been abused by people within my faith group. Today, I realize, I was wrong. I still hurt, I still grieve over the things we have lost as a family in regards to finance, not because God didn’t provide, but others along the way made the situations difficult and even abused us, whether they realized it or not. I pray for ears to hear and eyes to see the things God has for me in the future.
Make sure to check the blog archive to follow this journal through its entirety, plus an interview with author Jack Watts and the review of the book.
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