Today starts a new day; I realize that I have been abused by religion. It took me through Day 8, 9 before I realized this, but I am glad I did. You can go back to see my comments on Day 8 and 9 to see what I am speaking of. 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. While I know that hurt and abuse as described and presented in the book are two different things, I have come to the understanding that in regards to taking advantage of me I have in fact been abused. I will admit, one of my greatest concerns is I may have at times abused religion. I don’t think I have but this journey will help me understand where I am at and in the process help others as I journal each day with the steps outlined in the book.
I realize that the jokes and the names over the years continue to have an impact on me. I have always been heavy; I realize my overeating was likely a way of coping with the abuse. It has carried over into my adulthood where I now have diabetes. I am insulin dependent, take shots 4 times a day, am still over weight, and yes, names and words do carry lasting pain. It is unfortunate; there is still pain to endure.
As I write this I am a week out of Easter. I am somewhat ahead of the postings where people read this so I don’t know for sure how close to Easter I will be when people read this, that said, there is resurrection power. My friend Rob Cassels wrote the song Resurrection Power some years ago, that power is available to each of those who follow Jesus. Despite the followers of Jesus having that power, much still abuse and hurt others. I am reminded of the lies, judgment, and hateful, untrue, unchristian confrontation of two people, Randy and Tony. There unwillingness to try and resolve hurt, to resolve misunderstanding, and to instead call me things like a ‘sick pathetic loser,’ and speak blatant lies, which I have documented and made available to others who have heard the criticism. Why do they in the ‘name of God’ or in the ‘spirit’ of ‘christian love’ do these things and spew this hatred? They do this because I give allegiance to God and God alone instead of the flag. It still hurts. It hurts that in the name of Jesus, people still chose to hurt and abuse. I should have known better, but I still long for a good relationship where love is the evidence of a God. Yet, outside of my relationship with God, and a few others, I seldom experience that.
I am somebody though! In my Easter message I am going to speak on how we say things like ‘We don’t deserve God’s love’ but that devalues God because God sees value in us. We need to see the same value in ourselves that God sees; we are somebody, we are of value, and we were worth the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. I have to change the concepts of the word we here to me and I. I am worth it, I am of value to the creator of the universe!
I will address my love for myself in the next weeks. I will seek to see the value in me that God sees. It is hard to eat right, eat on time, eat the right things, but it is a part of how I still abuse myself. I have to work harder at doing the things I need to do to take care of my physical and spiritual body. My age, my diabetic condition doesn’t help, but neither does it change the need to mentally stop the abusive, and self defeating behavior. There are so many that have the Randy’s and the Tony’s in their life. Their abusive behavior has continued for the duration of their ‘christian’ lives. I should have known better when Tony took me into the woods after a visit to a Hell-Fire and Brimestone Church in his van with others to blast away at me because my hair was too long for them. He doesn’t like me retelling that story, but the truth is the truth. Randy is no different, to give, to love, to help out, in his need, to only have him tell lies about my request of him when my mother was sick in his town and I asked him to visit her and my sister. I still hold animosity towards these two, because I and others know the truth. Yet they likely continue their hatred and unChrist like approach, it is in their knowing it all, in their hypocritical walk that I have to learn to realize, there is more, there is better, there is truth. It is measured by scripture, which lives by and follows. When seeking resolution and they then find their own reasoning for not following Biblical instruction, I know who and what is of God and what and who is not. I am reminded by the words of Scripture, ‘By this we will know who is my disciples and followers, he who keeps my commandments.’ When unwilling to follow Biblical guidelines as to healing disputes, it is clear, who is, and is not willing to follow Christ’s commandments. Letting something go, is not making resolution. It does not heal; it does not give glory to the work that Christ can do through his spirit.
Today I am supposed to write about the things that I am frightened of in regards to reconnecting with God. I am frightened to do what is right in regards to confronting at times people who have hurt me. Those aren’t pleasant things for me to do. I know that in many cases rejection still is going to exist and it is still going to hurt. The truth is though, I feel connected to God, maybe that is due to the place I have come to over the last years in dealing with the writing of my own book on my abuse. I realize though, there are still the ‘Christians’ who hurt me, who don’t believe in me, or the work I am involved in. I honestly think at times though that is a reflection on a society, not a person, although people make up our society. I don’t like conflict, yet I even like less having to hold on to and let go of pain, pain created by not just the abusers of my past, but those contemporary abusers, who in the name of Jesus, writhe in the joy of hurting others, even those trying to follow and practice the teachings of Jesus. I am grateful I am not who I was, I sometimes want to be, but I can’t let myself go there. If I was who I once was, there would be other ways to deal with those who abuse me. I am not a little, scared boy anymore. I have acted out at times after fighting those things in my life. I pray to not go there again though.
I will try to do better though; try to understand my own poor habits, my own attitudes that do not promote the positive aspects of my walk with God. In areas where I have been hurt and failed, I will try to do better. Today as I write this it is my wife’s birthday. I didn’t have much to give her but for some reason I realize that I have a need to reward others with material things. I know in my heart those material things are the least important thing I can give, I still am at that place and ended up spending money on my wife that I really didn’t have or could afford. Those are the types of things I do, although I realize it is my own starving for attention, appreciation, love and acceptance. God sees me as more, I have to start seeing myself as more, I am afraid that without the gifts of material things, I will be rejected by those whose love I need, want and desire.
God help me accept myself for who I am, help me be smart financially and in that, realize that my love for others is not conditioned on me buying things for them. Help me to let go of the hurt others have, and some continue to dispel towards me. Help me stand up for what is right, what is just, and what is holy, despite the attitudes and abuse, some still choose to direct my way.
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