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.
Today I start Step 5 of the 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom. I am moving along. As I understand Step 5 will have me turning away from the negative aspects of my behavior and life that has resulted due to the abuse I have experienced. It will involve me doing more than just saying sorry; it will have the expectation of me changing my behavior. There are two areas here that have impacted me over the years.
The first thing to touch on is from an old John Wayne movie. John Wayne is an officer in the war, and one night in a fox hole a soldier is commanded to stay awake and keep watch, during the night he falls asleep, the location is attacked and people are killed. Wayne when confronting the soldier is told by the soldier, ‘I’m sorry sir, I’m sorry.’ Wayne responds with a resonating truth that that often times people ignore, he responds, ‘Sorry is not going to bring these men back to life soldier!’ There is so much truth in that statement, so many times people will use the ‘I’m sorry,’ excuse as a way to get out of their actions, it isn’t something God expects though, God expects change. I know I need to walk towards God, not away from him in my actions and attitude.
I am reminded of another aspect of truth that is often ignored, especially by those practicing the once saved always saved theology. That verse is 1st John 3:9:
‘Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.’
I love the concept presented here. The truth is, if we are born of God, if we have relationship with Him, this and other verses clearly point out we can’t continue to ‘practice’ sin. As a former athlete, I love the concept of practice. The truth is, some of us make excuses to practice and do wrong. If we legitimately love God, we will walk away from sin and towards God. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
As I work through the journal process I realize I worked on my relationship with God years ago. I don’t want people who read this to take it wrong, but I believe I am in good relationship with God. It is some of his followers that I have had, and continue to have issues with. I do need to be more like God in my relationships with others.
I also realized over my time of recovery, much of which predates my review of this book, that being in the right place with God is not always in being in the right place with others. Neither does it mean I don’t have work to do. I realize, if my relationships with others are to be healed and at an appropriate place, I have work to do to be at the place God would have me.
I still have work to do with my attitude. I have made progress, am doing better, but I realize my own need to have a more loving attitude. This doesn’t mean there won’t be people I disagree with, there will, but the attitude and actions of Jesus are required. I can look at Jesus’ own confrontation with the Rich Young Ruler, in the end, there was not unity and agreement, Jesus was sad about the incident, but he didn’t argue to prove his point. So many times, for whatever reasons, I tend to argue. I have to get over it, and while I am doing better I have a ways to go.
God, help me with my own need for an attitude adjustment, especially in the ways I interact with others. I am grateful that healing has taken place; help me see where improvements need to be made as I seek to be more like you.
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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