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.
In today’s process the book has me looking at pride, pride that often exists in the lives of those who have been abused. It is pride that often prevents one from sharing or confessing their sins. I have to admit, in the past that played a role in my own recovery. I don’t know if it was as much the things I was proud of as it was my attempt to be recognized. I still find myself being careful not to slip into this place, but it isn’t easy.
One of the things that have helped me is the realization that I am no better than anyone else. In my own belief system there is this concept called The Priesthood of All Believers, this belief has helped me affirm my own giftedness and experiences, but more importantly it has been a reminder that I am no better than anyone else. We are all sinners, in need of God’s grace and forgiveness, and created in the image of God. Knowing that helps me know that while others may have an arrogant, or better than though attitude, in the eyes of God we are all loved. In the realization of my own failures and my willingness to admit those failures there is healing.
While I am far from perfect in this area, I know the progress I have made over the last 30+ years while following Jesus. I realize that my sins, no matter how big or small need forgiveness. I also realize the importance, especially in the last 10 years or more of making sure that I confess and admit my sins. In my willingness to do this I have healing. That isn’t to say I am perfect, I will likely be working on this for the rest of my life, but it is easier now than last year, and is easier today than yesterday because I try to practice the confessing sin, seeing my wrongs, and trying to walk and be an imitator of Jesus. The closer I get to him, the further away I get because I realize my own imperfections and faults. That makes my heart tender and my pride or arrogance less. I realize more than ever, my story isn’t my story, it is and will continue to be, the story of what God has done for me; a worthless sinner deserving of punishment, but thankfully experiencing the grace of God.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ~ 1 John 1: 6-8
Since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. ~ Hebrews 10: 21-23
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