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 look at the passage from two perspectives, one as a pastor, hoping and praying that in my willingness to confront others in the things I am called to do that I haven’t abused anyone, the other as one who has gone through experiences of judgment from others who have carried out their faith in an abusive way towards me. I have to realize and pray about the areas I have done wrong, and the wrongs that have been done towards me. I want to be the person God wants me to be as He still has a plan for me.
I have had to have a confidence in who I am because of Christ for a large part of my life, unfortunately, I have only begin to exercise that belief in the last 10 or so years. Even then, I still find myself in need of improvement in recognizing that God isn’t done with me. I need to live each day in the service of God, loving others, and doing something about the plight of those God has called me to minister to. I am grateful that in those areas, I still find excitement.
In areas where I am weak, quick to condemn, or quick to judge, I need to make sure I always step back, reevaluate the decision and action before me and make sure I behave and act as Jesus would have me. In some situations, it may mean a loving confrontation, in others; it may mean remaining silent and letting God, through His Holy Spirit do their job. In others, it may mean saying or doing something different than I initially thought.
I have come to realize, God is not done with me. While I am over the half way hump of life, God still has work to do through me. I am grateful for the work I do; it is possible that after my life on this earth, God can still use me through my writings or present actions. I pray what I do is done the way God desires, not just in my actions towards others as a pastor, but as a person who has a concern for those who have been abused.
‘I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ – Romans 8: 38, 39
You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. – Romans 8: 15-17
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and those whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? – Romans 8: 28-31
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