A visitor essay
A woman's personal experience with spiritual abuse
Alice describes her church's spiritual abuse. She has
published her story and many of her own poems on her web site at
"It is my hope, that these poems, written in anguish, grief and pain,
will be the sanctuary of your soul---that they will tenderly and gently
minister to your broken heart, help you heal, and bring you peace."
"It is my wish, that this will be a place of hope----a haven-for
rest----a safe place for the renewal of your spirit, which will take you on
a journey to peace, healing and hope."
Letter to church family: 2
This isn't a letter of condemnation or even anger…..it is
about a person who has lived with pain since childhood, how
you added to it, instead of having compassion, and how what
you did, affected me. I still struggle with nightmares and
pain. It will be worth it, if even one person has their eyes
opened. I prayed that perhaps one person would have been
authentic enough to question the process, and ask the
questions I had.
Author Stephen Arterburn wrote: "Healthy churches share an unspoken practice. Their members
are so committed to reaching out to hurting people, that if
you are in to much trouble to show up, if you are too
ashamed to come, the people of a healthy church will come to
you. They will find you and reach you, and help you no
matter where you are. This practice sets them apart from
others. It indicates that these believers are committed to
loving you." 3
I desire mercy, not sacrifice;....relationships, not rules
should take precedence in our lives. LOVE, not legalism
should reign....Jesus was so authentic and real that the
masses were naturally drawn to him.
In a HEALTHY FAITH SYSTEM, our relationship with God will
manifest itself in a compassion for hurt individuals....our
ability to empathize allows our relationships to deepen and
become intimate. Mercy, grace, encouragement, along with
personal presence and helping hands, replace the shaming,
intolerant condemnation.....so often present in a TOXIC
As far as we know, Christ never knocked anyone else to the
ground with a blinding bright light from heaven and an
audible voice that sounded like thunder. Yet, that's what it
took to reach Saul. How did he or HOW WILL HE-------REACH
We who experience suffering and hurt, and then feel the
comfort of Christ are the ones BEST QUALIFIED to administer
first aid to others. We become wounded healers, just like
Jesus. I am one of those wounded healers. I have been
helping others regarding abuse for the past 10 years. I
tried to start a support group at church, but to no avail.
Lack of accountability in any leadership structure is a
clear warning that ought to flash before our eyes: DANGER!
DANGER! In red neon letters. It also indicates a lack of
faith in God and the presence of a faith built on
self-assertion and ego.
Healthy believers reflect their savior, and therefore are
full of love. Their love heals and helps them bear up under
every trial. Where love is present, faith grows, and people
are attracted to God. Healthy believers allow a person to be
different and to make mistakes without being SHAMED."
- Alice "Church Abuse Poetry Therapy," at:
- Copied, with permission, from "Letter to Church Family" by Alice,
- Stephen Arterburn, "More Jesus, Less Religion: Moving from rules to
relationship," Waterbrook Press, (2000).
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Originally written: 2004-JAN-18
Latest update: 2004-APR-12