Religion at its Worst

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Afflicted by Religious Authority

Think about it. Who in our society offends us the most? It’s the robbers, the killers, the rapists—the flagrant law breakers.

Now think about Jesus. Who offended Him the most? It was the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day—the legalistic law keepers. They upset Him the most.

Why the Pharisees? After all, they went to the temple, paid the tithes, read the Word, kept the Law, prayed the prayers. So, why the prominent law keepers? Although they were representatives of the house of God, they did not represent the heart of God. Christ called them “hypocrites.” And He made it plain: They will be rewarded here on earth, but certainly not in heaven.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

Matthew 6:5

The practice of spiritual abuse has persisted ever since the serpent in the Garden of Eden distorted and outright lied about God’s words to Adam and Eve. In doing so, he managed to create doubt in their minds regarding the character of God and His relationship to those He had created. The result, of course, was that they found the thought of becoming like God more appealing than remaining dependent on God. That thought led them to trust Satan’s words rather than God’s words, and their descendants have struggled with this same problem ever since. The serpent said to Eve,

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ … You will not surely die . … For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1, 4

The serpent skewed God’s Word and seduced the first couple into taking the fatal bite!

 What Is Spiritual Abuse? 

Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person by someone in a position of spiritual authority, resulting in diminishing that person’s spiritual vitality and growth. 

Spiritual abuse is the use of religious words or acts to manipulate someone for personal gain or to achieve a personal agenda, thereby harming that person’s walk with God. 

Spiritual abuse is often broadly defined as any misuse of Scripture whereby truth is twisted and which may or may not result in harming a person’s relationship with God. The victim in this case may not be an individual, but truth itself. 

Spiritual abuse is putting confidence in your position of authority and your perceived right to use those under your influence to accomplish your own personal agenda. However, God alone has the right, the wisdom, and the power to accomplish His plans and purposes for those He has created. 

Heart of Spiritual Abuse 

Acting spiritual to 

Benefit oneself by 



Efforts to control others 

“Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.’”

(Luke 22:25) 




Do you or do you know someone who has additional questions or requires help?

If so, please choose Women of Faith's other resources on this and other relevant topics (Quick Reference Guide, Keys for Living Books and e-Books).

Grace Filled Words:

“Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

Galatians 3:2-3

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

Additional Scriptures: 

Galatians 3:11

Proverbs 16:2

Romans 10:3-4

The Book of Galatians 

NOTICE: The information contained in this resource is general in nature and is not intended to provide or be a substitute for advice, consultation or treatment with a duly licensed mental health practitioner or other medical professional. This resource is intended to provide practical faith-based guidelines for balanced living and is not a replacement for medical advice. Professional services should be pursued whenever necessary and/or appropriate. By utilizing this resource, individuals acknowledge that Women of Faith is not providing direct clinically-oriented mental health treatment or therapy, and that it does not create a therapeutic relationship between any individual and Women of Faith.  Individuals who use this resource also agree to indemnify and hold harmless, Women of Faith, its licensees, affiliates, and assigns, as well as the officers, agents, and employees of Women of Faith and its licensees, affiliates, and assigns, from and against any and all liability, loss, damages, costs, charges, legal fees, recoveries, judgments, penalties, and expenses, which may be obtained against, imposed upon or suffered by Women of Faith.Additionally, certain views and opinions expressed in this resource may be those from sources other than Women of Faithand do not necessarily represent the views of Women of Faith, nor imply an endorsement by Women of Faith. All rights are reserved worldwide and no part of this resource may be reproduced in any form (print or electronic) without the expressed written permission of Women of Faith.

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