The word “abuse” by definition means “to
use ill; to maltreat; to misuse; to use with bad motives or wrong purposes;
to violate; to defile by improper sexual intercourse; to deceive; to
impose on; to treat rudely or with reproachful language; to revile;
to pervert the meaning of; to misapply.” It also means seduction.
(See American Dictionary of the English
Language, Noah Webster, 1828.) So, when a woman, whether consenting
or not, finds herself in a relationship with her pastor, it is clearly
abuse. The pastor’s role is NEVER to be in a physical or intimate
relationship with one of his sheep.
Consequences of abuse (of any type) can include
fear, grief, anger, anxiety, shame, guilt, low self-esteem (self-respect),
self-abuse, suicide, eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia) depression,
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and a host of physical illnesses
and symptoms, damaged ability to relate to others and to God, trust
issues, etc. Some victims may turn to drugs or alcohol, some may become
easy targets for cult associations.
Abuse of any kind, especially abuse that occurs
during childhood, carries with it long-lasting effects on the victim.
Abuse that goes untreated tends to manifest itself in various ways
throughout the victim’s life. Until a victim receives emotional,
spiritual and physical healing, she/he remains a potential target for
other abusers and perpetrators. Only when the abuse and its effects
have been properly dealt with, can the victim move on to becoming a
survivor and take control of her/his life again and protect herself/himself.
To learn more about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder), please see the PTSD Alliance web
How Does this Happen?
“The abusive pastor or spiritual leader has allowed himself
to go a long way down the track before he ever commits the crime of
abuse. But until the crime is committed, he likely doesn’t realize
just how far he has already strayed. When once the deed is done or
the pattern begins to unfold, the huge distance from the Lord becomes
readily apparent. And it can seem like too enormous a gulf to bridge
to ever get back. So the abuser doesn’t try, at least not very
hard. Rather he continues to medicate his spiritual pain with fleshly
anesthetic which is addictive. And the Evil One laughs obscenely at
his success over human weakness.
When the victim is trapped by this crime, she is often on her way,
or trying to be on her way, back to wholeness from brokeness. Of course
wholeness, including spiritual growth, is the last thing the devil
wants. So he sets her up for abuse by the human she is seeking a path
to wholeness from, sending her back into the abyss out of which she
has started to climb. And again his laughter is loud and ugly.”—Tom
Lemon, V.P. for Administration, Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Take a moment now to listen to this song of encouragement, “Blessed Are The Tears.”—Steve Nelson WMA or MP3