When most of us think of abuse, we think of domestic violence or abuse of a sexual, verbal, or physical nature. We think about husband who beat their wives, parents who hurt their children, or a random or planned act of violence in a public place. Most people would never think of it inside the church. In fact, I had people tell me in a committee meeting that they did not think the church I served at that time should do background checks on those who served in the nursery, children, or youth ministries because we were a small town and everyone knew each other. I told them that I served in a church very much like that, and a long-time pedophile was victimizing several in the church. The people stared at me, but I had proven my point. This man was an “upstanding” man in the area who had been molesting children for decades. Sadly, church leaders are often guilty of using their power to abuse people.
The first situation I heard of was about 16 years ago. There was a man and his wife in the church who were separated. He began beating her on their wedding night, and a pastor they had at another church pretty much told her to take it like a big girl because she made a commitment to him. I wondered if the pastor was going to pay the ER bill when she ended up with a busted lip.
Some pastors and church staff members have abused their authority and created a cult-like following. I have seen where pastors and high profile church leaders have protected pedophiles while practically crucifying a guy who didn’t tithe. These often belittle women into thinking they are nothing more than baby makers who should possess a Cinderella-like spirit and be a slave to the husband. I have worked with pastors who would not even take time to listen to a woman. They make public spectacles of anyone who disagrees with them while often putting their own egos on parade.
If your pastor has an unhealthy hold over you, get out. If you receive more guilt and bullying from the pulpit than you do the meat of Scripture, look for another place to worship. A true God-called leader will not use manipulation and force to lead you into spiritual maturity.
This video clip has been around for a few years now. I do not know that this man is pastoring this or any church now, but it is a prime example of bullying and manipulation. A true pastor will lead you and love you, not beat you and leave you for dead. If what you see in this video is going on where you are, please take this as a loving warning from someone who cares about your spiritual welfare. Find somewhere that demonstrates grace AND truth.