Toxic Faith Stinks
Occasionally, “ministries” hurt people. Sometimes ministry leaders fail in their responsibility to provide authentic, Christ-like, loving, biblical leadership to people in need and harm comes to those who only want acceptance, purpose and grace in everyday life. Many are aware of controlling, stifling religious practices that leave people confused and spiritually arid. We all have heard of sexual abuse among supposedly godly spiritual leadership. The Bible is clear about false teachers and legalists who lord themselves over people with guilt, control and condemnation. These type of ministries, are few in number but destructive to many. I think such leaders are more harmful than those who persecute the church. A persecuted and hated church thrives and flourishes, a toxic church dies while killing people’s hopes and dreams.
Pastors, priests, chaplains and whoever else seek to represent Christ are sometimes misguided, wounded people themselves who have no business being in ministry. Legalistic, toxic ministry is deadly poisonous. People waylaid by legalism spend years trying to overcome the toxicity of such spiritual calamity. Dead religion is highly poisonous. People impacted by such uncaring and controlling ministries need time, love and the real Jesus to overcome such intense pain.
The authentic church, often gets perceived and subsequently indicted as abusive and dictatorial because of spiritual morons who hurt others in the name of God. I have counseled with many over the years who have run from the bogus church while barely, if at all, holding out for a hope that they still can connect with God. These precious walking wounded need to reestablish trust with others as they are nurtured into the joy of loving, serving and worshipping Christ (some, for the first time). In the meantime, life is often filled with anger, bitterness and the sting of denying the faith and living without the reality of daily fellowship with a loving heavenly Father.
Maybe you have been hurt by such bogus ministries run by wounded, moronic leaders. These wolves in sheep’s clothing will be dealt with but in the meantime, may I encourage you to not lose hope? There are many loving, biblical ministries in the world that the Lord Himself would love to have you enjoy. There is a way to live with a passionate pursuit of life where your gifts, your life, your mission bring you fulfillment and joy.
As a pastor, I know you are due an apology. In the absence of true repentance among those who crushed your faith-I offer my sincere apology in their silence. You are special. You are called. You are the “apple of the eye” of God. You are set apart and commissioned to enjoy a vibrant and functional church family and not a dysfunctional nightmare that seemingly never ends. I am so sorry you were hurt. I hate that you still hurt and with all those ministers who side with the grace and love of Christ-I am sure they hurt with you as well. Jesus put it this way… “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).