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“People just can’t understand what the group puts into your mind,” one ex-cultist said. “How they play on your guilts and needs. Psychological pressure is much heavier than a locked door. You can bust a locked door down in terror or anger, but chains that are mental are real hard to break. The heaviest thing I’ve ever done is leaving the group, breaking those real heavy bonds on my mind.”

Oh, how true this is! This need to renew the mind reminds me of the Bible verse Romans 12:2.

… and be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, for your proving what is the will of God — the good, and acceptable, and perfect.

Interestingly, almost all translations read not to be conformed to this “world” instead of “age”. I wonder why that is, because the word “world” doesn’t seem to represent the Greek. I believe, “era” would be a more accurate rendition.

The era in which Paul wrote this letter was one of strict laws, distinct social classes, autocratic rule, gender inequality, racial prejudices, and slavery. The Jewish people still even had a temple in which they continued to sacrifice animals. Paul was telling these people that they needed a paradigm shift. They needed to change their thinking, lose their prejudices, see each other as uniquely individual yet equal. In short, they needed to renew their minds to a minset of unconditional love. This new way would demonstrate the will of God. Yes, unconditional love is good, acceptable, and perfect.

Renewing my mind has been a key part of my recovery from spiritual abuse. It has been difficult to mentally break free from the lies of my past, but the power of love and grace are helping me to recover.

I recently came across Exit and Support Network and would like to share the following excerpts written by D. Williams. I’m not from the WCG but this all resonates with me.

“Healing and recovery begins when you make a personal decision to take back your life by verbalizing the emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, and all too often, sexual abuse inflicted on you. This is easier said than done to regain your voice, but is possible to accomplish.”

“Most of you grew up trying to please your parents, but in spite of all your efforts you felt you could never do it right and were called the “black sheep of the family,” “the bad apple,” “rebellious” or “selfish.” Many of you cannot even remember receiving any love, but you never lacked for punishment. You may have even thought about ending your life or running away. You were isolated from healthy connections with the outside world and kept from experiencing a fuller and richer life. …

Many times it is very hard to be able to open up about your experiences since you may have kept your emotions deeply buried for years. Or you may be having so much pain that you doubt if anyone could understand, or even believe you. If you find that you are having a very difficult time coping with day-to-day life, or unable to move beyond thinking about your experience, don’t hesitate to talk to a safe person that you can confide in. It is painful to remain alone and isolated. Connecting with others that are willing to listen and who care about you can be a vital source of strength and encouragement and offer the validation that you are indeed not crazy. …

The true Jesus is able to reveal His love for you through certain others who will show you that you are lovable. And unlike in the group, you are free to speak out and expose the abuse and shame of your past. …

The group never understood true grace. Instead the leaders added works to grace, which is impossible. Growing up in this kind of false and heretical belief system only kept you striving needlessly to measure up, or discouraged you from even trying. Grace means unmerited favor from God. None of this depends on your own works. …

Once you begin to understand the true meaning of grace, you won’t feel like you have to do something to earn God’s love and acceptance, and you won’t feel that you are to blame or that you have failed. …

To be fully loved by Him is to be fully known, with no fear of rejection. May this true God of love bring light to your darkness, comfort for all your sorrows, and peace from the shadow of your past.”

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