Often we can’t control difficult circumstances but there are ways to change our perspective and responses, which can help transform suffering into something positive. Here are some perspectives to help transform suffering.
Sinful self-centredness expresses itself in spiritual leaders who take advantage of the power of their positions to teach legalistic error, manipulate others for personal gain, and use fear and intimidation to keep followers compliant. People may be perpetrators of spiritual abuse or victims. Abuse may occur only once or over a long period of time. It includes things people do and neglect to do.
Spiritual abusers often major on legalism and minor on grace and mercy. Following Jesus does not leave us feeling beaten up and ashamed (Matthew 11:28-30). His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Following spiritual abusers leaves us fearful, guilty, and condemned. God accepts the sinner in Christ, just as he is and forgives him for all he has done and hasn't done. He doesn't require performance for acceptance. We are accepted because of what Christ has done, not what we have done.
This makes me wonder how society’s practice of social shaming affects the way we imagine God feels about us. Do we subconsciously believe we have to look or behave a certain way to gain His approval?
“I know I should never question those God placed in authority of the church, but I'm starting to feel exhausted always trying to measure up to their standards. It never seems like I can do enough or be enough.”
The reality is, true biblical faith is based on knowledge of God and His Word. You can't believe in the promises of God if you don't know what they are or trust a God whom you know little about.