I’m working on the next installment of the series, but I am struggling. I’ve written it twice and it’s still not right.
So today I’m just going to share some of my favorite resources with you. If you’ve been hurt by religion or if you struggle to understand grace, I hope that these will help you.
BOOKS ON SPIRITUAL ABUSE
This book helped me understand what had happened to me. If you’ve experienced spiritual abuse (or you think you may have) from a church, religion, organization, movement, or family, this book will help you sort it all out in your mind.
Another book that helps you recognize and understand abusive churches.
I reviewed this book here. It addresses toxic faith in its many manifestations and helps you understand what drives abusers and why they do what they do.
Many blogs by survivors come from a place of deep hurt and even rejection of faith and antagonism toward God. These stories break my heart, and I believe that anyone who has experienced abuse should tell their story if they wish. Our stories are powerful and can be a great catalyst for healing. Stories should be honored.
However, I want to focus on a couple of blogs written by people who did not lose their faith, but let their spiritual abuse experience drive them to discover the boundless love and grace of God which enabled them to heal and become spiritually strong. These voices are a soothing balm to the damaged soul, and yet don’t hesitate to stand up against abusive and cultic movements.
This blog is geared toward survivors of Bill Gothard’s ATI “ministry,” but there is much to be gained by anyone who has experienced legalistic, damaging Christianity or religion. Founded by a former ATI student who is now a seminary professor, Recovering Grace draws from a variety of people to share about their experiences and to offer hope and healing. One helpful focus is their April series on sexual abuse. This blog is a great resource and will help you understand that you are not alone.
This blog is written by an older, seasoned pastor with a heart to help others understand how deeply and fully they are loved and accepted by God. My favorite part of this blog is Narcissist Friday. Do you have anyone in your life who is an absolute puzzle? They charm others, they say the right things, and they appear to those on the outside to be deeply spiritual, yet ultimately you find out that they are not what they claim to be? Have you experienced cognitive dissonance, that brain-bending confusion that makes you feel like you are crazy, when what they say and what they do doesn’t match up and you can’t seem to reconcile what’s going on? Have you ever been duped by a spiritual authority, only to find that the person they appeared to be does not exist and their real identity is that of an abuser? Maybe you have even felt like the person you “knew” died and you are left with a stranger who goes by the same name. These posts on narcissism may help you sort through this confusion to find understanding and healing.
BOOKS TO HELP YOU LEARN TO WALK IN GRACE
This book turned me upside down as it revealed the depth of God’s grace and acceptance. If you’ve been bound by religious rules that have left you spiritually, emotionally, and even physically spent, then this book will be like a long drink of cold water.
Families Where Grace is in Place and Grace Based Parenting will help you how to apply God’s gospel of Grace to all your family relationships–spouse and children. Rather than operating from an authoritarian place of hyper-control, this book will help you understand how to extend to your family the grace God has extended to you so that you can dwell together in peace, harmony, and wholeness. Living out grace in families is NOT about boundary-less, ooshy gooshy, anything goes parenting. Rather, it’s treating our families like Jesus would.
These are just a few resources that can help those who have been spiritually abused or who struggle to grasp grace. What are your favorites? Please share so that we can all benefit!