Spiritual Abuse

“Spiritual Abuse In The Bible”

I Corinthians 14:36-40


  • Last week we had Bro. Tony Gardner fill in for us preaching on the “physical and emotional abuse” of Joseph, His brothers and father Jacob.
  • We learned that his father (Jacob) was abusive mentally towards the 11 brothers because he showed favoritism towards Joseph.
  • Then the 11 brothers became abusive physically to Joseph when putting him in a pit, stranded him and hoped he would just go away.
  • Then the 11 brothers became abuse to the father(Jacob) when they decided to take Joseph’s coat of many colors and smear goat’s blood all over to claim that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
  • Now, we all have heard these two life lessons…
  1. What goes around, comes around.
  2. “..for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal 6:7)
  • They apply here as Jacob abused his sons mentally, so then his sons abused him mentally in the end leading to his life being filled with grief and pain of his favorite son’s supposed death.

I. Spiritual Abuse

A) Daniel’s history in brief

  • Daniel’s name means… “God is my Judge.”
  • At around 15 years of age, Daniel and his companions (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.. 1:6) was kidnapped from their families in Judah by Nebuchadnezzer and deported to Babylon to be brainwashed into the Babylonian culture.
  • His task (duty) to the Babylonians was to help deal with the imported Jews.
  • In Babylon Daniel spent the rest of his 85 years or more.

B) Making a choice

  • The King (Nebuchadnezzer) had ways of getting the young boys convinced to do as he wished by giving them nice things “daily (every day).” (Verse 5…The best food, wine and 3 years of schooling)
  • Now I want us to notice Daniel 1 and verse 8… But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.
  • Daniel was abused by the Babylonian government, it’s employees and now he is being forced to eat the king’s meat and drink his wine.
  • Now I ask you… What was wrong with eating the king’s meat and drinking the king’s wine? Answer: The kings meat had been an offering to their gods (idols) and to eat it would create defilement (make unholy, making dirty) of their bodies.
  • God’s children have always, and will always choose “not” to defile their bodies. This is a decision to be “Like-God” or as we say today… “Christ-like.”
  • Wine to children as well as adults, distorts the mind and thinking of the brain. It many times lures people into bad situations, bad decisions, and ultimately bad behavior defiling the mind, body, and soul.
  • Daniel made a choice “not” to defile his body. What is your decision today?

C) What was the “spiritual abuse” in this story of Daniel?”

  • The other young men who had been captured by the Babylonians were being brain washed. They were told what to eat and what to drink, and what to study.
  • Their studies were “worldly” studies of the stars and their idols, and their culture as Babylonians. They had no Godly influence whatsoever.
  • If I was to guess as to some sort of positive training in the Babylonian empire, it would be that of construction of buildings, mathematics, and socialism. All of which would be useful in God’s ministry.
  • The other young men(Jewish…by the way) chose to defile their bodies and did not stand up for the God of whom they were raised under. Their parents would surely be displeased and maybe shocked at their behavior.
  • May I also point out, that once you bow to the worlds pleasures, the lure of worse behavior becomes so strong that it causes God’s children to do the unthinkable.
  • A true child of God will have a conviction so strong that when they are tested in the faith as Daniel and these other young men…they will not bow, bend, or break.
  • Spiritual abuse can come from a leader, or the nation as a whole. But in reality, abuse is often allowed by weak people. This is why God is so important in the lives of the people. Without God, we are weak, and without hope.
  • The “spiritual abuse” was… the demand of God’s children to worship other gods and defile themselves with the king’s meat and wine.

D) Other Biblical examples of abuse

  • I think of Saul and how good a person he was and then how wicked he became. He started being ugly in his behavior to even his own son Jonathan in abuse mentally and spiritually to a point where God said in I Samuel 15:11…It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments.
  • When a child of God turns their back on Him and do not follow His commandments they usually abuse others in the process.
  • When it does not get under control then the abuse becomes worse.
  • Any law enforcement officer will tell you that all criminals start out with misdemeanors(small crimes) and end up committing felonies(big crimes).
  • Saul later became so evil that he was paranoid… 1 Sam 18:12…And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from
  • This “fear” was really paranoia. How do I know that?
  1. I Sam. 18:9…And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. When you “eye” someone, you are paying attention to their every move. Paranoid. In this case Saul was afraid that David would become more popular and take over the throne.
  2. I Samuel 18:12…And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul. When God leaves His people they many times will become worse and paranoid at everything that happens to them. They know God’s judgments are true and swift.
  3. I Sam 18:20…And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21) And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.
  • Beware of gifts sometimes from God’s people. They may not always be with the best intentions. More spiritual abuse here as Saul acts like He is doing David a favor by giving David his daughter’s hand in But note that Saul gave his daughter to David as a “snare.” (Many times men will do a brave thing to impress their wife or girlfriend. Saul was hoping that David would fight the Philistines to impress his daughter and possibly die at the hand of the Philistines.) This is abuse to David and his daughter! Unbelievable this guy. Did he not  love his daughter enough to want the best for her. Can you imagine the emotional abuse that would cause her if David died?

E) Pharisees Spiritual abuse to the Jewish nation

  • The Pharisees abused the Jews by all their mandates …
  1. Who Jews could or could not eat with- Matthew 9:11…And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
  2. When you fast, and how long- Matthew 9:14…Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
  3. The Pharisees said that you could not labor on the Sabbath and considered “picking corn” on the Sabbath was a sin. Matthew 12:1…At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. Jesus later shared with them the Law concerning thy neighbor’s corn in 23:2. Taking food from your neighbor on the Sabbath is one thing while working for profit on the Sabbath is another. We are not to work on the Sabbath to earn money. Only out of necessity to feed our family, or help a friend in need.
  4. They could “put away”(divorce) their wife for any reason. Matthew 19:3…The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
  •  So, you see these Pharisees spiritually abused the Jews by their misunderstanding of God’s laws. They lacked discernment, conviction, and understanding.
  • They “over studied” God’s word. Sometimes pastors and people I suppose in general study so much that they misinterpret the true meaning by becoming to technical.
  • The Bible tells us to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Tim. 2:15)
  • If you don’t study correctly then you create a burden on those you are supposed to teach and edify. Then you become a spiritual abuser or “lords over God’s heritage,” as it says in I Peter 5:3.
  • If you do not do to others as God commands, you are abusing others “spiritually.”
  1. Feed the flock (if a pastor does not feed his sheep, he is abusing them) I Pet. 5:3
  2. Love one another (John 15:12, you abuse your brethren when you do not love them)
  3. Make peace and edify (Rom. 14:19, if you are not peaceful, you are abusive)
  4. Fathers don’t cause your children to be angry (It is abuse to them. Col. 3:21)
  5. Being angry, bitter and talking bad about others (all this is abuse. Eph. 4:31)

Now I ask You… “Who have you abused spiritually.” Ask God to forgive you, then ask those you have abused to forgive you.”



 I. How can a Pastor spiritually abuse the church (sheep/members)?

A) By forcing people to give tithes and offerings

  • Exodus 35:5 (KJV)…Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass,
  • Verse 29…The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.

 B) Preaching false doctrines

  • Jesus criticizes the religious leaders in Matthew 15:9…But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. They were teaching and preaching what they wanted to teach and preach without the conviction or leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Hebrews 13:8…Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. 9) Be not carried about with divers (various thoughts) and strange doctrines(doctrines other than what Christ teaches.)
  • Paul warns us in Acts 20:29…For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you(Pastors who are seeking their own agenda), not sparing(not caring for) the flock. 30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, (teaching things opposite of what God says. Twisting the truth) )to draw away disciples(Church members) after them.

C) By creating/inventing more rules than necessary.

  • The Pharisees did this and Christ rebuked them for it.
  • Like we said before, the Pharisees were placing more burdens (laws) upon the Jews than were necessary(who you could or could not eat with, when to fast, etc.)

II. How can church members spiritually abuse the pastor?

A) By not tithing or giving offerings that are used to support the pastor.

  • When people do not do this it creates a burden on the pastor to earn a living getting a secular job hindering his ability to study causing stress and spiritual burden.

B) By criticizing the pastor’s teaching, preaching, way he leads or the way he handles the church organization and so on.

  • A church must make sure the pastor is doing what he is supposed to be doing and critique or rebuke him with “love,” not hate.

C) By spreading gossip, rumors that are not true.

  • John 4:1..When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2) (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) Pharisees and others were claiming that Christ himself baptized people after they repented of their sins. But Christ never baptized.
  • Why do you think Christ never baptized? Many commentators believe as do I that He did not baptize new converts because then they would attribute their salvation to be better than others as they were baptized by the messiah rather than John. EXAMPLE: Some one could say… “You aren’t truly baptized because you weren’t baptized by Jesus Christ the messiah.”

D) How can members spiritually abuse one another?

  • By planning activities that keep others from church services therefore not allowing them to gain new insight to the word of God.
  • By acting better than others…Luke 11:46…And he(Jesus) said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens(you cause people to feel guilty by twisting the truth of God to fit your agenda.)  grievous to be borne(hard to bear), and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”

E) How can a wife spiritually abuse her husband?

  • By forcing him or picking on him to come to church or act a certain way or do certain things that pertain to his spirituality with God.
  • I Peter 3:1…Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
  • Here Peter says that the husband will be “won(influenced to become saved, or influenced to be a better Christian)” by their “conversation(testimony, the way they act as being Christ-like).

F) How can a husband spiritually abuse his wife?

  1. By not loving her as Christ loved the church
    • Ephesians 5:25…Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
  2. By continual ridicule, criticizing, and putting her down.

G) How can children spiritually abuse their parents?

  1. By not obeying them and honoring them.
  2. By being disobedient to God.

 H) How can parents spiritually abuse their children?

  1. By being disobedient to God
  2. By forcing them to do things against God’s will

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