Politics – social relations involving intrigue to gain authority or power
God never intended for political power to be used in the church.
“You know how the kings of the nations show their power to the people. Important leaders use their power over the people. It must not be that way with you.” Matthew 20:25-26 (NLV)
The old saying that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” may be true. From my experience, power tends to reveal corruption.
My intent with this post and my previous post is not to go down the path of leader bashing. That is not fruitful for any of us.
Every experience of spiritual abuse is not the result of an abusive pastor. However most can be traced to the abuse of power within a church political system resulting in someone being abused. Depending on where the power lies, at times the person being abused is the pastor.
One of the most freeing things I came across early on in my recovery from SA was a site about workplace bullying. For the first time, someone was describing the nature of the tactics and manipulations we had experienced. There was nothing in my life that had prepared me for the underhanded things we confronted, and I had trouble dealing with my disbelief that such things could happen in church.
If you are currently in relationship with a bully, your best approach is flattery, emotional distance, and avoidance of conflict. No matter how hard you attempt to befriend them in a healthy peer relationship, it cannot work. To them, everyone is perceived as either an asset or a liablity. If you are an asset, you will be manipulated for their purposes, and if you are a liability, you will be targeted with abuse.
Why talk about this? Because if you experienced a failed relationship with a bully, it is likely you were left with the frustration and doubt of wondering what you could have done differently. The fact is, there is rarely a workable solution to conflict with a person like this.
The good news is, you have options.
You get to forgive.
You get to release them to God’s judgment.
You get to heal.
And you get to move on.
When you truly understand the nature of this type of personality disorder, you will realize the pathetic emptiness in that person’s ability to sustain healthy relationships. You may even find it in your heart to pray for the healing of their emotions. Due to their deep-seated fear of being exposed, this would truly require a miracle.
In the end, it is all incredibly sad. Relationships and sometimes churches are destroyed. Maybe God knew why political power structures wouldn’t work within the church.