For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to instruct in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.Titus 1:7-14
Let’s address the elephant in the room for a moment and talk about the underlining pressure many saints have felt from toxic leadership within the body of Christ. Emotional abuse is witchcraft.
Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” We must follow the word of God, but we must also rightly divide our situation to make sure we are not being manipulated by someone who is trying to use the word of God to take advantage of us.
As a babe in Christ (new convert) it is very easy to taken advantage of by a false teacher or someone who just seems to be helpful at first. And this is because when you don’t know the word of God it’s difficult to navigate in the spiritual realm and see beyond what meets the eye. God shows us what’s going on in the spiritual realm, and gives us clues by allowing us to run the word of God past the character of a person. When you cross-reference the character of the steward (church leader) past the Bible verses, their character should line up with the word of God. if it doesn’t line up, then that person is not operating under the Holy Spirit. Anyone who is not operating under the Holy Spirit is operating under the umbrella of satanic witchcraft.
In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in perfect peace and harmony in the garden of Eden, they were under the will of the Father. When the serpent came in, tempted the woman, and deceived her mind, she was under the spirit of witchcraft. Therefore anytime someone is not under the operation of the Holy Spirit, they are operating under witchcraft(under another influence).
When I started my journey with God years ago I had the unfortunate experience of running into a few false saints, leaders, Prophets, and Pastors. This is inevitable in Christ, but it doesn’t have to be painful if you know how to handle yourself in these types of sticky situations. The emotional witchcraft was so severe, the mentor/minister told me I was not allowed to pray to God on my reconnaissance, but I had to pray to God through him. He wanted to stop my direct connection with my creator. That is WITCHCRAFT AND CONTROL! After two months of attempting to even stay under that type of leadership (because I didn’t know any better at the time), I noticed, I didn’t want to pray to God anymore, I didn’t want to read my Bible anymore, I did not want a personal relationship with God because the leadership was telling me I had to go through them to have a relationship with God and it was restricting my freedom, peace of mind, and personal relationship with God. I eventually had an emotional meltdown, screamed at everyone involved, and left in a hasty rant!
What I should have done instead of waiting until I felt depressed was backed up. The moment I saw it wasn’t right, I should have taken it to the word of God or a trusted person whom I felt could have helped in the word of God. That was my first official experience with abusive leadership. most people would turn away from God, or stay under that extreme witchcraft and never be set free by the power of Christ. That’s why I wanted to blog about “9 signs of Emotional manipulators” a segment of an article I read on charismamag.com.
Let’s reviews some of these signs to make sure you’re not feeling suppressed but rather edified in Christ:
(1) People give you ultimatums:
Rightly divide- now you can’t come into someone’s church, and change the entire service just because you don’t like the way it goes. lol This is more so for a situation where someone is telling you to either be dishonest or you have to go. If someone is trying to take advantage of you, and you don’t agree to be taken advantage of, and an ultimatum is presented afterward…That is a spiritually manipulative ultimatum. That’s the spirit of witchcraft at work.
(2) People use tears against you:
Rightly divide- The Bible says weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalms 30:5) christ even wept! (Luke 19:31-44, Matthew 23:37-39). Tears, emotion, sympathy, empathy, and compassion is all of the Holy Spirit. And God will not reprimand you or try to restrict your tears of compassion for others, even and especially for those who do not or did not know God. 2 Peter 3:9 says, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” However, we must rightly divide the word of God. And if you know you are a crybaby (lol it’s okay to admit it), and it’s getting in the way of your work and what you’re supposed to be doing, that is not a proper example of someone trying to take advantage of you. But someone perhaps letting you know it’s time to get emotionally secure and finish and to get your head back in the game. 1 Samuel 16:1 says, The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” Meaning it’s time to get your head back in the game son, you are on assignment to anoint David as the new king, so fulfill your mandate!
(3) People give you the silent treatment:
When someone emotionally draws back from you because they’re not getting their way with you and it feels like punishment, it’s because it is. That is most definitely witchcraft. Matthew 5:24 says, “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Now to rightly divide this word so you are not taken advantage of by believing forgiveness means allow people to come in and continually abuse you. Titus 3:10-11 says, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” Rightly divide the word of God to make sure you’re in the will of the Father.
(4) People play the victim:
This can rightly divide it in so many different ways. But in many cases, people will attack, ostracize, and persecute you. And when you have a human moment, they play the victim as if they don’t know where your explosion came from. Sure, you are not right to explode,(be angry but sin not) but we are still addressing the fact that you have been antagonized. Therefore, they are not right either. Again, the best approach is to back up quietly from people who play the victim to make you seem like the victimizer. Keep your hands clean.
(5) People make you walk on eggshells:
Ever had a question for your pastor but couldn’t ask him? You either got sent to the secretary, sent to someone else, or told you were being disrespectful by asking leadership questions? That’s a form of witchcraft within the body of Christ. If you need clarification on something someone has said, you should be able to ask. When you ask a leader a question, you should approach them with honor and respect, and ask your questions humbly to gain understanding, not with demonic suspicion. Ask as many questions as you need, but just make sure your posture is correct.
(6) People guilt you:
Leadership should not make you feel guilty when something goes wrong, instead, they should offer biblical wisdom, a strategy plan, and solid advice to make sure you don’t find yourself in that situation again. Conviction of the Holy Spirit causes you to feel free and want to try again, condemnation from the devil causes you to want to quit and give up. There is a difference.
(7) People skew the facts:
If at any time you bring leader information, evidence, biblical precepts or concepts and they breeze past them without gaining understanding or reviewing it with a fair eye of discernment, that is a form of manipulation and witchcraft as the person is going off of their own understanding and not the word of God. also rightly divide the word of God, if you know someone is bringing you evidence only to be manipulative and the Holy Spirit tells you to go the other way. Simply go the other way you owe them nothing, follow the Shepherd’s voice.
(8) People twist your words:
All qualified leadership should have experience in the area of effective evangelism, effective communication, and spiritual discernment. The Holy Spirit will never bear witness to a lie, A spiritual leader should be able to look past the imperfection of your speech, language, or words, and still see the spiritual root of the issue. Twisting your words and intentions to fit their suspicions of you is not OK. It’s witchcraft.
(9) People suck the life out of you:
The church should not feel draining. You should be excited to serve, but church leaders should understand that you have a life of your own, a job, maybe some kids, a dog, a house, a mortgage, rent, family, hobbies, businesses, etc. lol
You should dedicate some of your time to help the church, but the church should not be asking you to abandon your life, children, and spouse. What they are requiring from you should not be so evasive that it knocks you off of your personal schedule and the way you sustain your life. use wisdom. You’re here to be “used” not overused and abused.
If you find yourself under the umbrella of these 9 signs of emotional abuse, it’s time to take it to prayer. Many people are visual learners and need to see it for themselves. Perhaps writing out a pro and con list of why you are working with this particular person or worshiping in this particular place is good for you. If the cons outweigh the pros, it might be time for you to take a step back. A lot of people suffer emotional abuse and witchcraft at the hands of toxic leaders and stay under that leadership after God has given them 100 signs and hints that it’s time for them to leave. Another form of emotional abuse and witchcraft and number 10 on this list is when leadership curses you and tells you you will not be successful if you disconnect from them. When someone tells you that, you should disconnect from them immediately.
These are just SOME examples of things that we should be aware of and of course, rightly divide the word of God, and take your situation to prayer and ask God for instructions on what to do before you make your next move. I pray this blog was helpful, continue running well.
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