Now two years away from our experience with spiritual abuse, I still find myself with residual effects. Some of these involve blame, both for myself and for our pastor. I blame our pastor for running into the ground a church that was full of sincere, joyful couples. I blame him for using the willingness of others to serve for his own purposes. I blame him for sending into darkness and confusion a young man who was devoted to him. I sometimes blame him for my children's cynicism. I blame myself for ignoring so many red flags. I wanted to believe a vision that was false. I hoped for revival in our church and believed that the verse-by-verse preaching our pastor offered was the key to that. I continued to defend him in the face of just and honest criticism. I blame myself for that and for not being careful. I blame myself for condemning others in order to see him in the best light and to believe in a false vision.
I also find myself detached from our current church, afraid to make any serious friendships or commitments. I overreact against sentimentalism. I don't have the ardor for the gospel I once had but I know that the lack of feeling is a protective mechanism. I would rather not feel than feel wrongly. I know the Bible says it's good to rejoice when the gospel is preached "in pretense or in truth" but rejoicing in pretense is out of the question. I feel that since so much emphasis before was placed on sharing the gospel (as a way to bolster our elitist view that WE share the gospel while all those other, worldly churches don't) I have no deep inclination to try to "win souls" or "share the gospel" or "get the word out." It's not that I don't want to see people "saved." I just want to go about it in a way that pleases God, and if that means quietly right now, it will be quietly.