When Pastors Abuse

I wish Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse was not a book I needed to write. Why? I wish “church” was always a place of love, safety, and God’s goodness. I wish the organized “church” looked and loved just like Jesus.

Jesus is perfect theology and God is love. There is no abuse in love. There is no manipulation or dominance in love. There is no control in love. There is nothing perverse, sexually inappropriate, or lustful in love.

I use quotes for the “church” because truly God’s church is not a weekend service or organization, it is a body of people yielded to God. Jesus stated His followers would be known by their agape love (pure, sacrificial, and unselfish love). Abuse is not love and not of God. God will separate His true church from what is false.

Part of what I do is called deep inner healing. It’s not SOZO for those who are in the charismatic church. It’s inviting God into memories throughout a person’s life to interject truth, expose lies, deal with pain, and negative emotions. I do not interject memories. We deal with what God reveals to a person that needs to be healed.

Over the years I have heard the worst of the worst of stories; stories that make Steven King movies appear tame. I deal with people who have been severely damaged and abused to the point of dissociation (they fracture into multiple personalities). I hate to admit that some of the perpetrators claimed to be Christians. Some were pastors or deacons. Some had high levels of influence. They used their status and influence to exploit, manipulate, abuse, or molest others.

Some churches have encouraged hiding the sins of the pastors or the “church”. If anyone knew it could damage the “church” reputation. Holding onto this mindset helped to enable thousands of pastors to continue to abuse people in silence. It is ungodly to enable sin. What you hide, enables abuse to continue. It sends a message, “Please come and abuse people here. We will keep your secrets and forgive. We will pretend that nothing happened.” Some “church” leaders don’t recognize forgiveness is not ENABLING! Forgiveness is supposed to be coupled with repentance. To repent is to change one’s mind, not offer a sloppy sorry because you were caught.

In Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse I talk about the boundaries churches need in place to prevent a set up for a scandal.

  • Background checks on every leader. If you are a pedophile, you are not qualified to lead. Period.
  • Men should not counsel women in closed door, behind the scenes situations or off hours. And vice versa with women counseling men. “Counseling,” has led numerous people into sexual misconduct. Have a two person system. If you must have a one on one, one pastor I knew had a glass office door and his admin would sit outside. She could not hear, she could see what was going on in the session. I do not do deep inner healing sessions by myself in person. I have an assistant. If it’s through Skype, it’s recorded.
  • Check in on pastors and their mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Some are burnt out and not connecting with God. They serve, yet they are not working on their own relationship with God. Check in and have accountability systems.
  • Set up situations where leaders are never alone with someone else’s child. Children’s ministry should have two people not related caring for kids. They all need background checks too!
  • Teach your children proper boundaries. Just because a person claims to be a Christian does not mean they are safe. Teach your children about inappropriate touch and they can tell you anything. It’s sad, yet many children are threatened with getting in trouble if they tell.
  • Cease trusting people just because they claim to be a Christian or clergy!! This one is big.

I knew a lady who’s pastor invited her out to a bar then began to sexually proposition her. Well, first thing is this-I am not meeting my pastor alone anywhere!! Let alone a bar. Secondly, the moment he propositioned me for sex he would have been rebuked and then turned into the church board. This pastor had a history of hitting on women at the church, sleeping with them, then getting up preaching on Sunday. He would also remove parts of scripture that talked about sexual immorality.

What we permit, we promote! Let me repeat that, “What we permit, we promote.” This woman wanted to love, forgive, and pray for her pastor. Awesome! Yes, forgive. Also rebuke the sexual advances and let someone know so he cannot prey on anyone else. Some women have been so brainwashed with false teachings on submitting to authority that they easily give in to what is ungodly. He’s my pastor, I have to do this. NO!!!! You are sinning and God still hold you accountable. “My pastor told me,” does not fly in heaven.

What are you and I going to do to help stop abuse in the church? We cannot change other people. We can ask God for our part! Writing this book and helping victims of abuse is part of my part. It’s also my part to say something if I see something inappropriate.

I regret not listening to my instincts years ago. I noticed a male minister always playing with the little girls. He was in his 50s. They were 7 to 14 years old. I did not wish to judge him. I thought I was being overly suspicious. I looked the other way though it bugged me. Later it was revealed he was grooming young teen girls for sex. He eventually married a teenage girl in an impoverished nation by grooming her parents as well. He was eventually removed from ministry. Could I have helped if I said something early on? I don’t know. I had no proof. It just creeped me out. I wish I had said something.

My encouragement is this, “Please don’t turn a blind eye to abuse, control, manipulation, or sexual sin.” God is loving, gracious, kind, and forgiving. God also highly values people. If we allow abuse we violate God’s love. Being passive is easy. Being passive is not godly.

I see the aftermath in sessions with people. I see how the abuse wounded their views of themselves, of God, of the church. I see the horror and the agony the victims of abuse carry.

Let’s have honest conversations about abuse in the church. Let’s have boundaries that keep people safe. Let’s stop teaching that submission is doing whatever is asked of you. It’s not! Godly submission is being willing to yield to what honors God. It does not mean obey. Let’s teach young children and teens about appropriate and inappropriate touch. Let’s teach everyone about healthy boundaries. No I am not meeting a man alone in his home for ministry. I do not have them come to my house either. Why? I have no desire to be a victim of rape nor to appear to be doing something inappropriate. I don’t meet men at bars to talk about ministry. I don’t sin with them.

Several stories came out this week of men in Christian leadership exposed for sexual misconduct. Those women could have helped themselves by saying, “No I am not sinning with you. No I am not meeting you somewhere alone with no witnesses.” I am not trying to blame them. I feel compassion for them. I am saying in this day and age, we must use wisdom. I am not traveling to my pastors house alone. I will meet you in a public place with witnesses. No I am not sinning with you and submitting to what dishonors me or my relationship with Jesus. Boundaries help protect what has value. It’s far more difficult for sexual assault to happen in a public place with loads of witnesses.

If you have been abused sexually, physically, emotionally, spiritually (spiritual abuse is another one that is high in clients I see), manipulated, controlled, or mistreated by clergy or professing Christians, I am so sorry! It is not the heart of God and He hates abused. I pray your heart is healed and restored. God loves you! I can also confidently say that God gives beauty for ashes and binds up the wounds of the broken hearted! You are greatly loved.

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Empowered-Free.com

EmpoweredandFreeMerch.com

OperationGodisLove.org

God is Not the Problem. God=Love. People Misrepresenting God is the Problem.

Some people are angry with God or Christianity. They have their horror stories that normally fall back on 1. Someone who claimed to know God treated them horribly or 2. God did not perform the way they wanted or agree with their line of thinking.

They did not get their way or the miracle they wanted, so obviously God is bad. I cannot explain why God does not prevent every disappointment or hurt. I do know God gave humanity the ability to choose and some people choose unwisely.

I talk about God’s heart towards humanity in all my books. I hope they help people see God is not the monster hiding in the dark with lightening bolts to strike them.

God is not the problem, sin is and misunderstanding the Bible or the character of God. We must understand that the God of Christianity is love. The greatest commandment Jesus gave His followers was, “Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Love fulfills God’s law because it seeks to do no harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10).

God love is not like human love that is based on feelings or agreement. There are people who believe that love is giving them everything they desire even if it us harmful. There are people who believe that love means absolute agreement. It does not. God is holy, without sin. Therefore, God can love us deeply and not agree with our poor choices that fall outside His boundaries. Disagreement is not hatred. God hates sin because sin destroys people. God loves people.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (1 John 3:16). God loves the entire world, even those who do not love in return. It does not mean that God agrees with everything humanity does. Nor does it mean God accepts everything. God cannot agree with or accept sin because it is opposite of His nature. As stated before, God is holy (without any sin).

What about all these nasty Christians online or in your life. If God is love, why are you encountering hateful or bigoted/racist/sexist/prejudice/angry/hostile/mean/hurtful/abusive/selfish/unkind professing Christians? People can claim God all day long yet the Bible state plainly a tree can be known by it’s fruit. Jesus stated those who knew Him would love as He loves. The Bible also states that those who do not love do not know God (1 John 4:8).

This agape love is a byproduct of intimacy (knowing) with God. We imitate the God we know. There are people who are immature (immaturity is marked by selfishness), carnal (also marked by selfishness), or who struggle greatly with insecurity (insecure people can cause great damage because they need someone to be inferior to feel superior). Unfortunately there are some “Christians” who suffer from self righteousness or a holier than though complex.

The true Church, God, nor Jesus hurt you. A sinful person claiming to know God hurt you. One of the steps to healing is understanding people are NOT God and many falsely represent God and some grossly misunderstand or misinterpret the Bible. Some are immature or insecure Christians. Some are carnal. Some simply slipped out of abiding in the love of God.

God is good. God is holy. God loves people. If our view of the Bible does not align with the character of God then most likely we are wrong in our interpretation of the Bible or our definition of love/goodness. Some view love as agreeing on everything, no consequences for their actions, and approval-that is not the same as love. God love is unselfish, holy, pure, involves accountability, and is full of truth.

I repeat God is love-sacrificial, unselfish love. God is not petty, mean, selfish, flakey, rude, racist, prejudice, sexist, bigoted, harmful, nor awful. God is not the problem. People claiming to know God without full surrender to God are the issue. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He lived a surrendered life!

I pray we heal from awful acting Christians. Forgive them. Release them to God. People can only give away the love they possess. Pray God gives them a good dunking in His love. If your heart is still hurting or wounded, I want you to get your soul healed! It is possible to heal from being grossly mistreated or abused by Christians or clergy.

I hope you surrender all the pain to God and get to know Him for yourself. God loves you deeply and profoundly.

Join the Get Your Soul Healed Tribe:

If you wish for help to process through the pain, you can join my 8 week study and freedom group. It’s no cost to join. You simply need to grab a copy of the new book and the study guide. The study guide is only $6.99. Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book and Study Guide. Once you grab the study guide, I will add you to the closed and private group. Sessions start August 1! At 7pm EST this Thursday night I will kick off the study! I hope to see you there. Soul healing activations are a part of the group.

If you do not join the group, I hope to see you at one of the upcoming book signings in Ohio! Come say hello and enter to win some great prizes!!

You are so deeply loved!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Empowered-Free.com

Empoweredandfreemerch.com

OperationGodisLove.org

Join the Book Club!

I am passionate about helping people step into freedom. You and I do not have to hobble through life broken. It’s time to heal! Let’s heal together.

I am launching an Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse study book club on August 1, 2019.

This closed Facebook group will include additional video teachings, discussion, Q/A, and more!

What do you need to join the group?

1. Access to Facebook.

2. To purchase the study guide (only available at https://www.empowered-free.com/shop).

3. Get a copy of the book (Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse on Amazon.com) or (Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse on Empowered & Free).

Once you purchase the study guide, only $6.99, you will be sent a request to join the community/group.

We will discuss challenging questions like where is God when abuse happens? Does forgiveness heal everything? What to do when you have forgiven and you still can’t stand that person? Wrong teachings from the Bible that create circumstances for abuse, how to get your soul healed, preventing abuse, and MORE!

I hope you join the group and to connect with you soon!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

P. S one of the book signings will be in Powell, Ohio on August 19th, 2019 (11am-1pm). More details to come.

New Releases: Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book and the Empowered & Free Merch Store!

Last year on July 7th, 2018 Confident & Free was released! Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book was released this weekend, one year later. 🎉💯

What a year. Confident & Free moved beyond a devotional book to a conference and movement. Thank you for your support of the book, the Confident & Free 2019 event, and I hope you support the new clothing and home goods line!

I started the Empowered & Free Merch Store site because I would love for products to fund missions and the needs to feed the homeless monthly. Check out our Confident & Free collection, Free to Soar collection, and the Chosen tees. Be sure to stop by and support a great cause! T-shirts, mugs, and more!

I am happy to report that Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse book went live this weekend! The paperback was launched today-7/7/2019. The Kindle version is already live on Amazon.

Check out the book promo Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book Promo.

My hopes for writing this latest book is to see people healed from deep wounds created by clergy, and professing Christians.

In a world of #metoo, there is unfortunately #churchtoo. When Christians behave in ways that are abusive, unloving, cruel, and violate God’s heart-it impacts the message of Jesus.

People leave churches because of abuse or mistreatment. Sadly, there are people who abandon their relationship with God all together. They project their ideas about Christians onto God. If God is so good, why are Christians unloving? I address this question and many more.

I share with you how I processed through some rough seasons with Christians. I confess, some of my worst treatment has come from people who claimed to know God.

How do we move past the wounds inflicted by Christians and clergy? How do we help people who have been sexually abused by clergy? How do we help spouses of Christians who are being abused? What about spiritual abuse and misuse of the Bible? I tackle these questions and more!

I hope you check out Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse book. Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book. The paperback will go live in a few days. You can order it off the company website. Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Paperback.

Once again, thanks for your support!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

It’s Time to Live Victorious! (New Book Coming Soon)

We are almost across the finish line! I am finishing up the supplemental study guide for the Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse book today.

This book was birthed out of conversations with clients from deep inner healing sessions and a friend who said, “We need a book to address abuse in the church.” It was not in my queue of books to write. I was working on a manuscript called Killing Insecurity. It’s still a work in progress. 🙂

In the past few years we have heard and seen the stories of #metoo and #churchtoo. Unfortunately, communities of faith are not immune from abuse, gross misconduct, or ungodly behavior. Every person can still choose sin. Abuse is sin. It is unfortunate when abuse happens in places that were intended to be safe, like family, and a place of healing.

I noticed abuse can slip under the rug because of wrong teachings about forgiveness, wrong teachings about submission and headship, and wrong beliefs about God. For many, it is far more detrimental to be abused by clergy. Then they are told to simply forgive and magically it will be like nothing happened. This is false. There are ways to restore/help both the abused and the the abuser.

Aren’t Christians supposed to be loving and perfect? Ha! I am not perfect, are you? Only God is perfect. I am a work in progress.

So, what are we to do about the abuse, control, manipulation, and gross mistreatment? What do we do when the people who claim to love God are failing in loving people? I highly recommend addressing it head on instead of ignoring abuse or telling people to forgive, build a bridge and get over the trauma or mistreatment they suffered.

We must cease sweeping things under the rug and deal with issues that violate God’s heart. It’s a part of justice. God loves to help the oppressed. The greatest commandment revolves around loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse unpacks:

  • Why abuse happens.
  • How people who claim Jesus can be so cruel and unloving.
  • How to spot the red flags of abuse.
  • Wrong uses of scripture.
  • Why forgiveness alone is not removing all your negative feelings or pain.
  • How to get your soul healed!
  • How to keep your children and heart safe.
  • Setting boundaries and dealing with people who do not respect boundaries.
  • Moving from victim to victor.
  • Where was God and why didn’t He stop the abuse?
  • And so much more!

I hope you grab a copy of Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse when it’s released next month and you share it with any person who has been physically, sexually, emotionally, verbally or in any way grossly mistreated by professing Christians.

I also recommend this book for those who have not been abused. I have never been sexually abused, yet I have learned so much and how to speak compassionately from working with abuse victims. Sometimes Christians say the wrong things. This book provides insight into the thoughts of an abuse victim.

I hope many are set free from deep rooted wounds. The first editor stated she experienced healing from reading the manuscript.

It’s time to heal.

It’s time to SOAR!

It’s time to move out of the land of being victimized and into the land of victors.

You may watch a short book trailer here: https://youtu.be/jlexF1HRpFA

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Why That Christian May Have Hurt You!

Gosh, God loves us SOoooooooo much and loves us just as we are. He does not want to leave us as He found us. Part of growing up is becoming more like Jesus in love and character. We still have our uniqueness, we simply grow to look like we would have without the impact of the Fall. We came from God, and in Him there is no flaw.

Sometimes along the way hurts happen from Christians in process, Christians not abiding, immature or carnal Christians. There are two choices 1. Become bitter and cynical. 2. Become better and learn from the experiences.

Hope this post blesses someone and even heals hurts caused by people in process. I am so still on His Potter’s Wheel. The goal is not striving for perfection. The goal is continual intimacy with God and yielding to God to produce good fruit.

Perspective Shifts Can Heal Woundeness (Reflections from the next book)

Sometimes the person who harmed you is an infant or toddler spiritually and in their soul. If you watch babies/toddlers they can be quite “me focused.” They do not think about how their choices impact anyone else. They can be selfish, rude, throw tantrums, make messes, buck correction, get highly offended, pout, and be irresponsible.

Just because a person is 20, 30, 40, 50 or more does NOT mean their soul or spirit is developed into adulthood. They can be 75 and saved 60 years and still 3 in their spirit. Why? God does not force growth. God does not force relationship, abiding, and love.

We grow through relationship with God, intimacy with God, abiding in God, yielding to God, listening to God, studying the Bible with God, accepting correction from people and others (some people never repent or take ownership for their poor conduct-they make excuses or scream grace). We grow up by going through trials with God.

Our character is developed in hard seasons. We grow by having community. It is imperative to have some mature, godly people who walk in love and can speak into our lives. The lone toddler stays a toddler because their view of God is never challenged.

Some people stay in infancy because anything that makes them uncomfortable they get offended and leave. They will not stay anywhere long enough to grow. They look for the easiest road, easiest relationships, and seek out those who will tell them what they want to hear.

Sometimes a carnal or immature Christian will behave just like a person who does not know Jesus or worse. An unyielded person does NOT bear good fruit.

The person who hurt you may be an infant or toddler in their understanding, communication, and applications of what they think is God’s truth.

Understanding we are all in process and not everyone develops at the same rate can help heal so much. Sometimes in inner healing with people I ask God to show them the true age of the person who hurt them. Sometimes it’s a toddler looking back at them; confused and ill equipped to handle adult situations. Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse, God willing, will be released next month.

If someone hurt you, it may have simply been a manifestation of their immaturity or carnality. It does not mean it’s right. It means we understand a toddler has a different mindset than an adult. Some people have never allowed God to grow them up or they were wounded themselves and did not seek healing. Immature Christians are insecure Christians. If they do not know their identity in Jesus, they can harm so many people in the name of God. People represent the God they know. Hence God inviting us into relationship not just going to a building once a week to listen to someone else talk about their relationship with God.

You are greatly loved! Lifting you up today. May the healing virtue of Jesus overwhelm you!

Love,

Erin

#books #soulhealing #GetYourSoulHealed #OvercomingChurchHurtandAbuseBook

We Love Moms & Grandmas!!

I love the creativity of God! I love the differences between the genders and the value/worth God places on both. I love Eve’s Hebrew name meaning. Her name in Hebrew is chawah. Her name means breathe life and the one who would cause all in the future to live. More than birthing babies, women were created to be life givers! Being a life giver can be birthing ministries, businesses, mentoring others, nurturing ideas, cultivating creative solutions, birthing innovations/inventions, sustaining life, speaking life, protecting lives.

I have not given birth to natural children. I have birthed several ministries, books, and a business. I have helped to raise, mentor, and nurture other people’s children. So women who have not given birth naturally, you are celebrated too! Our identity is in God, not natural motherhood.

I noticed in my years of ministry and business that so many women are pressed down to believe they matter less, their value is just in their looks/sex appeal/marriage/ability to have children, they must take care of everyone and put themselves last. I have wiped so many tears of women who simply did not and do not feel good about who they are.

God loves women! Women were God’s idea and not just to assist Adam. Her name also means warrior and Eve was an expression of God on earth. In His image, God created them (plural) and gave them (plural) dominion (Genesis 1:26-27). Eve had no shame or insecurity before the fall. She stood equal to Adam. What was lost in a garden, Jesus redeemed on the cross. Women were created to reign and rule with Jesus. She is not a sidekick or maid, she is a joint heir.

Know a mom or grandma or spiritual mom this season who may benefit from a confidence boost? Grab Confident & Free for her! It is not a gender specific book, it’s a God specific book.

From today through May 13th save 30%.

Go to https://www.empowered-free.com/shop.

Use the coupon code MomsRock!.

Love,

Erin