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

Coming to Cleveland, Ohio!

I hope I get to see you in Cleveland, Ohio this Saturday! Of course there will be a raffle, laughs, good times, signing books, hugs, and more. 95.9 WUVO will be doing an onsite interview as well.

I love connecting with readers, so come on out!! I am certain the T & L bookstore will be happy to see you too!!

If you cannot make it, you may grab copies of I Thought I Knew What Love Was, Confident & Free, or Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse off Amazon.com or Empowered-Free.Com/Shop.

All three books have a 5 star rating with readers ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Part of the proceeds from book sales and merch go to helping the homeless, poor, and victims of human trafficking.

P.S if you are a part of my team that does city outreach and homeless outreach-recall we go out next Saturday (September 14th). Stay posted on outreaches by following facebook.com/OperationGodisLove.

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

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

People Are Not Against You; They Are Primarily For Themselves

Happy Look Out For Someone Besides Ourselves Wednesday!

The Bible tells us to love one another and part of love is demonstrating the heart of the Father to others. I recognized years ago in my own walk in ministry that I grew to believe God loved the people I was ministering to more than me. It is untrue. Yet the lie grew from experiences with Christians. I was expected to give, to love, to pour out, to lay my life down, to be available in every crisis, to forgive, to show up even when I was overwhelmed or in my own crisis, to put myself last, to endure gross mistreatment with a smile, to be perfect, and they were not expected to do much.

I was expected to be Jesus. They on the other hand were not. I was to offer grace and mercy and give others unlimited access to my time and life.

The reciprocation of God love was low and sometimes non existent. I was expected to get love from God and show up again to pour out. I recognized I had to set limits with people. Say no to extra ministry tasks.

I found reciprocal relationships in the marketplace and through hobbies/outside the church activities. I thank God today there are a few reciprocal relationships with believers.

It is not true God desires one sided relationships for us. It is NOT true that God desires for us to love Him, then others, and ourselves last. Every time I see those bumper stickers, I want to rip them off. The Bible states we love because He first loves us. Then we are called to love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Step 1. God loves us. Step 2. We RECEIVE God’s love for ourselves (we cannot give what we do not receive). Step 3. We give back to God and others the love we have first received from God.

Unselfish love-loving others without strings attatched and desire for selfish gain comes ONLY from God. It is agape love-the highest form of love. It’s the love Jesus invites us into so we represent His heart to the world. It is the love that marks His followers.

Pain and disillusionment can come when we expect agape from Christians who are incapable of returning agape. We can only give what we first possess. May we abide in agape (Jesus) so we demonstrate agape (Jesus) to others.

Love is not selfish.

I noticed people would and will ask things of me that they absolutely would be unwilling to do in return. I have heard more than one person tell me I was supposed to help their ministry or business, but God was not calling them to help me. Not that I asked them for help. I tend to ask God and ask Him who to ask for help. It saves me time.

At the root of all sin is selfishness and hyper concern for self. Self is the idol to be worshipped instead of God. What about me? Is the theme song.

I realized I would push myself almost to the point of breaking to keep my word, to be there for people who would not even pull their own weight or bother to show up. It taught me something. It taught me boundaries. It taught me to expect Jesus to be Jesus, and people to be people.

Expecting people to be like Jesus leads to disillusionment. I am still a work in progress, so is everyone else. Expectations can lead to unnecessary discomfort.

We, humans, can also have flawed visions of ourselves. I have met those who believe they are representing the heart of God, yet their primary focus is self: making sure their voice is heard, their ministry is supported, their needs are met, their political agenda pushed forward.

We imitate the God we know and at times treat people similar to the way we treat God. If God is only pursued to meet a needs list, then people treat other people like slaves too. Abiding in God love, which is not selfish, is the only way we manifest unselfish love.

When we can connect with people and love them NOT for what we can gain from them, that is real love God. Love fulfills the law because love does NO purposeful harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10).

We can only give away what we receive first from God. Jesus stated His followers would be known by their unselfish, sacrificial love (John 13:34-35). May we abide in His love, and love others not for our gain but for their blessing!

Look for someone to love today!!

God love wins!

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

P.S If you like this devotion, don’t forget to check out our 4th of July sale which is 40% off through July 5th. The Confident & Free 30 day devotional is on sale. The new book study guide is on sale (Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse Book). We want you to save. Go to https://www.empowered-free.com/shop and use the code July4.

We Need Healthy Souls!

Why Soul Healing Matters…(short excerpt from my third book-Overcoming Church Hurt & Abuse coming out this summer & Masterclass this June)

I have encountered so many people who go to church, pray, fast, tithe, forgive, read the bible and their life is still a mess. Some are physically ill and no matter how much prayer they receive, they do not recover.

There is hyper focus on the body and spirit in communities of faith. People sometimes ignore the soul.

The soul is comprised of the mind, will, and emotions. This part of a person does not instantly become like Jesus when a person repents and places their faith in Him. It is the part of the person that requires continual yielding to God and the mind needs renewed.

Along with renewing the mind, people often come to God with histories of brokenness. These things do not always just magically disappear. They can have a host of problems in their emotions, behaviors, habits, defense mechanisms, and after years of giving themselves over to sin or being sinned against suffer greatly in their soul. Some can read the bible all day and still struggle with lust, anger, rage, pride, insecurity, eating disorders, addiction, depression, and some cases they hear voices or can have a false Holy Spirit. Some have buried their trauma instead of offered it to God. They suffer in silence or some simply create relational dysfunction everywhere they go.

Unhealthy people hurt themselves or others. Unhealthy people also attract unhealthy people.

When there are wounds in the soul, people will overreact to things. Something that is small to one person becomes major to them. Those with soul wounds may have a distorted view of events. They may suffer from hyper suspicion, a hyper critical spirit, or struggle with intimacy.

A wounded soul may struggle to love or be loved. You can love a wounded person with all your might, and they cannot receive what you offer or they accuse you of bad motives.

Physical sickness can also flow from the soul, not originate in the body. I have worked with several cancer patients and their sickness was also deeply imbedded in the soul from unhealed trauma, cursing their body (I hate being a woman), overgiving/codependency, or generational.

The more the soul is healed, the more the person begins to see good fruit emerging in their life.

I have spent years working with dissociative people (those wounded so greatly their personalities split), victims of abuse/severe abuse, and those who seem stuck no matter what they try to do. What I have seen are those issues were living inside the soul. There were wounds as far back as in utero. Yes, babies in the womb can be wounded. Yes, they can hear when mom and dad are discussing things. Yes, they can sense when they are unwanted. I had a lady who struggled her entire life with intimacy because she was wounded as a baby. Her parents had no idea their actions impacted the rest of her life.

We can preach to people all day, yet are they getting better? Is anyone getting healed and made whole. Jesus made people whole.

A broken bone requires more than a bandaid. A broken soul requires more than prayer and quoting scriptures. If no one deals with the root, there remains the manifestation of fruit. Soul healing is inviting God into the places that are broken so He can bring total healing and restoration.

I have met with so many people over the years who had significant breakthrough once their soul wounds were healed. Some required extra sessions, help, therapy to deal with bad habits, yet in 95% of the cases they saw remarkable improvement. God loves to heal, not just the body-the soul.

If you are interested in soul healing, be sure to check out empowered-free.com. The upcoming Masterclass registration closes June 7th. Class is June 13-15 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. The class is best suited for those in inner healing and those who want to learn faith based tools. The tools used are rooted in Christian faith.

To join Masterclass, a 3 day (24 hours Intensive training), go to:

https://www.empowered-free.com/book-online

Love,

Erin