Over the past couple of months I've written about life after church abuse and the freedom I have discovered as a result of moving beyond that reality (here and here). So it was interesting to feel it was all being put to the test in the last few weeks, when I found myself facing a situation so similar to my 'church' one that at times it was almost laughable... if you're into really black humour.
Not only have I managed to add another 'godly leader' to my collection of "important-men-who-seem-afraid-to-talk-to-me", but I've realised that they must all use the same "how-to-prove-you-are-righteous-and-your-enemy-is-evil" manual.
In an act of supreme irony, the same person who berated me (on the very day my sister died!) because I dared to admit my struggle with christians who refuse to deal with their crap is now... well... refusing to deal with their crap!
Despite some very serious, and highly credible charges being presented to this person, their response has been to effectively ignore them. (Apparently, it's not just christian celebrities who consider themselves above the law!) Naturally, this person is now hiding behind accusations of bitterness, the trump card of so many 'godly leaders'. They get to shut down the conversation and play the righteous martyr, persecuted for simply doing the 'work of God'.
Talk about deja vu all over again! *insert winkey face here* It's exactly the same game plan used by the 'godly leaders' at my ex-church. Ignore the very real issues. Discredit the victim. Arrogantly demand submission. And when all else fails, play the 'bitterness' card.
When you are convinced that you speak for God - that you are always right - you are in an unassailable position. But it's a coward's trick.
Nothing to see here.
How dare you oppose me! I'm in charge here!
Sorry, but I'm just not buying it! These days I can see through the religious claptrap. I'm not afraid of the bullying and the bluster. Pulling rank doesn't impress me. Threats of my imminent spiritual danger just sound pathetic. Self-important and self-righteous promises to pray for me leave me unmoved. And having bible verses being thrown at me like some sort of weapon disgust me.
I've heard it all before and I've learned from the experience. I'm not the same person who was nearly destroyed by the 'godly christian leaders' in the church. Religious manipulation just doesn't work on me any more. It's my life and I get to make my own choices, thank you!
So I will stand up for the vulnerable and insist on real justice. I won't turn a blind eye to behaviour that damages others. I don't care about my reputation with the religious establishment. I'm prepared to lose relationship if that's the cost of acting with integrity. I've put my money where my mouth is. Literally!
So this is me...
and with my head held high!
I've passed the test, and I'm staying free!!!