The church is supposed to be a safe place for all to come and find the life and rest Jesus promised. Unfortunately, instead of God's love and grace that provide an inexhaustible supply of freedom and forgiveness, some churches specialize in scrutiny and judgment and can resort to herding their sheep through spiritual abuse.
It begins with the mishandling of God's Word by church leaders or a powerful pastor. They use the Bible to legislate righteousness. For them, it's about the externals. But when believers do not or cannot produce the "surrendered life" that is expected of them by the church's pastor, leaders, or other members, there is pressure brought to bear. Instead of being built up and encouraged, these dear ones, caught in a spiritually dysfunctional system of abuse, know only the guilt of doing wrong, the shame of being bad, the blame of being at fault, and the embarrassment of being called on the carpet for it. But direct communication isn't practised, instead, gossip is usually the weapon of choice to painfully shun the "ungodly" in the group.
This is not Grace! This is not Christianity. This is not what God intended. This is the very kind of legalism and corrupt religion that Jesus confronted and died to set us free from. Legislated righteousness is the exact opposite of God's desire for people and his Church. Taming our flesh by coercion never pleases God! He means for us to live as forgiven and free, not bullied and bound.
If you think you've been spiritually abused by a cult, a religion, a church, or a pastor, let me help you find your way back to God's love and acceptance of you by reviewing his truth and grace. Let's talk.