Step One: We recognize we have been hurt, disappointed, or abused by religion or the religious.
Instruction: Recognize the hurt.
Recovery follows recognition. I’ve seen and heard of people who received a physical wound, but they were so caught up in the moment that, for a time, they didn’t realize they had been injured. On some occasions, they didn’t know they were injured until someone else noticed and pointed it out to them. Without recognition, we are not able to take the steps needed for recovery, but with recognition, we can take the steps needed to heal and put the past behind us.
Religious abuse is often subtle, especially at first, but over time it can do serious damage. Like the frog that boils to death as the water in the kettle is slowly warmed, religious abuse can bring spiritual death to our souls. Of course, there are several forms of religious abuse including sexual abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse, and even physical abuse. In the pages of this book, we will seek to discover the different forms that religious abuse has taken in our lives.
When we first introduced the concept of Religious Recovery and explained what it was, many people said something like, “who hasn’t been abused by religion?” The implication was that the experience was a universal one. Although I occasionally meet people who don’t seem to be in need of recovery (my wife is one example), I have found that most people know exactly when and where they were hurt, disappointed, or abused by a religious belief or a religious individual.
Today’s assignment is to recognize the religious hurts in your life. Where did they come from? Who was responsible? How did they make you feel? How did they affect the course of your life?
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.