Nothing New Under the Sun

My friends’ counselor at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KSARC) mentioned the other day that the way a pedophile grooms a child to become a victim is the same way cults groom their members to become victims. I’ve been doing some reading up on this and see some amazing similarities.

I guess there’s nothing new under the sun. Whether its spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, or physical abuse (domestic violence) there’s a red thread found in the intentional manipulation for a desired end. How much more important it becomes, then, for us to guard against being vulnerable to abuse. And the only way to do that is to become emotionally healthy so we can differentiate between our true selves and our true feelings and those thoughts and emotions we have been manipulated or pressured into feeling.

Differentiation – Living Faithful to Your True Self

One very helpful way to clarify this process of growing in our faithfulness to our true selves in a new way is through the use of a new term: differentiation. Developed by Marie Bowen, the founder of modern family systems theory, it refers to a person’s capacity to “define his or her own life goals and values apart from the pressures of those around them.”

Differentiation involves the ability to hold onto who you are and who you are not. The degree to which you are able to affirm your distinctive values and goals apart from the pressures around you (separateness) while remaining close to people important to you (togetherness) helps determine your level of differentiation. People with a high level of differentiation have their own beliefs, convictions, directions, goals, and values apart from the pressures around them. They can choose, before God, how they want to be without being controlled by the approval or disapproval of others. Intensity of feelings, high stress, or the anxiety of others around them does not overwhelm their capacity to think intelligently.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Page 82

When you belong to a cult, you aren’t able to choose anything about how you want to live your life. Your entire life is wrapped up in being controlled by the approval or disapproval of others. As I think back about the ways that Tim Williams intentionally groomed the Sound Doctrine members so that they would never believe their associate pastor could be guilty of child rape. He made a big deal of telling emotional stories of innocent victims being imprisoned for years and finally freed by lawyers for The Innocence Project. Then there were the comments about false memory syndrome and his opinion that you can’t believe someone who claims sexual abuse from childhood. Oh, and we can’t forget about the sermons that bashed any sort of inner healing and biblical counseling for emotional wounds. Nothing like keeping the flock incapable of having their own thoughts, beliefs, convictions and goals. They are much easier to manipulate this way.

I’ve been puzzled by the Sound Doctrine’s extreme paranoia lately and adamant refusal to even ask the question if Malcolm Fraser could possibly be guilty. But the more I think it through, I begin to understand their dilemma. If any of the current members consider the possibility that their associate pastor is a pedophile and has been one for many years, then the gig is up. They would have to admit that Tim and Carla Williams really do not hear from God and have created such an unhealthy controlling environment that it’s become a fertile ground for an abuser to thrive. The house of cards would fall and those who have burned every bridge in their lives and thrown away the last 10-20-30+ years on a lie would have to confront the fact that they’d been duped.

Not an easy place to be.

I know…I’ve been there.

Praying for God to continue to expose the lies, shine His light on the evil deeds of darkness, and set the captives free.

6 thoughts on “Nothing New Under the Sun

  1. “Listen to this, Edom:
    I’m turning you to a no-account,
    the runt of the godless nations, despised.
    You thought you were so great,
    perched high among the rocks, king of the mountain,
    Thinking to yourself,
    ‘Nobody can get to me! Nobody can touch me!’
    Think again. Even if, like an eagle,
    you hang out on a high cliff-face,
    Even if you build your nest in the stars,
    I’ll bring you down to earth.”
    God’s sure Word.

    5-14″If thieves crept up on you,
    they’d rob you blind—isn’t that so?
    If they mugged you on the streets at night,
    they’d pick you clean—isn’t that so?
    Oh, they’ll take Esau apart, piece by piece,
    empty his purse and pockets.
    All your old partners will drive you to the edge.
    Your old friends will lie to your face.
    Your old drinking buddies will stab you in the back.
    Your world will collapse. You won’t know what hit you.
    So don’t be surprised”—it’s God’s sure Word!—
    “when I wipe out all sages from Edom
    and rid the Esau mountains of its famous wise men.
    Your great heroes will desert you, Teman.
    There’ll be nobody left in Esau’s mountains.
    Because of the murderous history compiled
    against your brother Jacob,
    You will be looked down on by everyone.
    You’ll lose your place in history.
    On that day you stood there and didn’t do anything.
    Strangers took your brother’s army into exile.
    Godless foreigners invaded and pillaged Jerusalem.
    You stood there and watched.
    You were as bad as they were.
    You shouldn’t have gloated over your brother
    when he was down-and-out.
    You shouldn’t have laughed and joked at Judah’s sons
    when they were facedown in the mud.
    You shouldn’t have talked so big
    when everything was so bad.
    You shouldn’t have taken advantage of my people
    when their lives had fallen apart.
    You of all people should not have been amused
    by their troubles, their wrecked nation.
    You shouldn’t have taken the shirt off their back
    when they were knocked flat, defenseless.
    And you shouldn’t have stood waiting at the outskirts
    and cut off refugees,
    And traitorously turned in helpless survivors
    who had lost everything.

    15-18 “God’s Judgment Day is near
    for all the godless nations.
    As you have done, it will be done to you.
    What you did will boomerang back
    and hit your own head.
    Just as you partied on my holy mountain,
    all the godless nations will drink God’s wrath.
    They’ll drink and drink and drink—
    they’ll drink themselves to death.
    But not so on Mount Zion—there’s respite there!
    a safe and holy place!
    The family of Jacob will take back their possessions
    from those who took them from them.
    That’s when the family of Jacob will catch fire,
    the family of Joseph become fierce flame,
    while the family of Esau will be straw.
    Esau will go up in flames,
    nothing left of Esau but a pile of ashes.”
    God said it, and it is so.

    19-21 People from the south will take over the Esau mountains;
    people from the foothills will overrun the Philistines.
    They’ll take the farms of Ephraim and Samaria,
    and Benjamin will take Gilead.
    Earlier, Israelite exiles will come back
    and take Canaanite land to the north at Zarephath.
    Jerusalem exiles from the far northwest in Sepharad
    will come back and take the cities in the south.
    The remnant of the saved in Mount Zion
    will go into the mountains of Esau
    And rule justly and fairly,
    a rule that honors God’s kingdom.

    (Obadiah MSG)

  2. It’s interesting to me that people who try to convince others of their own belief system tend to be insecure. They use any example, any scripture they can, to convince everyone they come in contact with that they’re right. It’s as if they’re unable to just be comfortable with what God has shown them for their life. It’s unacceptable to have an individual salvation experience…it must be collective salvation.

    • Yep Jess…and it’s interesting to me that those are the ones Tim Williams goes after…the insecure ones. Easy pickins.

  3. “Emotionally and spiritually immature people tend to live off other people’s spirituality rather than being intentional about developing their own experience with God”- Developing a Rule of Life Week 14

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