Summary: Ask the Lord to help people respond to the Spirit’s conviction whenever they fall into the following traps that manifest the corrosive effects of abuse in relationships and ministries

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Sixteen Ways to Identify Abuse (John 16:7-16:9)

Illustration:Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You . . . have prepared for those who trust in You. --Psalm 31:19

Renee still believed in God’s existence, but for many years she didn’t trust Him. And no wonder! As a small child, she had been mistreated by a cruel father. This trauma left such deep emotional scars that she blamed herself and felt she didn’t deserve to live.

When she became an adult, she married but couldn’t believe that her husband loved her. Nor could she accept God’s love. Why had He let her go through so much pain? She couldn’t bring herself to trust Him.

Some victims of child abuse try to find an escape in drugs, alcohol, and immoral conduct, but Renee chose a different course. "Finally, I surrendered to a God I didn’t even trust," she wrote. "My foundation was crumbling so fast that I held on to the only shred of hope I could find--God!" He responded by making the Bible come alive to her. Christian friends came into her life, one of whom was a pastor who cried with her and counseled her. Since that time, much healing has occurred. She says she has learned that although God does not always keep her from being hurt, He is always there to see her through.

We can learn to trust God. When we do, we discover that God can be trusted. It all begins with surrender. (Our Daily Bread)

1. The Holy Spirit convicts leaders of the perils involved with abusing their power. Jesus said, "The Counselor, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16:7,8)

Application: Ask the Lord to help people respond to the Spirit’s conviction whenever they fall into the following traps that manifest some of these corrosive effects on their relationships and ministries:

A. The abusive leader insists that "My team members" follow instructions or they will be ostracized from the group. By threatening to withhold love, a sense of belonging and acceptance, the controlling leader seeks to manipulate people into submitting to his authority at all costs.

B. The abusive leader shows false humility by pretending to be meek, but actually schoomzes with people only to gain their trust for selfish reasons. By being patronizing and sweet to numerous people, the carnal leader varies in disposition according to his mood swings. He can be kind one hour and apathetic the next.

C. The abusive leader tries to eliminate any of his opposition and is general suspicious of everyone who might try to overthrow in a coup. Carnal leaders refuse to tolerate any serious disagreement because they see it as a threat to their perceived authority.

D. Abusive leaders practiced Machiavellian politics within their organizations. They are fond of trying to destroy or subjugate any dissenters since they believe in the adage - ‘divide and conquer’.

E. Abusive leaders set up all kinds of rules, policies and procedures that tend to give them greater control. They are fond of using written codes and constitutions for their own sense of authority and empowerment.

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