Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The No-Talk Rule is Not Allowed Here!

This mom's comment breaks my heart.  I can relate with it so well.  We as moms try to make sure our children are safe, are raised in a loving and nurturing environment.  Having to acknowledge that we failed when we were doing our best is a tough pill to swallow. 

This happened to my teenage and adult children as well. As I read this I cry for the abuse I allowed my children to endure because I was doing what I and my husband thought was the right thing to do at the time. Currently none of my sons go to church, the humiliation and shame they were put through was just plain wrong and very damaging to their self-esteem. Shame is never the answer to change hearts, love is the answer, ultimately Christ...the perfect example of love. After attending this church for their whole lives and being shunned at the end have left them confused to say the least, and refusing to attend church today. I understand, it has taken me over 3 years to even begin to connect with church myself. Even now, I am not the same person I was. God is healing but it has been the HARDEST time in my life. I pray for my family daily~that Christ will heal their broken hearts and renew their love for Him. May God's grace redeem the years that were lost.

How do we deal with the guilt?  How do we deal with the issue that we made bad choices for our children?  How can we help them when we have been affected deeply by the spiritual abuse?  Some people may not even want to go to church again after this experience. I was certainly leery of pastors when we first started to find a new church.

When studying about abusive environments, you will find a common rule that is used:  the no-talk rule.  You can do a quick Google search for "no-talk rule" and see what I mean.  Sometimes in an alcoholic family, people will be quick to "fix" the problems caused by the alcoholic:  cleaning up vomit messes, making excuses for missed appointments, missed responsibilities.  There is a cover-up and the whole family is a part of this, but the main issue of alcoholism is the big elephant in the middle of the room and many times never discussed.  They are unconsciously following the no-talk rule.   In abusive churches, legitimate concerns can get labeled as gossip.  Questioning a pastor may get turned around back to the person asking the question:  "why are you not trusting the men God has placed in authority over you?"  Essentially these responses create the unspoken "no-talk" rule.  We don't talk about the no-talk rule, it is an understood rule and in an abusive system, most people comply - it keeps that abusive system functioning well.  

It's time to break out of that well-functioning abusive system by breaking the unspoken no-talk rule.  That is the first thing that needs to be broken.  In this blog, we have the talk, talk, talk rule.  If you have something to say, say it.  If you want to remain anonymous, fine.  If you want to ask a question, ask it.   The no-talk rule needs to be broken in our homes, too.   We need to discuss what we went through with our children and adult children.  We need to make it very comfortable to talk - even about uncomfortable issues.  People won't want to talk initially because we've been conditioned that it's gossip or wrong.  By casually mentioning things and setting the example, you will be showing that it is a safe place in your home to talk about what we went through. 

For those who have left and especially those who have recently left,  creating an atmosphere where talking is permissible and encouraged is going to be the beginning of getting back on the right path.   We need to share our stories, talk about how it affected us.   Talking this openly may be uncomfortable at first.  It is not gossip to talk about how church leaders treated you.  Our former pastor called out many "wolves" from the pulpit and it is recorded on sermons, posted on his blog and easily available on the internet.  It is not a sin for me to say I believe our former pastor as one who abused his authority.  Our children need to know the truth.  It is not gossip to talk about how people in the church treated you and inappropriately shunned you.  It is not gossip to talk about how you have felt and discuss how going to an abusive church has affected you.  Once the no-talk rule is put to rest,  you will be well on your way to recovery and healing. 


  1. I couldn't agree more. Our experience was that the pastor would talk about anyone (gossip) behind their back but if one said anything about him it is "gossip and slander". If one dares question him to his face it is divisive and not obeying those who rule over you.

    Take a look at who is being divisive....Chuck O'Neal influences church members to shun former attenders, even when they have been long time friends or even family. Like you stated above, asking questions is healthy and when we walk in the Truth we should not be afraid to answer ANY question.

    1. The "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" expression comes to mind.

  2. Thank you for this and for the previous post about "meetings" with the pastor. Now I know that my experiences at bgbc were not unique. Although I am not happy that others were hurt, alienated and led to question their salvation, I am relieved to know that it had happened to others before us and continues to go on. The parade of the shunned out the back door of the church is comforting.

  3. "Gossip and slander". I have seen personally how damaging this is in my life, God says not to do it because it is hurtful. I am not without this temptation myself, but going to the Lord daily and asking him to relieve me of this tendency, He has been faithful to me. However, what I saw at BGB was if one talked about bad behavior or insane behavior, one was labeled as a gossip.
    God put me in a position to help the younger mothers, help older folks and those in need while attending this church, yet behind my back Chuck told 2 different men I was a busybody and gossip~not to allow me in their homes. Not once, even taking communion during the 6 months he accused me of this to others, did he address my 'sin'. What kind of pastor would do this, a sick one. I pray to this day that God would grant His grace to other sheep who are being spiritually abused in this church, their eyes might be opened. I also pray for the man who calls himself a pastor and his family. I pray for those who have been silenced through fear, that God's grace would shelter them from the ongoing assault from one who has been marked out for this from the beginning of time.
    Through all this pain, God is amazingly faithful to show me His grace and give me healing, His almighty presence is my life has been unwavering and shown me that HE IS IN CONTROL~Amen. By His stripes I am healed.


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