How can I care for someone who has been spiritually abused?

I have some wise friends who really care about mental and emotional health and how the church handles those topics. I asked for their advice about helping people who have been spiritually abused, and they gave some great answers.

Question: How can I encourage and support my friend? She left an abusive church a couple years ago and is being attacked and slandered and shunned by them still.

Image by Dennis Poulette

Evita: If I was in her position, I would sincerely want someone who understood the truth of the situation to pray *with* me. To go to God with me with my hurts, conversations, need for courage and wisdom, and all the feels I would be experiencing. God sees. He’s passionate about justice, and he’s near to the broken hearted, will not break a bruised reed, and He directs our action too. I would want someone to help me process this near to God. I have been so encouraged to hear someone pray out loud with me to the God of Justice, it’s brought me to tears many times.

Amy: I want reassurance that I am believed, that my speaking the truth to others is not slander or gossip, that, yes, ‘everyone needs to have their own revelation,’ but not everyone has my discernment or gift with words, and my sharing those is walking in God’s will, not “sowing dissension.”

I need to know that I will build new friendships; that even though you might not be that building-to-forever sort of friend, your acceptance and being a soft place to land represent/reinforce I am still lovable.

I want hope that I am not alone: that this abuse fits a pattern, so my grief and pain could also fit a pattern — one that does include healing.

What advice would you add?

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