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Healthy Vs.unhealthy Faith


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Healthy Faith Vs Unhealthy Faith


Sadly, it is the unhealthy faith structure that steers a church to becoming spiritually abusive and legalistic, even cultic in behaviour. An understanding of unhealthy faith can help us to recognise it in our own lives and to help others who have developed this problem. I strongly recommend the books listed at the end of this article.



Unhealthy Faith


Unhealthy faith is a destructive, dangerous relationship that allows the religion, the church, the beliefs or the group, not the relationship with God, to control the person’s life. It is a defective faith and has an incomplete or contaminated view of God. It is faith is used to avoid reality and responsibility. It has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with men and women who concoct a god or faith that serves them rather than honouring God. Harmful faith is an excuse to put off dealing with lifes pain, to “wait on God” for “direction” rather than getting on with life or to abuse one’s wife because she must submit to him as if he were God. It provides a distraction through religious ritual and “realigaholicism.” Faith becomes unhealthy when individuals use God or religion for profit, power, pleasure or prestige. These four ambitions are the foundation of any dependency. But they must be totally separated from faith. Each time faith is distorted or minimised because of these four ambitions people are hurt, some are killed and many are left to suffer alone after families, friends and fortunes have been lost.


Variations of Unhealthy Faith Unhealthy


Faith can have many variations. For example one could have driving religious activity. They work in the hope that God will change reality. These people are running from the pain of life. Alternatively one could be spiritually lazy and put all responsibility onto God for everything. e.g Wanting God to instantly heal a marriage rather than working on yourself to change. It is easier to pray and do nothing more than it is to face one’s responsibility and seen help to go through the pain. Another variation of unhealthy faith is extreme intolerance.


These people will denigrate the faith of others if it doesn’t suit their model of faith. They insist that everyone else worship God their way, attend their type of church, judge others by the standards THEY say God has set. This kind of intolerance of others is common amongst those with unhealthy faith. As long as they believe they are doing what God would have them do, they don’t hesitate to push their ideas and beliefs on others.


They control others by demeaning their beliefs,and the practice of their faith. They create a fake faith and a legalistic characterture. Giving to get back is another variation of unhealthy faith. This is more like a materialistic investment than an act of worship. God cannot be bribed but many people attempt to do so. Obsession with self is next. They are poisoned by their constant focus on their own needs, hurts and desire for relief. There is little room left for truly worshipping God and they are never truly i for you is to have faith in what He does rather than in Him.


Self-obsession is gross sin and the greatest poisoner of faith.


The addiction to the religious high comes next. Trusting God can and should relieve one of being overwhelmed with problems or needing all problems resolved immediately. However, unhealthy faith that is an emotional frenzy that robs real faith. These people will manufacture religious experiences and spiritual frenzy to provide an adrenalin rush that makes them feel good. T


Their intent is not to worship God but to alter reality. They are obsessed with the quick fix to life.


The Religaholic


Running from life is the everyday reality of the religaholic. In our fear of living forever in our pain or being overwhelmed by it we often run into the nearest type of relief available -even unhealthy faith to some the religaholic will look good.


They are at every church function, preaching to all they meet. They look like the “perfect” Christian in all their works. Inside they have a poor self-image and don’t feel worthy of God’s love. They experience the thrill of being valued by others but don’t feel valued in themselves. They may admonish those they don’t feel are walking right with God (to their standards).


They may berate their friends and relatives or rebelliousness against God. They will “bible- bash” and shame people into doing things their way. They may constantly demean and condemn those who don’t measure up. Just like a substance-abuse addict they will blame everyone and everything else for their problems in an attempt to not face themselves. The unhealthy faith becomes entrapped and enmeshed in an unhealthy involvement in church and church life.


Convictions become addictions and the pains of life are eased with excess activity.


Rather than becoming dependent on God the person is dependent upon work and the comfort the experience when they become too involved to have to cope with their problems. The peace they find is not the peace of God by the peace that comes from the numbness of avoidance. Worship and praising God is a wonderful experience. However those who have an unhealthy faith will use this to achieve emotional highs and these highs become the focus of the experience rather than God being the focus. Rather than bringing them closer to God this type of experience only serves to further alienate them from God because they can only feel good when they are having the emotional high and there is nothing in between. There is a line between these two extremities. At one end there is a faith in a God who is loving, caring and all- powerful.


At the other end is faith in a God who is ineffective, uncaring and powerless. Those who have faith in the latter seek a God who can mend every situation, avert all pain and hurt and heal all disharmony.


Healthy faith knows the balance between ungodly independence that leaves a person overwhelmed from the need to be self-sufficient and ungodly passivity that leaves them doing nothing unless “God has spoken” with personal direction. God and enslavement to striving to please God. Giving money to honour god and giving money to buy God’s favour. When it is becoming a futile attempt to be perfect. When dependency on God has become a way to avoid dealing with tough life situations. When it is right to follow a leader and when it is dangerous.


Trusting God With Healthy Faith


It is the issue of moderation. True faith, real and pure faith, is not practiced in moderation. One cannot trust God too much, or seek God too much. Faith that knows only a little about God is also a form of unhealthy faith and the most destructive faith is having no faith at all. All of us have different elements of unhealthy faith at some time in our walk. However, it is being willing to look inside, to allow God to remove these from our lives, that helps us grow into the people we were meant to be, to have a healthy faith that trusts God implicitly without fear or favour. God’s presence should produce a firm grasp on reality and the hope that reality can be faced with all its accompanying distress and grief.


Each time a negative event occurs they know that God can use it to bring greater faith and a deeper peace from trusting that He is in control. But what people often hear in church is entirely different. They hear that belief in God or acceptance of Christ will cause all problems to vanish. They learn that the present problems will go away once you have turned your life over to Him. This is not truth. The life of faith is not sugar coated or pain free. This misconception can lead to an unhealthy faith or the extermination of faith entirely. These people have a false expectation of God. Individuals willing to take a second look at God and faith are in for a painful experience. Be assured, the pain is less than that experienced in continuing to use God rather relate to God. It is less painful than realising they are afraid and continuing to live with that knowledge. By making the effort toward healthy faith means they will go through some difficult times to find what God designed for a relationship with Him. But a relationship based upon pure and healthy faith leads to contentment and joy.


The Freedom Of Healthy Faith


Healthy faith has a respect for others. It doesn’t attack the faith of others out of insecurity. With security dependent upon god there is no need to feel threatened. Different viewpoints can be seen as the result of different people at different places in their faith walk. People of different denominations or even differing factions within a denomination will not be perceived as the enemy in a healthy faith system. When faith reaches this level in frees us to serve god more fully. This freedom moves us to serve others rather than working to serve ourselves and our own needs.


BeachOFEden: This Discribes Social Justice:


Where healthy faith exists the needs of others are met. The widow and orphan is cared for; the hungry are fed; the disabled to helped; the sick are visited. This healthy faith also gives us the freedom to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable means being real. Healthy faith frees us to come out of hiding and share ourselves with others. Healthy faith leads to trusting God, others and ourselves.


Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Recommended Reading:“Faith That Hurts Faith That Heals” - Arterburn &“Combatting Cult Mind Control” - Hassan.

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What's called unhealthy faith here can also be called pride and idolatries of doctrines, institutions, leaders, ... What's called healthy faith here is debatable, but it's certainly in the right direction.


I remember hearing sermons about not making an idol of one's spouse or other person or something abstract before this became a matter to understand within a 12-step program for religious abuse. I've always been curious why this concept of idolatry has never caught on well in a general setting. I guess one person's idol is another person's God or way to follow God. Just how rare is truly healthy faith?

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Rick Ross as a collection of testomonies form Ex-Calvary Chapel memebers in which they claim that the CC church places too much reverence on their pastors and that church members don't bother to test of question anything the CC church pastors say or teach and that they claim this like creature worship. This fits the discription of "charismatic church leaders" that cult wareness checklists warn you of.


Actually I found this article on a web page written by an Ex-Boston Church of Christ member. The Boston Church of Christ is a break off from the Church of Christ (non-instrumental), which, interestingly, all my cousions belong to who all live in Oklahoma. In the Boston Church of Christ....memebers are pressured with fear tatcicts to bring at least two new prospect converts to the church every two weeks to verify their salvation. I once ran into a gal who was Bostin church of Christ at the beach and she tried to recruite me...it reminded me so much of JW.


JW's are, in my opinion, surely guilty of creature worship of their "organization", or that is their "Governing Body". Infact, they teach that their governing Body/"Organization" is the channel before Christ to get to Jehovah God..and that if you question THEm this equals questioning God. This, in turn also reminds me of the devote fundamental catholic who keeps spouting off what their Church fathers and the Vatican has to say on subjects such as birth controll and women in the priesthood.


In all of these fundamental church groups, whatever their beloved church leaders have to say is placed on the same level as if...Jesus Christ himself came down here on earth and spoke it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

www.spiritualabuse.org and www.spiritualabuse.com are good resources for people like me who have experienced abuse in a sense. The first is mainly dealing with the Pentecostal church (but not entirely) and the second has a good forum for discussion.


I will say that it is very difficult to get over abuse and recognize it for what it is because you never think this sort of thing will happen to you, in a church of all places. That, and it is hard to know when you have forgiven the people who hurt you because you can't help but carry the feelings with you to your next church. But it is worth the effort of getting your faith back intact. It might seem touch-and-go for a while, but it tends to come back stronger when it is rebuilt.


I will say that I still have a hard time passing churches of the type that hurt me without getting visibly upset or wanting to throw something wet and squishy. :P

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  • 1 month later...

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