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A Story of Spiritual Abuse

She had been a member of the youth ministry for six weeks. She had just moved to the area and although her family had always been to church, it hadn’t been this kind of church. She was immediately picked out by her Sunday School teacher who told her she was a “bright young woman.” He explained to her that he hoped he could help her discover more about who God was calling her to be.

He offered her books. Books that explained a woman’s role and the importance of guarding her chastity as her most prized possession. She was flattered by his compliments and his attention, but something about the books and his Sunday School lessons didn’t sit right with her. At her old church, there had been men and women who gave announcements, who read scripture, who participated in the worship service. In this church, there was only a row of suits every Sunday facing the congregations like kings in the high-backed chairs waiting to be served.

Her Sunday School teacher asked her about the books he had given her and she explained that she had a lot of questions. He told her she could ask any question she wanted to and that it was good that she was learning and engaging with the book. The next Sunday, she asked her question in Sunday School in front of the whole class.

“So why aren’t there any women who take part in the worship service?” she asked as he finished announcements.

“I didn’t ask if there were any questions,” he explained as his face began to flush.

She looked down at the table, took out her Bible, and didn’t say another word. After Sunday School, he came over to her. She knew she had done something wrong, but she could’t figure it out. Hadn’t he told her to ask questions? She knew he was not happy.

“You’re rebellious. God is not pleased,” he uttered as he brushed brusquely past her.

Rebellious? For asking questions? Was God really not pleased with her? Surely, he would know whether God was pleased, after all,  he was a Sunday School teacher.