Disorganised Attachment, Dissociative Disorder and New Age Practices

What Christians need to know about Religious Beliefs and Mental Health

One of the things I’ve encountered from New Age practitioners in terms of attacks on my choice of Christianity is the implication that I’m mentally unstable and people cannot trust anything I say.

Firstly, this the very reason why people never discuss their mental health with others and why they suffer in silence; people are mean. They’re also inclined to exploit any perceived weakness in another person for the purpose of undermining them or bringing them down.

People do it to public figures like Kanye West all the time as a way to dismiss anything he says. For the record, having anxiety doesn’t mean that a person can’t tell the difference between a banana and an apple, nor does it mean they cannot perceive reality or exercise sound judgement. It’s an erroneous thing people do to their fellow human beings and one of the reasons why the claim that people don’t have a problem with sin just doesn’t hold water.

People are cruel and they spread lies. That’s an unfortunate fact.

It’s why we need God to help us reform our ways and choose to be better than our fallen nature.

The other thing is, the assertion that Christianity has negative outcomes for mental health is demonstrably untrue. In fact, the opposite is consistently found in research literature and studies.

For example, a study by Kulis et al. in 2012 found that under-privileged teens were less likely to develop substance abuse problems if they were practicing Christians. Burshtein et al. in 2016 found that organised religion was a protective factor against committing suicide. Goeke-Morel et al. in 2013 discovered a direct correlation between devout Christian mothers and positive development indicators in their children. Lin et al. in 2015 studied Christian, Buddhist and Taoist communities in Taiwan and discovered that being Christian out-performed all other mainstream religions in terms of preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s in older age. And lastly, May, Cooper and Fincham in 2020 compared meditation to prayer in marriage counselling and found that prayer had far better outcomes in terms of repairing relationships than either meditation or no intervention. That same study also found that prayer improved cardiovascular health.

[all references are at the bottom of the page]

Study after study after study confirm that Christianity outperforms all other religions and spiritual practices when it comes to multiple facets of wellbeing, from relationships and early childhood development to physiological health and mental health. These outcomes are also independent of other life circumstances such as poverty and conflict. In other words, people do better with God in their lives regardless of what the world throws at them.

People in the New Age can be mad about it, but that won’t alter reality.

But that’s kind of the crux of the matter, isn’t it?

One of the defining features of New Age practice is attempting to exercise control over circumstances and other people. If you think about manifestation, the primary goal is to exercise control over different situations, often situations which are beyond the human scope.

A defining feature of true Christianity is relinquishing control to God.

Thy will be done, not my will be done.

The reason why I emphasise true Christianity is because many New Age beliefs and practices have been adopted into the church over the decades since the 1960’s and have given rise to movements like Progressive Christianity, Word of Faith and the prosperity gospel, not to mention the heretical notion of “Christ consciousness” promoted by Oprah.

This brings us to an investigation of mental health outcomes for New Age practitioners.

When the accusation was levelled that Christians are mentally unstable in comparison to New Age spirituality, my first impulse was to defend Christianity, which in once sense is what we’re called to do, but in another sense constantly puts us on the back-foot in terms of clarifying that Jesus is the only way, truth and life.

But it occurred to me that I’ve never really heard of studies to back up a lot of the claims often made by people who peddle self-help books which claim New Age spiritual practices outperform Christianity. Most of the time what you’ll get in studies is a deliberate conflation of meditation with prayer, but as I have pointed out in a previous video, they’re very different beasts indeed when studied separately. Either that, or they’ll mis-quote the bible itself and adopt pseudoscience which puts a heavy spin on metaphysics and it’s just not present in the real research.

So I looked up the studies on mental health in the New Age and the results were unsurprising, but also confirmed some theories I had already developed from my own observations.

My theories which I had discussed in the past on YouTube were that people attracted to the New Age and paganism have had abusive childhoods and that has resulted in a certain level of openness to the “astral” which I have since started to refer to as the 2nd heaven where Satan and his angels reside. This openness is characterised by dissociation, which is a key element of all the practices promoted in the New Age such as meditation, astral travel, shamanic journeying, psychedelic drugs, and channelling.

Basically, when children are abused by a primary caregiver (parents, babysitters, grandparents etc) and they cannot physically escape, they escape mentally. This is called dissociation and it is a phenomenon where the person’s consciousness can separate from the physical body in order to protect itself from a horrific reality.

Not only that, but such an unsafe relationship with a primary caregiver also results in a disorganised attachment style.

If you’re not yet familiar with Bowlby, Ainsworth and Baumrind’s Attachment Theories, it’s a psychology term used to describe the bond between parents and small children. This relationship is the foundation for a person’s entire life and is a good predictor of how well they will do in school, in their careers and in their future relationships. If the attachment is unstable or insecure, that person is going to have to undergo years of therapy to try and rectify the situation, otherwise they will struggle to function normally, especially in relationships.

Two studies by Granqvist, Hagekull and Fransson in 2001 and 2009 looked at the correlation between New Age practices and attachment styles. Their theory was that a disorganised attachment style would be linked to dissociation as well as a tendency toward altered states of consciousness.

Granqvist, P, Fransson, M & Hagekull, B 2009

This particular segment stood out to me, personally, as a great way of understanding how confusing an abusive parent is to a small child.

Granqvist, P, Fransson, M & Hagekull, B 2009

I can remember my own mother laughing about how she had done this to my brother when he was very little: she was raging at him so much that he ran around in a circle, crying, and then ran to her for protection and comfort. She thought it was funny because it showed how “stupid” a three-year-old is.

What a monster.

When I say that I have been through this stuff myself, I mean it. I’m not trying to be mean or patronising, I’m trying to tell people how to find their way out.

One of the key differences noted between New Age practitioners and Christians or even non-religious people, was an inability to process or articulate trauma. People who practice New Age beliefs seem to be averse to the reality and finality of death, in particular. Granqvist and Hagekull (2001) refer to this as “emotional compensation” for a lack of parental security in early childhood.

This is fairly consistent with a lot of the advice I had been given when it came to practices like mediumship and divination. It could be that one of the reasons why the bible prohibits such things is for the mental well-being of people and to encourage them to let go. Again, a lot of it comes down to the urge to control major aspects of life and death, which are meant to be the domain of God.

Another interesting contrast between Christians and New Agers is that people with secure attachment styles are more likely to be religious if their parents were, whereas people with disorganised attachment were more likely to becomes spiritual if their parents were NOT. Security seems to foster an affinity for following the lead of their parents, while insecurity fosters a rebellious nature which runs contrary to their parents.

Their definition of the cognitive markers of New Age thought as an emphasis on intuition, subjectivity, relativism, immanence of the material world, and a smorgasbord of practices and philosophies which are impossible to pin down into any kind of structure.

Granqvist, P & Hagekull, B 2001

One of the key markers noted in the table of results for New Agers is that their beliefs are subject to sudden and intense changes. This is related to insecure attachment styles and mirrors a lot of relationship tendencies such as the “soul mate” notion where relationships will start very quickly and be characterised by drastic emotional highs and lows rather than stability and security.

They’re looking for stability, but they aren’t finding it because the New Age is designed to be ephemeral and to reject conventional notions of order, rationality and temperance.

The sand is constantly shifting beneath their feet, which is a familiar pattern inherited from unstable attachment to parents, but no one has been able to explain why their lives are constantly punctuated by states of distress.

This very much harks back to Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV) where Jesus says:

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

One of the big reasons why I advocate for a relationship with God through the real Jesus Christ is because people need some form of stability and structure in life, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. If they didn’t get it from their family, then it becomes vital to cultivate it through God.

Farias, Claridge and Lalljee conducted a study in 2005 which looked at personality and “loose cognitive styles” such as magical thinking, loose association, schizotypy, poor boundaries and emotional hypersensitivity. The results were not good.

There’s a cognitive tendency to associate random factors or events with one another to derive meaning beyond what is evident. Compile that with an openness to both experiences and suggestibility, thin mental and emotional boundaries, and insecure attachment styles… Farias, Claridge and Lalljee (2005) found that all of these factors result in tendencies towards personality disorders.

Farias, M, Claridge, G & Lalljee, M 2005

However, they found that people in the New Age are not generally in the realm of psychosis, but are somewhere between psychosis and normal when compared to Christians, agnostics and mental patients. Their grip on reality is tenuous, but still mostly present.

This is pretty good news in terms of getting treatment through therapy and through stable relationships if they ever have the inclination to turn to God and the church. Whether they will or not, might depend on the people that they associate with Christianity.

The main reason why New Age practitioners get so mad with Christians and with God is because of their attachment issues. If you think about the fact that God is our heavenly Father, and the church is supposed to represent our mother… having a toxic relationship with either of those earthly representatives will drive a wedge between people and Christianity.

They’re accustomed to feeling unsafe with their mother or father, and they’re accustomed to being forced to rely on themselves alone because they cannot trust their parents to look after them. Sometimes, they’ve also experienced abuse directly from the church.

Granqvist, P & Hagekull, B 2001

Christians need to take this stuff seriously because it is the main issue in attempting to save people. An unsafe church which tolerates abuse is purely doing Satan’s work, not God’s. In a fallen world it is up to the church to show people who are lost what love is supposed to look like.

Hopefully this will give people some food for thought regarding their wellbeing and provide some hope for a different future than the one they currently have.

References

Burshtein, S, Dohrenwend, BP, Levav, I, Werbeloff, N, Davidson, M & Weiser, M 2016, ‘Religiosity as a protective factor against suicidal behaviour’, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, vol. 133, no. 6, pp. 481–488.

Goeke‐Morey, MC, Cairns, E, Merrilees, CE, Schermerhorn, AC, Shirlow, P & Cummings, EM 2013, ‘Maternal Religiosity, Family Resources and Stressors, and Parent–Child Attachment Security in Northern Ireland’, Social Development (Oxford, England), vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 19–37.

Bonelli, RM & Koenig, HG 2013, ‘Mental Disorders, Religion and Spirituality 1990 to 2010: A Systematic Evidence-Based Review’, Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 657–673.

Kézdy, A, Martos, T, Boland, V & Horváth-Szabó, K 2010, ‘Religious doubts and mental health in adolescence and young adulthood: The association with religious attitudes’, Journal of Adolescence (London, England.), vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 39–47.

Kulis, S, Hodge, DR, Ayers, SL, Brown, EF & Marsiglia, FF 2012, ‘Spirituality and Religion: Intertwined Protective Factors for Substance Use among Urban American Indian Youth’, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 444–449.

Lin, KP, Chou, YC, Chen, JH, Chen, CD, Yang, SY, Chen, TF & Chen, YC 2015, ‘Religious affiliation and the risk of dementia in Taiwanese elderly’, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 501–506.

Shor, E & Roelfs, DJ 2013, ‘The Longevity Effects of Religious and Nonreligious Participation: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 120–145.

May, RW, Cooper, AN & Fincham, FD 2020, ‘Prayer in Marriage to Improve Wellness: Relationship Quality and Cardiovascular Functioning’, Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 59, no. 6, pp. 2990–14.

Granqvist, P, Fransson, M & Hagekull, B 2009, ‘Disorganized attachment, absorption, and new age spirituality: a mediational model’, Attachment & Human Development, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 385–403.

Farias, M, Claridge, G & Lalljee, M 2005, ‘Personality and cognitive predictors of New Age practices and beliefs’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 979–989.

Granqvist, P & Hagekull, B 2001, ‘Seeking Security in the New Age: On Attachment and Emotional Compensation’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 527–545.

Is Christianity Misogynistic?

What the Bible really says about Gender Roles

The first thing I have to do, and I can’t believe these are the times we live in, but there you go… is to establish that there are irrefutable differences between the genders. This should be self-evident, and almost unequivocal considering how far we have come in terms of science and biology research, but in the same way that we now have flat-earth rearing its idiotic head, we now have gender-deniers as well.

I want to state from the outset that this no indictment on the trans community, it is actually the opposite, since the validity of being trans also hinges on the concept of gender being an actual thing and not something you can simply announce in your twitter bio. How is someone supposed to transition from one gender to another, if gender doesn’t exist?

Let’s start off with the basic building blocks of biology; genetics. There are normally two main types of people on the planet; XX chromosome people and XY chromosome people, also known as female and male.

Now, there are situations where the chromosomes are present, but during foetal development something blocks the hormones necessary to develop along those lines, such as androgen insensitivity, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which result in being born intersex.

There’s also a condition known as monosomy, or Turner’s Syndrome, which is when a female loses a part of one of her sex chromosomes during embryonic development leading to life-threatening and disabling conditions in multiple areas of the body. They can be born without ovaries to supply necessary hormones for development, but synthetic hormonal replacement can help to prompt secondary sex characteristics during the teen years. This condition is about as close as we get to the concept of “gender neutral” in terms of chromosomes, but even then it is specifically a female condition, so that argument falls apart instantly.

You can’t be gender neutral. You have chromosomes. Sorry.

By all means, you can shirk the idea of gender stereotypes. That’s different. And of course, people can choose to fight biology if they are really determined to do so, but it’ll never provide the full experience of truly becoming the opposite gender. For example, a trans woman won’t have periods.

The gender deniers have tried to argue that gender differences are arbitrary and merely a social construct designed to marginalise women (who, theoretically, according to them, have no significant differences to men). However, this does not bear out in medicine. A research piece by UC Berkley found that if drug trials were only conducted using male participants, female patients would be at risk of overdoses from prescription medications.

As you can see, biology between the genders does exist and does matter. It has real-world consequences when we don’t factor that in.

The Christian stance on the matter of gender is that God doesn’t foster confusion. Confusion comes from living in a fallen world where things like hormones run into interference from a myriad of factors which were never part of the original design. God does not want us to be at odds with either our own bodies, or with Him, which is why He has sought to draw us back into His fold through the grace of Jesus. However, we will still have to contend with the world, our own weakness of the flesh, and the influence of the adversary (Satan) who thrives on stirring conflict and strife.

Now that we’ve established the truth of biological gender, we can turn to the real question at hand: gender ROLES.

Gender roles have been hotly debated… since the beginning of time. Around the globe and throughout history different cultures have dealt with the conundrum of gender roles in a variety of ways. The influence of biology is significant in certain respects and irrelevant in others, so it can depend on whether a particular society is collectivist vs individualist; agricultural or hunter-gatherer; what level of technology they have; socio-economic power & education levels.

Anthropology, psychology and sociology have all attempted to figure out if there are consistent gender roles across different cultures, but no academic department has done such a thorough and honest job of it, as… Marketing.

Let’s be real, when it comes to making money off our human weaknesses and tendencies, no marketer worth their salt is going to risk a profit margin just to be woke.

Unless you’re Procter & Gamble. In which case; get woke, go broke.

A cross-cultural study on gender markers examined 3 countries from a masculinity ranking system of 53 countries which rated Mexico as the 6th most masculine country , the USA as 15th, and Norway as the second most feminine on the scale.

They used large sample groups of similar ages and education for the survey study in order to reduce covariant results in the cohorts.

They measured 20 survey questions of gender tendencies: 10 masculine and 10 feminine. The results found that 16 out of 20 were consistent with their corresponding genders across vastly differing cultures. In other words, females tended towards feminine traits and males tended toward masculine traits regardless of their culture.

So we know that men are women have substantial biological differences physiologically, and also psychologically.

The next question is, how does Christianity define femininity and gender roles?

Proverbs 31:10-31 (NRSV) is a chapter in the bible dedicated to describing how women should be at their most ideal;

A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls.

She considers a field and buys it; with the fruits of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hand to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is in vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

This description of a good and Godly woman is interesting because it in no way makes her the property or subservient to her husband, but rather implies that women are free to manage their own money, buy property, run a business, employ staff etc. She is characterised by strength, wisdom, charity, future planning skills, sound judgement, hard work, and kindness.

Her partner and kids treat her with respect and gratitude, and she is highly regarded by the community. In turn, her good character reflects positively on her family and elevates her husband’s esteem from others as well.

This view of women is hardly degrading or outdated.

One of the arguments against Christianity made by feminism is that it replaced the highly evolved and woke pagan societies which allowed women to be as promiscuous as they liked, with an oppressive patriarchy and modesty culture.

This argument relies on an assumption that being promiscuous is liberating or desirable for women, and that the presence of indiscriminate sex somehow goes hand-in-hand with emancipated females. However, this assumption is incorrect.

One of the biggest adversaries to the Hebrews in the bible was a nation known as the Canaanites, but which modern archaeology know as the Phoenicians. Their culture worshipped the gods Baal, Molech and Astarte. Modern day witchcraft also worships Astarte as a patron goddess, but they would probably be horrified at what the historic practice of dedication to this demon actually is.

At the temples to Astarte they had what was known as “sacred prostitution” where literally every teen girl in the land would be forced to contribute her virginity to a random stranger who paid the temple for the privilege of deflowering a young girl. On top of that, the temple would host regular drug-fuelled orgies which could become so berserk that the men would castrate themselves in dedication to the goddess.

Many unwanted pregnancies to unknown fathers would result from the orgies, but rather than this being a problem, it simply became fodder for the other gods, namely Molech or Baal.

Once the child had been born, especially if it was a male child, it would be sacrificed on an altar to Molech or Baal at the Tophet by having its throat slit and then cremated in the furnace of the belly of the idol.

There is a mass grave site in Carthage with approximately 20,000 urns of the bones of babies and toddlers, mostly male children in full health at the time of their deaths.

To me, these people were less monstrous than we are today. At least they gave their murdered children a funeral. These days we just use them as science experiments or throw them in the trash. Twenty-thousand children is nothing compared to the numbers we rack up in the west on an annual basis, tallying between half a million and a million babies aborted per year just in the US alone.

People like Meghan Markle try to garner sympathy for a miscarriage, but at the same time happily advocate for a “woman’s rights” to terminate a “clump of cells”. Is it a clump of cells, Meghan, or is it a baby? Because it can’t be both of those things whenever you feel like it. Either she’s remarkably stupid, or she’s grotesquely hypocritical, but if I had to guess I would go with the latter option and unfortunately this is a common double-standard in feminism.

The famed occultist Aleister Crowley wrote about abortion as a form of child sacrifice, specifically male babies in full health. As a society, are we unwittingly partaking in child sacrifice dedicated to demons?

Strangely enough, this possibility isn’t out of the question considering that Molech is still being worshipped by political leaders at a site in California known as Bohemian Grove. Whether they use actual children during the annual ceremony of the “Cremation of Care” is unknown and possibly unknowable, but not entirely out of the question when we take into account what people like Epstein have partaken in.

To me, the idea that paganism or the third-wave feminist movement do favours for women whatsoever is a complete farce. It seems more like a social system designed to make women more easily sexually exploited and then leave them in situations where they have to make life and death choices about their own future as well as that of unintended children.

When the bible talks about sex outside of marriage being against God’s plan for humanity’s wellbeing, we need to bear in mind that God is not interested in you being able to get off. He’s preoccupied with the misery and pain which will be endured by the children which result from unstable relationships as well as the emotional and psychological fallout for the couple involved.

And as much as feminists want to rail against that reality, it keeps being backed up by psychology research. Children raised in a household which directly involves both biological parents vastly outperform all of their peers in every developmental facet. Not only that, but married couples outlive their single and divorced counterparts by up to a decade.

That’s not religion, that’s science.

Of course, there are situations where people end up in destructive and abusive relationships, but that’s also an aberration which was not part of the plan and is more of a symptom of a society based on cynical and exploitative ideas about relationships.

As Jesus himself said in Matthew 19:4-9 (NRSV) that marriage was designed to be a permanent joining of two people into one flesh, but ‘…it was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning is was not so.’ This highlights the fact that relationships break down due to people hardening their hearts against one another and having no true love for each other. The fallout is that people abuse and are abused within relationships when they should be protected, cared for, respected and loved.

When we start to treat sex as a “right” instead of a responsibility, and relationships as a transaction instead of a mutually necessary form of family, not only do we encounter twisted ideas like the incels, simps and e-thots, but we also start sacrificing the wellbeing of future generations on the altar of our own egos.

Women in Leadership

The final criticism of Christianity is that it doesn’t elevate women to positions of leadership and instead makes them subservient to men. There are two verses usually referred to when making this argument which are:

I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12)

Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)

Both of these statements were written by St Paul the Apostle in his letters to the first century churches and need to be read in context both historically and linguistically, as well as the broader context of the passages they’re found in.

First of all, women in leadership is not unheard of throughout the bible, but it is rare. That’s not because women are viewed as “incapable” but because they were not generally put in harm’s way or expected to endure targeting and suffering.

Examples of female leadership include Deborah, who was one of the early Judges, which was essentially a type of elected leader similar to a combination of priest and president. There was also Esther who convinced a king to spare the lives of her people, Judith who cut the head off a general who had laid siege to her city, Jael who drove a tent-peg through the skull of another general, Miriam who saved the life of her baby brother Moses, the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon to debate him in philosophy as well as negotiate trade deals, and Mary Magdalene who (along with a number of other women) worked to keep Jesus and disciples housed and fed during their travels and was the first witness to His risen form at the tomb. The rumor that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute is not biblical, that comes from conflating two different characters as the same person when the gospel of Luke talks about the woman with expensive oil anointing Jesus’ feet. That woman is never named, nor is Mary ever referred to as a prostitute.

When it was necessary, women stepped into leadership, but they did it in specifically feminine ways which worked in those circumstances when masculine tactics would not. Generally speaking, though, women were not exposed to unnecessary risk or put in harm’s way such as on the battlefield. Instead, they were to be protected as much as possible and deployed as a last resort.

In this context we can understand why Paul made stipulations for the protection of women, not in order to subjugate them, but to shield them from harm.

First, the passage about not permitting women to teach can be understood as a means of not making them targets for slaughter by the Romans. Anyone in leadership would be particularly at risk. But also it goes back to the innate gender differences discussed earlier.

In a study by Zheng et al. (2017) they conducted an experiment to see if there was a gender difference in how easily people acquiesce to unjust situations. Basically, do men and women cave under social pressure? It was found that, yes; women cave to social pressure far more easily than men do. This goes back to the tendencies to nurture and people-please which women are prone to do noted in the earlier study on masculinity.

Having an understanding of human nature and the immense pressure from outside forces to take down the Christian church, Paul did not advise for teaching positions to be held by women simply because they have a harder time standing up to bullying.

This doesn’t make women “inferior” it simply means that we naturally care for other’s wellbeing and this can be weaponised against us. On the flip-side, it’s supposed to make us good mothers who are able to put the needs of our children before our own pursuits.

Where this tends to break down is when the men fail to behave as protectors and instead abuse their positions of power, which is what the statement in Ephesians attempts to address.

The book of Ephesians is predominantly about how to handle spiritual warfare, so it uses military language and structures on this topic. All the members of the church as instructed to follow the teachings of Christ and to seek support from one another. Women are advised to “Hupotasso” to their husbands, which is the original Greek word used in the scripture and has a cultural meaning lost in translation to the English. This is a military term and means something along the lines of “fall-in” behind your leader so that you can follow their tactical orders and back them up in battle.

In return for this trust that women place in their husbands to be a good leader, the men are instructed to love and protect their wives even to the point of sacrificing their own lives to do so. This harks back to the teachings of Jesus when he said that divorce is only necessary when people’s heart are hardened against one another, not when they have genuine love.

There is an onus of expectation on both genders to deal fairly and caringly with one another in ways which protect and support, not an excuse to abuse power or to undermine each other.

When the bible is read as a whole and in context, as well as when we apply thorough understanding of human psychology, we begin to see how it is meant to be applied in our lives, rather than seeing it as an affront to our “rights” or a big mean dictatorship.

Unfortunately, humans like to start wars with one-another as we have seen in the gender war between men and women. That’s not Christianity, that’s humans.

Turn the Other Cheek?

What the Bible says about Forgiveness, Judging Others and Setting Boundaries.

When it comes to being Christian there is usually an emphasis on being gentle as doves, forgiving your neighbour, turning the other cheek… etc.

However, what I’ve found a lot of the time is that this ethos gets exploited by unscrupulous and abusive people who have no intentions of repenting, changing or making amends. Dr Ramini is a great YouTube psychologist I would recommend and she outlined in a video which I’ll link underneath how all the characteristics of being Christian are especially targeted by narcissists.

Her list of characteristics is:

  1. Overly empathic
  2. Rescuers
  3. Positive people
  4. Forgivers
  5. Children of narcissists

I know for myself I fit into all 5 categories and I know how those traits have been exploited in the past, especially by my narcissistic mother. Talking about empathy was a big part of my previous channel and website, but mostly I warned against having your empathy triggered and utilised by the wrong people. Unfortunately, that is sound psychological advice to prevent someone being abused, but a person’s good nature can make them susceptible to guilt trips and coercion if they don’t know where the lines are and how to enforce them.

So this begs the question: does God permit boundaries for us, and if so, how do we navigate that? When should we judge and when should we forgive? What does forgiveness mean and what does it mean to love your neighbour as yourself?

Jesus said that the first commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your strength and all your might, and the second is like it; you must love your neighbour as you love yourself (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:37 & John 13:34).

The example he gives of neighbourly love is the parable of the good Samaritan who saves a man’s life. The biblical definition of love is the protection, care and respect of human life. It’s almost a neutral state of simply doing the right thing, regardless of who the person is, whether you’ll get anything out of the arrangement, or if you have to go out of your way to do it.

In many ways it can be described by ethos; no man left behind. It’s simply the right thing to do, and to do otherwise would be callous.

Now, was the man that the Samaritan assisted trying to kill him or steal from him? No.

However, the bible does say in Luke 6:27-31 (NRSV) you should love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt… Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Jesus goes on to say that even sinners will love people who love them back and do good to people who do good to them. If people are behaving nicely towards you, then it’s pretty easy to simply do the same in return, but it gets really difficult to do when people are nasty towards you. In this way, Christians are supposed to set themselves apart from the rest of the world and not lower themselves to the terrible standards of others around them.

1 Peter 3:13-16 (NRSV) says; Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.

Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.

I know from past experience that people absolutely hate it when you don’t degrade yourself by stooping to their level. It aggravates them to no end if you maintain a standard which is above theirs and you’ll usually be attacked for it. They’ll call you arrogant, tell you that you have a superiority complex, that you’re fake, or actually being mean to them.

What they’re really saying is; your behaviour is making my own behaviour look dreadful in comparison and I can’t stand it.

It’s one of the big reasons why people hate God in the first place, because He sets such a high standard which shows theirs up as being corrupted and the shame that it evokes in them is something they don’t want to deal with. They would rather reject God and be lost for eternity than admit their failings and try to do better.

This is why Jesus says that if the world hates you, it’s because it hated Him first and the world only loves people who are of the world, not people who are of God (John 15:18-19).

Romans 12:14-21 outlines advice on how to act with different people in different situations, but specifically is advises; Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

But the other reason why they want to provoke you into a reaction is because it provides some twisted justification for their behaviour. They’re supposed to abuse you, because you deserve it… just look at how you reacted when they abused you! Clear case of someone who deserved it.

The thing is, most people spend a lot of their lives running from God and hiding from the light, and on an instinctive level they know that true believers who are seeking after God will shine a light on their shadows and expose them. Even people in church do it. I’ve known people who call themselves Christian but do all sorts of unscrupulous things and are trying to hide it or refuse to repent, refuse to acknowledge that they’ve made an error. What they probably don’t realise is that they aren’t saved unless they’ve repented.

When I left witchcraft a lot of people said they hated church because of those types of Christians who had abused them in the past and they claimed that I couldn’t possibly understand. The thing is, I know that hypocrisy well because I was raised by an abusive narcissistic mother who believes that she’s a perfect Christian even when she emotionally and psychologically tortured me and my brother for hours on end when I was 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old… Even when she kidnapped me when I was 13, took me interstate and tried to cut me off from knowing my dad. Even when she called me a little a$$hole as a toddler, or a b!tc#, or told me she doesn’t like me, or called me an animal, or slapped me across the face, or grabbed me by the hair, or burned my clothes, or threw a metal pole at me, or left me abandoned in public places for hours on end, or didn’t even notice that I stopped talking for a year in high school…

I know exactly what those people are like, and that’s the whole reason Christians are not supposed to be like that; because it alienates other people from God. They see Him represented by the worst hypocrites imaginable and they cannot get behind such a thing.

They think that God indulges it.

That is not true.

The bible teaches that love is boundaries and care, not abuse or indulgence.

Of course God doesn’t just allow people to be abused. That’s almost entirely what the bible is about. As Christians, you’re not allowed to extract revenge or behave in ways which are similar to the people of the world. You’re supposed to demonstrate what love actually looks like in a world which has a very cynical and exploitative version of love as its definition. You have to act as God’s representatives on earth.

However, God also declares is that “vengeance is mine!” (Deuteronomy 32:35 & Romans 12:19) which means that we are not the ones to seek recompense, but instead we are told to pray for those who abuse us. The purpose of this is so that they might undergo their conviction during their lifetime and thus be saved.

Everyone has to reckon with God eventually, it’s just a matter of time. The aim of Jesus’ sacrifice was to draw as many souls back to God as possible before they die and become judged. However, they are going to be judged eventually as seen in Matthew 3:12 (NRSV) when John the Baptist says “His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” And again in Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV) where Jesus describes sorting the sheep from the goats, saying; “you that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink…”

By the way, this stuff doesn’t necessarily apply to people who have never heard of Jesus, which is something non-believers like to try and use as an excuse for hating God. Jesus says in John 15:22 that if he had not spoken in front of people, they would still be without sin, but by seeing and then rejecting God, they are sealing their own fates. This means that people who have never heard of Jesus and cannot be expected to know of their salvation can still be accepted into heaven when they die depending on their life’s works.

God, above all else, is all about justice. He is holy, He is righteous, He is merciful, and He is just. Because of that, there have to be consequences. He will not permit injustices to go unanswered, so if people are avoiding repentance and the conviction of the Holy Spirit in order to be forgiven, that doesn’t mean it won’t catch up with them. Proverbs 11:21 (NRSV) says; Be assured the wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will escape.

But because God is all about justice and salvation, we can’t just leave people to rot in sin either. We’re actually obliged to correct their behaviour and expose darkness whenever we see it. Ephesians 5:11-13 (NRSV) says; Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible…

How should we judge others? Are we allowed to judge others?

Do not judge lest you be judged (Luke 6:37) is often used by people who wish to avoid being accountable for their actions. Yes, Jesus did say this, but He goes on, in Luke 6:41-42 (NRSV), to explain His meaning with;

Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “friend, let me take out the speck in your eye” when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.

So His advice is not to ever judge, but to engage in self-reflection and self-awareness before you do. How can we see clearly enough to help another, or to understand the right judgement when we refuse to look at our own foibles?

In Romans 2:1-11 (NRSV) it outlines how God judges us when we point the finger at others;

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things…

Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God?

…Do you not realise that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

But by your hard and impertinent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds…

…For God shows no partiality.

This especially applies to when we judge others and refuse to repent and rectify our own behaviour. So that particular point about self-reflection is hugely important.

Forgiveness is a major aspect of Christianity, but how do we apply it? In Matthew 18:21-22 (NRSV) it says; Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’ In Matthew 6:14-15 (NRSV) it says; For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The ability to forgive means that we can sometimes recover a friendship, as it says in Proverbs 17:9 (NRSV) One who forgives an affront fosters a friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend. We have to forgive others in our hearts and let go of anger and resentment so that we can receive forgiveness in return. We can’t be hypocritical. When someone is truly sorry for something they have done and they seek to repair the damage to the relationship, St. Paul has words of advice for how to receive them in 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 (NRSV); so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed with excessive sorrow. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. Galatians 6:1 advises; My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.

Does forgiveness mean that we allow others back into our lives, or permit them to continue in the same behaviour if they haven’t said sorry, or if they keep doing the same things every time?

In Luke 17:3-4 Jesus says; Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.

One of the key features of that statement is repentance. People need to actually acknowledge their mistakes and seek to rectify them in order to repair the relationship, otherwise they’re not seeking a reciprocal relationship with you.

What about people who refuse to change? How do you create and maintain clear boundaries with people who persist in abusive behaviour?

The bible has advice about how to address behaviour with another person in Matthew 18:15-17 (NRSV) which says; ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.

But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a gentile or a tax-collector.’

So Jesus is advising us to try talking in private so that the other person has an opportunity to fix a mistake without the embarrassment of it being public knowledge, but if they won’t accept any wrongdoing, you need to involve other witnesses to hold them accountable and then if that’s not enough you must stop associating with them. They’ve proved they’re untrustworthy at that point.

It’s important to separate yourself from people who are beyond help, or who are refusing to reform their own lives. The most important reason for this is because they will interrupt your walk with God by attempting to suck all of your time and attention away from Him and onto them. Usually with people like that they’re extraordinarily needy and it’s more than just being lazy or self-indulgent, its actually designed to put themselves into the position of a god in other people’s lives.

If you’ve ever dealt with narcissists you’ll probably know that they demand absolute fealty, attention, worship, prime position in your life, immediate compliance to all of their commands etc. You will not be allowed to put God first in your life if you’re dealing with a toxic person, even if they don’t have full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. Even just dealing with shades of it can be detrimental to your journey towards God.

In 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NRSV) it says; Do not be deceived: ‘bad company ruins good morals.’

Titus 3:10-11 (NRSV) says; After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.

1 Timothy 5:20(NRSV) says; As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. And 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 says; Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

Unfortunately, sometimes people are just unable to undertake self-reflection, either by a lack of reasoning ability, or by believing that they don’t need other’s perspective, as in Proverbs 17:10 (NRSV) which says; A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.

The bible actually teaches that you need to cut off people who refuse to reform their ways, and that their behaviour should to be addressed. Permitting bad behaviour gives the wrong impression to others and may cause them to stumble, which is something the bible also condemns.

In Matthew 18:7 (NRSV) Jesus says; Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

If we go back to the first commandment from Jesus to love God first and foremost with all your heart, we start to see where our priorities should lie. God comes first, then we must show compassion for others so that they have a glimpse of God’s love, but anyone who interferes with that journey is not to be given access in the same way that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, because God has boundaries and so must we.

As it says in Galatians 1:10 (NRSV); Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.