Where Healing Begins
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark, the light meets the dark
Sparks will fly as grace collides
with the dark inside of us
So please don’t fight this coming light
Tenth Avenue North “Healing Begins”
I love this song and have found these lyrics to be so true in my own life. When I have allowed Jesus to flood my soul with the light of his grace and truth, I have begun to find healing. One way this has happened has been by letting Jesus show me the difference between His truth and the twisted Scripture and impossible standards of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). The following is a comparison between what IBLP taught me (implicitly and/or explicitly) and what Jesus has shown me is actually true.
IBLP told me I was never enough. I did not serve enough, read my Bible enough, or pray enough. I was never good enough and would never measure up.
Jesus said to me: “Because of My grace, you are more than enough. I never impose shame or guilt on you or tell you that you are not good enough. Those feelings and lies are from the devil. Grace means that even if you do not read your Bible, pray, and serve as much as others think you should, you are fully loved and accepted by Me. Grace means that in Me, ‘you will find rest for your soul for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ “(Matthew 11:29-30)
IBLP told me my sole purpose in life as a female is to get married, have children, and be a stay-at-home wife and mom.
Jesus said to me: “I have given you unique gifts and strengths that go far beyond marriage and children. Come follow my heart for you and you will see that I delight in watching you find out that my purpose for women is so much bigger than what you grew up being taught. It makes me excited to see you stepping outside of the narrow mindset you grew up with and embracing the broader perspective I intend for you to have regarding your role as a Christian woman.
IBLP told me that as a female, I was always to be under male authority. This meant I was to live at home under my father’s authority until I got married and was under my husband’s authority. Being on my own was wrong and rebellious.
Jesus said to me: “Your value and worth as an individual is separate from the men in your life. You are NOT a helpless, weak, incapable female who cannot make a right choice on your own. I want you to know I am not limited to leading you through others.”
IBLP told me that doing anything my parents did not fully support and agree with was stepping outside of God’s blessing. IBLP told me I couldn’t trust myself and my feelings because I could only hear from God through my parents.
Jesus said to me: “You are responsible to me alone for the choices you make and the path you choose to walk down. Pursue my heart for you above all else and make decisions based on what I want for you, not what others tell you is right or wrong. You do not need to question everything you think and feel. I created you with the capacity to think for yourself. Because I value you so highly, I will speak to you individually, not just through your parents.”
IBLP told me that God always uses my parents to protect, guide, and direct me. Even if they made mistakes, I was to accept that and trust that God would still bless me for choosing to submit myself to their authority. I had to be okay with everything my parents chose to do because they had my best interests at heart.
Jesus said to me: “It’s okay to hurt for all the pain you experienced from how you were raised. I give you the freedom to grieve the loss of your childhood and adolescence. Part of healing means recognizing that some of the things your parents said and did were wrong. Run to me when you are hurting and I will hold you in my arms.”
IBLP told me that getting a college education was unnecessary and possibly even wrong. After all, a degree was pointless when I was just going to be a wife and mom anyway. In addition, college often puts “worldly” and “unbiblical” ideas into student’s heads, drawing them away from God.
Jesus said to me: “Come follow me into the world of academia. If you do, you will find your life changed
forever. You will discover I am so much more than you had ever known. And you will begin to find healing you didn’t know you needed—all through your college education.”
IBLP told me I could only be friends with “like-minded” individuals. Having friends who weren’t raised in the sheltered isolation I was raised in would likely result in me being pulled away from my family and becoming “rebellious” and “worldly.”
Jesus said to me: “I intended you to be in relationships. Being told that friends have to share all of your convictions and beliefs is so wrong. If you are willing to open up and be vulnerable, I will provide you with beautiful, rich, deep relationships with diverse people.”
IBLP told me my worth as a female was determined by what I did. If I could cook, sew, clean, keep house, take care of children, and passively submit to the males in my life, I was a good Christian.
Jesus said to me: “Your worth is found in me alone. You are infinitely valuable because of who you are, not because of what you do. I care about your heart, not whether or not you know how to cook and can keep a perfect house.”
IBLP told me that pushing back against the rigid standards I was raised with was being rebellious and sinful.
Jesus said to me: “When those around you tell you that you are being rebellious and are not honoring me, remember, I called you to walk this path . I was the one who called you out of the legalism and bondage they still live in. The truth is I was the one who gave you the freedom they disapprove of and I delight in seeing you exercise that freedom.”
IBLP told me I needed to cover my body up because it was my fault if a guy lusted over me.
Jesus said to me: “Your body is beautiful and perfect in its femininity. You do not need to worry about other people’s reaction to how you dress. When you seek my heart for what you wear, you are honoring me more than when you cover yourself up out of shame and fear.
IBLP told me my sexuality was something to be suppressed, ignored, and denied until I got married. Furthermore, even learning or reading about sex was wrong as it would decrease my innocence and purity and take away from my sexual relationship within marriage.
Jesus said to me: “Your sexuality is a beautiful and good part of who I made you to be. When you suppress it, you are suppressing a part of who I made you to be. If you let me, I will show you what healthy sexuality looks like as a single person.”
IBLP told me Contemporary Christian Music (or any music with a beat) was not true worship. It was wrong to sing songs that evoked an emotional response.
Jesus said to me: “I created your emotions and I love it when you allow yourself to worship me with them!”
IBLP told me it was important to do everything together as a family.
Jesus said to me: “Family is a valuable gift, but it is also important to have other relationships outside of your family. I created you to live in community broader than that of your family.”
IBLP told me negative emotions weren’t okay to experience, and I needed to suppress them to maintain my own and my family’s good outward appearance and reputation.
Jesus said to me: “I gave you all the emotions you have, including ones often viewed as negative (pain, betrayal, frustration, etc.). When you suppress your emotions, you are actually suppressing a part of who I made you to be. Learn to embrace all of your emotions and deal with them in a healthy way.”
I wish I could say that because Jesus has shown me these truths, I no longer believe the lies I learned from IBLP. But the reality is there are still many moments when I do believe these lies. Days when I struggle to remember the truth and forget to look to Jesus to be reminded of my identity. However, part of this journey to healing means giving myself grace and realizing that it is a process. I simply have to keep walking forward, one step at a time, clinging to Jesus.
After years of living in bondage to legalism, shame, and guilt, Victoria is so grateful for God’s incredible grace which has opened her eyes to the destructive teachings of Bill Gothard and other similar individuals. Her journey of healing from spiritual abuse has led her to understand the nearness of Jesus in a new way. She has now thrown aside "standards" and is loving the joy that comes from walking in freedom.