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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: September 28, 2014.

Jack Watts’ weekly column is aimed at helping those who have been wounded, including those who have been abused by the church. If you are in pain—or if someone you know is in pain—you will find real comfort, wisdom, and many answers right here. Based on his book, Recovering from Religious Abuse, published by Simon & Schuster, Jack will teach you the value of working the “11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.” Remember, recovery is a process—not a destination. The answers are simple but not always easy. Look to the Lord and allow His Spirit to heal you.


Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal, mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice—Miguel De Cervantes



Part of recovery—after enduring the initial trauma from your abuse—is determining who you intend to be for the rest of your life. You have to decide whether or not you will be a perpetual victim?


If this isn’t what you want, you will have to take the necessary steps to become the person you know you were created to be? Making this decision is an important step and needs to be made thoughtfully. Most don’t do this. Instead, they just drift along aimlessly, trying to forget about their painful experience.


Living in such denial isn’t a good strategy. It never works, especially with something as serious as abuse. Shortly after an abusive experience, most have a natural tendency to shrink away from conflict. They become tentative, insecure, and uncertain. Other people, by way of contrast, become cynical, jaded, hostile, and combative. Still others seem to fluctuate between the two, which is a particularly volatile mix, producing instability and acting-out behavior.


None of these reactive responses is desirable. If you want your life to count—really count—you’ll have to abandon your natural reactive tendencies, choosing instead to pursue proactively a life where you make a determined effort to change how you respond to your abuse. It’s critical to your recovery to do this.


If another abusive situation occurs, which may happen, although it might be difficult, taking a firm stand in direct opposition to the situation may be exactly what you are supposed to do. Even the Lord, who loved everybody, had conflicts with abusive, self-righteous religious leaders. So should we. It’s probably the best way to ensure that evil does not triumph.

As you pursue your recovery, your usefulness to the Lord and others will increase. If you are willing to be used, join me in this prayer:




My spirit has been rejuvenated.

Even my step feels lighter,

As the burden of my past has been

Lifted from my shoulders.

Now free to walk into the future,

Unencumbered by guilt, shame,

And all of my self-defeating behavior,

I want my life to have more meaning

Than the mediocrity that has become my routine.

The pursuit of valueless materialism no longer

Has the appeal it once held for me.

In fact, my definition of success has changed.

My spirit has been awakened, and I want

To spend all of my days, which You have numbered,

Doing what You would have me do—

What You have prepared for me.

I’ve learned that I can understand

Your leading as I look back,

Far better than by looking forward.

Whatever You have in store for me, Lord,

Regardless of what that might be,

That is where I want to spend my days.

Having wandered so far from You in the past,

I know the mischief I am capable of,

Which is not what I want for my life.

Father, guard my heart so that

I do not wander away from You again,

Pursuing fruitless, meaningless endeavors.

Let my heart rejoice in Your ways.

Give me peace, purpose, and the resolve

To accomplish Your will each day,

For as many days as I have left.

Thank You for healing my wounds,

In Christ’s Name I pray,


Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with God, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to give me the power to carry it out.

So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:12-13)



To see more on recovery, check out  The 11 Steps to Recover from Religious Abuse.




Jack Watts won the award for the “Most Inspirational Memoir” in 2011 for Hi, My Name Is Jack, published by Simon & Schuster. They also published Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.His daily blog, Pushing Jesus, is read in more than 140 countries. Jack lives in Atlanta, where he broadcasts two weekly Blog Talk Radio shows—Jack Watts Live and Jack Watts on Recovery. Single, he has five children and nine grandchildren.


To see more from Jack Watts please visit


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