Good Intentions


12/20/20212 min read

You've probably heard the old idiom, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Good intentions rarely accomplish anything except to do damage where damage has already been done. Such is the case with those that have left or are in the process of leaving cults or cult-like groups. I've written before about the leaving process and what I believe is the "best" way to leave. I can sum it up here for you, "run."

What most don't understand about the leaving process is the long return to normalcy and healing. Here is where the "good intentions" are meant but are not helpful. If you know someone that has left a cult (we will call it a cult for simplicity's sake, but doesn't have to be a full-blown cult) or they have left any kind of an abusive relationship I offer a bit of advice. If you have never been in this situation you often want to help, I get it. What you may not understand is how long the healing process can take depending on the level of abuse. For some, it can take a lifetime and they will always bear the scars. Allow me to quote a previously mentioned friend about how long it can take to recover, "It takes 2 years out for every year of 'true believer' status in a cult," to boil this down to real numbers means that if you were in the cult for (10) ten years as a committed member it will take you nearly (20) twenty years to fully recover.

It is different for some of course, but many suffer for many years after the departure. If you know someone that has been in this situation to say things like, "you need to get over it," "you need to move one," "you need to stop dwelling on it," "you need to forgive them and focus your attention elsewhere," or any of the myriads of adaptations of these statements, then you are paving the road with your good intentions.

I realize most people don't realize they are doing this. They want to help. They love the person they are talking to, but allow me to sum it up like this. Would you ever tell a rape victim, a Holocaust survivor, a child living under an abusive parent, or a wife living with an abusive husband to "just get over it?"

I offer this correction in love, not to make someone feel bad or guilty, but to show you there are scars you just can't see, and they take time to heal. Give them the space to heal, or better yet say, "I'm so sorry for what you went through, I will continue to pray for you." "Please know how much I love you." A response like this offers a healing balm. In all of this God is working a plan for His glory and the good of the believer (Romans 8:28), in all of that we can trust.