Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Recognizing Cult Prospects
Every parent dreads having a child hijacked by a cult. Losing a child while they are still alive is frightening. You wonder how it happens and which children are vulnerable. Whereas some cults seem to prey on unbelievers, Christian families experience a false sense of security; being a Christian family does not eliminate the risk. Many cults are based on perverted religious, even Christian, ideals, which the cults twist. This compares to the way Satan tempted Jesus with Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). The question then is: How are we to protect children against cults?
A primary task is to determine who is most vulnerable. Whereas anyone can be hoodwinked into joining a cult, some people have personality traits that increase the possibility of cult seduction. These traits can be learned to help identify vulnerable people. Each of us needs to take this seriously because cults are trained experts in recognizing the vulnerabilities of prime targets. Just as law enforcement agencies create a personality profile of a criminal, cult members and leaders master the recognition of individuals who are susceptible to their techniques. Recruitment is the lifeblood of their business and they are bona fide professionals. It should be every Christian’s business to fight back.
One characteristic cults exploit is a lack of relational security. People are often attracted to a cult because it offers them a sense of interpersonal security they lack. People who connect with cults often have had insecure family relations and insecure friendships, people who are uncomfortable with the basic emotion of self-worth. Sometimes the potential victim feels shunned and rejected by mainstream society, so they look to those outside the mainstream. They may not necessarily be misfits, but they may feel as though they are misfits and seek to find others like themselves.
People lacking spiritual fulfillment are also particularly vulnerable. Often the people who are attracted to cults are very religious people. Many have been involved in religions organizations and practices that are lifeless and dead, which has left them unfulfilled. Frequently the people who join cults have been raised in traditional churches that are ritualistic, formal, and legalistic. Sadly, often the people who enter cults have been in churches a lot, but have never been introduced to Jesus Christ, or told how to have a personal relationship with Him.
Next, people who are lacking in doctrinal foundations are at risk. The best way to recognize an error or a falsehood is to be familiar with the Truth. Experts at recognizing forgeries of any type never waste time studying the array of forgeries, they focus exclusively on memorizing every detail of the genuine article. People who have never attended a strong Bible-centered church generally lack the doctrinal foundation needed to detect the subtle errors and deceptions of a cult. Study the Truth – Jesus Christ. He is the genuine article. If what a cult is offering does not match Him, run as fast as you can!
Finally, people who lack emotional stability are prime targets for cults. Many cults intentionally endeavor to attract the emotionally unstable. They appeal to those who struggle to cope with life, culture, and the stresses related to every-day living. The person may be a very intelligent individual who is simply stressed out, and looking for some kind of escape. Often they are so tired of responsibility and making decisions, they are glad to let some controlling cult leader make all their decisions for them. All of us go through periods of stress in our lives, meaning none of us is invulnerable – a very scary thought.
Joining a cult is not normal. It is a path to spiritual destruction because none of them recognizes Jesus Christ for who He is. None of us wants to lose a friend or family member to a cult. It is our duty as Christians to do everything in our power to recognize at-risk individuals and to help these potential cult prospects avoid destruction. Teach them God’s normal Truth. If you follow His Truth, the LORD Jesus Christ (John 8:32), the attraction of the cult has no power and the Truth shall set you free.
Tomorrow’s devotional will discuss the founder of a highly successful cult.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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