James 1:17 / Mark 7: 1

Gaslighting is a serious problem in our society today including we Christians as it is an attempt to destabilize our safety and the reliability of truth. Gaslighting is the attempt of one person to overwrite another person’s reality.  It is a tactic used for gaining power and control.  The term gets its name from a 1938 play and 1944 film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman in which her husband would secretly dim the gaslight, but when she commented on it, he insisted she must be crazy.  And he convinced others she was insane as well. The underlying message of a gaslighter is always this:  "What you know to be true is not true". 

There are five things you need to know about gas-lighting: (1) * Gaslighting requires a belief that it is acceptable to overwrite another person’s reality. (2) * Gaslighting has the goal of actually changing who someone is, not just their behavior. (3) * Gaslighting doesn’t always involve anger or intimidation (4) * Gaslighters accuse the victim of being the bully (5) * Gaslighting engages the victim in a hamster-wheel of illogical arguing and sucks up vast amounts of emotional energy.

As Christians we need to be aware and fight this illogical trend and disease in our society. There are six steps: (1) Name it, don’t normalize it. (2) Do not enable it.  Shut it down. (3) Check in with people you trust. (4) Listen and believe those who are confiding in you how they’re feeling and what they’re experiencing. (5) Help others to self-differentiate and find communities of resistance. (6) As a person of faith, use every spiritual and religious resource available. 

A complete article is available here on our web-page as the Vicar's Voice. I am grateful to the Center for Progressive Christianity that provided some background information on this topic.