Have you ever been stalked by someone in the church or by a random person on the Internet? Okay, all of us are guilty of having stalked someone by using our best sleuthing technological skills. Hopefully, we’re not all-out weirdos.
But stalking your pastor, the pastor’s wife, the pastor’s family, or anyone else in the church or on the Internet goes beyond the usual fallen human being’s status.
Wikipedia defines it this way: Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them.
One wonders why anyone would go to such lengths to stalk someone.
A stalker’s behavior is intentionally mean-spirited, cruel, and wicked. A stalker intends to harm their target, destroy relationships, sow seeds of confusion and distrust, and they will use any means they can to achieve their vile purpose. Internet, Facebook, Twitter…all social media avenues are their special tools. Stalkers often have positions of trust, power, and authority. Stalkers in the church are often referred to as clergy killers or biting sheep.
Dr. Robert H. Muller states in his post, In the Mind of a Stalker, that there are five types of stalkers. I think many church (“Christian”) stalkers fit the following category: The resentful stalker experiences feelings of injustice and desires revenge against their victim rather than a relationship. Their behavior reflects their perception that they have been humiliated and treated unfairly, viewing themselves as the victim. It has been found that resentful stalkers often regard their fathers as highly controlling.
Additionally, “Christian” stalkers may suffer from serious emotional issues or are mad at God for not receiving what they think they deserve—or maybe God didn’t pour out his wrath on their enemy. These type of stalkers may be unhappy in life, have a lousy (or no) family, might have had a “Christian” dump them, may be carrying on some vendetta that has its seeds in an event from years past, and blame any believer for their problems.
Also, it’s very easy (cowardly) to slander and disburse false or denigrating information on the web about anyone. But if you try and rationalize the stalker’s motives, you’ll only end up with a very unpleasant outcome. They will probably blame you instead. “Typical psychological defenses exhibited by stalkers and guilty criminal suspects include denial, rationalization, minimization and projection of blame onto the victim.” (Abby Stein, Prologue to Violence (2006) p. 6).
Wouldn’t it be Christlike if your stalker would repent and actually apologize and even post an apology on the Internet or wherever the slanderer has been targeting you? It would be, but the chances of that happening are slim. In our culture today, it’s difficult to find anyone who’ll admit that they’re in the wrong and are remorseful for their behavior or the hurt they’ve caused.
When was the last time someone asked for your forgiveness for having slandered or hurt you?
Pastor's Wife 2020 is actively involved in all aspects of ministry in the church. A writer and editor, she received her Honours Degree in political science, with minors in English Literature, Philosophy, and History. She also works with social media. Follow her at @pastorswife2020.