A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

A Critique of Jay Adams’ Booklet, “Godliness Through Discipline” – by Rebecca Davis

Rebecca Davis has posted part one of a three part series over at BJUGrace. She explains her introduction to abuse:

For about four years I walked with a friend through a domestic abuse situation which involved a difficult court case. That was my introduction to hypocrisy whereby a man can be a respected elder in his church while living a life of manipulation, intimidation, and abuse at home.

In the course of helping her friend, she read a booklet by Jay Adams (“father” of nouthetic counseling) called Godliness Through Discipline.  Here in this series of critiques, she shows why the methods taught in that booklet are unbiblical and really, pure legalism. So here is the link to her first of three. Thanks Rebecca!

How the Wicked Use “Christian Servanthood” to Gain Control of People

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

Recently TWBTC, our ACFJ team member who helps us soooo much behind the scenes on the blog, made the following observation in a comment:

May I note two observations that I took from your scenario? 1) The handyman initiated the contact and offered his assistance. DeBecker in his book, The Gift of Fear, would call this tactic — Loan Sharking. He explains that some men know that if they help you that will “place you in their debt, and the fact that you owe a person something makes it hard to ask him to leave you alone.”

I cannot tell you how vital this is for ALL of us to get a firm grip on. Our local churches almost always have these kinds of loan sharks circling about in their pews and quite often these sharks have become “pillars” of the church they are in. You know the drill. The most “godly saint” in the whole church. The go-to guy whenever there is a need. “Just look over there at the church building most anytime and there will be good old (insert name of demon here) working away for the Lord.” Yeah, right. In fact the guy is a shark circling.

And this is how it works.

Just as DeBecker says, many sociopaths, abusers, and wicked people know innately that they can enhance their control of people if they can get those people into their debt. They can also use this tactic to prevent anyone from confronting them – “Oh boy! We can’t accuse Jack of abusing his wife. Why, look at all the fine service for the Lord he has done here.”

In EVERY church I have served as pastor (four of them in 32 years) one or two loan sharks were well entrenched when I arrived. Someone once said to new pastors “Watch out for the guy who picks you up at the airport when you first arrive in town.” That person was right. In every single case in these scenarios the “most godly servant of the Lord we have ever known” turned out to be a loan shark. All of their “service” was designed with one thing in mind – control and power. They wanted people to be in their debt, especially the pastor. “Anything you need, pastor, just give me a call. I’m always glad to help.”

Many of you will connect with this because your abuser used the same tactic. Abuse victims tell us with some regularity that their abuser was “always ready to help” others. He wouldn’t lift a hand to help his wife at home, but watch him go when he spotted a chance to “help” others and thereby get them into his debt. That debt may be nothing more than simply giving him praise and being duped into disbelieving any possibility that the abuse his wife might report one day could be true.

Let’s call the worst loan shark I have ever known, GW (stands for Great White). GW lived to present himself to the world as the finest example of sainthood and humility ever given to this world by the Lord. And he was largely successful. “Hey, do you know GW?” “You bet! What a fine, Christian man!”

The first few times GW offered his help, I got one of those unsettled gut feelings that tells us “something is wrong here.” I of course thought that it was simply a matter of GW’s personality quirk. “He’s just a Christian brother with a couple of abnormalities, but his heart is in the right place.” But then, on multiple occasions, I observed GW blow a bit of a gasket. I mean, he was angry and that anger was completely out of place and unexpected. It flared up when the person GW had “helped” offered to give GW a gift or do something in return to thank him for his assistance. Normal reaction?  “No, no that is not necessary. I am glad to help.” GW’s reaction – “NO! NO! You will cause me to lose my reward with the Lord!!!” Spoken heatedly in anger. Now, that is not simply just plain weird. It is just plain evil and I will tell you why.

GW blew a fuse and used his anger to punish the one offering the gift because GW’s strategy of putting that person in debt so as to control them was being short-circuited. This really ticked him off, though he was able to throw in a Bible concept, use it to punish and demean the one offering a gift, and thereby remain “saintly.”

I understand now what GW was doing. But I will never comprehend it. What I mean is, I simply cannot comprehend the depth of wickedness in people like this. Nor can I fathom how that evil so fully and completely defines who such a person is that they can craft these schemes from the pit without even breaking a sweat.

Water is wet. Heat is hot. Abusers abuse. It is what they do. It is who they are.

A Sure Sign that Something is Wrong in a Church – Failure to Care for Widows and Orphans

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:1-7)

One of the first ministries that went into effect in the newly baptized Christian church after Pentecost was the ministry to widows. Due to apparent partiality, a problem of favoritism arose and had to be dealt with. Men full of faith and the Holy Spirit were selected to oversee the ministry and God continued to bless the church.

This tells us that the Holy Spirit directs His people to care for the oppressed – widows and orphans. The thing is even connected directly with the growth of the church. And it tells us something else: When a local church neglects the protection and care of widows and orphans (like abuse victims), the Holy Spirit is not operative, is not being obeyed, and whatever “growth” is occurring is most probably NOT true growth of the body of Christ produced by the Spirit. 

Now consider this conclusion carefully. This means then that IF (as we believe to be the case) most local churches are not effecting justice upon and caring for abuse victims in their midst, then at best they are quenching and disobeying the Holy Spirit, and even more – Christ may well have departed from them long ago. For all the show and glamour of senior pastors, multiple staff members, whazoo worship teams, new people being “won to Christ” and new buildings going up, if such a place is dealing out the scenario of injustice to the oppressed in the all too typical manner we write about on this blog and which so many of you have suffered through, then the Spirit of Christ has left the temple.

Is that an exaggeration? An overstatement of the case? I bet some people will claim that it is. But to them, I say, look at the Word of God. How can it be denied in light of all the Lord has to say about caring for widows and orphans, in both Old and New Testaments, and in light of what we have shown here in Acts 6….how can it be denied that any church not faithfully rendering true justice and aid to victims, including dispensing justice to their abusers is only a hollow shell from which Christ has departed?

A Typical Characteristic of an Abuser – He Never Stops Trying

Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward…(Matthew 26:59-60)

It is not surprising that abusers are accusers. They are, after all, of their father the devil who is known as the accuser of the brethren. Slander and lies are his stock and trade and so it is with his children.

Probably every single abuse victim has been falsely accused, lied about, slandered, and libeled by their oppressor. And people have believed those lies. Duped by the abuser, they side with and enable him, becoming his allies.  And all this does not stop with the divorce.

Abusers do what they do. They do what they are. They keep on, for years and years, accusing and lying in order to oppress.  It has been my experience that years, even decades, can go by. You may not have even thought of your old abuser much of late and you are pressing on with your life. And then. . .bang! Some word comes your way. Some person you haven’t seen for along while. Something or someone communicates to you that the abuser is STILL at it. Spinning his evil lies. Making his false accusations. And people still are believing him.

Abusers you see, are wicked. They are children of the Destroyer and destruction is their mission. They don’t stop because they still are what they were. You will never, you see, hear anything like the following words from the abuser:

Oh yes, her. We were married for a long time and I am ashamed to say that I treated her. . .very badly. Oh I justified what I did to her for quite a few years but as I look back on the whole thing now, I am as I say, ashamed of myself. How petty I was. It was all my fault.

Nope. That is not going to happen. What WILL happen if you somehow, as I say by some word from someone or some other happening that communicates information to you about that old abuser, what you WILL see (and perhaps you will even be a bit shocked by the thing) is that the abuser hasn’t skipped a beat all these years. It is as if those years since you got away from him weren’t years at all, but only a few days. His character is unchanged. His tactics are the same.

Because abusers abuse. They never stop trying. It’s in their DNA. It’s in their soul.

Thursday Thought — It’s the Abuser’s Choice

Another gem from the GEMS page:

 

You can lead an abuser to God’s mercy, but you can’t make him drink.
[Ps Jeff Crippen]

I Will Remember You: a poem by a reader

This poem post is by one of our longtime readers, IamMyBeloved’s.  Many thanks to her!

The other day as I was feeling the consequences of being married to an abuser, I started recalling events in my mind of how our lives had been with this man and all he had done to us. That is when I decided to write this.

I will remember you…

As the man who abused my children…

I will remember you…

As the man who tried to put your disabled daughter away in a home where she would be alone, afraid and completely away from all that is familiar to her, just so you did not have to take care of her or me…

I will remember you…

As the man who put your adolescent through psychological testing so you could prove she was crazy, not even thinking about her or the consequences this would have to her life…

I will remember you…

As the man who raped and pillaged your family financially, to the point that at times we could not even purchase milk, though I let you walk away a millionaire…

I will remember you…

As the man who because of the fear you instilled by your abuse, caused the children to scatter like mice when they heard your hand touch the front door handle…

I will remember you…

As the man who sought out the aid of others to try to put me, your wife of decades and mother of your children, away in a mental institution, where my children would be left alone and without a mother.

I will remember you…

As the man who caused your family to live in complete terror of you, because of your abuse.

I will remember you…

As the man your children believed had locked their mother in the garage and set it on fire…

I will remember you…

As the man who was forgiven by us for all your sin against us, and yet it made no difference in your life as you continued to pursue us to destroy us…

I will remember you…

As the man who was so highly abusive that you incited a “c”hurch against me and your children and would not stop until they had excommunicated me…

I will remember you…

As the man who caused your children to have to get counseling to deal with the fear and shame you caused them to bear…

I will remember you…

As the most dangerous person to my soul that I have ever known, who cast me to the street and sought to rip me from God’s hand…

I will remember you…

As the man who blamed me and your children for your family’s abuses and psychological madness, even though it was not us.

I will remember you…

As the man who we loved and tried to lead to God, willing to forgive all your faults and sins against us, who in turn savagely tried to starve and ruin us…

I will remember you…

As the man who sweetly wooed and won my heart, through deception, never revealing who you really were, until the marriage vows were taken and the doors were shut.

But then, after I remember who you really were, I will remember my God.

I will remember that He holds all power and restrained your evil against us.

I will remember for the rest of my life how my God reached out of the Heavens and delivered us from your heavy-handed abuse.

I will remember that all your attempts to put me away, were snuffed out by my gracious Lord.

I will remember that He loved me enough to allow enough to happen to cause me never to look back.

I will remember that He is my Savior, my provider, my Husband, my Friend, my All in All and that His banner over me is love.

I will remember that this same Jesus is all those same things to my beautiful children and that He will heal their devastation.

I will remember that somehow I forgot to find out whether you were a loyal, trustworthy, caring and loving best friend who could be a godly husband and father to me and our children but I won’t forget to find those things out in the future.

I will remember that profession of Christ means little and remember that true Christians bear good fruit.

I will remember that forgiveness does not mean “reconciliation” nor does it mean someone does not have to face the consequences for their sin and crimes.

I will remember that there is a difference between being deceived and being deceptive.

I will remember there is a difference between bearing a wicked evil heart and just being a Christian person who still sins.

Lastly, I will remember, that we have all forgiven you and will still forgive you each time you choose to abuse or endanger us.

Sadly, when rare soft echoes of laughter are heard in the walls of this home, they are overshadowed by the reign of terror you once had here — and are drowned out by the memory of prior cries your children made, pleading with God for Him to please make the abuse stop and free us all from the terror we were living in.

We are now free. That freedom means to us that we are free to serve God fully again, free to laugh again, free to live again, free to love again, free to be happy again and free to still pursue action if you decide to victimize us — ever again.

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