A Cry For Justice

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

Compassion Requires Anger – If You Aren’t Angry then You Aren’t Compassionate

Ok, it is time to shut down these wrong-headed and damaging notions:

1. A Christian must never be angry at another person

2. Compassion is calm, huggy, weepy, kind – milktoast.

Bleh!  Compassion. Let’s look at the word-

com + passion = feeling the feelings (passions) of another person WITH (com) that person

Yes, compassion is sympathy (sym (with) + pathos (feelings)) when it is extended toward a victim.  But when compassion, that is to say, when we enter into the victim’s passions in regard to the abuser, compassion is not calm, huggy, weepy, or even kind. It rages. It burns with wrath at the wickedness done and at the wicked person who did it. Does that sound UN-Christian or UN-godly? Then re-examine your idea of the character and nature of God.

When we claim to show compassion to someone who has been abused, then our compassion is a lie if we do not also feel anger toward the abuser. And you all know how this false compassion plays itself out. Listen as Mary talks to Linda after Linda’s husband Jack hit her in a rage the night before:

“Oh, Linda. I am so sorry for you. Look at that black, swollen eye. What’s that you say? Leave him? Divorce him? You say you…you…hate him? Linda, Jack is a victim of his own sin. We are all sinners. It is wrong for a Christian to hate someone or to be so angry at someone like you are now. Linda, you need to ask God’s forgiveness and pray for Jack.”

Mary, I gotta just say – shut up. Mary is not compassionate. Her compassion is fake. Mary is not joining into the passions of Linda. If she were, then Mary would be hot with anger against Jack too.  Anger at wickedness is not a sin. In fact, an absence of anger against wickedness IS a sin!

If you aren’t angry about evil, then please don’t claim to be compassionate toward its victims.

Because you aren’t. Compassion demands anger.

 

Thursday Thought — How to Support an Abuse Victim

If you would like to make a significant difference in the life of an abused woman you care about, keep the following principle fresh in your mind:  Your goal is to be the complete opposite of what the abuser is.

The Abuser:  Pressures her severely

So you should:  Be patient.  Remember that it takes time for an abused woman to sort out her confusion and figure out how to handle her situation.  It is not helpful for her to try to follow your timetable for when she should stand up to her partner, leave him, call the police, or whatever step you want her to take.  You need to respect her judgment regarding when she is ready to take action — something the abuser never does.

The Abuser:  Talks down to her

So you should:  Address her as an equal.  Avoid all traces of condescension or superior knowledge in your voice.  This caution applies just as much or more to professionals.  If you speak to an abused woman as if you are smarter or wise than she is, or as if she is going through something that could never happen to you, then you inadvertently confirm exactly what the abuser has been telling her, which is that she is beneath him.  Remember, your actions speak louder than your words.

The Abuser:  Thinks he knows what is good for her better than she does

So you should:  Treat her as the expert on her own life.  Don’t assume that you know what she needs to do.  I have sometimes given abused women suggestions that I thought were exactly right but turned out to be terrible for that particular situation.  Ask her what she thinks might work and, without pressuring her, offer suggestions, respecting her explanations for why certain courses of action would not be helpful.  Don’t tell her what to do.

The Abuser:  Dominates conversations

So you should:  Listen more and talk less.  The temptation may be great to convince her what a “jerk” he is, to analyze his motives, to give speeches covering entire chapters of this book.  But talking too much inadvertently communicates to her that your thoughts are more important than hers, which is exactly how the abuser treats her.  If you want her to value her own feelings and opinions, then you have to show her that you value them.

The Abuser:  Believes he has the right to control her life

So you should:  Respect her right to self-determination.  She is entitled to make decisions that are not exactly what you would choose, including the decision to stay with her abusive partner or to return to him after a separation.  You can’t convince a woman that her life belongs to her if you are simultaneously acting like it belongs to you.  Stay by her even when she makes choices that you don’t like.

The Abuser:  Assumes he understands her children and their needs better than she does

So you should:  Assume that she is a competent, caring mother.  Remember that there is no simple way to determine what is best for the children of an abused woman.  Even if she leaves the abuser, the children’s problems are not necessarily over, and sometimes abusers actually create worse difficulties for the children post-separation than before.  You cannot help her to find the best path for her children unless you have a realistic grasp of the complicated set of choices that face her.

The Abuser:  Thinks for her

So you should:  Think with her.  Don’t assume the role of teacher or rescuer.  Instead, join forces with her as a respectful and equal team member

Notice that being the opposite of the abuser does not simply mean saying the opposite of what he says.  If he beseeches her with, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me,” and you stand on the other side badgering her with, “Leave him, leave him,” she will feel that you’re much like him; you are both pressuring her to accept your judgment of what she should do.  Neither of you is asking the empowering question, “What do you want to do?”

(excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He DO That?* pp370-372.)

*Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.

 

Some things that are True About Every Christian, and Not True About an Abuser

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:1-9)

I trust that all of us who believe the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative Word of God will agree that this passage of Scripture describes several things that are true of EVERY Christian with no exception. Understanding this will set you free of many of the ploys of the enemy, and from those of his agents, abusers. Look for yourself in the text above and check it out. The Apostle Paul tells us that -

1. Every Christian is free from any and all condemnation from God. He is “in Christ Jesus” and that means that the believer’s sins have been imputed (transferred) to Christ on the cross and that the righteous obedience of Christ has been imputed to the Christian. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21)”  All of course by faith alone.  Is the abuser free from the condemnation of God?  Is he going to have a get out of jail free card on the Day of Judgment? NO!

2. Every Christian has been set free from the law (the active principle/dynamic) of sin and death. Sin, death. Sin, condemnation. That power over the believer has been broken. It was broken on the cross when we died there with Christ. See Romans 7 on this. The law has no more power over a dead man.

3.  Every Christian walks not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. According to. That is one powerful preposition! The Christian, without exception, now lives (walks) in accordance with/in agreement with the Holy Spirit in him. Perfectly? No, and yes. Imperfectly in the sense that the Christian can still commit sin. But immediately and perfectly (consistently) (see Galatians 5:16ff) this new power in him arises and opposes that sin.  Furthermore, it is the Holy Spirit who is the dominating dynamic in every Christian. It is this walking according to the Spirit that defines who the Christian now is.

4. Every Christian has a new mindset. EVERY Christian. The man or woman regenerated by Christ (born again) has had a major and radical mind renewal. That renewal is ongoing (see Romans 12:1-2), the mindset, the very mentality of the Christian is one that is in agreement with the Spirit, not the flesh. The Christian is concerned with and seeks after the things of the Spirit, not the sinful things of the flesh. He loves them. He yearns for them. Do we see this radical new mindset, this newness of person in the abuser?  NO!

5. The Christian is at peace with God and lives in true, new life. This is not true of the unbeliever. The unsaved mind is hostile to God. It refuses to submit to the law of God. In fact, it cannot obey God. It, yes it is true, hates God and the things of the Spirit. But this old hostility has ended and been replaced by peace with God in every Christian. [Tell me, surely you see that this is true. The abuser is at war with God. He cannot please God because he truly hates God and the things of the Spirit, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  Right?  Read this passage very carefully. Many people who claim to be Christians hate this fact. The unsaved man is hostile to God. The unsaved woman cannot please God. Not even an itty bitty bit?  No! Listen again – “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

6.  If these things are not true of someone, then that person is NOT a Christian. “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”  That’s pretty plain, right?

7.  Every human being is in one of these two categories. There is no middle ground. A person is either in the flesh or in the Spirit.  Try as you might, you will not find any place in God’s Word for a 3rd, middle ground category.

Now go back and look again at the Scripture above and these seven qualities true of every Christian. Look at them and think carefully. What do they necessarily say about a person whose very mentality is one of entitlement to power and control over others, and who feels completely justified in using whatever evil tactics he needs to to gain and maintain that power?  See it?  They tell us that the abuser does not belong to Christ. The abuser is not free from God’s condemnation. God’s wrath is set upon him. The abuser has not been set free from the law of sin and death. He sins and sins and sins and stands condemned to eternal death. The abuser walks according to the flesh, not according to the Spirit. The abuser still is dominated by his same old mindset that thinks in agreement with his sinful flesh. The abuser is not at peace with God and is not experiencing new life. He remains hostile to God and to God’s Word no matter how much he tries to play the Christian. And therefore, on the authority of God’s Word, we see that the abuser is devoid of the Spirit of God and does not belong to Him.

And this message desperately needs to be proclaimed and put into application in churches, in seminaries, in the lives of all church members, many of whom would then find that they are in need of being born again themselves.

Translating Robert Morris’s manipulative introduction of Driscoll

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church near Dallas, recently praised Mark Driscoll and invited him up to the platform at a large conference in Dallas and gave him the microphone (see video — but the latter portion showing Morris and Driscoll speaking on stage has been removed since it was first uploaded to YouTube.)

Morris offered Driscoll the microphone — and Driscoll took it — in direct contravention of the undertaking Driscoll had given on 24 August 2014 (article & transcript of Driscoll’s undertaking) (video). At that time Driscoll said:

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 6.34.29 PMRobert Morris should not have offered Mark Driscoll the microphone if he genuinely wants Driscoll to reform. It was immense foolishness on Morris’s part.

I will attempt to translate Morris here. I will not translate Driscoll because I think most people can see that he’s trying to use his kids to make a pity play. I also believe that Morris’s power play here is very dangerous. I feel it’s important to evaluate his manipulative technique.

Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:

Robert Morris:

Tonight’s been phenomenal. Would you agree? So far uh, we’re just getting started (applause). Part of our heart is that you’re refreshed in the presence of God, when you come. And I hope you, you were refreshed in his presence, uh, tonight.

Uhm, I wanna before I uh introduce Steven, our our speaker tonight, I want to introduce you to a friend. A good friend of mine.

And I’ve been um speaking with him for several months now.

He’s going through uh a a difficulty that most of you’ve probably read about. Um, I know the behind the scenes story.

Uh, he was supposed to speak at our conference. Uh, it was publicized that we cancelled him; that’s not true, we did not cancel.

I’m speaking of Mark Driscoll. We did not cancel him. He and I decided together uh that he was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing.

Uh he asked me, “Could I come to the conference and just attend?” And I thought that was very big of him. To just come and be ministered to, and again I just want to say a couple things.

First of all, I want you to know that everything you read on the internet is not true (laughter, applause).

And there are some pastors, myself included, and some others that you would know, that we’re speaking into his life and he’s listening.

And uh, uh uh most of what you read is not true. Some of it is.

He did make some mistakes.

Uh here’s what I figure. We’ve got two choices.

One is we could crucify him (pause). But since someone’s already been crucified (hollering) for him (applause, hollering). The other choice is we could restore him with a spirit of gentleness considering ourselves, lest we are also tempted (applause).

It is very sad that in the church we’re the only army that shoots at our wounded.

And I want you to stop it. I really do.

Thank you. I’d like for you to show your love for him and for you to just welcome him. Mark would you stand up. This is Mark Driscoll. (Standing ovation, extended applause, hollering, whistling). (murmuring between MD and RM) (more applause, hollering, whistling)

Driscoll speaks.

Robert Morris (begins 6:34):

Thank you, thank you for your graciousness very much and um, um., we’re grateful. Debbie and I’ve been able to spend some time with Mark and Grace and talking with them and uuhh, we were talking the night before he resigned and talking about that and um talking through the situation and you know he uh resigned the church he founded and pastored for 18 years. (draws breath)

Uhm, he, he, you know, when I say he made some mistakes, he made some mistakes like he past — he preached ten to twelve years, 50 weeks a year. Sometimes six services a weekend. And uh it’s just not healthy and um, so I’m uh glad that uh he’s saying, “Help me.” “Hel-help me learn uh to do it differently and do it better.”

And so I love him very, very much and um I’m I’m glad that he’s here.

Uh you’re going to be blessed. Uhm, tonight I was thinking though that uh we invited uh Mark and Steven to be at, a part of our conference and they both got bad media this year.

Huh-huh-huh-uh-he, I uh-uh-huh-uhuh I just uh they’re buddies now. So huh-uh (laughter) Uh but uh but it is surprising how, how uh we believe so quickly something that we read, uh about a brother in Christ that we’ve never even met.

 

Translation in red. My thoughts in purple italics. Also, I would like you to make a mental note of every time Morris says “uh, um,” or the like. I think it’s his tell; the indicator that he’s mentally setting up a manipulative phrase. What do you think?

Morris:
I want to introduce you to a friend. He’s my friend. So he’s cool. He’s awesome by association. A good friend of mine. He’s my good friend and if you’re questioning him, you’re questioning me.

And I’ve been um speaking with him for several months now. I am SuperPastor. My Super advice will fix him.

He’s going through uh a a difficulty He’s a victim. that most of you’ve probably read about. Um, I know the behind the scenes story. I know more than you. Trust ME.

Uh, he was supposed to speak at our conference. Uh, it was publicized that we cancelled him; that’s not true, we did not cancel. I see you’re using the passive voice there. Who publicized that? Zombies? Why are you just now correcting the zombies’ falsehood?

I’m speaking of Mark Driscoll. We did not cancel him. He and I decided together uh that he was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing. It was our decision and it’s a good one. I advised him. He listens to me. That’s good. You should listen to me too.

Uh he asked me, “Could I come to the conference and just attend?” And I thought that was very big of him. See how humble he is? To just come and be ministered to, and again I just want to say a couple things.

First of all, I want you to know that everything you read on the internet is not true (laughter, applause). Don’t believe the internet. Believe ME. Even if you’re reading this on the internet. I know the answers. No need to look elsewhere or think for yourself. Just let me tell you what to do. Are Mark’s own words true? Can we look at his own words and observe the blame-shifting and lack of remorse for the damage he’s caused? Or do we only trust in you?

And there are some pastors, myself included, and some others that you would know, that we’re speaking into his life and he’s listening. But not to Dr. Paul Tripp or the pastors who begged him to repentAnd not to his elders. And not to his victims.

And uh, uh uh most of what you read is not true. If you believe anyone other than ME approved news sources, you are gullible. Some of it is. But you’re not clever enough to sort that out. So just turn your brains off and trust me.

He did make some mistakes. MISTAKES? That’s almost as bad as the ridiculous term “moral failure! It’s SIN. Call it “sin.” Stop minimizing. Just STOP IT.

Uh here’s what I figure. We’ve got two choices. False dichotomy fallacy

One is we could crucify him (pause). But since someone’s already been crucified (hollering) for him (applause, hollering). The other choice is we could restore him with a spirit of gentleness considering ourselves, lest we are also tempted (applause). No. There are more choices. You are choosing to harm him by pretending he’s fine. You could choose to love him and call him to repentance and not let up until he does.

It is very sad that in the church we’re the only army that shoots at our wounded. If you continue to point out sin among my friends, you are a bad Christian. Mark Driscoll is a wounded man, so don’t believe anything you hear about how he’s bullied and wounded others! Just focus on how wounded he is and give him some slack!  I am so very done with this dumb cliche. What if we don’t shoot the wounded Christians, but we do announce the presence of WOLVES among the sheep? What if we point out sin and call sinners to repentance and they are delivered from Hell?

And I want you to stop it. I really do. Because if we stop it, that’s what makes things ok. Not if Mark repents, but if we stop pointing out that he hasn’t.

Thank you. I’d like for you to show your love for him and for you to just welcome him. Mark would you stand up. This is Mark Driscoll.

Driscoll uses his kids as human shields.

Morris (begins 6:34):
Thank you, thank you for your graciousness very much and um, um., we’re grateful. He’s so humble. BELIEVE THAT HE’S HUMBLE.

Debbie and I’ve been able to spend some time with Mark and Grace and talking with them and uuhh, we were talking the night before he resigned and talking about that and um talking through the situation It’s a situation, not sin. and you know he uh resigned the church he founded and pastored for 18 years. (draws breath)

Uhm, he, he, you know, when I say he made some mistakes, he made some mistakes like he past — he preached ten to twelve years, 50 weeks a year. Sometimes six services a weekend. And uh it’s just not healthy His “mistake” was working too hard and being too devoted. Anyone ever had their abuser tell them that he just luuvs you so much and that’s why he’s jealous and stalks you and scares off your friends?

and um, so I’m uh glad that uh he’s saying, “help me.” Gaslighting. Driscoll is not saying “help me.” He’s saying I quit rather than submit to my elders help. GASLIGHTING!  “Hel-help me learn uh to do it differently and do it better.” Does he want a list?

And so I love him very, very much and um I’m I’m glad that he’s here. I love him. So he’s fine. Fine I tell you.

Uh you’re going to be blessed. Uhm, tonight I was thinking though that uh we invited uh Mark and Steven to be at, a part of our conference and they both got bad media this year. They are victims of the media. Not of their own pride and arrogance. The media got them.

Huh-huh-huh-uh-he, I uh-uh-huh-uhuh I just uh they’re buddies now. So huh-uh (laughter) Uh but uh but it is surprising how, how uh we believe so quickly something that we read, uh about a brother in Christ that we’ve never even met. You’re being conned if you believe anything but what I say. I know more than you. You aren’t qualified to read Mark’s own words or Mars Hill’s own words and judge for yourself. Just let me tell you what to think. And he IS a brother in Christ, that is not open to question. It’s  so much taken for granted that I shall call him a brother in Christ without justifying or explaining that term. I don’t want to even allow you to think that he may not be a brother in Christ, so I just slip that in at the end to numb your minds. 

“A Cry For Justice” — a book review by Ps Shane Lems

Why The Church Covers Up Abuse is Ps Shane Lems’ review of the book A Cry For Justice.  

I know I said we wouldn’t be publishing a post this Sunday because I mistakenly published one yesterday. . . but this is a little bonus. I hope some of our readers comment at Shane’s post, as I think he would find it encouraging. :)

1 Peter 3:6 — Sarah’s children do what is right and do not give way to fear

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (KJV)

like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (NIV)

as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (ESV)

If a victim of abuse desires to obey scripture, she can feel herself to be perpetually knifed by the blade of the Word in 1 Peter 3:1-6. That was where I was for years. It seemed to say: Put up with the abuse no matter how bad, because if you respond out of fear you are failing in your Christian walk.

And a little later in that chapter, Be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled (3:14 KJV) may seem to be an injunction to suppress emotion and stay in denial about the covenant-destroying pattern of conduct her husband is showing, and the damage it is causing her and the kids.

But there is a limit to what wives should suffer at the hands of ungodly husbands. The limit is set by Peter’s command to ‘do good’, to do the right thing, even in the face of intimidation.

Peter tells wives to do good and not give way to the fear of what their husbands might do.

We should submit to our husbands only in so far as righteous obedience to God will permit.

When a Christian woman who is being abused by her husband attempts to do good to her husband by (e.g.) admonishing him for his sinful ways, resisting his abuse, setting boundaries against his destructive conduct, etc., the abuser tries even harder to make her afraid of him so that she backs down and complies with his wickedness, which will enable him to continue in his wicked ways. Such a woman does good and the result is: her husband escalates and intimidates her even more.

Verse 6 addresses this situation. It tells such wives to nevertheless continue to do the good without backing down, without giving way to fear or intimidation. And bear in mind, it is not wrong to feel the emotion of fear; it is wrong to let the fear intimidate you into sinning. And *sinning* in this case, often takes the form of complying with the abuser and ‘letting’ him wield his wicked rule over her.

It does the wife no good to be further oppressed and downtrodden, because that leads to mental and physical and spiritual exhaustion not to mention all the health impacts on the woman’s body. And the same for the kids. And it does the abuser no good because it just enables him to become further entrenched in his evil ways and entitled mindset.

Note well: I am not blaming the victim here for ‘letting’ the abuser abuse. The abuser chooses to abuse and the abuser is always responsible for his own actions and attitudes. The victims, with immense creativity and problem solving, choose micro-moment by micro-moment how to navigate this ground of eggshells and minefields to try to avoid ‘trouble’. (see Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser)

Victims must never be held to blame for the abuser’s wrongful choices.

Peter is telling you, abused wife, that it is fine to judiciously resist the abuser’s power and control tactics, and to resist being intimidated into fearful compliance with the abuser’s coercive control.

Sometimes resistance is not safe. Sometimes compliance is the only thing that creates a margin of temporary safety. All victims know this — experience with their abuser has taught them this fact. And resistance can be hidden or visible, small or large. We pick our battles, and we elect to let some things go through uncontested and un-remarked upon. That kind of stuff is the normal diet for victims of abuse, and it explains why survivors are often such strong,  careful, astute people . . . especially as they come more and more out of the fog, sloughing off the self-blame and false guilt in which they have been shrouded, shamed, silenced, immured.

Abused Christian women can be confident that they in not complying with the evildoing of the abuser, they are being Sarah’s daughters: doing what is right and not giving way to fear.

* * * *

You may also find these posts helpful:

Is it a sin to feel afraid?

Honouring Resistance — a wonderful resource for understanding abuse

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