The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)
…and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.” (Luke 16:23-24)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)
Two things have kept me awake tonight, so I gave up, got up, and decided I had better write about them. Both pertain to the title of this article: Truth Torments the Wicked. Let me explain.
A friend, an abuse survivor, told me that her abuser had contacted her after she left him and said something like this: “I am crying my eyes out. I would not wish this on anyone!” Now, understand. This man has done many very cruel things to this lady. This “Christian” man has done evils I wish I could tell you about, but for her protection I will not give details. He is “crying his eyes out” because she has called him on his wickedness, left him, and is done with him. NOT because of the many cruel things he has regularly done to her, but because HE is in this torment. And, of course, his statement is a covert accusation against her. Can we complete his sentence? Yes we can – “And it is all your fault. You are so cruel to put me through this pain.”
The second thing that has kept me from sleeping tonight is what the Apostle Peter said in a rather mysterious Scripture he wrote in his first letter, 1 Peter 3:18-20, quoted above— “He [Jesus} went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison because they formerly did not obey.” Strange, huh? Let me suggest a principle derived from this passage and which, I believe, is supported elsewhere in Scripture –
The real torment that the wicked will experience in eternity, in that ‘outer darkness,’ is most certainly not any kind of repentance or authentic sorrow over their evils, specifically their wickedness of rejecting Christ. No. Their torment originates largely (if not primarily) in Christ’s exposure of their true nature, of their evils, and of the fact that He is indeed the Son of God who gave them many, many opportunities to repent of their sin and submit to Him. But they would not. They refused to ‘kiss the Son’ and His wrath was kindled (Psalm 2)
Like our poor, pathetic, pitiful abuser whining that he is crying his eyes out and that his pain and suffering are just unbearable, the wicked in hell wail and howl. But certainly not out of repentance or some kind of regret for their sins. Their crocodile tears are shed because Jesus is Lord, and they are not. That rich man who had ignored the suffering of Lazarus, did he cry out in Hades because he was so distraught that he’d not been compassionate to Lazarus? No. The rich man’s crying was all about him. HE was in torment. And if his brothers end up in the same spot as he, well, it was because Christ did not warn them or provide them adequate proof of the truth of His Word. Christ, in truth, would rise from the dead and they still would not have Him as Lord.
My friend’s abuser was not suffering because of the torments of his conscience, but simply because the truth had come out, he was exposed, and now it is time to pay the consequences.
I have no doubt that this very mentality, this hatred of Christ and His truth, is energized by the hatred of light by the darkness.
And this, I believe, is why Christ (after He was crucified and before He rose again) went in spirit to these wicked ones in their prison. To proclaim to them His glory. To preach to them that He is Lord, that He offered them salvation in the ark in their day, but they wickedly spurned Him and mocked His servant Noah. They are tormented, you see, by truth.
For the most part we here at ACFJ and most all of you, our readers, deal with wicked people who claim to be Christians. These are people who have been exposed to the truth of the gospel over and over and over again. They sit in church or parade themselves as eminent saints, week after week. They hear of their need to repent and get into the ark, but they will not. They have tasted of the kindness of the Lord, but in the end they hold the Son of God up for crucifixion and mocking –
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Do not pity them. Do not be drawn in by their tears and wailings. This is not repentance. It is all about them. These are the tears of rage against truth, against the exposure of their evils, against the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings. I suppose you might say that their hell is of their own making.
A Good Name
by Ps Sam Powell
Chapter 7 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
Listen to the sermon by clicking on the link above.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:11-14)
I believe I have written before on these verses, particularly on verse 12, but I am compelled to write again.
The first part of the title of this post is familiar to most all of you — “Why Does He do That?” — as it is the main title of Lundy Bancroft’s wonderful and foundational book that has helped so many people learn what they could not learn in their churches. Namely, abusers abuse because they have a profound mentality of entitlement to power and control and feel fully justified in using whatever tactics they must to obtain and maintain that self-deifying power.
But let me suggest that Scripture tells us there is perhaps an even more basic answer to the question, “why does he do that?” And it is this —
The wicked hate the righteous with a murderous hatred simply because their own deeds are evil and their victims are righteous.
Darkness despises light because the light exposes what the darkness hides. Light breaks the power of darkness.
The liar despises the truth because the truth robs the liar of his deceiving power over others. Liars hate the truth because they are liars and the truth is truth.
The world hates Jesus Christ because the world is antichrist, and Christ is King of kings.
You see it here in the words of the Psalmist —
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalms 2:1-3)
Why do the nations rage? Because the Lord is the Lord and they are not.
I have absolutely no doubt that the murderous, destructive hatred of the abuser (especially the kind of abuser who claims to be a Christian) rages against his victim simply because she is righteous, and he is evil. In the world today, even in and perhaps especially in the West, domestic violence and abuse are perhaps THE leading form of persecution against Christians.
Listen to it once more –
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:12)
Understand? Why does your abuser abuse and hate you? Why? Because he is evil. Because you are not.
And it really requires coming to grips with all of this in order to begin to see the blinding, deceptive, fog cast by the abuser begin to fade and lift. He is evil. Not difficult. Evil. Not damaged by his childhood. Evil. And no matter how skillfully he constructs a disguise of holiness, inside there is a wicked, evil heart that hates all good.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
We have added four new items to our resources pages: Sexual Abuse and Training Materials. These items are for women who discover their partner is using child exploitation material. The new items are listed below with a brief explanation.
These three resources are from secular sources
Rosie Batty, former Australian of the Year and Domestic Violence campaigner, talks of the trauma she experienced when she discovered her ex-partner had been charged with accessing online child abuse material at a library. His child pornography charges are a lesser-known part of Batty’s tragic and well-publicized story.
A peer support forum for ‘affected partners’ – people who are affected by and concerned about the child abuse material viewed by their partner, husband or family members.
In 2015 PartnerSPEAK partnered with Dr Marg Liddell and Professor S. Caroline Taylor, AM to do research exploring the experiences of and impact on the non-offending partners of people involved with child exploitation material. This published research is the first of its kind worldwide.
This resource is a Christian site – much like G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment)
Church Protect began as a result of Jimmy, one of the founders of the organization, finding out that his father, a former minister, is a pedophile. Jimmy Hinton, along with Jon Uhler, started Church Protect to help churches combat child sex abuse. Their mission is protecting, equipping, and supporting churches to prevent and report abuse while meaningfully helping those who have been impacted by the trauma of sexual abuse.
I (Jeff) have never read a romance novel, but I have watched a few movies of that genre—the Jane Austen type I suppose. Austen’s novels are way better than the pulp romance novels because she exposes more than one wicked character: she depicts how people can get duped by the wicked, and how they can resist the tactics of the wicked.
I’m talking here in this post not about novels by authors like Jane Austen (Barb says there is no author as good as Jane Austen, though Charlotte and Anne Bronte come close) but about the kind of novel which comes from imprints like Harlequin or Mills & Boon, or the *princess* stuff written for girls. Formulaic page-turners that are really just pulp.
We must never take romance novel ideas into the realm of abuse. You know the notions I am thinking of –
- He changed and they all lived happily ever after
- In the end, all of her friends awakened to the truth
- The moment she saw him, she was smitten and taken by his spell
Once again, you all can probably do a better job than me adding to this list, but you get the point.
Why did this subject come to my mind today? Because recently I was speaking with a smart, talented, really nice gal who has been targeted more than once by abusers. She is just coming out of the fog and growing wiser and wiser as to the reality and nature of abuse. Her worst enemy has been her “nice” parents and being brought up in a typical “nice” church, receiving really no true wisdom and instruction about evil, evildoers, the typical tactics of evil, and so on. The nicer and kinder and friendlier such a person is — well, as many of you have told me — your Christianity set you up to be the mouse in a room of cats.
And one of the recurring and in some ways most traumatic things that has happened to her, like so many victims, is the “counsel” and “love” she has received from her, you guessed it, family, friends, and fellow church members. The one that was fired at her recently was this:
- “Oh, Jane, please just go back to him. I talked with him at length and he really loves you. I just know that he has a soft spot in his heart for you.”
See it? Just what does “a soft spot in his heart” mean, anyway? The thing is meaningless. It is common, but it is empty romanticism. It totally ignores all of the abuser’s ACTIONS (wicked deeds of abuse carried out over years) and gives him a total pass because he has this “soft spot” in his heart for the victim.
Somebody has a soft spot alright. A soft spot in the head!
Think of it. A soft SPOT in the abuser’s heart is an admission that THE REST OF HIS HEART IS AS EVIL AND HARD AS STONE! So he habitually has carried out all this evil abuse—but there is this one little spot, way, way, way back there in the depths where you can’t hardly ever see it, that loves the victim. Have you ever heard such nonsense in Scripture? Of course not. A human being either has a heart of stone or a heart of flesh. Not a mixture.
Actually, scripture does talk about this… and it shows that ‘soft spot’ in the abuser for what it really is: just another abusive tactic the abuser employs to wheedle his victim back into his web and to manipulate the victim’s family and friends to wheedle her back on his behalf.
Judges 19:1-3 CEV In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a Levite staying in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim acquired a woman from Bethlehem in Judah as his concubine. But she was unfaithful to* him and left him for her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah. She was there for four months. Then her husband got up and followed her to speak kindly to her** and bring her back. He had his servant with him and a pair of donkeys. So she brought him to her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he gladly welcomed him.
* LXX and Old Latin: was angry with him
** literally, speak to her heart
That wicked Levite ended up doing the most bloodthirsty wicked act of male violence against woman that is described in the whole Bible. And he then manipulated eleven tribes Israel into carrying out even more bloodshed, and more violence against women. Could such a man possibly have spoken with true kindness to his female partner? Could he have had a soft spot in his heart? No. He was designedly and skilfully destructive ever step of that story, it’s just that his destructiveness was mostly covert. In fact, we can’t even really say he had a soft spot in his brain. His brain was as sharp as knife in carrying out every choice he made in that narrative.
His speech was smoother than butter,
But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords. (Ps 55:21)
So when some soft-headed romantic comes along, giving counsel and instruction on a topic they know NOTHING of, and pull this “he has a soft spot in his heart for you” business, let me translate for you what that person really is telling you:
Yes, I know, he has done some horrible things. He demeans you in front of people. He likes to destroy the things you love. He humiliates you sexually. He isolates you economically and socially. BUT BECAUSE HE HAS THIS THING, THIS SOFT SPOT IN HIS HEART, YOU ARE BOUND AND OBLIGATED TO IGNORE EVERYTHING ELSE HE HAS DONE TO YOU AND RUN BACK INTO HIS ARMS WHILE THE ORCHESTRA PLAYS AND THE SCREEN SHOT OF “THE END” COMES UP.
You see, we all need to start calling people on the carpet when they pull this on us. They need to be confronted with the fact that what they are saying is worse than meaningless and that in fact their real motive is to prevent their own world from being shaken. Pastors don’t want their record of “no divorces in this church” broken. Some parents would rather see their own child stay married to a wicked spouse just so the Christmas holidays aren’t ruined. And they all need to be brought face to face with their selfish motives.
Watch or read romance novels if you will. Barb heard of one woman in a very demanding job whose work involved helping victims of domestic abuse. She said she read Mills & Boon every night to switch off and get to sleep. But never, never, never bring fiction into real life. Fiction gets people killed, deceives, and enslaves.
The Levite’s Concubine — a YouTube presentation by Barbara Roberts