A Cry For Justice

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

Praying for God’s Justice

Psalms 10:12-18 “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. (13) Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? (14) But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. (15) Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. (16) The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. (17) O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear (18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Forgiveness.  Reconciliation.  Love.  Mercy.  Justice?  How does that last one fit into our Christian experience?  Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  Maybe the prayers of Psalm 10 are Old Testament stuff, not for us today?  Maybe the same applies to all of those other Psalm-prayers that we call imprecatory?  Wrong!

Because God has never changed and never will change, His justice, wrath, and judgment against the wicked still stands.  In fact, it is increasing in its intensity as evil men oppress His people.

Let me prove it with a NEW Testament imprecatory prayer –

2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 “Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (5) This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering– (6) since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, (10) when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”

Pretty tough words, right?  When a victim of abuse comes to us for help, we need to tell them about the wrath and judgment of God that is set against the evil happening to them!  We do not need to preach to victims about how they need to be kind to their abuser, how they need to love him, how they need to forgive him and submit to him….blah, blah, blah.  We are not denying that the Christian is to love his enemies and do good to his persecutors as he has opportunity, not seeking personal vengeance.  But victims need the encouragement and affirmation from us that God is FOR them, and that He is AGAINST their abuser.  And we need to stand by these victims and assure them that WE are for them as well!  I suggest that it is very appropriate to sit down with an abuse victim, open our Bible up to an imprecatory prayer Psalm like Psalm 10, and pray through it with the victim!  We almost seem to think today in our Christian circles that to do such a thing is sinful!

Have we tamed God?  Maybe in our minds.  But in reality, He is the same consuming fire He always has been, and as such is to be feared with a terrorizing fear by any person who would dare oppress His people, His bride.


9 Comments

  1. Marianne Lordi

    Why do victims sometimes believe they have to protect their abuser?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Hi Marianne. Well, that is a real question, isn’t it? I am going to give you my opinion here, but that is all that it is and I am certainly open to hearing from other people on this point who are more expert than I. First, I think that victims protect their abuser because the victim does not really know what is going on. We’ve all been there, right? Every victim who has finally come to see what abuse is will tell you that they were blind and confused. As long as we don’t realize that we are being abused and don’t know what it is, we won’t see it to be as evil as it really is. So we make excuses for the abuser. He’s just….or something. And then I think that victims protect their abuser out of FEAR. They are afraid what might happen if people knew. Talk about having your whole world rocked! Then there is this whole huge issue of SHAME. Protecting one’s abuser permits us to protect ourselves from being shamed, as we perceive it. Victims carry huge loads of shame and are driven by that shame to deny, to keep things secret, and so on. Of course they have nothing to be ashamed of, but coming to realize that is another thing. And more, victims (unlike their abuser) actually LOVE their abusive spouse. They can feel pity for them. They are bonded to them. Initially, they still believe that the abuser really loves them. And we protect those whom we love. And finally, this is perhaps the saddest – there are victims who are receiving things they want from their abuser and they choose to remain loyal to him so they don’t have to sacrifice. I have had numbers of victims, in the end, reject me and be angry at me, choosing to cling to their abuser, because he had more to “offer” them (money, reputation, etc). These kinds of victims we really cannot help.

      • ssofdv

        All the above is true. I experienced this situation with my daughter. It nearly drove me insane, literally. She came to me when her boyfriend beat her up, but dropped the charges and he was released from jail. When I set out in my insanity to harm him to keep him from beating her again, she became very angry with me. When her brother threatened another abuser, she insisted that her brother apologize to the abuser – my son refused. You are correct, “these kinds of victims we really cannot help.

        So, I told my daughter to make sure her friends could locate me, so that I could come get her body and bury her. I washed my hands and kept my distance. It is a hurting thing to have to deal with, especially when you are helpless to do anything about it.

        I grew up watching my mother beaten badly often. I know what this evil can lead to.
        Come Lord Jesus!

        Terry

      • Jeff Crippen

        Thanks for the personal story Terry. I have tried to imagine what I would do if my daughter got tangled up with an abuser. I am very thankful that has never happened because I know that in and of myself I would not handle it right. In some cases I think an argument can definitely be made that nailing the abuser is an act of self-defense, or at least the defense of the life of the victim. But that is pretty tricky ground to tread on and a desire for personal vengeance can creep in on us quite easily. We do read stories however of victims who have been stalked and stalked and stalked and in the end, murdered. Surely there must have been something that could have been done to save her.

        Anyway, yest – victims who defend their abuser will turn against those who try to help them. So we can’t help them, except to pray for them. That must have been incredibly hard for you to back off from your daughter’s situation. Especially coming from a background of seeing abuse in your family. But, good job! That was the right thing to do and no doubt the most effective.

  2. I agree with all the reasons you gave to Marianne, Jeff. If I may summarise (to clarify it for myself) –
    FOG. (not really knowing what is going on).
    FEAR.
    SHAME.
    LOVE.
    And CLINGING to the WORLD, e.g. the lifestyle or reputation that comes with staying with the abuser. (I’ve not knowingly encountered that one from victims, but I think I may have encountered it without fully realising what it was.)

    The FEAR one is really important. If the victim spills the beans about how bad the abuser’s conduct and attitudes are, then the ignorant church will come down on her like a ton of bricks: “Don’t gossip about your husband!” (The pastor may even ring up the abuser and tell him “Your wife’s been gossiping about you.”)
    BTW, I don’t believe it’s “gossiping” to speak out about abuse. I believe it’s good to speak out about abuse. The church has a silly definition of gossip.

    The reasons you listed can compound each other in negative feedback loops. For example: if the victim is partially out of the FOG, and gets a bit of courage to overcome her FEAR of disclosure, as soon as she tells someone she is told she’s doing something wrong. That puts her back in the FOG, because she questions and doubts herself again.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks, Barbara. Yes, I have been accused of “gossip” many times by people who don’t want light shining on their real selves. Christians really do have foolish concept of what gossip actually is. As I mentioned earlier, Scripture names names. God names names. Diotrephes was named by the Apostle John and his sin was announced. Abuse victims definitely live in a world filled with fear – which is a particular shame when they are Christians and are in a church where the love of Christ is meant to cast out fear. But, yes, the ignorant church. Worse, the ignorant AND prideful church. Ignorance and pride are a very bad combination.

  3. Marianne Lordi

    Jeff, you and Barbara have cleared a lot up for me. I think, as may be my case, that I took care of my spouse and all his needs for so long that I don’t know how not to! Even though he never has appreciated it and continues to emoitionally and verbally abuse. Sad.

  4. Thankful

    Thank you so much for this! In Jesus name.

    • Welcome to the blog 🙂

      You’d give a screen name that would probably identify you, so I changed it to “Thankful”

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