A Cry For Justice

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

Seeds sown on rocky ground: Lessons about the abuser’s mentality

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.   (Matthew 13:20-21)

True story

An abusive husband spread a barrow load of soil and gravel over a concrete path that wasn’t being used in the family’s garden. Result: soil 3-5 inches deep, with solid concrete underneath. Then he sowed some flower seeds in the soil.

When he showed his wife what he’d done, she thought “This is crazy! You gotta be kidding!”  but she didn’t say that out loud because she knew it would be irritating to him, so she just praised him for his hard work and achievement. She’d learned a while back not to say anything negative about what he did in the garden, or make any suggestions about how he could improve it. All such comments were taken as offensive criticism and ingratitude.

Here is the result: a picture of Christ’s parable about seeds sown on rocky ground. On the left upper you can see the plants that have just plain karked it. The rest are slowly dying of thirst.



Solid concrete under the soil. How could anyone think that is conducive to anything growing? But it’s a great illustration of where a farmer/pastor/husband has his mind made up, and goes ahead and does it anyway without consulting the GARDENER.

Since this photo was taken there has been more rain. The dead plants are still dead, but the plants that were dying in this picture are upright and managing to grow a bit (apart from insects eating holes in their leaves). Maybe that’s a good picture of all those unbelievers we have in the church who look fine, when the environment isn’t too testing.

The seeds on rocky ground parable also illustrates many abusers in their ‘Christian’ journey. They may appear to respond to the gospel at first and show signs of being true believers. But sooner or later the promising signs die away and their character deteriorates (shows its true colours). Their Christian ‘walk’ becomes just a superficial pretence. And it becomes clearer and clearer that they don’t actually have the Spirit of Christ.


  1. Makes that parable come alive, doesn’t it? And such a perfect illustration of the crazy-making things abusers do and the way they bend and manipulate those closest to them so they only hear what they want to hear.

  2. Pippa

    Oh dear, have to laugh. Sounds so familiar. But he avoided the weeds, didn’t he? Sometimes it’s very difficult to know the A’s motive!

    • Actually, there were weeds growing there too, but the survivor pulled them out before taking the photo.

  3. Liz

    Great illustration! Sometimes I still can’t understand that since detaching why I cannot now respond to any niceness he has shown since that time. It’s because he didn’t take care of the garden over so many years and this is what it yielded, for him that is. For me, I’m healing and preparing to move on!

    • Yes Liz, also (for me) if I responded to any niceness he showed, it would place me in danger of further manipulation from him. Or at least, he would think I was becoming more malleable to his tricks again. We don’t want to set up false hopes, do we? 🙂
      With my first ex, he started to show a lot more concern for me at the same time as he was working up to abusing our daughter big time (two years post-separation). My gut immediately told me not to trust his overtures of niceness. I’m glad it did. But after he did the nasty stuff on our daughter, I looked back and saw that he had been trying to groom me to put me off the scent of what he was planning to do. UUGGHHHH. It sends shivers down one’s spine.

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