Nor Shall Your Eye Pity Him
This post was submitted at our request by one of our longtime readers, IamMyBeloved’s. Many thanks to her for this very insightful exposition and application of Scripture.
For several months now, I have struggled off and on with having moments where I found myself feeling sorry for my abuser and wondering if I have done or am doing all the right things in God’s eyes. I spoke with a trusted Christian friend about this. She said that in spite of the horrendous abuse suffered by myself at the hands of my abuser, that God had still kept my heart pure and teachable, soft and supple and that I had not become hard and bitter over any of it. She saw it as good, but questioned my periods of feeling sorry for him, and was concerned for me.
As a young child, I was already in love with God. I wanted to be in His house and worship Him. I talked to Him as if He were standing right beside me. I needed Him and I knew Him well. For a young child, I truly had an intimate relationship with Him. It carried on throughout my life. But, I had been raised in an abusive home and the decisions and choices I have made in my life have been influenced and colored by that abuse as a child. Like most victims of early childhood abuse, I have chosen what I knew and was ‘comfortable’ with. That has nothing at all to do with the validity or maturity of my relationship with Jesus Christ. You cannot change what you do not understand. I am not making an excuse for my choices. I know I am responsible for choosing to marry an abuser. However, now I know how to ID one in flight and even one who is hiding behind his façade, which I had no idea how to do prior to being married.
During the course of my marriage, my abuser would consistently spiritually abuse me. He abused me and my children in many, many ways, but for this post I am only speaking about the spiritual abuse. He would say things like “You are so over the top about God; why can’t you be like everyone else I know who says they are Christian?” and he demonstrated anger when he would come up at night and find me reading my Bible. He would also have to be invited to come to our family devotions and would then challenge God’s Word and the teaching we were doing, or he would sleep during that time. It was obvious that he disliked my relationship with God and he eventually used the church to get it against me and the children and excommunicate me. Funny how God used that whole ordeal to show me how much my abuser hated my relationship with God and how much he also hated my soul. Even though I had taken the children and left that false church on my own initiative, the church came after me. My abuser was behind all of it.
However, I am so very thankful. I truly am. Had those events not taken place, I may not have ever seen how much my abuser hated me and my soul and (God forbid!) I may have fallen back into staying with him. I honestly believe that God knew that unless I went through that ordeal, I would never see that I was losing my way with Him because of all the abuse I was living in. Abuse blinds its victims.
As a Christian, who can be married to anyone who hates your soul and cares not about your relationship with God? Who? When things went wrong, he would taunt me with “where’s your God now?” or “where’s all that faith of yours?”, etc. He also made up his own interpretation of God’s Word, to fit his own agenda, and I was taken in by his deception. In the end, following my husband led me away from God in the sense of trusting the God I knew and trusting my beliefs about God and that I was following the God I loved and that He loved me and had not forsaken me. I did not question God – I questioned how God felt about me or saw me. I began to believe that God saw me as my abuser saw me, and that God felt I deserved the abuse, and that somehow I was failing God as a wife. I also started to believe that God loved the abuser, but not me; and I was very confused about the things the abuser was teaching me doctrinally about God and His attributes. It was all a lie. A deceptive lie.
I believe that all abusers have an agenda that consists of placing themselves in the position of “god” in the home (or church) and lives of their victims. They do this by exercising power and abuse, entitlement and control and they obtain their goal through whatever means of abuse they need to use to get it, whether physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, financial, sexual or psychological terror, etc. They are the “god” and their subjects are to worship them. This became evident to me only after my abuser was put out of my home and we were then free to see the lies we had been living in. We were also attending an abusive false church at the time, which only added to the abuse at home.
I began to wonder if these periods of feeling sorry for the abuser were from God or from the cycle of abuse. And I wondered what I should do about them. So, I decided to pray very specifically and ask God to show me exactly what was going on and what He wanted me to do about it – if anything. I asked Him once again, to show it to me in His Word. I have learned to pray very specifically about this battle I am in, as I believe that as Christians, we are called to “war” and be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in doing so. Amazing as it is, whenever I really put something like this to the Lord, He answers me pretty speedily and gives me great comfort and leads me very specifically.
The very next day, He spoke Deuteronomy 13:6-11 to my heart and I read through it. This is what it states:
If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife [or husband] you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
(emphasis and addition of “or husband” mine)
Wow! I guess this pretty much states it all and very clearly. Now; we know that stoning is not done today, but this law is in fact a moral law, so it IS still to be practiced today in the sense that you do not allow anyone to lead you away from God. I would not ever suggest killing anyone, but I do believe we need to heed its instruction concerning the list of “not to dos” above. It is speaking clearly about anyone – spouses included – who would try to lead you away from God.
The portion about secretly enticing you would include undermining God to others; making one believe that they have misinterpreted God or are over the top about their walk with God, when in fact they are not; leading them into things like Family Integration, Headship/Submission error, Federal Vision, false teaching and the like; as well as just secretly trying to change one’s mind about God and their beliefs. False gods are false gods. Idolatry is idolatry. Of course abusers do not typically bring home “idols” for their spouses and family to worship, but we all know there are multitudes of forms of idolatry. However, in some of these movements, the men do set themselves up in the home as the godhead. This is a false teaching, but is especially dangerous when dealing with an abuser. Remember the FIC movement’s words? The father is the prophet, priest and king of his home? Yep – setting himself up as the “god” in the home. Remember? He makes all the decisions. He decides how everyone dresses and looks and where they go and what they do and who the children marry, how God is worshiped and where, etc. He is the one in complete charge. He is god.
Women (and men) who truly love God and want to please God and follow Him fully, can easily fall prey to these things and be deceived from the outward side of things, because they just want to do what is right. Abuse confuses you. It leaves you not really knowing what is up – what is right – what is truth, etc.
I am so happy that God has shown me this truth. I am now free and strengthened. I have only had one time of starting to “feeling sorry” that came up since God showed me His truths about this and when it came, I instantly said to myself, “God does not permit me to feel this way. In fact, He forbids me to feel sorry for my abuser or even question whether what I have done in divorcing my abuser is right, because he was leading me (and my children) away from God. What I have done, is absolutely right in His eyes.” No doubt about it now.
That does not mean that I hate or am angry in an ungodly way or that I do not care. Actually, I do not feel any of those things. I just leave him and the abusers in the old ‘c’hurch, to God. Jeff Crippen once said to me during the midst of all of this persecution, that I should “wear that excommunication like a badge of honor” and I have learned to do that. God showed me in Scripture, how they did the same thing to Jesus, so now I just look at it as having shared in His sufferings, only I am certainly not Jesus, nor even close to having no sin and being perfect. I am free and it feels so good. I am free again to worship, trust, believe and love my God that I have known and worshiped my whole life, and that just makes me plain ol’ happy.