A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — 2 Chronicles 19:2b

Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD?  Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD. (2 Chronicles 19:2b)

24 Comments

  1. I’m having trouble with the “Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord.” I love God with all my heart. I do trust Him and understand that I DON’T understand all He does and that doesn’t mean He doesn’t love me or that I shouldn’t trust his word.. But this quote seems to imply that He will have vengeance/justice on abusers but that has not happened. It has been 28 years of crying out the Lord and Him seemingly silent. This would have been a verse that would have KEPT me chained to my abuser as I “waited for justice to free me.” Any clarification? God HAS opened my eyes and I am so grateful but I AM struggling with “why did it take so LONG when the reason I was still in bondage is because I was TRYING to serve Him?”

    • TB

      Oh my, Debby. You sound just like me. As time has passed and I am now outside my destructive marriage of almost 30 years, I look back and say “Why, Lord, did you not do something?” I had hoped in Him and waited on Him to do something! I, too, stayed long and dug my heels in to stay committed. I am noticing many of the women on this site are all long-time veterans (20+ years) of abusive relationships. Why this sudden exodus for so many?

      I think we have been misguided somehow in that we think we are serving/honoring God by staying and praying and working on our messy marriages out of honor to Him. *******************I hope someone (Jeff or Barbara or another knowledgeable source) will say/post something to address this.

      I don’t think it’s wrong to stay and trust God, but after a length of time, I felt I had to take/try another avenue. This is where things get muddied for me as a Christian who wants to do right by God, even if it means crucifying my flesh daily. This is where I was at for so long until I felt I couldn’t do it any longer without self-destructing. I did not want to take/try another course of action for fear it was not what God wanted, since he hates divorce…but there seemed no other answer with a mate who refused to work with me to make things better, and things did take a turn for the worse, which caused me to flee and go a new direction.

      Our desire as wives to honor and glorify God by staying and loving and trusting and forgiving seems right to me. So when is it okay to finally say, “Enough.”? I did not want to be like Sara in the Bible and jump ship too early. Even she waited over 20 years for her promised son. I would have jumped ship with her.

      • TB

        One other comment. Last night at my Divorce Care class someone said her ex was turning over a new leaf and was pursuing her again. She is skeptical about reconciliation as he was abusive in numerous ways. She is very cautious and unsure. Someone commented that if the proposed new relationship does not honor and glorify God, don’t go back.

        So would that same reason be enough to justify ending a marriage? There were many marriages in the Bible that had moments of “not glorifying God.” Yet they pressed on…think of Abraham twice lying and causing his wife to be taken from him, or Rebekah manipulating a situation to get her husband to bless the wrong son, or Adam blaming Eve for his eating the forbidden fruit. I guess we could say these were not repetitive sins, so maybe it’s okay to stay and forgive for singular or infrequent instances of sin. Abuse tends to be a lifestyle of sin.

        Maybe I just answered my own question.

      • Yeah, I think you just answered it, TB. The other element that distinguishes abusers is that when a righteous person confronts the abuser with their pattern of wicked conduct, the abuser uses multiple tactics to avoid and evade having to take responsibility and make amends and really change their character for the better. In other words, when abusers are called to account, they escalate their abuse. Those biblical characters you mentioned above didn’t enormously escalate their abuse when confronted. Adam did a bit –by blaming Eve for giving him the apple, and blaming God for giving him Eve. But so far as we know, Adam did not go on to become an out and out abuser of Eve.

      • thepersistentwidow

        TB, I think that while I was living with my abuser for 20+ years, I did so in good conscience. Although it was difficult in many ways, I did not feel compelled to leave the marriage. I believe today that God wanted me there. Several reasons come to mind such as I had the children God wanted me to have, the abuser was given a good Christian witness, and I do believe that living in the “fire” matured me spiritually in ways that would not have happened otherwise.

        However, a point came that I no longer had a good conscience living with him. His abuse had a noticeable negative impact on the children, myself, and him. It was not good for anyone. The church would not fulfill their duty to discipline him, and basically there was nothing more I could do.

        There is a time and a season for everything. In whatever season we find ourselves, we desire to be faithful. It may be in leaving or in not leaving. I will say that in my case, the abuser had gone from bad to worse and he basically made the choice for me. These decisions are difficult and God knows our limitations. There are things that I could have done better, but I am convinced that the outcome for the abuser would have been the same.

        If you have self doubts about your decisions, give it to Jesus. You were bought by him and freed from the bondage of sin. The best way to glorify God is to believe him. Forget about what you could or should have done better. He promises that your sin is forgiven in Jesus. Believe it and confidently move forward rejoicing in his goodness.

      • Thank you, precious TB! I have NOT left as of yet. I am in another room and although he is “nicer” I am very skeptical and am waiting until that wears off for him (which I dont think will take long) but for right now, he is mostly respecting my boundaries. We can talk about day to day upkeep stuff and I am respectful (of him as a human being) but I dont really engage with him. He sends emails to Christian men in our “circle” and tells them “Well, no change over here. She’s still in another room.” Which clearly tells me his priority is to “get me back to the way it was” as opposed to “making restitution and being truly remorseful.” I am so grateful for this blog and hurtbylove.com as they have helped me see with clear eyes so I can take my time healing and “waiting on the Lord” WITHOUT having to deal with his abuse! It is so freeing! I know that God CAN fix our marriage, but only if BOTH of us are willing to work at it. So far, for 28 years, I have been the only willing party.

    • Debby, I hear your WHY? and I empathise. Why did it take so long?

      In one sense, this boils down to the deep question, Why does God allow suffering? — a question that the best theologians in the world write tomes on, much better than I could. And even they admit that in one way, it is a question we cannot know the answer to, earthside at least.

      However, in another way, it is a question which has some answers:
      Why did it take so long? Why were you so long under the false beliefs that kept you chained to your abuser? Becuase the *church* has promoted those false beliefs for a VERY long time. The sin of negect and false teaching is going to be held to a lot of people’s accounts, on That Day.

      Another answer, and one I only apply to myself as I’m not at liberty to say how or whether it applies to any other victim, is that in my case, I believe God providentially allowed me to have one abusive marriage which had a four year separation in the middle of it, and in which after the final separation I was condemned by my church and was left with oodles of unanswered questions about how to interpret and apply the Bible in domestic abuse — because that put a fire in my belly for his work in a way that nothing else would have done.
      And then God allowed me to have a second abusive marriage to make me even more aware of my frailty in being sucked in by another abuser, so I would never feel haughty or superior to any other victim who had had more than one abusive relationship. For me, this is Romans 8:28 in real life.

      • Since I am still in the “midst of the storm” and not safely on the other shore as of yet, I don’t see the next “chapters” in God’s plan for me. Thanks for redirecting my thoughts to the future and not the present or the past. That’s where faith resides. In the trusting, without the knowing. I look forward (forward!) to what He has for me and will be filled with gratitude if, because of my experiences, I can help even one person navigate through this difficult journey, to be able to do even a tiny fraction of what you do here!

      • Ellie

        Hope. You have hope.

  2. TB

    Matthew 5:44 says

    But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you…

    These instructions seem to counter the verse you posted:

    Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD. (2 Chronicles 19:2b)

    Just last night I was reading an article (link posted at end of this comment) about two types of Christians: carnal and spiritual.

    From previous posts I have read on this website, it has been determined that abusers cannot be Christians because they continually operate in the flesh and not in the Spirit. However, this article would contend that a person can be saved and still operate out of the flesh due to “conscious disobedience” or ignorance of the workings of the Holy Spirit in him and through him. So the person may have given his life to Christ but he never really gets off first base spiritually.

    I was not discipled much as a baby Christian, and even though I had accepted Jesus I didn’t know what to do next. It was about 7 years later that I first felt a “calling” to attend church. It wasn’t until even MUCH later I began seriously reading the Bible regularly. This may be, in part, why I had such a struggle in my marriage. I should have been in the Word more, learning and feeding myself on truth. It may have spared me the spiritual abuse of my ex misusing the Scriptures. But the point is, I was truly saved, but not growing and maturing as I could and should have. My ex lead me to Christ just before we married but sort of dropped the ball there as we did not go to church regularly, pray together, or read the Word together after my conversion. I thank God for my ex introducing me to Jesus, but that was pretty much where it stopped.

    My need for Christ and His answers to my struggles became my only escape and safe place as my marriage worsened, although I did entrench myself with numerous marriage books by many Christian authors, as well. My husband even called me a religious fanatic shortly before I left him. I am certainly not a fanatic, I just learned to be more dedicated and devoted to Christ and that didn’t sit well with my ex. He did not like the church the kids and I attended, even though he lead us there years ago and we settled in. He quit going early on after he took offense to something. I asked him numerous times to find us another church but he never did so the kids and I kept going.

    It seemed my going to church once a week was TOO often and he thought I should stay home with him on Sundays…which I did to “honor” him on occasion. I didn’t want to put things “above” him as he saw his “Christian fanatic” mother do to his dad. My ex would call me by his mother’s name from time to time (in anger and sarcasm) to get his point across when he thought I was not putting him first. I set aside numerous things I wanted to do at church and other places to keep the peace at home, thinking I was doing right (although I don’t think going to church once a week was too much or over the top).

    So all that to say, I do think someone can be “saved” and have their foot inside Heaven’s gate, but they don’t get to enjoy the fullness of their salvation earthside due to neglecting growth through Bible study, worshiping and fellowshiping with other believers, and exercising the fruits of the Spirit in their lives.

    I think that my ex does not “hate the Lord” as in the verse you posted. I think he is just a “carnal Christian” spoken about in the article I read. His behavior toward me and the kids has been wicked at times (and my response to him, as much as I hate to admit, was also wicked sometimes). I hate that I behaved poorly in response to his provocations. It doesn’t make me unsaved, it just shows my carnality, too.

    So I empathize with my ex for his lack of spiritual development, as I was there myself for many years–stagnant in my forward progress due to his lack of encouragement and leadership, and my own ignorance, apathy, and neglect.

    Now I can’t get enough of the Word and could sit all day devouring it. But my ex was not “there” with me as my desire for God things grew, and he seemed to resent my growing and changing. We became so unequally yoked. I was so very disappointed to be feasting alone at the banquet of the King’s Word.

    I do not think my ex “hates the Lord,” I just think he has/had not been walking worthy of his salvation. I don’t hate him, I still love him and am sorry for him that he is in such a place and state of mind that is now hostile toward me for choosing Christ and life.

    See article here: http://www.startingwithgod.com/new-life/spirit-filled/

    • “But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you…”

      I used to feel the way you do, that this is such a clear mandate. But here is my perspective now (thanks in large part to Cindy Burrell!) The marriage covenant is different than every other relationship so we have to be careful, when viewing scripture, that we don’t lump it in with all of the other types of relationships. The marriage covenant is one of closeness and intimacy, a bond that holds it tightly and is devastating on a much deeper level when trust (from abuse) is broken than any other type of relationship.

      So, when looking at this verse and considering the vows of marriage (to love, honor, cherish) would a spouse who is considered to be an “enemy,” who “curses you,” who “hates you,” who spitefully uses you,” who “persecutes you” not have clearly broken his vows to love, honor and cherish? The marriage bed is not to be defiled. It is clearly BEING defiled if his actions put him in the category of “enemy who hates you.” When he can yell and degrade me and then, without so much as a “sorry,” expect me to be physically intimate, has my marriage bed not been defiled? Is he not being unfaithful?

      When I finally understood this concept, I felt that I had been literally brainwashed all my Christian life by false teaching, teaching that kept me in bondage. Only having removed myself from his ability to hurt me have I been able to (without feeling like a liar or a hypocrite!) love him, bless him, do good to him, and pray for him. And because healing takes time, the more severe and the longer-lasting the abuse, the farther away and the longer time must pass before you can get to that point. (IMHO)

    • We have a tag for Carnal Christians
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/tag/carnal-christian/

    • I think that perhaps we need to write a post addressing the apparent contradiction between Matthew 5:24 and 2 Chron 19:2b, and how to weigh and apply each of these scriptures correctly and wisely.

      However, here is one post that discusses praying for abusers: https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/10/13/to-pray-for-our-abusers-or-not-we-dont-need-to-pray-for-the-sin-that-leads-to-death/

  3. I think this verse is saying God will hold responsible those helping the abuser.

  4. laurie

    Is this like wishing “godspeed” to an evil doer and becoming partaker of their sins?

  5. soldiergirl

    I think this saying is like a pronouncment of judgement against those who choose to help the wicked and also alliance themselves to support their cause.
    What makes this equally incriminating is that there is evidence available to support that these same people are showing the fruits of working against God.
    The choice to support them is made within the heart, and only God knows what that motive is.

    • TB

      Thank you all for your very helpful comments. I am appreciative of everyone’s input. I always go away feeling encouraged by any new perspectives on dealing with the crud I have lived under for so long. I would love to see an article on the Carnal Christian as I am only just learning about what that is and how it relates to an abuser…if anyone has given that any in-depth thought. I would also like to see articles not only focusing on the abuser but also on how to heal from the abuse. I don’t want to stay fixated on the fact that I was abused, so I am leaning toward finding help on moving forward and dealing with the effects of the abuse.

      I struggle with holding my tongue now that I can talk about what happened freely. I used to have to carefully and “secretly” share with select people what was going on as I was forbidden by my ex to go seek counsel. I did privately/secretly go see my pastor a few times over the years when things were really bad, but since my ex didn’t go to church with me there was nothing the church could do to/for/with him. I was just trying to seek answers and encouragement on how to live with someone who was so mean.

      Now that I am not married any longer, I can openly talk about my former life and it is very freeing to do so, but I feel guilty revealing things that were so “sacredly secret” before. I am worried I am now gossiping or slandering when I talk about what happened. I don’t tell EVERYBODY, but some people (even close friends who don’t live locally) are surprised that we divorced and are sort of shocked when they hear what was really going on in my marriage, because outwardly we looked like the perfect family. I often feel guilty after sharing information with others and wonder if that is my husband’s voice in the back of my head guilting me for “telling” or if it is the Holy Spirit working on me to not share because it is not my place to shame my ex publicly. I also have to examine my motives in sharing, as after the fact I wonder if I shared because it was necessary or because in some sick way I am doing it to get back at him. I just don’t trust myself much in many ways now that I can think and act as a free individual without my husband’s permission or approval. Please HELP if you have dealt with this.

      If anyone knows legitimately solid good Christian websites or learning tools that are helpful to people like me coming out of an abusive relationship and seeking healing, would you mind posting here?

      I am so thankful for this forum. You just don’t know how much. But then, maybe you do.

      • Regarding “solid good Christian websites or learning tools that are helpful to people like me coming out of an abusive relationship and seeking healing” — we have done our best to put such resources on our Resources pages. I’m not saying we have done it exhaustively, but we’ve vetted those resources pretty closely, so I’d suggest you look at our Resources as a starter at least. The Resources tab is in the top menu.

  6. Wow, I hope Barbara or Jeff reply! I, too, “don’t trust myself” as I have been so rejected by my church (where for 3 decades, my husband FAITHFULLY went every week with his Bible all hi-lited, with his family by his side, and NOBODY knew what he was doing behind the scenes) that anything I said was “disrespecting my husband” even though I was actually VERY careful about how I worded everything but felt the need to share SOMETHING so they could even understand what was happening. But they didn’t understand anyway. It was throwing my pearls before swine. I struggle with “should I let them win in keeping me muzzled about the truth” because of their arrogance and ignorance and possibly miss an opportunity to help others in the same situation I was in? Or do I chalk it up as a loss and only share with a cherished best friend when I need to? I am am also still living in the same house and so I feel almost like “well, if its not bad enough to LEAVE (as I am trying to heal and figure out what I need to do), is it bad enough to share?” (So far he is actually respecting my boundaries, but whenever I have returned, it all starts over again) Its almost like you HAVE to divorce to ever be ALLOWED to speak truth, or you are “badmouthing your husband”. But then, divorced, trying to understand it all and heal, you’re looked on as a “bitter woman.” Its all so confusing…

    • Debby, if you haven’t already done so, you might like to check out our posts tagged Gossip.
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/tag/gossip/

      • Thanks, BR. I read them all. I love “if they are a part of the problem or a part of the solution.” That makes it easy to decide if, when, and with whom to speak. Of course, my list of “who to talk to that could be a part of the solution” has dwindled dramatically since coming to understand how misguided (ignorant) most people in the church are to the abuse dynamics. I also have found that as I have grown and learned so much (amazing amounts of material in the last 3 months! I’m going to lose my job!!) I just cannot get enough of this “new” (or should I say “truthful”) information. I was SOOOO confused for close to 3 decades, trying to figure out what was happening and not understanding (but still following like a dumb sheep) the “advice” that church folk were giving me. I truly don’t know what I would have done without hurtbylove.com and ACFJ. When starting on my “fog-lifting journey” I had absolutely NO idea I would be uncovering such a travesty in the church. I was so trusting! That was totally unexpected and I have to say that THAT aspect of my journey probably caused me more trouble than the abuse itself. I would have been so much farther, seen the light so much sooner, had I NOT gone to the church for help. Its really quite an ingenious and insidious plan the devil has developed. For the church to destroy its own members. Really. Quite ingenious. I am glad to be one less person still taken in by it all. (And I mean NO disrespect to my other blog-sharers! It was your tender hearts that made you vulnerable. Believe me. I know.) God bless you in your continued work to uncover the truth and bring light to my darkness!

  7. Hi all, and thanks for bearing with my slowness in getting to this thread to make a decent reply. I’ve been busy with my Dad again, and Jeff C is busy with a family wedding.

    In Chronicles 2:19 b “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD,” a good prophet, Jehu, is admonishing a half-way good king, Jehoshaphat King of Judah, for having cooperated with a wicked king, Ahab King of Israel.

    Ahab was extremely wicked in a number of ways. He was the one who had that big showdown with the prophet Elijah. He stole Naboth’s vineyard. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. (1 Kings 16:33) He cultivated a bevy of lying prophets who constantly praised and encouraged him — a back-slapping boys club (2 Chron. 18). He made war against the King of Syria even though a good prophet — one that Jehoshaphat had brought in at the last minute for a alternative reading of the tea leaves — had strongly warned him not to do so. He schemingly disguised himself in the battle, trying to divert the Syrian arrows from himself to King Jehoshaphat. Talk about covering your own back and putting your buddy out in the front line to take all the heat! But God had His way anyway, providentially sending one arrow right to Ahab to wound him to his death. So this guy Ahab was a real bad ‘un: he was in defiance of God big time (like an abuser); he was a cunning, scheming, lying, selfish, God-hating, God-defying man.

    Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, was not wholly bad. He did some wrong and bad things, but not nearly as bad as Ahab. One wrong thing Jehoshaphat did was make a marriage alliance with Ahab (18:1). Another was to cooperate with Ahab in the war against Syria: he was wrong to go into military alliance with a leader who coveted false prophets and lapped up the praise of the boys’ club. But Jehoshaphat had some good parts, as the godly prophet Jehu told him: “Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.” (2 Chron. 19:3)

    So in context, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD,” is an admonishment to a somewhat bad and foolish leader for having helped and ‘loved’ (been in alliance with) a wicked God-hating tyrant.

    Now, the question people raised in this thread is: Does that mean it’s an admonishment to a victim of abuse who has helped and loved her abuser for all those years of *marriage*? (translate as sham-marriage or anti-marriage if you wish).

    It’s a good question, and it’s the kind of question that perplexes victims of abuse a LOT. The harsh words of rebuke in the Bible are so often personalized by victims of abuse as rebuke for themselves. This is a function of several things:
    a) the way that pastors and authors teach poorly on marriage, not giving thought to how their stern words and ‘shoulds’ will have an impact of the oppressed, the crushed, the downtrodden.
    b) the way the abusers and oppressors drill into the heads of their targets that “It’s All Your Fault” — the cruel and dishonest blame-shifting which abusers excel at.
    c) the way tender-hearted people, people of sensitive conscience, tend to question their own motives and examine their own moral choices all the time. This makes such folk easier targets for abusers and oppressors, and keeps the oppressed person longer in the fog.

    So, is this admonishment in 2 Chronicles an admonishment to victims of abuse? I don’t think so; certainly that is not it’s primary point. It’s an admonishment to those pastors, counselors, elders, bystanders, who enable and help abusers get away with what they do. People who are outside the abuse intensity itself, who go along with abusers and their schemes without putting up firm enough boundaries or accountability for the evildoer. Who trust wicked people too readily. People who think that everyone else is pretty much like them — “basically not all that bad, maybe a few flaws here or there but not really wicked.” And that even when they see plain evidence that this other person is high-handedly defying God, they blink and blow off the evidence.

    The difference between a King Jehoshaphat and a victim of abuse is this: King J was not himself oppressed under Ahab’s coercive power and control. King J had the power to be his own person, act and choose independently, without fearing retribution from Ahab. His personhood had not been shredded and ground to a powder over years. He had liberty to act according to his own conscience without fear of reprisal or intimidation. The victim of abuse, is not free in that sense. Yes, theoretically the victim is free always, but the costs of exercising that freedom are VERY high, VERY dangerous, and she knows this from experience. So that is the big difference.

    A given victim of abuse may, in her own journey, at some point decide or realise “I’m helping and enabling my abuser if I stay/ if I do such and such / if I keep silent/ etc. And I realise that, for me, at this point, that is wrong, and I’m going to take the risk of refusing to help him, and I’m going to run that gauntlet of speaking up, standing up, and separating, in whatever way I think I can do it while minimising my risk of being hurt and entrapped.”

    But I never tell a target of abuse straight out “You are helping your abuser, you are enabling him. You need to stop doing that!” I might ask questions like “Have you considered that you are enabling him to become further entrenched in is evil ways?” But I never make those questions stern or harsh.

    If the Holy Spirit speaks an admonishment to that victim, I don’t intervene or try to contradict the Spirit’s guidance, but that’s a whole different thing. Most victims are too harsh on themselves and my job is usually to help them be less harsh on themselves, so that their feeling of safety and self-agency and liberty of choice can be nurtured — and that is how they gradually find their way out of the fog and get through the gauntlet of spear points on their flight towards safety and separation.

  8. Here’s a new post by Lundy Bancroft that relates to things that have been discussed in this thread.

    But I let him do it

    IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

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