A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — Prayerfully Hand Shame Back to the Abuser

One of the most empowering things an abuser survivor can do is to prayerfully hand shame back to his or her abuser.  Theologians rarely discuss this concept, but it’s a frequent biblical theme.  Biblical writers often asked God to shame their abusive enemies. [*see below for scripture references].  Most likely, this meant asking God to do two things:

(1) cause the abuser to be overwhelmed with shame for his or her sin so that they would repent, and
(2) bring utter destruction on the abuser if he or she didn’t repent.

Asking God to utterly destroy an unrepentant abuser is not an unchristian prayer. [Prayer for God to judge unrepentant abusers may seem to be at odds with Jesus’ command to love one’s enemies (Luke 6:27-35), but Jesus’ message and ministry repeatedly intertwined both divine love for sinners and divine judgment on the unrepentant.]   Abuse victims experience tremendous injustice, but God is a God of justice.  Humans long for justice and innately rebel with the cry “That’s not fair” when they don’t receive it.  In fact, the Bible tells us that the prospect of God’s bringing full and final justice on the heads of unrepentant evil people is what allows us to endure injustice in this life without becoming bitter (2 Timothy 4:14; 1 Peter 2:23).  Christians are not to seek revenge, not because it’s an inappropriate desire, but because they don’t have the power or the authority to properly exact justice on abusers.  Paul admonished the Roman believers not to take revenge on their enemies but to let God do it for them (Romans 12:19).  His retribution on evildoers will be perfect and inescapable.  Thus, it’s biblical to pray that our abusers will be filled with shame so that they may repent and that they’ll be punished and destroyed if they do not.

Practically, abuser survivors can apply this principle by writing down the name(s) of their unrepentant abusers.  They should then regularly pray over the list, asking God to engulf these individuals with shame so that they will repent, and to bring judgment on them if they do not repent.

*Psalm 35:4-8, 24-26; 40:14; 69:19-28; 70:2; 71:13; 83:13-17.

[The above is an excerpt from p. 89 of Steven Tracy’s Mending the Soul; Understanding and Healing Abuse, (affiliate link*) ]

*Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link. 

51 Comments

  1. Still Reforming

    This is totally in line with a verse I had long wondered about before the abuse I was suffering really became known to me. The verse is Revelation 6:10:

    They shouted to the Lord and said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?’

  2. HeLives

    The Bible DOES teach that we can pray for our enemies and the unrepentant to be ashamed but I am regularly hearing Christian counselors speak AGAINST shame in our lives and the lives of others. I know that if we have nothing to be ashamed of, we can reject any shame or blame that people send our way but I would like to hear more thoughts about shame in our lives…as an extension of this post. Isn’t shame a good thing (if we have something to be ashamed of?). As we pray for our abusers to be brought to repentance by their shame, so God can use shame in our lives to cause us to turn to Him.

    I’d like more clarity on the word, please! It seems to be a “no no” for many counselors, as if feeling shame is something that God never intended us to feel.

    • Hi Jill,
      Shame can be a confusing topic because there is a good kind of shame that a person with a conscience feels when they do wrong. But there is also another kind of shame. Pastor Crippen has said, “. . .this kind of shame — toxic shame — is concerned with our very identity as a person. Our sense of worth. Shame is a voice constantly telling a person that she is worthless. Good-for-nothing. Unwanted. Shame degrades. Shame isolates.”

      We have a tag for Shame which can be found on the top menu bar TAGS which will show you several posts we have regarding shame. To get you started here are a few links to some of those posts:

      Shame, Abuse Victims, and the Woman at the Well

      More Thoughts on Shame From “Mending the Sou;” by Steven Tracy

      The Fall, Sin, and Shame on Us

      Also, Jill, you may have noticed that I changed your screen name for your safety. You may want to read our New Users’ Information page regarding how to stay safe when commenting on the blog.

      Welcome!

      • Greater Glory

        Thanks for posting these links on the topic of shame. This is the “new” thing I’ve been working on in myself. I didn’t think to look on this site for more info on shame. The links are really, really good. 🙂

    • Diagrégoreó

      Some people are born without the ability to process shame.

      [Comment from Barb — hope you don’t mind me adding this, Diagregoreo.
      At this blog we don’t pretend to be experts in the latest findings from neuro-psychology & brain imaging studies. But we are aware that scientific research is showing that some people’s brains seem to be less able to process empathy; so, it would follow that such people are not going to feel shame so readily as others. However, we believe it’s usually wise to talk about these findings in a qualified way, rather than being black and white or absolute. Part of the reason that qualifiers are needed is that we are aware that even with folk whose brains seem to be wired for low-empathy, their personalities and characters are not solely determined by their brain structures and brain wiring; the upbringing of such people (how they are raised by their parents) and the ongoing influences of culture and environment, not to mention the choices such people make themselves, are all contributing factors to their personality and character — and ethics! — in adulthood. ]

      Their brains don’t process this emotion. These same people don’t feel gratefulness or love towards others either. Their brains do however, process envy, greed, a grotesque form of glee (that those of us with a conscience often mistake for joy) and hatred and anger. Although they don’t feel love towards others, they do feel emotions of great affinity towards themselves. They worship themselves. These same people are constantly trying to shame others and induce guilt because they learn at a very young age that people who are capable of feeling shame and guilt can also be controlled by it. It’s a powerful tool.

      The Biblical checklist that God has given us to reassure us he that knows about this and wants to forewarn and therefore protect us, can be found in 2 Tim.3:1-5. Notice that that it says that people WILL be like this. (Not IF people be lovers of themselves…….Not WILL BECOME lovers of themselves……but WILL BE lovers of themselves etc. Born this way.)

      • Diagrégoreó

        Thank you Barbara. Those here never want to give false hope to people and be like those in the Bible in Jeremiah 8:11 “They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.” Truth through Gods word and truth in our life. Being positive or hopeful based on what one wants to believe rather then the truth can keep people from making healthy realistic decisions for themselves and their children’s life.

        Those of us who were never told of the genetic/chromosomal component of certain disorders end up taking many years to admit that no matter how perfect we were or weren’t, our child or spouse is the way they are. There is extensive research that shows (and Dr. Hare talks about it in his book) these people are hard-wired in their brains. It is simply the way they are. Dr. Hare explains that sometimes the most loving parents give birth to these types of children and can never seem to accept that they are the way they are and as a result, they are perpetually heartbroken. Each of us should be able to choose based on truth.

        It was devastating (to say the least) when I slowly found out the truth but God has shown me that this is the truth and that they were this way from birth. It’s in his word and science is showing that it’s this way as well.

        It doesn’t relieve them of their sin and we don’t have to try to fix them.

        God gave us our lives and we are to use all of it so that it’s a truthful testimony to him. None of these things I’m sharing here are things I would’ve chosen for myself. Not one single bit of wisdom or knowledge did I desire to attain. But here it is, the truth of it and the truth of the sadness that comes with believing we have control over everything when we don’t Anyone wanna trade lives? I could go for one full of love, no psychopaths anywhere in sight and children who could share in the love I have for them and reciprocate. Oh well, I’ll settle for God loving me deeply and him comforting me with this love. But hey, if you decide you want to make an exchange…………

  3. Annie

    I have a hard time praying for my husband.

    • whatzup2day

      If you are still in the marriage, that’s a tough one. Once you’re out it’s easier to pray for them because you are out of the immediate danger/stress of being in an abusive relationship. Once gone, there are no “consequences” for your actions. I will be praying for you.

      • Annie

        Thank you for praying for me.

        I feel guilty that I can’t pray much for him. I keep reminding myself to give myself time and to be gentle on myself.

        I decided today to pray for the time I can pray for him. I can only seem to do things by tiny steps.

    • Savedbygrace

      Annie I know what you mean. It caused me great angst but then I thought..I can’t pray now (I am too traumatized by all this) so I asked God to pray for (,,,) and I trust his Spirit to do so.
      Mind you, new ‘false guilt’ has flooded in as husb tells me — ‘have prayed for you every day- at length..’ I think God understands where we are at.
      Speaking of our ‘present suffering’, the Apostle Paul tells us ‘the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans ‘ Romans 8:26
      Take heart Annie x

      • Barnabasintraining

        as husb tells me — ‘have prayed for you every day- at length..’ I think God understands where we are at.

        And not one word of it was heard. 1 Peter 3:7.

        God does understand where you are at.

    • marriedtohyde

      Me too. I have struggled with it since he showed me how cruel and calculating he is.

  4. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you for these insights, some from a new perspective.
    I will make this list and begin praying.

    I admit that I have no idea how a narcissist thinks or processes life. I do know that it is nothing like the way I process life. What a difference my life would be had I known. So his silence and unwillingness to talk to me or be around me since divorce, I wondered if it was shame. Actually, I have yet to hear him own up to being an abuser. So there certainly is no shame. He’s very embarrassed to be divorced, but of course he is the victim in this.

    I’m just so thankful for ACFJ and your passion for justice.

    • whatzup2day

      My ex is a total narcissist as well. I don’t think narcissist’s really feel shame. They lack empathy so there is no sadness for what they’ve done to us. For me, success is the best revenge. I don’t talk to me ex at all, except when I have to….we share custody of a child so at times you have to. I keep it very limited and to the point. I leave emotion out of it completely. Don’t ever let them “get” to you and if they do “get” to you, never let them see it. It only feeds the narcissistic supply that they crave and thrive off of. Mine is the victim in all this as well. He’s about to marry his next victim and she believes I was the abuser because that’s what he’s led her to believe. If they have no shame and won’t repent, the only thing you can pray for is punishment/judgement by God.

      • standsfortruth

        Whatszup2day i can relate to much of where you are at.
        “If they have no shame and won’t repent, the only thing you can pray for is punishment/judgement by God.”
        I have to agree, (not out of bitter spirit)-, but from decades of observing my abusers covert intentional undermining of all that is good within the confines of our marriage, as well as the emotional damage done to the children, that if not reversed, will negatively affect the next generation.
        Since the abuser only becomes more set in his hardheartedness, towards the “patient longsuffering” of his spouce after years/decades of abuse , they are showing (Like Pharaoh ) resistance to God by doing so.

        There comes a time in the targets life for the much needed survival cry that prompts the “prayer of deliverance,” to God from her tormentor.

        One thing that used to bother me about my abuser and his pastor was that they used to speak to me about “How God would get such glory if I just prayed more and gave God the chance to change my husband.”
        Really?
        And then what am I suppose to do with all the years/decades of wreckage that he made in my life, and the life of my children?
        It would still be a train wreck.
        Something just never made sense about that.

      • Still Reforming

        standsfortruth,

        You wrote: “One thing that used to bother me about my abuser and his pastor was that they used to speak to me about “How God would get such glory if I just prayed more and gave God the chance to change my husband.””

        There’s an arrogance about their presumption as if they they know the mind of God with respect to your husband’s salvation – and also that they know your husband would be willing to submit to the Lord. If your husband had been so willing, there would not have been a need to have the conversation with the pastor to begin with.

        I used to have an ongoing similar friendly disagreement with my former pastor. He always cited Acts 16:31 to support his own notion that if there’s only one believer in a household, the entire household will be saved. That verse is: “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.””

        I used to try to discuss this with the pastor, inquiring about Job’s family, David’s family, what Jesus said about “Who are my mother and my brothers?”, etc. Still, the pastor refused to budge from stating that God will change everyone else if there is one believer in a household praying for the rest.

        The pastor had other verses that he would throw out as proof texts to demonstrate his own ideas, and since practically everyone in that congregation goes along to get along, error is allowed to run rampant.

    • Round*Two

      Carol,
      My stbx has said he was ‘sorry for what I went through’, to me that was not really an apology. I suppose it made him feel like he is in the clear? I don’t know, but I honestly do not feel that he is remorseful or repented. If he was, his actions toward me would have been different, but he had became more subtle in his abuse… I am away from him now, and I DO pray for him. I do not believe my stbx feels shame nor is he remorseful because he truly believes he did not abuse me!
      I don’t think my stbx is embarrassed about being divorced, this would be his umpteenth time too! It would not surprise me one bit if he has already found another victim.
      I do continue to pray for him, though. and I will continue to pray for him until God releases me from that.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Round*Two, I am curious why you pray for your ex, except for the reasons mentioned in this post. It was hard for me to walk through the process to understand that he is not a Christian, but now I am accepting of it. But how on earth he could sit with an opened Bible, preparing sermons……it falls into a chasm in my brain. It is like the worst nightmare to know a human being can shake their fist at God and pose as a minister at the same time.

        Only the righteous, omniscient God of the universe could bring such an impostor to a place of shame. I cannot say my prayers will be out of correct motive, but it is a place yo start.

        As I said, I am curious why you pray.

      • how on earth he could sit with an opened Bible, preparing sermons……it falls into a chasm in my brain.

        superbly said!

      • Round*Two

        Carol,

        I continue to pray for stbx because it is something I feel I need to do for me. It is part of my forgiveness toward him, and It also draws me closer to God! I do not hate stbx even though I’m still in pain and I am recovering from all the drama! I do get angry and I do cry, and I do ask that question ‘why?’, But, in my recovery (healing) process I am drawing closer to God. My prayers for my stbx are not so much for him but for me!

        “Only the righteous, omniscient God of the universe could bring such an impostor to a place of shame.”
        I totally agree with you on this and it is my prayer that God will do a HEART change in stbx, but, at the same time, I am more interested in my healing and my recovery. I will leave stbx to God.

      • anotheranon

        Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves me to pray for my husband. Mostly I just say to God “he’s (husband’s) in Your hands God.” I don’t know what else to pray anymore. I do pray for some people, husband included, that are far from God, that they would be saved to bring God the glory—that is, if they turned to Jesus from their unbelief. Some readers on this blog can relate to that in their own lives I’m sure.

      • Round*Two

        Anotheranon,

        Sometimes that’s all you need to say! God knows what needs to be done! 🙂

  5. whatzup2day

    I so needed to read this today. It feels so unfair and unjust once you leave your abuser. You are broken and trying to start over in need of much repair after the damage they have done to you, while they go on to live like nothing ever happened. They appear many times happy and carefree. It’s good to know that it’s “ok” to wish them punishment/judgment in the eyes of God.

    • Still Reforming

      whatzup2day,
      I recently started a study with a group of women to read the Psalms. The group leader asked if we had any favorite psalm, and I blurted out “109!” A friend sitting next to me elbowed me and giggled, because she knew why I like it. (It’s an imprecatory prayer. She has an abusive father and has worked closely with narcissists, so she “gets it.”) Then I too giggled a bit and got embarrassed. It’s never been in me to have that kind of prayer on my heart, but now and again I still do. It’s not that I intentionally wish ill for him, but I do want justice for him. I would never do so myself in a vengeful way, but I do wait on the Lord for it. I even occasionally have a twinge of sorrow for him, being without the Lord, but… not that much.

    • Hi Whatzup2day, welcome to the blog 🙂

  6. standsfortruth

    Putting shame “back in the abusers court” “keeps the abusers from being successful in resting the shame on the targets.”
    The abuser wants to blame and project the shame that belongs to them onto their victims to deflect the truth.
    But this is a lie that they are trying to sell not only to the target, but to everyone else, so “we need to put the shame ball back in their court where it belongs.”
    I once had a phone conversation with a supposed “C”hristian who was an ally of my abuser, and he asked me “What part did you play in the breakdown of this marriage, and what sins are you guilty of here?”
    I simply responded, I am guilty of being the victim of years of his verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse.
    (I gave him a confession.. but not what he was looking for.)
    This shifted the blame back onto the abuser, (where it belonged) and frustrated the ally’s goal to shame me.
    By the time our conversation was over, he was upset, and flustered, and had started insulting me about my appearance, which only served to confirm his wolfish character.

    • Innoscent

      Standsfortruth, not long ago I had the very same question by a church member tricked by my H in giving me ‘marriage counseling’. And the only reply that came to my mind as I kept praying throughout the discussion, was exactly the same as yours! The church member was speechless. As you said ‘This shifted the blame back onto the abuser, (where it belonged)’ and from that point on I was able to reverse the conversation and give counsel about the reality of abuse and how abusers operate. My H’s ploy fell through. Thank you Lord!

    • That’s so good I have to read it again:

      Wolfish Bystander question: “What part did you play in the breakdown of this marriage, and what sins are you guilty of here?”
      Survivor’s response: “I am guilty of being the victim of years of his verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse.”

      Game, set and match!

  7. Ellie

    I find this advice more comforting than Piper’s improvements to the Golden Rule and the Lord’s Prayer. First of all, I find it much easier to pray for the eternal souls of my enemies/persecutors/irritating people in my life than the temporal physical needs in their lives. Are there really people who pray that God will prosper their enemies here on earth but neglect to pray for their souls? I suppose it’s possible. I’ve never met them. And then there’s the whole guilt mongering aspect of Piper’s instructions. This advice of Piper’s is bondage to targets of abuse because he doesn’t acknowledge the pain the abusers have inflicted and God’s wrath against them because of it. For a guy who tweets about God’s judgement falling on the masses in the midst of some of the greatest tragedies of modern time, he sure seems to ignore God’s judgment against wicked when it comes to individual abusers.

    • Still Reforming

      Wow, Ellie. That’s a really good point. I remember hearing Piper say something after a terrible bridge tragedy in the city area around which he preaches and lives – something about how it could be anyone and we all have to be ready to meet our Maker and face judgment at any time. It’s interesting – to be sure – that he doesn’t say the same when hearing about abusive spouses – far more common and engaged daily in such sin. Piper seems content to accept that scenario. As do many church leaders. Strange.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Hmmm. Yah. I guess you (generic) could take Piper’s advice, being that he was so good to compile such a lengthy and specific list of needs he imagines for people he doesn’t know (but you do). Or you could just let the Holy Spirit lead you on how (or whether*) to pray for your enemies.

      *I am not at all against praying for your enemies, as the Lord leads. However, I am against doing it because someone else told you you have to even though you do not have the grace at the present time, and praying for them is confusing and only adds to your burden.

  8. Greater Glory

    This is a great spiritual truth. I had a really hard time with this when I first realized this was in the bible and that I could apply it to my abusive marriage. I would read Psalm 35 aloud but, would stop speaking out the words come verse 3 and on and I would cry…..”How can I wish this on anyone, Lord?” But then, when I divorced and I saw the abuse transfer to my daughter I spoke those verses out as loud as I could crying out to God. Now, since I no longer feel powerless I can pray these type verses hoping he repents for his sake. I no longer get caught up in the thought that I have to reconcile and go back.

    • Seeing Clearly

      So, Greater Glory, I should stand out in the middle of the woods and scream this prayer. I think the emotional outlet is what is lacking in praying this with head bowed, in quietness. Pray like I am as passionate about this as am about my own healing. We, at this site, are very passionate people. It is part of the recipe for moving past survival mode and discovering a means of becoming free and then living out our freedom. Thanks for the thought.

  9. loves6

    I needed to read this today.

    My husband has woken me up the last two mornings at 1am to discuss our relationship. Saying he felt sick in the gut from emotional upset. This morning I was very very unimpressed. He is pathetic and for a man in his 50’s acts like a child. It is like he has a serious mental illness. He is not at peace. He is troubled and miserable. ..God is not happy with my husband
    I cry out to God and I love that I read this today as it confirms what I thought and I can see God doing this in my situation. I have pity and anger for my husband. He feels like a failure in many areas of his life, I believe he is ashamed and things are getting worse for him not better. He is deluded and acts covert narcissistic.

    thank you again for this post !

    • the wicked are like the tossing sea;
      for it cannot be quiet,
      and its waters toss up mire and dirt.

      “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
      (Isaiah 57:20-21)

    • Annie

      Loves6, I could have written your post (especially this: “He is pathetic and for a man in his 50’s acts like a child. It is like he has a serious mental illness. He is not at peace. He is troubled and miserable.”)

      My husband has decided to be in denial as to his role in his own life! He used to pretend he was “trying” to make things better. He used to act like he felt bad about how things were. Now he doesn’t at all. He acts as if he has to no ability to change and is at the mercy of forces beyond his control (if he’s not blaming me he’s blaming others). I mean how many times do you have to get fired before you realize maybe it’s me?

      I do fear for him in that in the last few years he’s had some MAJOR life events that for anyone else would have been a big wake up call to change your life and embrace God. Not him. It’s like he’s determined not to see it that way. But I guess that would mean he had to admit he’s wrong.

      He stopped going to church with me several years ago after a big argument I think to embarrass me. I did change churches because I wasn’t up to explaining his absence at the time. As it happened at that time we got a new pastor that a lot of people didn’t like so my friends assumed that was the reason. I do show up occasionally for events because I do miss it there. It was home for a long time. (But I also like my new church a lot.)

      He makes fun of me when I go to church or any church-related activity. He refuses to let me tithe. It pains me when this happens because he doesn’t seem to realize he’s offending God by his behavior.

    • standsfortruth

      Just wanted to mention, loves6,
      My abuser used to wake me up in the middle of the night intermitently to discuss all types of “his emergency thoughts”, that caused me to become exhausted from sleep deprevation, which I desperatly needed to function.
      The next day my defences were down, and it was hard to resist any abuse, much less keep up my normal duties.
      I did some research, and discovered that sleep disruption/deprivation is a mind control tactic used to weaken resistance of a targets defences.
      I had to take personal measures to secure a room door where I knew he could not enter at will, so I could secure my normal sleep patterns again.

    • In case anyone didn’t see it, Lundy published a post recently about Sleep Deprivation:
      http://lundybancroft.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/lack-of-sleep.html

      • Innoscent

        Thanks Barbara for the link. I had never seen sleep deprivation caused by the abuser as a form of physical abuse. Very insidious indeed…

      • If any of our readers haven’t yet subscribed to Lundy’s blog, I would encourage you to do so. 🙂

      • loves6

        Wow ! How timely is this post. Last night my husband woke me at 12.30 am … I was in a deep sleep. He has done this so much in recent days. I’m exhausted and feeling overwhelmed

      • Still Reforming

        loves6 –

        I’m praying for you.

        What you cited is one of the many problems within our legal system. What your husband did (sleep deprivation) is considered to be torture in wartime scenarios, but not in a divorce (at least not by attorneys and judges I’ve encountered). I’m finding that my abuser can skate right up to that legal line and as long as it’s not crossed, he’s fine in the eyes of the law.

        I got yet another motion against me yesterday (stbx’s third against me, on top of two interrogatories). This one is pages and pages of mostly complaints he has against me. It’s sending my legal bill even higher as attorneys have to answer it all, of course, which makes me want to go to bed and not ever get out of it again.

        I feel sad because for a few days there – every now and again – I’d start to feel “normal,” like life has good things to offer and as if I have a life. Even though my finances and employment situation are still not good – I was feeling almost good. Then here comes another legal motion. Maybe if I eat enough malted milk balls I’ll send myself into a sugar coma and I won’t be able to leave bed. (Sorry. Feeble attempt at humor. Malted milk balls are my current vice.)

        Sleep is a basic need of life. Is there any possible way you can sleep separately? (I’m sorry to make that suggestion; I’m not trying to interfere. It’s just that my husband also interrupted my sleep enough that we ended up in separate bedrooms by necessity. I hadn’t slept well in years until that happened.)

  10. marriedtohyde

    Shame was the very prominent emotion I felt when, at what turned out to be the last counseling session with our pastor, my anti-husband said he wasn’t coming back anytime soon from leaving us. I even expressed that I was ashamed to anti in the parking lot afterwards. Somehow, all the blame and responsibility for everything wrong in the marriage had shifted to me in anti’s view. I will never forget how hard I cried that night, feeling like I wanted to die–my eyes had not opened yet to the truth of the abuse.

  11. Seeing Clearly

    Round*Two,
    “I am more interested in my healing and recovery” says a lot about the progress you are making.Your reasons for spending time in prayer speaks greatly about your love for God and honoring love by drawing closer. Thank you for taking the time to share the intention of your heart.

  12. Innoscent

    “Thus, it’s biblical to pray that our abusers will be filled with shame so that they may repent and that they’ll be punished and destroyed if they do not.”
    There is something liberating in saying imprecatory prayers for abusers in our life. One of my favourite is Nehemiah 4:4-5:

    Hear, O our God; for we are despised:
    and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:
    And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee:
    for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

    I remember when still living with my H many times over the years I’d feel shame for his actions and other times that shame was put on me because people would blame both of us as a couple when I had nothing to do with the evil done by my H. It was so embarrassing and heavy on my heart, when my H didn’t feel an ounce of shame.

    After I’d prayed for some time for an abusive sibling, asking God to strike with anything that would get the person to face the truth and be led to repentance, a very serious disease developed. Sadly my sibling is still in denial and is even using the disease to manipulate other siblings and friends! I’m praying in the same way for my H, not so much that I want us to be back together one day, but rather that he make things right with God before it’s too late.

    • Still Reforming

      Innoscent,

      Now *that’s* a prayer that I had not considered, but greatly appreciate – praying the imprecatory prayer for the purpose of the abuser’s making things right with God. I believe that is a Biblical concept – akin to Paul’s stating to “hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns.” (1 Corinthians 5:5)

      • Innoscent

        Great verse Still Reforming! Thanks a lot for reminding me of Paul’s statement to the Corinthians. Spot on! We just so wish our spiritual leaders would do just that with our abusers… Way too many pray for ‘marriages to be restored’ or ‘spouses to be reconciled’ or ‘families to be put back together’, they badly need to step up in their intercession and upgrade their timid prayers as to Paul’s version and pray within the context of people’s eternal welfare not just earthly/temporal.

  13. bright sunshinin' day

    There is a time for everything…including a time not to pray good for someone.

    Some are led to believe it is the Christian thing to only pray “good will” on all…anything less is not of grace (many preach). This belief does not match up with Scripture. Jesus Himself only prayed for those whom the Father gave Him: “…I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours…” (John 17:9).

    Along these same lines, in the OT, God instructed Jeremiah NOT to pray for the Israelites: “…Do not pray for this people, for their good…” Jeremiah 14:11. Interestingly, the passage goes on to say how the “prophets” prophesy peace to the rebellious Israelites, but God makes it clear to Jeremiah that they are speaking lies. God said to Jeremiah: “…The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart…” (Jeremiah 14:14).

    There is nothing new under the sun.

    • yes indeed BSD.
      both you and I have been thinking about this scripture:

      For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
      a time to be born, and a time to die;
      a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
      a time to kill, and a time to heal;
      a time to break down, and a time to build up;
      a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
      a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
      a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
      a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
      a time to seek, and a time to lose;
      a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
      a time to tear, and a time to sew;
      a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
      a time to love, and a time to hate;
      a time for war, and a time for peace.
      (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

      But the Pharisaic church so often teaches this to the sheep instead:

      For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
      a time to be born,
      a time to plant,
      a time to heal;
      a time to build up;
      a time to laugh;
      a time to dance;
      a time to gather stones together;
      a time to embrace,
      a time to seek,
      a time to keep,
      and a time to sew;
      a time to keep silence [unless you have the right to the pulpit]
      a time to love,
      and a time for peace.

    • Innoscent

      Very good points Bright Sunshinin’ Day and Barbara! Indeed there is a time to pray AND a time to REFRAIN from prayers. Thank you for the insight.
      In Jeremiah 7 also, God commanded His prophet 3 TIMES to no longer pray for His unfaithful people. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.” (v. 16) because they had provoked God to anger with they idolatry (v.18-20). Haven’t our abusers provoked us for a long time and stubbornly continued with their idolatrous mindset of SELF-entitlement while ignoring the Lord’s command to love and cherish their wives?

  14. bright sunshinin' day

    Good points, Barb. Half truths. Wasn’t satan’s method of operation to quote half truths as demonstrated when he tempted Jesus in the desert? Jesus countered satan’s attacks with the whole truth and nothing but the truth…which sent satan running.

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