A Cry For Justice

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

You Shall Not Put the Lord to the Test — But Abusers Love to

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (Matthew 4:5-7)

A typical devilish tactic right out of the kingdom of darkness is tempting or testing the Lord. It is evil in many ways, and as the Lord Jesus told Satan by authority of Scripture, this sin is forbidden. Of course that was the whole thing Satan was up to there in the wilderness. Tempting the Lord.  “If you are….then…”.

You see the enemies of Christ doing the same thing repeatedly as recorded in the Gospels:

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. (Matthew 16:1)

Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? (Matthew 22:17-18)

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:2)

And there are numbers of other examples of the very same tactic.

The wicked not only put the Lord to the test directly, probably even more often they do this by putting Christ’s people to the test. If you are an abuse victim or survivor, I know that you have had this happen to you and probably frequently. Another name for this tactic is “the set up.” Because that really is what the point of the thing is. To set someone up (the target of the abuser) for failure, humiliation, or some kind of condemnation. It is quite diabolical as you think about it. Subtlety and cunning cruelty working overtime to plan the set up.

Abusers are really masters at this and they can construct a set up amazingly quickly. After all, evil like this is their very nature. They will say something, almost always in front of others, that demands some kind of response or answer, and they do their best to make it a no-win proposition. Whatever the victim says or has to say is going to appear self-condemning.

A very appropriate response is, “You hypocrite. Why do you put me to the test?”  If you can do so safely, try it next time the old set up ploy is pulled on you.

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6 Comments

  1. bright sunshinin' day

    Jesus really did pave the way for us and showed us how to deal with abusers…tricksters. The response you suggest when a schemer sets his/her trap is a good one:

    “A very appropriate response is, “You hypocrite. Why do you put me to the test?” If you can do so safely, try it next time the old set up ploy is pulled on you.”

  2. Raped By Evil

    Pastor Crippen, this is SO right on target!

    The set up. My husband does this perpetually. The thing is, even though I was raised with abusers like this I didn’t know how to combat it. I just tried to stay away from them and truthfully, that was the best defense and the only one open to me at the time

    My husband was raised with others like himself so the endless taunting and setting up others to take a fall was always taking place. My husband LOVES this environment and found it endlessly stimulating and since there were so many of them, he always had a victim who would turn into a villain once they discovered whatever current deception had taken place. They loved to exact revenge on one another and emotionally and spiritually nobody was getting hurt because they all have the same nature. They thrive in evil environments and feel powerful and satiated for a time.

    Enter marriage to me. My husband told me early on that I was a person who never sought revenge. I had no idea what he meant by this, but as time went by and God showed me the truth about my husband and I was able to see that even though my husband KNEW I wasn’t abusive or vengeful or spiteful, he STILL played the same games with me that he did growing up. He set me up over and over but did it in ways that seemed like he was caring and loving. He got me pregnant again and again, kept buying houses and cars we couldn’t afford but I was the one left to manage the bills and he seemed like he really listened when I told him we couldn’t afford things…he just found another way to get them. He would tell me he’d be home at a certain time and then either be late or early, but rarely when he said he would. I now know him so I listen when he tells me he’s going to do such and such with so and so at this place……he ALWAYS lies in one portion of it……….ALWAYS. He used to tell me I heard him wrong, but now I know he’s simply setting me up….to disappoint me, to not satisfy me, to be against me, to dishonor me and to make me think I’m crazy or have others think I’m crazy.

    I now often battle him with the truth which is that Jesus lives in my heart and that’s who he is against. He tries to separate my actions from my heart but I REFUSE to allow him to do this because all of my actions REFLECT that the Holy Spirit lives inside of me, and that when he tests me, he is actually pushing at / testing God who lives within me. He gets VERY ANGRY about this but he usually backs off because I am the ONLY PERSON HE HAS EVER MET THAT HAS LOVED HIM, and although he doesn’t TRULY understand it, I knows there is truth in what I’m saying.

    It was never about me–my husbands abuse–it was always about how evil he was and is.
    It was never about me–my husbands abuse–it was always due to his evil heart that he chose to have it above all else.

    It was always supposed to be the churches job to teach us to identify these evil people so that we could stay away from them, not marry them and not have children with them. But that’s the set up isn’t it? The devils set up—to poke and prod those who belong to Jesus, to tempt and to harass us, God’s true little ones–to ACT like they REALLY DESIRE truth and goodness and are trying to ferret out evil–but the truth is that they want to ferret out GOD –so that they can set THEMSELVES in His place because they NATURALLY oppose Him and those who belong to Him. Putting God to the test is just another red flag that shows that one is not of God.

  3. Finding Answers

    (Airbrushing my writing…)

    Pastor Jeff quoted: “Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:5-7)

    Sometimes I feel lost.

    Oh dear…massive trigger.

    After my divorce, I had a short-term relationship with a ‘c’hristian who wrote many, many letters. Rarely to me. To others, condemning them in the vilest of terms. Twisting scripture to support his words.

    (I remember once…I pulled out my Bible and showed him a twisting. His expression indicated I had taken the wind out of his sails…)

    Sometimes he included indirect reference to me, mostly when referencing healing information I provided to people.

    Solid, researched, supported with documented references to eminent experts in their field. Not fly-by-night wing-nuts. Not experts who made dubious claims. Not experts who twisted / manipulated data until it screamed. Not “celebrity experts” worshipped by mass media.

    There were times I was blessed with a word of knowledge / word of wisdom. I always tested it against what I knew of God. I always asked the Holy Spirit whether or not my own issues were getting in the way.

    Thus began the ridicule of my God-given gifts / talents. Gifts and talents I have used, one way or another, since I was a child. He would tell me I was demon-possessed. He would tell me I hurt people. I have never harmed anyone. (I received enough feedback from people to support my contention.)

    He was irked, I think, because he considered himself the more mature ‘c’hristian. (I write ‘c’hristian differently now than I would have then… 🙂 )

    Yet I was the one helping. No desire to “make it big.” No desire to become wealthy. No desire to “corner the market.”

    For less than one year – and for the first time in my life – I have been free of abusive relationships. At the same time, flashbacks began, 24 / 7.

    Given my past, given my upbringing, given my experiences, God “became” my abuser.

    I am being torn in two…

    I know who God is…and is not.

    God, as the Holy Spirit, has led me all my life.

    I have made some bad choices, being so overwhelmed at the time I did not realize I had missed His leading.

    Difficult to accept, perhaps, but I cannot shift blame to anyone else for my lack of knowledge of myself.

    Now I realize it is time to stop accepting the blame for that which is not mine.

    The question is: Have I been testing God?

    • Dear Finding Answers,

      You ended your comment by writing “The question is: Have I been testing God?”

      I think that question is coming from the enemy – “the thief who does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10 NKJ)

      (John 10:7-10 NMB)
      Then Jesus spoke to them again: Truly truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All, even as many as came before me, are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be safe, and will go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

  4. Finding Answers

    You pointed me in the right direction, Barb.

    The Holy Spirit led me to read all of John 10, using the NMB.

    Actually, I read it several times. 🙂

    It’s not that I am unfamiliar with John 10. What matters is timing, focus, and where the speaker places verbal emphasis.

    Very rarely is emphasis placed on His voice by placing actual, verbal emphasis on the word voice.

    There will likely be a lengthy explanation on why the sheep follow their shepherd’s familiar voice. Or why the sheep do not follow the stranger’s voice. They may even include a dissertation on the intelligence level of the sheep.

    For people in abusive relationships, the tone of voice makes a world of difference. As many can attest, evil does not always come with a loud or angry voice.

    How many victims / survivors find certain verses difficult to read or hear because they “heard” their abusers voice in their head? In how many other areas of their life does this apply?

    A similar argument can be made with respect to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts. The devil and his minions condemn.

    Which leads to discernment.

    Whose voice is actually being heard? What is the underlying tone?

    The Holy Spirit was teaching me to “hear” the difference just before the flashbacks started. After that, identifying subtleties went out the window.

    I could know something. I could usually identify my Shepherd’s voice. If I was wound up tighter than a drum, all bets were off. 🙂

    When the fog descends, the Shepherd’s voice is muted…but I can still feel the Holy Spirit.

    There is a different “feel” about the NMB. Whatever the reason, His voice stood out…

    Thank you.

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