A Cry For Justice

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

An Abuser is Called a “Reviler” in Scripture, And the Reviler is no Christian

How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? (Psalms 74:10)

“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! (Luke 6:22)

But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. (Acts 13:45)

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

Verbal abuse is one of the most wicked sins named in Scripture. Did you know that? It is called “reviling” and God says that the reviler who claims to be a Christian, isn’t. In fact, we are not to have anything to do with such a person.

If you look at the uses of “revile” in Scripture (reviling, reviler) you will get a feel for its definition. To revile someone is to mock them, to condemn them, to curse them, to falsely accuse them. And of course we all know that this is precisely what the abuser does with his mouth. He reviles his victim.

Our churches have waaaaay too many revilers sitting in the pews (in fact just one is too many). Revilers are those people who use their tongue like a sword. They are, well, they are this:

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” (Romans 3:13-14)

Of course they strike selectively under conditions that are to their advantage. They don’t revile just anyone. Oh no. Revilers are also most often accomplished flatterers.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6)

This is how they dupe the unwary.

Reviling is a sin which, if not repented of, qualifies a person for hell and is not to be permitted to live among the saints. That lady whose speech is biting and demeaning. That man, an apparent pillar of the church, whose words cut and accuse. These are the ones to be confronted with their sin. The thing is to be exposed to the entire church. And if we would do this, if we would obey our Lord, you know what? Abusers would find themselves unwelcome in Eden — because Eden is what we are supposed to be modeling in our local church.

 

36 Comments

  1. Still Reforming

    I seem to keep coming across these types of revilers more and more frequently – or perhaps I’m just now seeing it when it’s been there all along.

    A neighbor whose cattle have been allowed to graze for free on part of my property yesterday accused me of “putting (him) in a predicament” when I said that due to my having lost a job recently, I need my land to provide some income to me. Someone else made me an offer to pay me for the land for the same use, so now my “Christian” neighbor (who attends church regularly and delivers food around the community) accused me of putting him in a predicament. Never mind that my husband left me this time last year without an income and that the neighbor has been able to sponge off my land for free all these years, while every one else around pays for land use for livestock. The man who will pay me said my neighbor has similar freebie deals all around the area.

    What clinched it for me was when late last week I heard this “Christian” neighbor screaming at someone (his wife? kids?) at dusk. I was outside in my garden and could hear his shouts many acres away, and I began to wonder. I could hear several words quite clearly, but mostly it was the tone and anger that came through loud and clear.

    I try not to see a reviler around every corner, but boy – there sure seem to be a lot of them around, and Christian venues seem to attract many. Sadly I fear political correctness and incorrect understanding of Scripture (accepting drivel from the pulpit) drive the flock above and beyond pursuit of truth.

    I think the Lord is educating His people about such evil, winnowing and sorting wheat from chaff. It’s not a comfortable process, but one for which I am grateful. I’d rather be here waking up to it than back there without a clue.

  2. Still Reforming

    Thank you, Pastor Jeff, for that proverb. I’m going to print that one out for my own reminding and to share with my child – as she too is cluing in to recognizing evil in these “angels of light.”

  3. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  4. Ellen

    Here is my question: How does one respond when the “reviler” is in leadership and when he is called out he responds by saying that the one who called him out is the “reviler” because he or she is speaking ill of him? In my experience, this is exactly what happened. I tried to graciously follow scripture in sharing some concerns about a person in leadership in the church. The leadership responded with negativity toward me for expressing concerns about a “leader” and I subsequently found myself ostracized. I know, I know. I should have walked away right then and there, but this was my church with family and friends and neighbors and I naively thought that it would all blow over eventually.

    “Eventually” turned in to years and I found myself suffering PTSD-like symptoms and truly believed that if the church thought I was unwanted and unnecessary, God must feel the same way, as well. Counseling opened my eyes and I decided to stand up for myself (over a decade after the initial incident) and when I did, I was told to leave the church. I in no way believe that I was wrong in trying to address concerns about a staff member and I certainly suffered spiritual abuse for many years for bringing my concerns to leadership. Now, I am shunned by those who were my friends, family, and neighbors because the leadership has told them that I am the “reviler.” So, again, how should one respond on such a situation? As I have: to simply walk away and allow my character to be maligned?

    • Still Reforming

      Ellen,
      You’re a brave saint, and your testimony reminds me of those in Scripture who called out leadership in the temple and were ostracized by leadership for it (Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc). I am reminded too of Martin Luther who stood up against the Catholic leadership, because he also was lead by conscience (Holy Spirit) to defend truth in the Word of God, no matter the cost – sometimes our own reputations (wrongly so).

      I am no longer at the church I attended and where I served for many years because they are more comfortable with my ex- (a wolf among sheep) and I am not. Truth be told, the leadership of that church include revilers, and I too (like you) stood up once to question the practices of leadership. Another stood up with me and met with the deacons about it, but we were told that things would remain the same.

      Your being maligned in character is what Jesus said would happen. (“”If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” – John 15:18). Although that verse says “the world,” I think many in the church aren’t real Christians or they would in fact be open to revealing truth. The church is (sadly) an easy place for revilers to hide – AND lead.

      Your best response may be to accept that these men are not real Christians and that you can dust your feet of that place with your conscience clear. Better to leave and obey God than to stay and keep thinking you’re in a place with unChristian leadership. You need to be fed truth. You seek truth. Don’t settle for less. (Boy, I did for too long).

      Many others – including myself – are no longer in a place of worship because it’s hard to find a truly God-fearing, truth-preaching assembly, but thank the Lord He has provided several great teachers (Pastor Jeff here among them) on-line where we can be fed and congregate if not in person then virtually – all to His glory and the good of His people. He doesn’t define in Scripture how or where we are to worship – other than in Spirit and in truth. If your church’s leadership aren’t interested in truth, they’re not obeying the Lord.

    • Anonymous

      Ellen, I can relate to your story. It’s unreal … I dare not re-enter ‘the church’ as certain individuals still operate in leadership positions. What I find so discouraging is that women are playing a major role in reviling against other vulnerable women.

    • Hi Ellen, I think the way you have responded — by walking away – is certainly a good way to respond to such ‘no-win’ situations.
      Having said that, here is an article I wrote years ago which may give you a few other ideas of how to respond to the friends, family and neighbours who have been sucked in by that pastor’s lies.

      Unhelpful Comments by Well-Meaning People — A Coaching Clinic

  5. Anne

    Since i took the reviling “laying down’, so to speak, for so many years, I have now become passionate about his foolish lack of responsibility of knowing our teenage daughter’s whereabouts and other aspects of her care and behavior etc. (Editors removed the details of the situation for the safety of the commenter and the child.) So passionate that I raise my voice when I’m talking to him because he just doesn’t get it. He is a fool to think that our child will not manipulate further to get everything she wants–or that she is safe being responsibile for her own transportation. She is in charge in our house and I don’t know how to deal with it. She gets everything she wants. He says, “No, she isn’t. You are!” The reason he says that is that whenever I get passionate about anything, he has a little talk with her (blames me). That’s why he says I’m in charge. Recently she did something deceitful (I’m afraid it wasn’t the first time) and so she had privileges taken away and didn’t like it. (restrictions with “contact with friends”, media, and phone.) Her dad and all his allies eventually accused me of having her in prison. So when I am passionate, I raise my voice and the tone in my voice has a lot of angst….I never name-call and am afraid that I am going too far in my passion and don’t want to be a reviler myself. Just needing some direction and/or consolation. Thank you for all your articles, Jeff.

    • healingInHim

      I hear you Anne, It’s difficult as any inflection is considered too dramatic or too emotional. This complaint about me has been a way trying to keep me quiet. He’s resorted to following blogs like ACFJ at times and now parrots much of what Pastor Jeff or Barbara say to an abuser. He used their words against me. I too, have been referred to as ‘the controller’ when I was forced to become the disciplinarian. Or he has stated, “I refuse to listen to this anymore.” He is making it look like I am the abuser when all I have been attempting to do is clarify past actions or words that have been spoken.
      I want so badly for this to stop and have cried myself to sleep as I pray for my children and grandchildren who are being deceived by the sin(s).

  6. CrazyIsCatching

    My spouse calls our kids names behind my back. I’ve asked in the past that he stop doing this. He has called them idiots, fools, useless, worthless, stupid. Is this reviling? When confronted, he either says that he didn’t do it or the he “didn’t mean it that way”.

    He’s stopped saying mean things to me and to the kids in front of me. I feel like I don’t know what’s up and what’s down. Very confusing.

    • Babylove

      That covert aggression is called “gaslighting” and is a tactic used by abusive men to keep you off balance, confused and too make u think u are crazy. I suggest you seek help from the DV hotline in your country, abused women’s shelter or speak with police when u are ready. In my experience it will not get better over time and your children are being damaged. I am praying for u!! Also i recommend liking fb page I WILL STAND, you will find a community of support, encouragement and education…you are not alone my friend. God loves u very very very much and God hates abuse; emotional, spiritual, sexual, physical, mental etc etc

      [note from Eds: wording of this comment altered a little, in the interests of clarity and (we hope) helpfulness.]

    • Anonymous

      I was called all these names and many many more. This is abuse and extremely harmful and can leave lifelong scars.

    • Yes, that sure is reviling!

      And the fact that he’s doing it covertly just makes it worse.

      Feeling like you don’t know what’s up and what’s down is a VERY common experience when living with an abusive spouse. That’s why I used that that theme in the cover of my book.

      • CrazyIsCatching

        Thank you Barbara. I have a hard time resolving how a person can be so nice one day and then call his kid an idiot the next.

        I can’t imagine that God thinks it’s best for me to continue to expose my child to this. However, when I’ve confronted my spouse, he says that he didn’t say that or that Americans think everything is abuse. He promised me that he’d stopped doing this.

        I feel so crazy . I pray every day that God would let me see/hear these things, so that there’s no iota of doubt in my mind. My son has exaggerated other things in the past, so I feel like I have to weed out any of that.

        I know that something is going on because he says often that he wishes that his dad would go away. I made the mistake of asking my spouse if he realizes that his son has said that and he said that our son says it because he wants to manipulate me and that I’m too lenient and he knows that he’ll get everything he wants. Then the guilt starts.

        Sorry for the tangent! Any thoughts is appreciated.

      • CiC, you might like to consider this:
        You said you pray every day that God would let you see/hear these things, so that there’s no iota of doubt in your mind. And your son has exaggerated other things in the past, so you feel like you have to weed out any of that.

        But one thing you know for sure: Your son says he wishes his dad would go away. To me, that fact is enough to tell you that your son is being hurt or intimidated by his Dad in some way or other. To my mind, you don’t need more information than that — your son feels unsafe with his dad. The details about what Dad has done or not done do not need to be ascertained or prooved beyond all shadow of doubt.

        Your husband wants to keep you on this hook of uncertainty, so that you do not act more strongly to protect your son, and so that he (your husband) can continue exerting power and control over you with effect. But you do not have to play the game you husband has set up. You can make your own judgement calls about the situation, based on the balance of probabilities. The balance of probabilities tells you, I would suggest, that your husband is spinning webs of lies and half-truths, and is not to be trusted.

        If he was a safe Dad, your son would not be saying he wished his father would go away!

        So, I suggest you let yourself off the hook of obtaining absolute proof of what you husband is or is not saying/doing to your son behind you back. I suggest you just go with your gut feeling that your husband is not treating the kids rightly. And block your ears to the lies, evasions, excuses, blame-shifting and minimizing narratives that your husband spews out.

        And I also suggest you stop expecting that one day, if you can just confront your husband with enough firm evidence, he will admit his sins and stop doing them. That is a fairytale hope.

        Blessings and hugs to you 🙂

  7. Babylove

    Of all the bad men in the world; religious bad men are the most EVIL

  8. Anonymous

    One of the writers posted that she lives in fear in her own home with her abuser. That is a very stern warning NOT to be ignored. As women we must pay attention to our instincts.

  9. Terry

    Amen. Preach it Pastor!

  10. Ginger

    Do we have any good places here to share links? I read a good article today, but it’s not directly related to this article.

  11. Anonymous

    CiC,
    Barbara’s thoughts/suggestions are right on. Women know when they are loved; children know when they are loved. The fact that you feel as you do and your son has made clear how he feels, together are warning signs not to be ignored. I endorse Barbara’s comments wholeheartedly.

  12. NoMoreTears

    Thank you for your comment and your commitment to this cause.

    • Hi NoMoreTears

      For your safety I wanted you to know that your screen name has been showing up as your full name. I have been changing it to the screen name you have used on the blog in the past. You may want to go to your “My Profile” on your wordpress account and check the “public display name” field. Whatever is typed in that field is what will appear as your screen name.

  13. BreatheAgain

    This article is so eye opening and amazing, and helpful….at the same time after reading it I feel panic and trembling. I have struggled to get out of this marriage and have not found the way yet. I guess I am scared to see what is really happening, again, and I need to find the strength to deal with it. It makes me sad and scares me to see my husband described so well here… Barbara what you said here to CrazyIsCatching really spoke to me too. I have tried to confront h. with his harmful effects on our son and the last time I did I was just floored…he flat out denied that anything had happened. It is crazy making.

    • Hi BreatheAgain, since you are looking for the way out of the marriage, I encourage you to read our Safety Planning page and also to get help from a domestic violence support service (click here for the hotlines phone numbers).

      • BreatheAgain

        Thank you Barbara. If we separate I hope to stay in the house, I have been told I should for the sake of my son. But we’ll see. In some ways I’d love to get out of here and get a new start altogether. Thanks again

      • If we separate I hope to stay in the house, I have been told I should for the sake of my son

        Hmm… who told you that? It sounds like the kind of advice that comes from people who are ULTRA NAIVE about abusers and their wicked tactics. Staying for the sake of your son having both parents under the one roof… well what will that entail? Will it mean your husband has more oportunities to twist the son’s thinking so that he takes the side of his father and disrespects you? Will it mean that you son will put more pressure on you to reconcile with your husband? Will it mean that your stress is prolonged and compounded?

        Moving to a different dwelling will have both negative and positive aspects … and staying under the one roof will have both negative and positive aspects. But let me put this to you: your son’s wellbeing is not the only factor to consider. Your own wellbeing is also a factor to consider. If you are under great stress, you will not be able to parent your son as well, and you may not be as able to take all the incremental steps that you might want to take to build a safer life and to recover from the abuse. So I suggest you consider your needs just as much as your son’s needs. Most abused spouses put their kids needs way above their own, which in one sense is a godly thing to do, but it can backfire and lead to more horrible consequences in the long term. So weigh it up carefully. And if folks tell you to consider the needs of you son, tell them you are doing so, but you are considering other things too.

        Another thing: If you son puts pressure on you, remember that you are the adult but your son is still a child. The adult (if they are a protective parent, not an abuser) is the one that makes the big decisions, not the child.

  14. BreatheAgain

    Thank you so much Barbara. You are right, I do need to think of my own needs too, my [very significant – Eds] health issues are a sign to me to pay attention.
    My child [has disabilities – details redacted by Eds to protect commenter’s identity]. This is really my main concern in the marriage, too since [his disabilities would make him unable to report if someone is abusive to him]. I know h. can be abusive when he gets angry.

    What I meant about I hope to stay in the house if we separate was, that the h. should leave, not me. I’ve been advised to have him leave, and I stay in the home.

    We have separated before and he moved out but it didn’t last long. I am seeing a therapist soon and hope to get my head together to figure out the future from here. I feel like I can’t handle much more.

    • Hi BreatheAgain, thanks for explaining that. I agree that your husband moving out and your child and you remaining in the home is the thing to aim for. I suggest you seek advice from your local Domestic Abuse Support Service and your local police. Depending what the laws are in your state, you may have the option of taking out a Protection Order against your husband which would prohibit him from coming within x metres of your home or your workplace. Of course, abusers do not always obey the conditions of Protection Orders, but that is where your local DV Support Service can best advise and assist you… to work out the best safety plan for your particular circumstances.

      Since your husband has left before but then come back, that would suggest he would repeat that pattern — i.e. if he leaves the family home, he will later attempt to come back, just like he did before. So I suggest you make a clear plan for that eventuality. Find out about and use the legal options that are available to you to restrain or prohibit him from coming back. AND prepare yourself mentally for him trying to come back, so that if and when he tries, you have firmness to resist him.

      BTW, I disidentified the details about your health situation and the sex and disablity of your child. On this site, to protect your abuser from identifying you, it’s best to just refer to your child as ‘child’ rather than indicate whether the child is a boy or a girl.

      • BreatheAgain

        Ok, thank you for that.
        I am so relieved to have found out yesterday I am not sick. That is one huge thing off of my mind, thank God.

      • Wonderful news! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  15. BreatheAgain

    BTW the resources you posted here are very helpful, I have a couple of numbers to try now that I didn’t have before. Thanks.

  16. Some Anonymous Bloke

    Yes, I have at least two family members who are revilers (i.e. verbally abusive persons). In their case, it seems that not speaking of incidents of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse, and the passage of time are considered as adequate substitutes for authentic repentance. They do not even bother with feigned apologies. I know that confronting them is entirely futile; their attitudes and patterns of behaviour are well established. Lack of responsibility for wrongdoing and lack of empathy is something they both share. One is a charmer and hence more effective at the art of manipulation, whilst the other often complains and is generally miserable to be around. They are both toxic, but the former is even more vicious, vile and vindictive than the latter when it comes to his/her verbal attacks. I believe him/her to be a genuine sociopath. Unsurprisingly, (s)he wears a mask most of the time. Image is everything; character is nothing.

    • Hi, Some Anonymous Bloke, welcome to the blog. We always encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.

      • Some Anonymous Bloke

        Thank you for the welcome, Barbara.

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