Abusers ALWAYS Work to Make Us Look Bad
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good? But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God. For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you. (Job 15:1-6)
I don’t know if Elphaz was an abuser as we define the abuser or not, but certainly he was abusing Job here through false accusations. At minimum he was an ally of Job’s enemy (Satan) duped into thinking Job was guilty of sin and was being punished by God. But we can learn at least two things from Eliphaz’ biting words of “counsel” here:
- Abusers always, always, always work to make their target look and feel guilty. Job is righteous, but Eliphaz lays it on him, heaping on load after load of accusations. “God is against you, Job. You are lying. The mess you are in is the result of your own evil doings. You are condemned by your own words.”
- What abusers accuse their victim of is the very evil THEY are guilty of doing. Eliphaz, not Job, is the one here whose “iniquity teaches his mouth” and who “chooses the tongue of the crafty.” Eliphaz’ accusations are true in an ironic way – they apply to HIM.
Abusers want to have power and control, and they know that people who lack self-confidence and who are weighed down with guilt and blame and shame are much easier to control than someone who sees the truth clearly. So put-downs are the name of their game, the currency in which they deal.
And this can help us identify an abuser.
If you are in any kind of relationship with a person who (you have to think carefully about this to get through the fog)…with a person who regularly makes you feel guilty, shamed, and blamed, then at minimum that person is an unsafe person to relate to. At worst they are an abuser. We aren’t talking about a true friend who wants to help (for your own welfare) by pointing some problem out in your character, nor are we speaking of a police officer who tells you that you are guilty of running a red light (when you did). No, the person we have in mind is the person who feigns to be a friend or who claims to be a Christian, but who (in contrast to most all the other people you know) “hits you in the gut” with his words right out of the blue with a fair degree of regularity. And you thought they were just trying to be a good Christian by telling you these things, right? So you believed them. You wore the guilt trip they wanted you to wear. You looked bad. You looked guilty.
Just what the culprit wanted.
We need to develop a kind of “wisdom radar” that alerts us to these kinds of people so that we come to understand exactly what it is they are up to. And then do whatever we can to get out of relationship with them. How many church members who claim to be Christians need to be called on the carpet here, exposed for all to see, because “the poison of asps is under their lips” as Paul says? How much grief and trouble would be replaced by joy and peace if this kind were put out from among us?
And by the way. That “wisdom radar” really is already installed in our ROM operating system that the Lord gives EACH one of His genuine people. It is called the Spirit of God in us, the Spirit of truth exposing the spirit of error and evil. Unfortunately through false teaching and naivete, many Christians today treat the warnings of the Spirit in them pretty much like a car alarm. “Warning, warning…beep, beep, beep….Oh, never mind, some knucklehead must have set off your car alarm. Disregard.”
The Holy Spirit NEVER gives false alarms. NEVER.