A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — Truth is Not Always ‘Nice’ but it is Necessary

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.  So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us.  And not content with that, he refuses to welcome brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.  (John 1:9-10 ESV)

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.  Beware of hm yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.  (2 Timothy 4:14-15 ESV)

Let me make note of one false notion that wicked, abusive men make use of to perpetrate their façade and masquerade of being righteous, godly, fine, upstanding Christians and fathers and husbands. It is this – “If you cannot say something nice about someone, you must not say anything at all.” Now, let me challenge you to think carefully about this. What did the Apostle John do in regard to Diotrephes? What did the Apostle Paul do in respect to Alexander the coppersmith and others? Named them and their evil deeds. So this widely — held idea is absolutely unscriptural. Truth is not always “nice” but it is necessary.

[Excerpt from Ps Crippen’s domestic violence sermon series, The Psychology and Methods of Sin: sermon 2 of 21 titled “Worship Me, or Else!” Complete sermon and PDF can be found here.]

7 Comments

  1. MaxGrace

    This hits home with me. We always, as Christians want to make ‘nicey nice” with people, but sometimes that is our human nature, wanting to be really “nice people”, and looking so dang saintly. Now there’s certainly scriptural evidence for kindness, love of the brethren, turning the other cheek, and so on. Absolutely.

    I heard a sermon the other day, and it hit me so hard, and I think it fits with what Pastor is saying. When our Lord said to his disciples that He was going to be delivered to the chief priests and elders and to suffer and be killed, shortly after Peter and the rest had declared their faith in Him as Messiah, Peter took Jesus aside and corrected Him. The sharpest rebuke came from our Lord, “Get thee behind me, satan”. He told Peter he was a stumbling block to Him, because he was savoring the things of man, and not the things of God. I got to thinking, that is what we do, when we give place to these evil goings on. We savor the things of man, and not of God. Like the pharisees, we think we know how we are supposed to act, and don’t want to be real, or confront evil, or even confront other Christians who “stick up” for the abuser, and tell the victim to “submit”. I know we need wisdom on what we do in certain situations, because we may have to measure what the immediate family will go through in retaliation from the abuser. But before God, we must call it evil.

    I was also taught if you can’t say anything nice, its gossip, etc. . We have to speak up. ” The power of life and death is in the tongue” is misused to make people not say anything ‘bad”. But then, there must be power in the tongue if we say the truth. I was actually nice to my son in law after he literally picked up my little 8 year old grandson by the collar of his shirt and put him against the wall with his feet dangling, because something else had irked him. He said to the child, “I told you to go in the other room”. In fact, he had not. He was just sitting, quietly doing his homework, as he had been told to do. He was terrified. i’m so ashamed, but I hugged my son in law (later that day). I actually thought if I was really nice to him, that God would convict Him. (coals of fire thing – clearly not for that situation).

    That was false teaching, and maybe me wanting to make nice and think it would all go away, although I couldn’t admit that to myself at the time. I was so distraught, and I hid it. I only wish I could get that day back. He’s out of the picture now, but God help me to boldly stand up for victims today.

    The comfort that I have after having failed my grandson is, “The Lord will repay him (my ex son in law), according to his deeds.” To this day he has never acknowledged any wrongdoing. He is smug and arrogant, and blames my daughter for everything. My grandson is 16 years old, and we are very close, and continue to enjoy each others company. He doesn’t see his father. He doesn’t want to. It still brings tears to my eyes that I actually believed being nice to him would win him over, when it just enabled him.

    Of course, I also knew at that time that if I did confront him directly, I wouldn’t be allowed to see the kids anymore. (I worked as a nurse in an adolescent hospital unit, and as a “mandatory reporter”, had reported to child protective children that had come in with facial bruises and had been thrown around the room, etc. Nothing was “proven”, so nothing was ever done about it. The kids went home to the same situation). So I also knew that proving something was done to a child whose marks would be gone by the time child protective got there would be futile) I also had reported him one time before, and there was no charges against him. I pray our justice system will change and acknowledge the evils that go on with coercive and controlling dictators who call themselves the head of the household. I had been to domestic violence center with my daughter several times through the years. My grandkids loved spending time with me, but my son in law limited my time with them, through curfews and unreasonable last minute shortening of my hours, because I was “spoiling” them, and He had to discipline them. That meant keeping them in their rooms most of the time, and keeping them from normal social events with peers. (He was, btw a self proclaimed “righteous” man.) My grandson would plead with me not to send him back to his father. It was heart wrenching.

    Thank you CFJ that you will not relent. I pray for you all. You mean so much to me and to so many others for declaring truth and compassion and righteousness. I’ve learned so much, and I”m thankful.

    p.s. my daughter is now an advocate at the domestic violence center. She is a beautiful, articulate woman who has blossomed and is now helping others after being in an imposed “prison” for 20 years. Neither one of us will ever make “nice” again in regards to dealing with the issue of domestic abuse. Part of that courage comes from this website.

    • keeningforthedawn

      “Thank you CFJ that you will not relent. I pray for you all. You mean so much to me and to so many others for declaring truth and compassion and righteousness. I’ve learned so much, and I”m thankful.”

      MaxGrace, I appreciate your post. You’ve expressed so much of what is in my heart. There are also moments when I played “nice” that I deeply regret. I’m still learning — years of sunshine and lollipop conditioning (a more accurate term might be “brainwashing”) don’t always leave overnight. The clarity I find here on this website has given me courage as well.

  2. Brenda R

    “If you cannot say something nice about someone, you must not say anything at all.” Between the evil step father telling me what he would do to my mother if I told and my mother making the above statement, I learned silence at an early age.

    A couple of weeks ago I was being told a story about an abuser who had done various ungodly acts to several people. When I stated what I thought the harsh penalties should be, I was asked where my Christian Charity was. My reply was, “with his victims”. I know it has been said here before, but worth repeating: If we aren’t angry about abuse, why aren’t we? We need to speak up and call sin what it is.

    • healinginhim

      Brenda R — Good reply concerning your Christian Charity. I’m still having to face those questions. I’m angry because of the apathy and like you said the refusal to call sin what it is.

    • Lost

      That’s right! Call what’s right right and what’s wrong wrong. There are many people in these churches who have lost all common sense and reality. This grace for every “mistake” (we’re all sinners and abusers) freedom in Christ plea has created a festering breeding ground for abusers. And likewise underneath this putrid ground are the graves of their victims. It’s like they yell “GRACE GRACE GRACE!” and no one even looks at the sin or even dares to look at the suffering victim.

      I mean how dare she call out sin when we don’t and we are the “leaders”. Just shut her up real good and be his close friend. Quick, fast, go! God ordained us! We have an agenda and with “God’s help” we won’t stop. Surely we are so blessed!

  3. Anonymous

    These abusers have no problem hurling accusations (not being nice) at their wives and often their children as well, but heaven help the woman (or man) who isn’t a mealy-mouthed yes-man who shuts up and agrees with them. This is the same garbage they try to sell us about Jesus — that he was some mealy-mouthed yes-man who never said a negative thing about anyone or TO anyone; and when he wasn’t telling everyone how great they were — he was silent. I CAN’T BELIEVE I BOUGHT THIS! Jesus was NOTHING like this. Not a single person in the bible who was witnessing for God was “nice.” Look at the prophets, the disciples, all of them had “negative” things to say. They even hurt other people’s feelings (gasp!) and what’s more, they did it because it was the right thing to do and also because they loved/feared God more than man. (Bottom line: you gotta have the ability to love someone besides yourself and also the ability to fear, in order to serve the Lord.) Of course we know that abusers think they are being righteous when they point out all our faults but as with most things, their hearts are revealed by their fruits.

    I had the opportunity to run the “don’t gossip” thing (which is similar to the “be nice” thing) by a professed Christian a few weeks ago. We were working together for the day (large organization) and the subject of Jesus came up (this happens a lot in the Bible Belt and I’m grateful that I can say the name of Jesus without being attacked like other places I’ve lived). I had said something “negative” (truthful) about a situation and I could see that he was gearing up for the ““If you cannot say something nice about someone……….” and I stated flatly that speaking the truth about observations made was not gossiping and that it could actually be a forewarning — and therefore a blessing — to others. (Forewarning others was one of the primary things Jesus did while he was in human form.) I stated that if speaking the truth was gossiping then Jesus was a gossip. Amazingly, he actually thought about what I’d said. We worked together for several hours after this and by the end of the day I could see a difference in him. It was almost like a weight had been lifted. (When the Holy Spirit lives in your heart and a fellow believer speaks truth, the Holy Spirit will help that person discern.) The things addressed on this website are novel ideas to many Christians but they are truths from God’s word and as such, hold a great deal of power, authority and love.

    Thank you for pointing out another little morsel from God’s word that shines the light on another truth and another characteristic of a true Christian that’s been morphed into something it wasn’t. Seriously, what would we do and where would we go if it weren’t for this website?

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