A Cry For Justice

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

Thursday Thought — Pious Platitudes and their Paraphrases; a new page

While a platitude can be meaningless and annoying, it is rarely dangerous. But not so with pious platitudes. . .

The above is from our new page located on our Insights tab found on the top menu bar. The page is called Pious Platitudes and their Paraphrases.  We thought it would be helpful to collect some platitudes and their paraphrases that our readers have encountered and share them.  Not to mention how it might give us a laugh or two as we travail this vale of tears.

We encourage you to visit our Pious Platitudes page when you have a moment.  If you have a platitude you would like to share, email it to TWBTC at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

24 Comments

  1. MaxGrace

    “The bible says to return good for evil”.

    Meaning:– Let’s not rock the boat and face this situation head on. It’s much easier to just ignore it. Don’t disrupt the status quo or cause a big stink. What will people think if they find out this stuff? And besides I don’t know how to deal with it. So just keep on keeping on and being nicey nice. We’ll all keep our finger crossed and hope for the best, Think positive.

  2. Abused

    Anything that’s negative don’t say.

  3. standsfortruth

    Warning, bad advice,

    “If you submit enough to your husband, then he would become the Godly man you’ve always wanted.”
    NOT.

    In other words, hand the irresponsible spouse “more power” even though he has a record of treacherously misusing his current power. How does that make sense?
    If anything, wouldn’t this be rewarding people with bad behavior?

  4. Innoscent

    Useful page to add TWBTC, pious platitudes are truly sickening and disheartening for the victims. I’ve heard heaps of them over the years along those lines…
    “I’m praying for you!” (this exempts one from helping the victim practically)
    or “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it (the victim chose to marry this man and she now has to stick with him for the rest of her life!)
    “It takes two to tango” or “We are all sinners”…

    • Free

      Abused and Innoscent, yep heard it a million times and how much more lost I was with every rejection like the ones you stated. I can’t stand those people anymore. I certainly can’t trust them. They’re in their own fantasy world. It’s very harmful and delusional. [A substantial proportion of] people sitting in the pews on Sunday are [or have been] ABUSED. ABUSED. And it’s no “mistake” on the abuser’s part. It’s no “sickness.” It’s calculated, intentional, never ending and evil. Hello!

      [Eds: comment edited because we steer away from statistics on this blog. It’s too much of a minefield because the abusers come out of the woodwork touting their own distorted versions of the statistical research…]

  5. Still Reforming

    “Heaven soon”…. ?

    Paraphrase #3: Not to worry; Your abuser may kill you soon then it will all be over.

    Target response to pastor’s “Heaven soon” sign off: “At least I won’t have to see you there.”

    • The Wary Witness

      “At least I won’t have to see you there” — that’s great!

  6. Abby

    “Never judge anyone,” or “You must forgive.” Both of those trigger my anger button.

    • Innoscent

      The no judging is a classic.. Close to it is the “plank in your eye, and the speck in his eye”.. ugghh! I My anger button flashing too Abby…

      • Abby

        Oh yes, plank and speck, that’s the worst. LOL

  7. hope

    “Be careful not to gossip.” (Even though there is proof)

    “Surely people in ministry would never do things like that.”

    “Those who want to see righteousness done and to protect the victims are just controlling and want things to go their way. They just want to tell people what to do. They should mind their own business and not gossip.”

    It is a shame because more victims continue to suffer and those who have power continue to do what they accuse others of doing – control. They oppress their victims without recourse. They can alway rebuff anyone who would attempt to hold them accountable.

  8. The Wary Witness

    “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

    “You’re not just hurt. It’s bitterness that you’re holding on to.”

    “Why are you so bitter?”

    “Why do you keep dwelling on it?”
    [ = Shut up. I don’t want to hear your story].

    “We are all abusers because we all sin against other people.”

    “Never say, ‘you don’t deserve to be treated that way.’ We all deserve Hell.”
    [ = There is no such thing as unjust acts of evil committed against innocent persons, because we are all sinners and therefore there is no such things as an innocent person.]

    So I guess newborn babies deserve to be abused and neglected because they were born with a “sin nature”? So I guess God was just kidding when he said “Thou shalt not murder, thou shalt no commit adultery, thou shalt not steal” because in fact we all deserve to be killed, cheated on, and stolen from? So in fact there is no such thing as justice and injustice when it comes to how human beings treat each other? If your theology and your interpretation of the Bible leads you to conclude that innocent women and children “deserve” to be abused by the ones who should be protecting them, there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with your theology and your interpretation of the Bible. I think this would be an example of what Jeff Crippen refers to as “ethical heresy.”

    • Anonymous

      Well said TWW! And this is how they boil it all down so that ANY behavior can be rationalized, justified, and ignored yet they can still keep the game in play with those of us who are consistent and reliable maintaining the status quo while the abuser continues to abuse and ply his trade of impression management so that he or she remains looking like the one who is the hard-working, long-suffering victim. AND, we get to continue to do all the real work with no love, support, comfort and with most people thinking the abuser is the one doing us the favor by staying married to us.

      Luke 13:30, “And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.”” And many of these people will NOT be in heaven at all! God is just!

  9. Turn the other cheek.

  10. Kind of Anonymous

    Don’t make waves. My mother used to tell me that to silence any concern that had to do with me being treated unfairly and protesting. As if dealing with things head on and confronting them was wrong. and if you did confront it, YOu were the troublemaker, not the person who acted like a jerk.

    Another favorite mom one was “Don’t open a can of worms” – used to justify keeping rotten stuff hidden because it was just too inconvenient to deal with all the hoopla that was gonna happen if the lid came off. ( but mom, those poor worms want OUT) I can see being wise and honorable in how one deals with a can of worms but not in just keeping the lid on rotten stuff.

    It’s not about you. Ah, another great spiritual sounding rebuke really intended to shame a struggler into silence, as if their concerns are invalid. If that’s so true, that our hearts and needs don’t factor in at all, why Luke 4:18 KJVAnd The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…sounds to me like our hearts matter. why would he save our tears in a bottle if they didn’t matter?

    Turn the other cheek – is a favorite used to ignore when someone is being mistreated and needs help. A friend of mine used to say Well, okay, but i only have two of them unless you count the ones on the lower half; after that you better start running. Although I’m not advocating immediate violence in response to sin, perhaps it is signficant that we DO only have two cheeks, suggestive of natural limits?

    If you can’t take it to the cross and leave it there, then Jesus died for nothing. This little trip was laid on me by the wife of a family I stayed with in my early twenties. I had complained to her about how rotten I felt about abuse of various types, that had been a fairly regular occurence in my life right up til young adulthood. I was undertandably angry and bitter and less than impressed wti how christians treated abuse victims, esp if there was anything sexual involved. They would focus on sinful responses but ignore the wounds. She followed my comment with one about how if I did this- took it to the cross and left it there- then those who were truly in need of help would receive it because folks like me weren’t taking up the time of skilled helpers with minor issues. She also informed me, after a date rape incident that I was promiscuous and had no excuse. Sure, I was pretty naive, totally lacked boundaries,and used to being taken advantage of in order to get some form of love, as well as having a normal amount of struggle with lust like anyone else, but really wasn’t at least some of that due to the distortion of reality caused by living with long term regular abuse growing up, and not due onlly to being willing to engage in immorality because I supposed had no moral compunctions? Incidentally, she was a victim of a rape in her early teens, who had I think, attempted to move on by forgiving her rapist, as she claimed to have done, and w as treating it like it was nothing.It was all covrered up with a great deal of spiritualizing, as in compared to her debt to Jesus, what happened to her was minor by comparison. I suspect this is a distortion of truth; yes sins against us are probably minor in comparison to the debt we owe God, but how does that translate into what happened to you doesn’t matter? However I think that if she had truly worked through it she would likely have had compassion and mercy to extend, as well as comfort to other sufferers, not spiritual sounding shutdowns intended to make her “bad samaritan” behaviour sound like it was actually in service of obedience to truth and integrity.

    My last comment on this subject? ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH! Shutting up now.

    • Kind of Anonymous…
      Your story rings true with me. Our back grounds are similar.

      I have the same frustrations with Christians giving pat answers that are empty. Recently I was telling someone I hated being married because……..xyz. They said its only because yours isn’t normal. Yet I’m expected to stay and work it out? Ugh! Tears!!!!!! I’m trapped. And I know it. But I can’t seem to make the steps to do what it takes to get free. When they say oh we are praying for you I feel two things. Thankful for their prayers and angry that that is the end of the help.

      When I tell what is said to us and how nasty it is…the question is always were you fighting?? No!!!! It’s just how he communicates. And why would it be better if I was?! Then I’m asked How are you going to love him? That’s hard to swallow. I know we don’t love then not love and so on. I have loved and it doesn’t help or make him kinder. I haven’t stopped but I’m not crazy trying to love him into the kingdom either. How do you love someone who is just a jerk most of the time?

      The more messed up things are in my life the quieter it is from the outside. Everyone around us is so into their own families and friends they can’t or don’t make time for anything else. I don’t have the energy to reach out like I want.

      I want to die but I don’t want to leave the children behind without support. This life is too long.

      • standsfortruth

        I so hear you, HisBanner. Someone should be helping you, just know that.

        I too wanted to die after decades of abuse and gaslighting by my abuser to undermine my self esteem and any good efforts. But I found some books offered here that helped to set me free.

        Knowledge is Power, and once you know the truth about why your abuser abuses you, it empowers you.

        Have you read any of the books offered here at ACFJ that will validate what you are experiencing? If you can’t afford them, they will gift you the one(s) you are interested in. Just contact TWBTC at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

      • HisBanner, have you checked out my Unhelpful Comment and How to Respond to Them article?

        I hear your anguish. That article may not help you all that much, but it might give you a few quick comebacks to these poisonous things people are saying to you.

      • Free

        Hi HBOMIL,
        It’s WRONG that you are abused! It’s WRONG that no one you know stands up! It’s WRONG that you are trapped and isolated.

        I also wanted to die and i cry out here too. I’m glad you’re here. I’m infuriated that you’re abused!!!

        The truth about abuse has helped me greatly. The books Not Under Bondage (Barbara Roberts), Unholy Charade (Jeff Crippen) , Why Does He Do That? And When Dad Hurts Mom (both by Lundy Bancroft) helped to educate me about what God says about abuse, abandonment and divorce, the definition of abuse itself, the abuser’s mind and will, and the effects of abuse on me and the children along with the injustice faced when reaching out for help. I read them in that order and found it helpful.

        I hated my life and wanted God to kill me. Sometimes I still do hate my life but now it’s because of the pain and injustice and the bondage the church and bible study writers keep the victims IN. I hate the disgusting memories that I can see so clearly now and NOT DENY anymore! I hate the loneliness and the fact tht so many judge me for do what is right and are even against me! I hate that women even my own neighbors snarl at me and don’t care. That’s a lonely and hurtful thing! What did I ever do to them?! (But I will say I am having healthy relationships with people now and it’s great!) it’s just that the disrespectful and hateful ones grossly outnumber those who actually do good.

        I was a non-person with the x and it’s a battle now to fight the lies from the past. It’s tiring but it’s the right thing to do. I was not a mom either. I wasn’t allowed to be. If I liked anything (think a certain food option, etc etc) it was wrong. Yet all the PERVERTED things he liked was covered under GRACE. Hmmm. He was excellent at making his will look like it was in fact God’s will.

        I constantly questioned my motive, my salvation, my submission, my appearance and weight, my parenting, my strengths, my personality, my decisions, my thoughts, my wants and my needs, and my words etc.

        After the “ex anti-husband” attacked me, a question to me was “what did you do?” I told that person to read the many resources on this site for supporters of victims before we talk again. They have NOT done that SIMPLE AND CRUCIAL thing yet they guilt trip me for not contacting them. I don’t answer guilt trips now thanks to God for the truth.

        All of my kids just asked me if I love their dad. Soon enough I’ll be able to say simply “no.” The dog/rabbit story from this site is very helpful. They’ve seen and heard what’s taken place. They talk about memories when the x was with us and they can’t remember if I was even there – yet they remember many other details of things that I even did! – they just don’t don’t remember it being me that was there!!! That is very telling to me! I did not exist to my family when the abuser was with us. And For me to say yes I love their dad after all they’ve seen would be a terrible thing to do to them IMO. 1. it would be a lie and 2. it would be a very bad example to them. Example: a simple “yes” would really mean this – Yes honey I love your dad who attacked me, called me disgusting names for years, degraded me sexually, refused to be sorry, refused to respect my boundaries, spent all our money, went out drinking all night, and went against every idea I would possibly have, who had a lust for power and control and twisted scripture to work for his will not God’s will, etc. Oh Yes I love him bc Jesus loves everyone and I’m called to be like Him and turn the other cheek- Again and again and again. Yep. Bc one day he’ll see Jesus in me and be won over. Gag!

        Well, NO, the truth is I don’t love the abuser/tormentor/liar. I hate him. I’ll never have contact with him again. Never. He disgusts me. He won’t even be allowed at my funeral/grave site. He’s dispicable. He belongs to his father the devil.

        And so do the ones I begged and cried for help from. They literally called me names, were offended by my independence, disgusted by my lack of helplessness (unsubmissiveness), laughed at me and turned against me like a rabid animal as if I was the abuser instead and went on with life. They too hated my personal boundaries. I have clear examples of all of this. I was GUILTY in their eyes. I can hear it and see it all now. They REFUSED to hear my cries.

        Tell me “church” – Do you love the devil and sympathize with him? No? Really? Then why are you loving those who are his? It’s not godly, it’s EVIL! I shake the dust off my feet and run.

        HBOMIL- I want justice served for you!!!! For you and your children to be truly helped, abuse-free, healthy, safe and free from this torment. I believe you and I stand with you.

  11. For Too Long

    I’m convinced they repeat these platitudes to themselves in an attempt to soothe their own consciences and be able to sleep at night.

  12. Dear Readers,
    I have received many, many, many excellent examples of pious platitudes. We will get them added as soon as we are able to sort and organize them.

    Thanks to all who are contributing to our new page!

  13. Un-Tangled

    I hate the saying “God won’t give you anything that you can’t handle.” There are many things I can’t handle. That’s why I need Him.

    I also hate the memes I often see at FB, such as: “Not going to church because of the hypocrites is like not going to the gym because of the out-of-shape people.” This metaphor is comparing two completely different things. A person going to the gym is doing so because he/she genuinely wants to change, to improve his/her life. This can be compared to an imperfect person who genuine wants to live righteously. A hypocrite is not an imperfect person who is trying to live righteously. A hypocrite is someone who deliberately and intentionally pretends to be someone he is not. In other words, he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If a church has hypocrites in it’s midst, it has a problem and it better care about it. I also hate this meme because it assumes that anyone who stops attending a church is doing it for petty reasons (hurt feelings), because they are “judgmental” (I hate that term), or because they don’t want to hear the truth. I am sure there are probably a few such people. However, to assume that EVERYONE leaves for petty reasons is arrogant. Jesus said that “His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.” Maybe people are leaving the church because they are don’t hear the Shepherd’s voice and they are sensing that a wolf is in its midst. In which case, they ought to run.

    Finally, a few months ago many Christians on my FB page were sharing a fictional story which they said was “beautiful, inspiring, heartbreaking, TRUE!” I pointed out that it had all the elements of narcissistic abuse–playing the victim, deceit, manipulation, gathering allies, etc. I was told that “That’s just your perspective,” “you think it’s abuse because you were abused,” and “It’s dangerous to look through just one paradigm.” This upset me. Why is my perspective considered invalid because I have experienced it? In any other situation, if someone had experience with it, he/she would be recognized as having the knowledge and authority to speak about it–because they know it firsthand. Why are victims’ perspectives dismissed?

    • Anonymous

      Un-tangled,

      I also agree with all of these points you made. And why are victim’s perspectives dismissed? I believe it’s because it’s the truth. And they must deny and deny and deny the truth to keep up their parade. It feels and looks too good to let go. They finally have their own purpose and popularity now and they don’t want truth to stop it or even challenge it so turn and they condemn those who have it.

      But when Jesus comes EVERYTHING will be revealed. Everything hidden will be seen clearly to Him who is JUDGE. All sin parading as light will be revealed and dealt with by His justice. And until then His followers do the same here on earth. Thank God!

      Now all I can think about is doing what is right and fighting for those who are poor, needy, abused, neglected, overpowered, manipulated and lied to. I fight to live- they fight to die. I’ve seen them up close for years- they fight to steal kill and destroy just like their father.

      Tell me why I get the picture of God and sin and Jesus and good now. Tell me why scripture makes sense now. Tell me why I can genuinely love now? Tell me why I function with strength and my mind is clear? Tell me why I’m not condemned anymore. Why? THE TRUTH.

      And I had been going to church , reading the whole bible, doing bible study after study! But NEVER did I hear once hear someone STAND FOR THE TRUTH.

      I think if the translation is correct…that scripture says His name is Faithful and True in Revelation. Faithful and True. That’s my God. And I do praise Him.

    • They said to you ““It’s dangerous to look through just one paradigm.”

      And you could say right back to them the same thing! THEY are looking though their paradigm only, and their paradigm does not take into account that there are wicked people out there masquerading as victims.

      Their monochrome paradigm is VERY dangerous. They need to take off their rose coloured lenses and recognise that there are cunning and manipulative people in our midst, shaping our impressions.

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