A Cry For Justice

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

Take Care in Quoting Scripture to Abuse Victims Lest You do them Harm

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret —  it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  Psalm 37:7-9

Recently a commenter left the above Scripture on our ACFJ Facebook page under an article concerning a well-known “Christian” who has a history of domestic violence. The commenter claimed she felt “led” to post this Scripture from Psalm 37.

Now, I (JeffC) deleted her comment/Scripture quote. Why? Well, think this through. If we are not careful in our citations of Scripture to someone, say to an abuse victim, we can easily do great harm to them. Consider the verses above. The person who posted them gave no explanation. Just “I feel led” to share them. Translated, “the Lord is directling me to speak these verses to you.”

How might an abuse victim take these verses? I can tell you. She will most probably take them to mean that

  • she is guilty of unbelief
  • it is a sin for her to be angry about what is happening to her
  • she is sinning if she frets about what her abuser is getting away with
  • she is at least on the verge of doing “evil”
  • and that if she were a really holy Christian, she would be relaxed and “leaving it all” to the Lord.

This is, in other words, a careless use of God’s Word.

How many of you (and I bet we will hear from you in your comments here) have been on the receiving end up such quotes from Scripture by some “helpful” person? How did it make you feel?

Psalm 37 is given to encourage all of God’s people, especially when they are being oppressed by the wicked. It is a promise that one Day the Lord will judge evildoers and that in fact often the wicked who seem to be prospering right now, fall tomorrow. It in no way accuses the righteous of some kind of sinful anger. In fact, it promises them that their honest desire for justice will be satisfied and thus they need not be exasperated or think they have to effect personal vengeance by violence themselves.  In other words, this Psalm is given by the Lord to encourage the oppressed, not to criticize and condemn them. It is Him coming alongside a victim and saying, “I validate you. I will give you justice. Yes, you are right to be angry. But the day is coming when your oppressor is going to be dealt perfect justice for his evil against you, so take heart.”

And that, I submit, is a far different message than the one that comes across by a naked quoting of a couple of verses with no explanation.  It is the difference between condemnation and justification.

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Related posts:

Untouchable Scriptures

Untouchable Scriptures, part 2. 

Twisted bible verses found in the Patriarchal bible

32 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I had Matthew 5:25-26 misquoted at me by a teacher I once deeply respected, in order to convince me not to cooperate with the police against a young man, the son of popular church leaders, who sexually assaulted my daughter on multiple occasions while she was sleeping. When I challenged him that, “The scripture didn’t apply to cases like ours.” He responded, “Jesus didn’t qualify it.” He did admit though, that in the hypothetical case of his own granddaughter being raped and murdered, he would not be expected to settle with his adversary before going to court. I told him his arrogance and ignorance were dangerous. I haven’t spoken to him since.

  2. MarkQ

    I got “the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God (Jas 1:20)” as a prooftext that anger was wrong. This was after I complained in sabbath school that the speaker was wrongly equating anger with idolatry. I said that we have a right, as image-bearers of God to respect, and that anger is an appropriate response to disrespect. That is different from anger that is expressed when people don’t treat us like royalty, which IS a form of idolatry.

    • Stronger Now

      The King James says the “wrath” of men does not accomplish the righteousness of God.

      Big difference between anger and wrath. So yeah, blowing up and smashing things, anger expressed out of control, does not accomplish the righteousness of God.

      I would caution, however, with the “anger is an appropriate response to disrespect” statement you made. One can be too sensitive to perceived disrespect. Not saying this is you, but I know my husband saw ANY disagreement from me as “disrespect” for which he had a “right” to be angry.

      And I know we are image-bearers of God, but Jesus was the very Image of God, and he did not respond with anger when He was disrespected. When He was reviled, he did not revile in return. If we think everyone must treat us a certain way “or else,” we are indeed making an idol of ourselves. If every perceived slight causes us to seethe inside, that’s a problem.

      On the other hand, the pattern of disrespect that is characteristic of abusers, is cause for anger.

      • Anonymous

        “One can be too sensitive to perceived disrespect.” Those without a conscience are always overly sensitive to perceived disrespect because they believe that they are god and as such they believe it is their due right to be treated respectfully even when they are abusive. The term used for this type of person’s anger is “butt-hurt.”

      • I don’t think we can say that Jesus never responded with anger when he was disrespected. Look at this:

        Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
        (Mark 3:1-6)

        In this situation Jesus was angry and he showed that he was angry!

      • MarkQ

        If we think everyone must treat us a certain way “or else,” we are indeed making an idol of ourselves.

        That’s why I said “don’t treat us like royalty”. That was an exaggeration. What I should have said is when people don’t treat us better than we deserve. But, God has created the natural order, and with that natural law comes a level of respect that we all deserve. Anger is an appropriate response, not to the respect that we desire, but the respect that we deserve.

        I think equating anger with sin is a fundamental mistake in the church, which leads to victim blaming. It is probably anger that is going to drive an abused wife to complain to the church, but then the church sees the anger, equates the anger with sin, and all of the sudden, the victim is labeled as the sinner, and, obviously, her anger must be at least partially to blame for the abuse.

        If anger is simply a natural response to something troubling, then the next question is the most important. Why am I troubled? If I’m troubled because someone is doing wrong to me or others, than that is anger which should lead me to do something righteous. If I’m troubled because I have an inflated ego and someone popped my bubble, then that anger will probably lead me to do something unrighteous.

        So, yes, abusers are going to use anger unrighteously to strike out against their victims, and the church should recognize that, but victims will also use anger to defend themselves and seek protection, and Christians need wisdom to distinguish between the two so that they can deliver the oppressed.

      • Stronger Now

        Barb and Mark, I agree that Jesus showed anger. And when He did, it was always righteous anger. He could not sin in expressing His anger. It’s wonderful that we have this example so that we can be assured that anger itself is not sinful, nor is showing anger, in and of itself.

        In the example you gave, Barb, I’m not sure I see anger in response to being disrespected. Jesus was/is entirely secure and unflappable in Who He Is. He had no need to defend Himself to anyone, so disrespect just rolled off His back like water off a duck. It’s possible that I’m wrong and there are instances where He was angry specifically about being disrespected. None come to mind right off the top of my head, but I don’t claim to having the entire New Testament memorized.

        The verse in Mark 1 says He was angered and grieved because of the hardness of the Pharisees’ hearts, which I understood (the hard heartedness) to be towards the one whom Jesus was about to heal. In other words, these wicked men would rather a person remain ill or lame or die in order to preserve their idol of “not working on the Sabath.” They were more concerned about obeying the (twisted) letter of the law than they were about God’s Heart of mercy, love, and compassion.

        Hmmm. Do we know anyone like that today? Against them, I remain angry.

      • MarkQ

        Jesus was/is entirely secure and unflappable in Who He Is. He had no need to defend Himself to anyone, so disrespect just rolled off His back like water off a duck. It’s possible that I’m wrong and there are instances where He was angry specifically about being disrespected.

        I think it’s dangerous to make arguments from silence. I know that I’ve done this as well, but just because there is no recorded incident of Jesus becoming angry for disrespect against his person, doesn’t mean he never did. […]

        There are clear examples where Jesus defended himself, though.

        “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matt 12:6-8)

        This is somewhat double-edged because the Pharisees are condemning Jesus’s disciples for breaking the Sabbath, but also condemning him for allowing them to.

        “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matt 12:31-32)

        This is after Jesus is told he casts out demons by Beelzebub. He is not only claiming to be God (saying this is blasphemy against him), but he is also calling out their disrespect.

        But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?”’ (Matt 21:15-16)

        Again, Jesus is responding to disrespect.

        So, while there is no prooftext that Jesus “got angry” because of disrespect, there seem to be plenty that Jesus didn’t let disrespect roll off his back. He called out the disrespect openly and directly. So, here is someone who is completely secure in his position, authority and person, and yet he sets an example for us that it is okay, if not good, to openly call out disrespect.

  3. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:
    Great article.

  4. Renewed Spirit

    I think Scripture should be used to keep our anger in check – Psalm 37 helps us lift our eyes to Heaven where our Advocate is. It takes a load off our suffering! So we can sit and let Him work it out. Thoughts?

    • Stronger Now

      It CAN take a load off our suffering, used in the right context and given in the right way.

      Dumping a few verses out there, out of context, with no other words of encouragement given to a hurting heart as to how they are meant to minister? No, because that heart is being beaten down and given the message ON A DAILY BASIS that they are worthless, they are wrong, they have no rights, God doesn’t care for them, nobody wants them around, they are stupid, they can’t do anything right.

      Considering that’s the way they are being treated and spoken to constantly, these verses, and others meant to encourage, will be heard through that “grid” of interpretation. Do you see how that could happen?

      Consequently, as Jeff said, even though these verses COULD hold the hopeful, encouraging message that “one Day the Lord will judge evildoers and that in fact often the wicked who seem to be prospering right now, fall tomorrow,” that’s not what the abused wife will hear.

      Because the Bible is constantly twisted and torn from context by her abuser to beat her down, whenever we want to use God’s Word to comfort and encourage, we must be very deliberate and intentional in how we do it. Throwing a verse or two at her won’t accomplish what we would hope, unless we give the interpretation and context to bring that comfort.

      • Diana

        Very, very true, Stronger Now. Well said

      • MarkQ

        Good point, Stronger Now, and now think about growing up steeped in that church tradition. My parents sought to do what was right, but what they were told was right was that “obedience to authority” is the goal of parenting, and whatever means are necessary to achieve that, especially “breaking the will”. My old church taught that, one way or another. To them, anger was a remnant of willfulness that needed to be broken. Unfortunately(?), I was generally a compliant child, and much of the willfulness I showed was actually defending my right to be a person with some value. When I stood up to uncaring and unreasonable commands, I was reminded that my only value was as an extension of someone in authority.

      • Joy

        Very true, Mark, the equating anger with willfulness and “breaking the will” was how my dad viewed righteous anger directed toward him, which caused a lot of arguments between himself and my mom, who took child development classes; just like your church taught your parents and you to be a good Christian was to “obey authority”, my dad as a “Christian father” taught me the same thing. Like you, I was also a mostly compliant child, who only rebelled against unreasonable demands.

    • Misti

      Part of the problem there is that any anger — or even justified frustration or concern — gets labeled “sinful anger” by abusers and their enablers. So you have to define what you mean by anger.

      Anger (as in, a feeling of strong displeasure and annoyance) in and of itself is not sinful. Ephesians 4:6 says “Be ye angry, and sin not,” not “Be not angry and sin.”

      Ephesians 4:6 then adds “let not the sun go down upon your wrath” — which is not the same thing as staying indignant about a genuine offense against God. (Note that violating “Love your neighbor as yourself” = an offense against God, too.)

      If it’s a sin to have anger and not dismiss it immediately, then Jesus sinned. He was angry spent quite some time braiding that whip of cords before He drove the moneychangers and all out of the temple (ref. John 2:15) and rebuked them (ref. 16).

      (It’s worth noting that Jesus demanded the bird-sellers leave, not using His whip on the birds who would be hurt by it, and He overturned the tables needed by the moneychangers to do their job. It’s also worth noting that those animal-sellers and moneychangers were in the temple courts (ref. v. 14) + both they and their leaders would have known that was in violation of Scripture.)

      Now, looking into the Greek of Ephesians 4:6, the word in “let not the sun go down upon your wrath” is more irritation/exasperation. So it’s instruction to not stew on/in that anger — but again, stewing is something that gets redefined to apply to things like keeping record of abuses and confronting on them. (This is why I couldn’t/didn’t keep a journal and deleted most of the records I had, several times, and it was the justification for why I’d get in trouble for even having records.)

      But in the context of that imagery of “let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” to “stew” seems to be “going to bed mulling on your exasperation/irritation”.

      You can be angry about something — and for a long time — without actually dwelling in/on it. I’m angry (strongly displeased) about pastors (and some particular ones) who abuse their position to be dictators and to victimize others. But I’m not stewing in/on it; I don’t live in/on that anger.

      • Anonymous

        This is why I couldn’t/didn’t keep a journal and deleted most of the records I had, several times, and it was the justification for why I’d get in trouble for even having records.)

        This is so abusive that evil ones make us feel guilty for doing what is right in God’s sight. Was King David wrong / evil to write all his Psalms or was this a form of documenting that leads to healing and also allows us to go back over our history and remember how God has worked in our lives? This is exactly why keeping a history is invaluable to those of us who heal this way and also so that if we meet someone who is going through the hell of realizing they are married to or in any kind of relationship with an abuser, we can go back to our journals and be reminded just how hard it was and so provide Godly comfort to those who need it. But to a person with an abusive personality, all the Psalms could be considered “keeping a record of wrongs.”

      • Joy

        Oh my gosh, this is so true, I forgot about that! Speaking of misinterpreting anger, I remember once telling my dad that I was angry at how he was treating me, after he had called me stupid, worthless, useless, good for nothing and that I couldn’t do anything right. He responded by telling me that I didn’t have a right to be angry at him, only he had a right to be angry. He then quoted scripture to me after I finished my homework about how feeling anger was a sin, even though it was perfectly fine for him to lash out in anger at my mom and I by using his words. I have learned to control my anger and to only use it for righteousness, instead of lacking in self-control.

    • I especially love Psalm 37 and I get a great deal of comfort from knowing that God is going to give me justice. But you have to read the whole thing together, as the writer intended. What people often do is take a few scripture verses out of context and use them to mean something entirely different to their real meaning.

  5. Joy

    I agree completely about being careful regarding quoting scriptures, carelessly. I have been misquoted scriptures for quite a few years during my childhood and adolescence about learning from my father how to be a “good” wife. This means being completely submissive and compliant to whatever requests he asks of me to do or I will suffer the consequences of not obeying him by getting punished. These verses included the ones that say a woman is to submit to her husband and a daughter is to honor her father, [my father would say this] any time I attempted to defend myself, even by pointing out that abuse was a sin in the bible… and [he said] that a woman was not to gossip or to slander her own family when I asked for help from others. This was along with being lectured about lying or exaggerating just how badly my dad treated me, even though I was telling the truth the whole time.

    When I described what I went through to other well-meaning but misguided Christians, I was asked how bad the abuse was and was told that being physically abused every once in a great while and being emotionally abused for months on weekdays during the school year didn’t qualify as severe enough abuse for anyone to assist me. After all, it wasn’t like I was physically or sexually abused, there were people who went through much worse trauma than I did.

    I was furthermore scolded by being quoted scriptures about waiting on the Lord for Him to come and save me and to rejoice at the persecution I suffered through, because my reward would be great in heaven, with the command to not complain about my trivial problems, as well as being told the same scriptures my dad told me, along with, “Oh but you love your father and your father loves you, he’s just doing what’s best for you, you won’t understand until you are older. A wife is supposed to submit to her husband, your father is just teaching you how to be a good future wife. So stop being so stubbornly rebellious toward him, instead, honor your father like the bible says, by doing what he commands.”

    I was also told, I might add, that I wasn’t faithful enough, because God hasn’t answered my prayers and told to pray harder, even though I was praying as hard and as fervently as I could for God to get me out of there. When I was told this, I felt guilty for bringing up the subject to ask for help and support in the first place, angry and hurt at being disbelieved, guilty for not being a “good enough Christian”, humiliated at being quoted the same scriptures that my Dad used on me and finally, cynical that anyone but myself would get me out of the vicious cycle of abuse I found myself in.

    Any time I talk about what I suffered from growing up to anyone now, I’m asked why I hold onto the past of my childhood so tightly and told to let it go; as if I’m still not suffering from the cycle of abuse I’m in from working under my dad. It’s either that or I’m completely ignored, like when I asked to tell my story on the childhood abuse page but didn’t get a response because my experience was never brought to a court of law, unlike everyone else, whose experiences had.

    • Anonymous

      Joy, I’m so sorry! The horror that is these people’s heart, and the rape that we endure when we ask for help! I pray you are finding vindication and solace on this website! What you experienced in your childhood from your father was 100% abusive and sadly many “c”hristians today think this is good and right. They fail to notice that your dad was probably completely selfish and self-centered and even if they DID notice this they probably thought it was you and your mother’s job to set a perfect example for him so that he could be the loving father he should be, thus including you in the blame. Soooo Grosss and EVIL!

      I’m so proud of you Joy! That you made it through that hell and that you still remember how bad is was. You might not believe me right now but this is a GOOD thing. Why? Well, for one thing you remember it and you are seeking help for it. Some of us had blocked it out of our minds for decades or in my case didn’t even realize the treatment I received was evil and abusive because I believed that it was my fault. You are ahead of the game on this and you realize it was your father who had zero compassion and zero understanding of the needs and desires of his daughter.

      Please read as many posts as you can on this website and the comments that go with them. The books recommended here are another balm for your battered soul and can truly help in the healing process.

      I was such a well-behaved girl growing up and instead of anyone giving me the credit for this they gave it to my dad. None of his other numerous children were like me (most were drug addicts or delinquents) and the few that weren’t causing problems were not Christians. My dad was well-known for his abuse of EVERYONE yet somehow they attributed my kindness and love to HIM. Saying the HE must have changed to have such a good daughter. Oh course my dad didn’t think of me at all. All the kids were just a big blob of sameness. When he would tell the stories he remembered about us as children he attributed things that happened to me to one or another of my siblings and vice versa. The stories were all about how stupid or evil we were and how great he was. I’ve had no relationship with anyone in my family for well over a decade now and this has helped a lot. They all love to fight and argue and bad-mouth each other and nobody wants to grow or change and not one of them is a Christian.

      Take the time now to heal from this and to grow in the Lord. There’s no need to hurry this process and if you ask God to help you see the truth through His word, he will lovingly do it. All those “mean” bible verses about evil ones may actually give you rest and peace because it’s a reassurance that God already knows about these evil people and that he does NOT love or even like them and if they don’t repent and seek him, they will be destroyed. This it justice and this is mercy for us as well. You are not alone and God is nothing like the dad you grew up with.

      • Joy

        @Annonymous: Thank you for acknowledging the rape that we abuse victims go through when we ask for help. I’m always surprised and disappointed that people don’t react in horror when I tell them that I had been verbally, mentally, emotionally and psychologically abused and still am, unlike if I was physically abused, sexually abused or both. I don’t mean to discount the insidiousness of physical and sexual abuse, however, from someone who went through both physical and emotional abuse, I personally think that emotional abuse hurts worse than physical or sexual abuse ever could. People who say that sexual abuse is the most heinous of the three types of child abuse have not gone through the damage that forceful penetration of negative words causes to a victim’s heart and soul. Emotional abuse is like covering bullet wounds with band aids and expecting the victim to heal.

        I am most definitely getting solace and vindication from this website. I thank God every day that Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts had created it to support us. It has been a huge sense of comfort and encouragement to keep going, even though I suffered abuse in my childhood, instead of through my marriage, like so many people here have been or are. Of course no one notices how selfish and self-centered my dad is, all they see is his “good old boy” reputation; the hard working, humorous, easy going, laid back guy who provides for his family and continues the wonderful reputation of the family last name. Ironically enough, everyone else on both sides of my family were and are wonderful people and role models I continue to look up to in what true Christianity looks like. Family reputation was strongly emphasized when I was growing up, including not talking about family problems to other people, including the church; in other words, not “airing out dirty laundry”. That’s how my mom and I were forced to set a perfect example through the outward reputation of our family. I think this is why I very quickly learned to hate hypocrisy in all of it’s forms.

        Thank you for being so proud of me for making it through the hell of my childhood, as if being born severely premature, which caused developmental delays, wasn’t traumatic enough; as if suffering with learning disabilities, which caused my dad to yell at me in the first place, wasn’t hard enough. This type of dysfunctional family among those whose children were born premature or inherited learning disabilities is more prevalent than people may realize. My mind won’t let me forget what my childhood was like, because of this, I still get flashbacks anytime anything reminds me of my past.

        I saved a friend of mine from her family and through that first learned about domestic violence a year before I suffered from abuse in my own home. Although that was a very hard lesson to learn at age six, I thank God that He taught me about abuse beforehand. I think this is why I always knew what my dad did to me was wrong. My traumatic experiences caused by my dad made me determined that unlike my female classmates, I would not marry a man like him and I would be a better parent than he ever was. I also learned that there’s a difference between understanding someone and trusting someone. At least he acted like he understood what I went through sometimes, by saying that he went through the same thing. Most of my dad’s former employees left because of his verbally abusive treatment of them, the only two who are left working under him are myself and another employee.

        For many years, I thought that the abusive way my dad treated me WAS my fault, because I had inherited the same learning disabilities that he has. It wasn’t until a friend of mine pointed out that just because I have the same learning disabilities that my dad has, does not mean that I caused the abuse. This stopped my self blame. I love what you said in your quote: “You are ahead of the game on this and you realize it was your father who had zero compassion and zero understanding of the needs and desires of his daughter.” It’s something that my mom would also say to him, especially since she knew me better than he ever did.

        I have read many, many posts on this website and have started buying the recommended books on it as well. They most certainly are a balm for my soul and greatly help in my own healing process. It’s comforting to know that I am not alone, that I’m not the only one who has ever been abused.

        I’m sorry that you had to suffer from childhood abuse, too. I feel relieved, though, that I’m not the only well-behaved, mostly compliant child who had to be under the authority of an abusive dad. Good for you for not having anything to do with your awful family, I’m so proud of you for getting away from them and admire your courage in leaving them behind. I grew up as an only child, so I have always been jealous of the wonderful relationships my friends and cousins had and have with their parents. My dad too will complain about how incompetent or stupid I was and am when I overhear him bragging about me, yet, say how proud he is of me in private to other people, believing that to give me more than a little praise every once in a great while is to give me a big head. My dad is the only one in all of my family who loves to lecture and fight and argue and bad mouth everyone and doesn’t want to grow or change, despite him saying the contrary.

        I’ve already asked God to lovingly show me the truth both through His word and through my experiences, ever since the emotional abuse started and He has done so.

        I can’t take the time to heal from the abuse my dad used to inflict on me and still inflicts on me because I still work for him under his company. It’s the only way I’m not living on benefits because right now, no one else will hire me. Right now, I’m praying that God will guide me to work for someone else, hopefully in the school so that I can become a teacher like the career I’ve dreamed of having, that way I can truly be independent and continue to heal, while helping children through educating them.

        I love the “mean” verses, because they reassure me that God will give my dad justice and me mercy, in the end. This lets me have rest and peace until my dad will strike again.

        God has shown me throughout the years that He is nothing like the distant, angry, cold dad I grew up with. One of my favorite verses is the one in Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans not to harm you but to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

      • MarkQ

        My dad was more distant than abusive, but when he was there he expected 100% obedience, whether his requests were legitimate or otherwise. All of my siblings bought into the authoritarian parenting – some more and some less, so I know that it’s generally not worth talking about it. I still have a relationship with my family because we can, for the most part, talk past each other and avoid the hot button issues. My parents will probably never learn how much emotional pain I have to work through, and, of course, the fact that we are all fine, upstanding citizens is credited to them, not us.

        I stopped sharing that story offline because virtually all church types want to minimize what they did (everyone makes mistakes, you can’t expect them to be perfect), or blame me (well, you must have done something wrong to deserve that). There was a bit of light when my brother confessed to my mom about some of the things he did that he blamed on me and got me into big trouble, but nothing has really happened since.

  6. diana

    Thank you! Very good to know other people DO understand these things!

  7. I Can See

    I HATE when people spout out scripture as a quick answer to someone who’s being abused. It’s dismissive. They don’t take time to learn what abuse is or what victims actually go through. They just say “give it God, don’t be anxious, Jesus loves you, etc.” They don’t help even when I’ve had the courage to ask.

    I don’t ever willingly deal with abusive, unhelpful, controlling, hurtful people anymore. Even when they say it’s a “joke”.

    I’m not stupid. I never was stupid. A lot of people are manipulative. Now I do run. And I run fast.

  8. MarkQ

    And I know we are image-bearers of God, but Jesus was the very Image of God, and he did not respond with anger when He was disrespected. When He was reviled, he did not revile in return.

    I think this is indicative of a much larger misunderstanding of Jesus. Think about “Away in a Manger”.

    The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes

    This is essentially a stepchild of the gnostic heresy. The gnostics believed that the spiritual realm was pure and the material realm was evil. Thus, God couldn’t really have been “fully” man because man is material and God couldn’t be material and yet pure.

    In a similar way, people associate things like “crying” and “anger” with badness or sin – like saying a baby who does not cry much is a “good” baby, or as Joy and I have said, having parents who saw any expression of anger, righteous or otherwise as sin or willfulness. This comes from a complete misunderstanding of who Jesus was.

    I think it is EXTREMELY notable in scripture that Jesus seemed completely normal. If Jesus were as distant and detached as evangelicals portrays him, I think he would have completely stood out. Did his parents accept his response after searching in Jerusalem, or did they discipline him for his willfulness? I think that if Jesus acted like our caricature – never speaking unless spoken to, never angry, always happy, never defending himself – he would have been notable in society even before his ministry started. But, instead, he did not really get attention until he started his public ministry.

    Think about it. If Jesus fit the mold of a perfect child to the Jews of his day, which is probably very similar to a perfect child by today’s standards, I think people would have taken note.

  9. kind of anonymous

    Honor your father and mother was a good one quoted often. As a teen, I had woken up to the sounds of my mother being intimate with a man I had never met, whom she’d met in the bar the night before. I made alot of noise to let them know we could hear them. I was sixteen years old and horrified to have to hear this. After the dude left, I told my mom how upset I was and how I felt disrespected. She responded by becoming threatening and snarky, telling me she was the adult and she paid the bills and it was HER house and she could do anything she liked and didn’t answer to me.

    So I took off to the home of some christians I was associating with at the time and told them what had hapened and how I had been treated. They listened with completely straight, almost disapproving faces and then told me that my mom was not saved and that I had to go home and submit to my mother. This was not the first time my mother’s behaviours had exposed me to adult sexuality. I came home once to find her having a massage in a very compromising looking situaiton from some married guy at her office, who had been hiring himself out as an amateur massuese. It was obvioius to me that his motives were quite questionable and that his reaction to the hwole thing was less then “therapeutic”. She asked me if I wanted a massage too. Uggh. I felt sorry for her and actually am thankful he wasn’t a rapist, because she could have come to harm but i just couldn’t be there and fled the scene, totally grossed out and wondering what was going through her head.

    On another occasion, we had some weirdo she was dating ringing our doorbell for over an hour at two am because she dumped him and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. My christian friends quoted the s criptures about honoring our parents and about submission to authorities and shamed me as a gossip for telling them her personal business. This was pretty typical church fare if you told . I felt like a schmuck for telling on my mom and putting her in a bad light but it seemed unfair that I had to live with this. She was a very broken woman who had been molested since early childhood and then married my dad, who also was abused and became an abuser. She herself could be abusive. It sounds right in line with Jay Adams belief that no matter how horrible your family is, you aren’t allowed to disassociate from them because you are suppposed to have kingdom priorities and be evangelizing them. If you take yoursaelf out of the picture you have deprived them of the only witness they may have. He seems to think that if you are saved, then there should be no problem with having the strength to endure their evil and stay in contact. Arrrrrgggh. Sometimes i hate christians and church and don’t want much more to do with it . Not going to go with that but its a tempting feeling. Just so much heavy duty guilt trips that make it seem selfish if you want to be happy and not have to live with misery all the time. How do you tell the difference between actually being guilty of this and not being guilty?

  10. MarkQ

    How about “Love does not keep a record of wrongs”?

    Asking for justice from the church for one “incident” is too insignificant to do anything about, but asking for justice for a pattern of incidents is “unloving” and sinful.

  11. I Can See

    ” God provides, nothing is impossible with God if you truly seek Him.” This was said to a woman who has no money to move and is being torn apart in court by her abuser. When the quote giver was confronted about this hurtful and misleading comment they defended that they know their walk is closer with God and therefore when they do that they get His help (when they do things that make them closer to Him). Also that when they are closer to Him they hear His voice and things go well. When the quote giver was asked, “What then do you say to the cancer patient dying and in excruciating pain?” they became very frustrated and defensive about the truth they were speaking.

    I cannot stand this Christianeze language. I hear nothing but fake fake fake. IMO people do not want to let go of their version of God. And they do that at the expense of their own souls and of those crying out for help and justice right in front of them. How can we (the quote giver and a born again believer know the same God?!)

    I am close to God. I don’t have to DO anything to be closer to Him. I am VERY close to Him because I am born again. Not because I pray a certain amount or waited long enough or do something to be closer. Not IF I seek Him do I get help from Him. How infuriating. The things I do come from being a new creation in Him.

    Jeff, your sermons feed this hungry and long time starved sheep. Thank you. I’m more prepared and wiser now when hearing from others. This is an incredible strength — to know God, good and evil, what people are really saying in church or out of it, about marriage and divorce. Thank you too, Barb and ACFJ team.

    I’ve never known if I was born again, if I was really abused, who God really is. The church wouldn’t tell me although I asked of these things in tears weekly. Now I know and I don’t care who in offend by telling the truth. Many do hate me. But I’m free and God is with me. Nobody can EVER take me from Him or Him from me.

    I HATE the stupid things people are saying to each other especially abuse victims. They refuse to see their stupid uncaring messages are false. They refuse to see the damage they’ve caused. IMO They love their name it claim it god. ” Peace with you, go, peace.” And the people walk away freezing and starving. They would deny saying that a cancer patient didn’t pray enough but that IS what they are saying!

    They don’t help! Go read your psalms and pray more they say because they have so much joy in the Lord that they can’t even see evil. Blind and arrogant and unloving and they’ll rip me apart when I speak and I do speak. I wont stop. I speak not for them but for those with ears to hear. It’s no wonder Jesus spoke in parables!

    I say, “buzz off pious white washed tombs. Let His people go!!!”

  12. MarkQ

    Yesterday, the pastor preached a sermon that was really applicable. The overall message was on asking for our “portion” and then living into that “portion”. But, in the message, he talked about growing up with an absent father. His argument was that, when fathers are absent, other Christians need to step up and become mentors. In the quest for individuality, we’ve given up on the idea that we ought to seek mentorship and become mentors.

    The interesting idea here for me was that Christians are not being taught what it means to be a mentor. Instead of coming alongside others who are hurting and providing words of comfort, assurance and wisdom, Christians are taught and see modeled the sort of sniping we see here. Unkind prooftexts, trite solutions, hurtful comments, and the like. I don’t think Christians are trying to be unkind here, it’s just that they are replaying what was modeled generation after generation.

    My pastor was advocating for a return to a form of Biblical mentorship. I did warn him that, although it is the right thing to do, the path is full of errors. I think many will see “Biblical mentorship” as an excuse to ramp up sniping and prooftexting, so there will be a need for lots of wisdom in coming alongside those who will certainly get hurt as the church struggles through reintroducing it.

  13. F-B

    As I read the Scripture you shared that’s below, it comforted me greatly and I gave Thanks to God for the person who felt lead to share it, yes I’m being abused and it is for the Love of Money that can cause even Christians to reject God’s guidelines.

    Psalm 37:7-9 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… ” I will now do this and Trust God to bring good even out of the evil that besets me and to give me His Strength to endure.”

    Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
    Refrain from anger and turn from wrath…”Yes it does seem they have succeeded in their plans but I will not worry needlessly causing it to lead to sin but Trust God to bring His justice.”

    Do not fret — it leads only to evil… ” I will not seek revenge or become bitter and unforgiving.”

    For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land… “My Treasure is above, what I have lost God will restore.”

    “Christ”ian Love

    • Hi — welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to 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.

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