A Cry For Justice

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

Here is a Scripture that is Regularly Used to Oppress Abuse Victims in their Churches – But it is to be Applied to the Wicked

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18)

Many times people who seek justice in their local churches are accused of being “divisive.” They are told they need to be quiet because they are disrupting the “unity” of the church. Verses like the one quoted above are often cited in support of such silencing.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

Victims do not cause divisions in the body of Christ. The wicked do. And when the church refuses to effect justice in obedience to what Paul is teaching here in Romans 16, the church is guilty of causing division. Seeking justice for evil done does not cause division in Christ’s church. It promotes unity! It addresses the real culprit, the real one causing division and creating obstacles. 

Verse 18 really sheds light on what kind of person verse 17 is speaking of. Who have we seen over and over again use “smooth talk and flattery” in order to deceive and to obtain self-serving objects? Who? Who are they? The victims of abuse? NO! It is the abuser who pulls these tactics and who has these things as his goal. HE is the one who is causing divisions and obstacles. HE is the one we are all to watch our for and AVOID.

The victim who seeks justice is not the source of division in a church. The source is the wicked man and the disobedient church that allies with him because they like his smooth talk and flattery.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eph 5:11)

Fail in this regard, fail to avoid the wicked divider of Christ’s people, embrace him and his flattery and accuse the victim who seeks justice of causing division, and you have just taken part in the unfruitful works of darkness. YOU molested that child. YOU abused that abuse victim. How? Because you refused to expose them, and by default such refusal renders YOU a participant in those evil works.

Yep.

 

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12 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    This portion of scripture jumped off the pages at me while I was in the fog. “… avoid them.” “Keep away from them” (NIV). Nailed it for me!

  2. newcreation

    All the scriptures and posts have been so helpful to me lately. I am in the middle of this right now. A large part of the church I use to attend has sided with my husband. My husband, being as crafty and sly as he is, has for the past years infiltrated the leadership and convinced all of them that he is a God fearing innocent victim. Some members that are close to me are left feeling confused about the whole situation. I have heard from a trusted friends that the leadership wants to silence me if I don’t stop talking. Proofs of lies from the top leadership down are coming to surface and the abuser is still ranked high among the “godly” men of the church.

    I have been accused of having issues and I don’t probably know the half of what is being said behind my back. Many people in the church have distanced themselves from me since I have chosen not to attend and be under the leadership of someone that has to lie to cover his back and also to slander innocent peoples’ names.

    These posts help to encourage me to stay strong in the Lord. I have sought the Lord these past two years like I never have before. The truth he has revealed to me about Matthew 18 and also verses in 1 Corinthians where Paul encourages the church to kick the unfaithful man out of the church has been most enlightning.

    Please continue to know that I find help and relief from these posts, where no help and relief can be found in my church members. The abuser is not only being enabled, but he is also being empowered. So sad. So harmful. So contrary to the Scriptures.

    • Hi NewCreation, nice to hear from you and glad you are standing against the lies, manipulation and hypocrisy. Well done!

      And thank you for encouraging us.

      • newcreation

        I sometimes rely on this website in order to not feel like I am alone in this, but also feel so grieved that this kind of thing is still happening in churches across this country. Am praying for truth to continue to be revealed to those who desire to follow God’s will with all these difficult matters!

      • Jeff Crippen

        There are still MANY Christian abuse victims who have not heard these freeing truths. They are still under the oppression of the man-made, bondage-making, abuser-enabling teachings of their church and of so many (most) of the “christian” books out there, all of which claim to be speaking for the Lord. They aren’t.

      • I woke up this morning with this hymn running in my mind — Revive Your Church, O Lord

    • Jeff Crippen

      newcreation – this taking sides business in a church is sin. What I mean by that is the kind of “side-taking” that you have just described here. Consider 1 Cor 5. Paul rebuked the whole Corinthian church for their arrogance and divisive competitiveness. They were given to it and he nailed them for it. When a sexual abuse occurred in our church nearly a decade ago I can remember standing in front of everyone and saying “if we let the enemy have his way and if we start to choose up sides, this church is going to be split.” Well, that is exactly what happened and I am glad it did because we found out who really loved righteousness and who didn’t. There is only ONE side to choose when wickedness is among us and that is the side of the victim, the side of righteousness, and the only question to be asked is “who is on the Lord’s side”? These cases of evil among us provide an answer to that question.

  3. bright sunshinin' day

    If you “…fail to avoid the wicked divider of Christ’s people, embrace him and his flattery and accuse the victim who seeks justice of causing division…”

    Then “…you have just taken part in the unfruitful works of darkness…” and have supported a type of Absalom who “…stole the hearts of the people” by deceptive actions and words (2 Samuel 15:6).

  4. TruthSeeker

    This blog has been helpful as I try to sort out abuse,religion,and God. Our church insisted on not taking sides since “truth” was a matter of perspective. (Yes, pastor really said that.) They followed this with informing me that they were going to support him. After all I had endured,I was shocked. I still feel betrayed by the church and don’t trust “christians.”

    • newcreation

      I encourage you to trust the Lord in all matters even if He is the only one we can trust. He, I am learning the hard way, is really the only one we can trust. I know that by reading Jeff and Barb’s posts, that I can trust them with my heart and life in these difficult times. Their books are incredible helps, but their leaning on Scripture is absolutely a necessity daily as you battle confusion, frustration, sadness, depression and anything else the enemy wants to grab hold of. Take every thought captive to Christ and allow His Holy Spirit to indwell you like never before. I understand the pain and hurt in the body…I have experienced this to extreme measures at times. Lean on Him, cast all your burdens on Him, fight for truth and above all, guard your heart from the enemy. God bless you.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yep. Not taking sides, then they took his side. That is how it most always goes. And in such a “church” you will generally find that God’s Word is viewed as “a matter of perspective” also. That way the head honchos can stay popular with most everyone. Well, everyone except the Lord and His true flock.

      Oh, and I don’t trust “christians” either. When I have known someone long enough to see genuine fruit, and it is evident that they are true Christians, then I regard them as my brothers and sisters. But the majority of people who claim to be Christians are not saved, they do not know the Lord. And we should not be shocked at that. Narrow is the way that leads to life…and Broadway leads to death. Few follow the first. Many rush down the second. Jesus said so. It is the truth.

  5. Charis

    I wonder if, perhaps, the problem stems from our understanding of the word “unity.” It seems to me that within our churches – and our culture at large (corporations, communities, etc) – that unity has begun to mean something akin to “no disagreement” or “unanimous agreement.”

    I disagree with that definition and find it unhealthy and opposed to growth, health and true spirit of unity. I also do not believe it mimics Christ’s own behavior while He walked this earth as He interacted with others.

    The book definition of unity although declaring that it is “a state of not being multiple” also accounts for a “condition of harmony.” I find that definition extraordinary. Unity is *not* unison. As someone who has been a worship leader for nearly 25yrs – I find that harmony perfectly describes unity. Unity – according to this definition – is not “one note.” It is many notes held apart yet working together (each lending a unique “voice) in beautiful purpose. There can even be dis-chord…and resolve. Amazing.

    Further, the definition continues: “a totality of related parts; an entity that is a complex or systematic whole.” And why shouldn’t unity be complex? It should! It is our culture that insists it be simple (and total) agreement. It is not. And we are not better for insisting it be that way.

    I prefer the book definition and can recognize many instances where Christ’s actions mirror a more robust description of unity.

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