A Cry For Justice

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

A Trap You Do Not Want to Get Caught in – Pitying the Abuser

If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. (Deuteronomy 13:6-8)

In our years now of dealing with abuse victims, we have seen that as long as the abuser’s victim continues to pity him, that victim remains trapped in the abuser’s tentacles. By “pity,” I do not mean that it is wrong to be sad for anyone who is unrepentant and on their way to hell. As Christians we, like Christ, are grieved when the rich young ruler for instance turns away from Christ and clings to his wealth. God desires all men to be saved, and so do we.

But I have seen more than one case of an abuse victim remaining caught up in the abuser’s plays for self-pity, and as long as they do they just do not seem to get free. They are held captive by these kinds of thoughts, all the product of the deceiving, evil tactics of their abuser:

  • I could have done more to save our marriage. I was too _______. I was not ________ enough.
  • If I stuck it out longer, he could have gotten saved.
  • What if he is right and I am the one who is the abuser?
  • He looks so sad and he sounds so sincere. I am being too harsh with him.

And I am sure most all of you could add more bullets to that list.

I suppose that in our minds we create a person who never really existed. We look at the abuser and think we know how he thinks. We look back at the times he was so charming and we convince ourselves that this is the person he really is, if we could only reach him. But as I discussed recently with a 30-year plus victim of abuse by a “Christian” man, whenever you have two personas, whenever you see a Jekyll and Hyde, you can be assured that the REAL person is Mr. Hyde. The bad guy, you see. Because wolves put on sheep’s clothing. Sheep do not disguise themselves as wolves. Evil parades as good, but good never tries to play the role of evil. If we embrace the “sheep” disguise as the real person our abuser really must be, then we are embracing a person who does not exist. It is fiction, and it is dangerous fiction that sets us up as sitting ducks for the next blast.

There are evil people in this world. Lots of them. Many parade as fine, holy Christians. But the Lord tells us that when such a person’s disguise is uncovered, we are not to pity them. Not even if the evil character is your brother, or your child, or your spouse. You shall not spare them. You shall not conceal (cover for, enable) them. You shall not pity them. To do so is to disobey the Lord. It is to choose to remain in bondage to evil. And ultimately it is to eventually become the ally of evil.

 

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Further Reading

Christians Need to Get “Pity” Right and Stop Pitying the Wicked While Refusing Pity to the Innocent.

Do not Pity the Wicked:  Abusers Use Pity as a Snare

Nor Shall Your Eye Pity Him

How can I leave when I’m the only one who is giving a gospel witness to him?

3 Comments

  1. Held too tightly

    Wow. I have been reading your posts and have listened to many of your sermons since coming out of my fog this past November. The truth you point out about sheep not pretending to be wolves brings such simple clarity!

    In my situation I have been struggling while going through the honeymoon/tension phase, when I start questioning my reality that abuse ever happened, wasn’t that bad, or will happen again. Yet, this reminds me that even though he is being nice (or, less mean), it is just a costume. Sometimes he might just lift up the head and I get a glimpse of the wolf, but he can be so quick with his costume change that I am left confused and bewildered again.

    Please pray for my and my children’s safety.

    • Thanks for your comment, Held too Tightly, and welcome to the blog 🙂

      We 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.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you might like to look at our FAQ page.

  2. Finding Answers

    (Writing through the descending fog…)

    Pastor Jeff wrote: But I have seen more than one case of an abuse victim remaining caught up in the abuser’s plays for self-pity, and as long as they do they just do not seem to get free.

    And…

    I suppose that in our minds we create a person who never really existed.

    Funny how I can see this more accurately in some people then others. I am also beginning to understand instances of abusers’ allies playing the pity card for the abuser.

    Especially heinous is when the person playing the pity card for the abuser is both an abuser’s ally and an abuser.

    In hindsight, I can see how I fell for the setup. I was getting too close to escaping their control. My natural desire to be of service was the magnet used to draw me back into the “fold”, The abusers’ “trained” me for how they defined the nurturing aspect of “who women are”.

    I need the Holy Spirit’s discernment to avoid repeating the pattern.

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