A Cry For Justice

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

13. Do Abusers Change? — Chris Moles answers that question with a mixture of truth and foolishness.

Chris Moles is well aware that most abusive men do not apply themselves to the hard work of reforming their characters. He claims that he’s seen a few abusers reform. I personally think Chris is spiritually blind and isn’t able to discern reformation from the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of pseudo-reformation.

When reading Chris’s book, you have to get to chapter eight (half way through the book!) before he talks about an instance where he pulled the plug on counselling an abuser. In that passage he mentions that it’s not unusual for abusive men to fail to reform. But look at how the context in which he says this. The following quote is taken from ch 8 of Chris’s book. Boldface added by me.

Change is hard but it is not impossible. This truth plays out in the lives of men who are receptive to change. Time and truth have a way of wearing on a man’s hardened heart like a trickle of water works its way through stone. However, there are times when a man’s heart is hardened and his resistance and arrogance make change and peace impossible.

One evening in particular stands out as incredibly frustrating. My counseling partner Kim and I had begged and pleaded. We tried everything we could think of to call the man in front of us to repentance. Unfortunately every request was met with resistance and every appeal with hostility. He would not budge. He was convinced his destructive behavior was necessary and that his wife deserved all she received. A recent incident, in which his wife resisted his demands, only solidified his position. “I’ve got her now!’ seemed to be his key motivation. Finally I put an end to the struggle realising we were getting nowhere. I told him that he was free to continue down the path he was walking, but that I had no doubt it would lead him to self-destruction. Kim and I assured him that we were willing to help but that our primary concern was for his wife and children. A few ultimatums and conditions were given and we parted ways. I thought, “How can he not see what he is doing to his family and himself?” Sadly this is not an unusual occurrence, and some men will not accept responsibility and will not change their behavior. (M 85-86*) 

So Chris only gave his first mention of how abusers usually don’t change halfway into his book. He should have stated that right at the beginning. I believe it was unethical for him to not put it on the back cover blurb, and in the first chapter of his book.

If we believe his testimony, Chris seems to be having a few successes with abusers reforming their abusive mindset and patterns of behavior. Here is what Chris says in one of his presentations to Christian leaders (Z 1:32:18):  

On average from a criminal perspective, in the large groups I lead (those groups are mandated for eight months) [Chris is speaking about the groups he leads for the government]  I’m just trying to get acknowledgement. It’s a wrestling match. When I first started this work I thought, “Here’s the goal: everyone’s gotta be an advocate and champion for women!” Now: they just gotta move!

Everybody I’ve ever worked with changes. Guys either become more obstinate and more defiant, which is rare. Honestly, if you spend enough time, if you can can institute accountability, you see movement. A lot of guys make just enough movement to be safe and not be hassled: behavioral change – I’m not a big fan. I’m okay for safety reasons, but I’m not a big fan. It’s like taking apples off the tree and stapling on bananas. It’s not going to last.

And lastly, there’s guys who experience transformation. And that’s the winner, right? That’s what makes it worth coming back for. But those are rare, they really are. We’re not hitting home runs in this work. …

The research and reports I have read all point to the fact that programs for abusive men are not effecting positive change in the men who are at the more entrenched end of the spectrum. And no research yet shows that the positive changes made by men who go to such programs are long-lasting.

As Christians, this should not surprise us. Evil men shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Tim 3:13).

The psychologist Dr George Simon, who is an expert on character disorder, says:

Heartless characters can be largely born the way they are. That is, the most disturbed among us have an innately impaired capacity to care. But folks lacking in empathy also tend to think in certain ways. And those ways of thinking lead them to form problematic attitudes and patterns of behavior. Moreover, engaging in those patterns both engenders and reinforces heartlessness.
Heartless Characters Think Differently

Pastor Jeff Crippen, who used to co-lead this blog with me, says —

These kinds of wicked people, these “domestic abusers” (or sexual abusers and others) who generally parade as Christians…are members of churches. Sometimes they are pastors or church leaders or missionaries.

And all the while, for years and years and years and years and years, they have been wickedly being who they really are. Behind the scenes they have been destroying lives. They have heard God’s voice time after time after time, but they have hardened their hearts against Him, time after time after time. And they still don’t repent. Yet people like these “experts” at ACBC claim that such people are to be “redeemed.” That through counseling, they can be fixed. That we should never give up hope.
The prevalent false gospel among us – “No one is beyond God’s mercy”

In winding up the final chapter of his book (M 125-7) Chris says:

Can they change? Of course they can. …. Anyone can change but the potential for change does not guarantee that it will happen.

Do they change? Yes…Well, kind of…It depends. I’ve been doing this work for many years and I have seen many men make changes. Sometimes those changes are radical and transformative. … I’ve also seen many men make some necessary behavioral changes to avoid consequences or pain. This may make things safer in the short term but lacks the power that the gospel promises. Lastly, I’ve seen man attempt to manipulate everyone with superficial changes designed to deceive others into leaving them alone. … They change when they choose to, but motives are important in understanding the validity of these changes.

Will they change? Do you have someone in mind? … I do not know if the person you love will ever change. …we know that change has occurred when change occurs. Change is possible, but change is hard.

At one of his lectures at the Institute of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship, Chris was asked a specific question by a female counselor. (E 58:46) —

Woman:  I have limited experience in this but I find that these marriages that are like 20 years plus – that these are church going people, committed to Christ  – this is very tough for them then to be willing to submit – to even begin a process of considering responsibility. So I guess my initial question to you in the local church (not to those you minister to in the jail) – do you see people coming to repentance?

Chris: Yeah; I’ll tell you a couple of things that I try to keep in mind. By the time an individual gets to me through the court system … having escalated that far (and some of the men I’ve worked with having been in the system since they were teenagers, having been violent for 20, 30 years, some of them having learned more violence in jail) – we look for small victories.  So sometimes the victory is acknowledgment and that’s as far as we get. And so we rejoice in that. At least he recognizes it. But we might not see repentance.

The second thing I would say is that with the guys that I get early – especially individually – who come to me recognizing [i.e., self motivated]. They’ve filled out an application, they’ve called me, they try to get a hold of me. They say, “Chris, I’m abusive. I didn’t know it. I’ve read your book. I read Leslie’s book or the Holcomb’s book. And this is me. I’m in trouble. My family’s in trouble because of me.”  The chances of success there are a lot higher. …

I get asked the question a lot “Do guys actually change? Do people change?” Especially in this work because really the culture, secularly, …The reality is that a lot of unbelievers and experts believe that we’re futile in trying this.

But here’s my response when people say, “Do men actually change? Do people change?” I say: Everybody changes. Everybody. All the time. Some of the men I work with become more obstinate, more arrogant, more ugly. They change. Some of the guys I work with make just enough changes to not get in trouble. And I don’t like [that]; but we can rejoice that people are safe. We can be happy that they have made some changes in their life. But there’s no transformation. And then some people, some, experience the life-changing power of the gospel, and they’re transformed. For the sake of the few that fall in category three we continue to do the work.

I agree with Chris that everybody changes.

I also agree with him that some abusers become more obstinate, arrogant and ugly. It is very clear to me from survivors’ testimonies that as abusers practise their abusive conduct, they become more skilled abusers and more controlling. The abuser might slow down somewhat as he gets old and frail; but that only limits some of his tactics, it doesn’t change his abusive heart. But Chris says ‘some’ change for the worse, whereas I would say that the vast majority of abusers change for the worse.

I agree with Chris that some abusers make just enough changes to not get in trouble. They do this to avoid legal penalties or to avoid coming in sight of the radar of authorities. However, unlike Chris, I don’t rejoice about that at all! I don’t think it makes victims more safe: it quite possibly puts them in greater danger. The abuser is now practising more subtle, covert, less criminal types of abuse.

Most victims say that the subtle abuse is the worst: the emotional, verbal, gaslighting, the mind control, the covert sexual abuse and the spiritual abuse… all those things are much harder to recognise. And they take much longer to recover from.

For Chris’s third category, “some who experience the life-changing power of the gospel, and they’re transformed,”  I am sceptical that Chris actually has had any in this category. His understanding of the doctrine of salvation is so poor that I’m not confident Chris (or the pastors and counselors he is friends with) could tell whether an abuser has been regenerated. (see part 12 in this series)

***

*Citations in this post are shown in grey, with each item designated by a capital letter.
The Chris Moles Digest gives a link to each item cited by a capital letter.

For further reading and viewing

Don Hennessy says domestic abusers are like pedophiles — and there’s not much proof they’re redeemable

Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men —video presentation in which Lundy Bancroft says:

The great majority of abusive men can change. And the great majority don’t. And the reason they don’t is not because they can’t, but because they’ve figured out that they don’t really have to.
youtu.be/YmbrAWDft0s?t=12m46 

NB: while we think Lundy Bancroft says some accurate things about abusers, we caution survivors against attending any healing retreat he runs, or getting involved in any face-to-face mutual support group that is set up under his Peak Living Network.

35 Comments

  1. Free at Last

    I 100% agree with this: “Most victims say that the subtle abuse is the worst: the emotional, verbal, gaslighting, the mind control, the covert sexual abuse and the spiritual abuse… all those things are much harder to recognise. And they take much longer to recover from.”

    I am 2 years away from my abuser, who employed mostly subtle abuse tactics that are much harder to explain to outsiders – like how a few months before I married my husband, he told me I needed to have most of my pubic hair removed as a wedding gift to him (which he would pay for). He said everyone was doing this nowadays and he didn’t want me to remind him of his former wife who had “a disgusting hairy bush.” The idiot in me complied with this request because I didn’t want to remind him of her and I had no idea how pivotal this move would be in turning me into his personal prostitute. The shame of this – that I agreed to do this stupid thing – kept me from telling anyone about the things he was doing to me and requiring me to do in our sexual relationship. And that’s EXACTLY what he was counting on. That’s just ONE example. I am left with what I consider now to be a physical aberration I cannot change. I see it daily. And it still grieves me. There are so many things like this. I am finding it very hard to get over or speak out about these private things. I don’t want the world to know about any of this – so it is my secret sorrow to bear. And when people ask what he did that was abusive, if I agree to share, it is almost like being re-abused to give the details.

    • Seeing Clearly

      Free At Last, I deeply respect your courage to write out your difficult message this morning. In your words, I feel your preciousness and equally feel his evil. Thank you for sharing.

      • I second what Seeing Clearly said. Free at Last, my heart goes out to you.

    • Song of Joy

      Praying the Lord will comfort you… and you are greatly helping others by speaking out… people need to hear this stuff because the kind of physical fetish abuse you endured is in the same vein as other types of horrendous fetish abuse forced on females the world over. There is a wide variety (and scale) of fetish abuse of women and it needs to stop. So thank you for your courageous comment.

      For instance there’s the evil practice of genital mutilation / female circumcision (still scandalously done today, even where I live in the USA although it’s against the law) and the crippling practice of female foot-binding in China, practiced not too long ago. That’s just two examples of how far it can go. There is a lot more. All done to elevate men’s desire to control females and satisfy their twisted sexual lusts.

      Your story helps people to be more aware of how abusive men manipulate to get their way and impose their perverted fetishes on their wives and girlfriends.

    • Helovesme

      FreeAtLast yours was the first comment I read—-and I was blown away by your bravery.

      Thank you so much for sharing what you did. Praying for you.

      Ironically, what you quoted was what stood out to me the most in this post as well. We were on the same page, it seems!

      Blessings to you. Again, thank you again for your courage and heartfelt words. I’m so sorry for what this person put you through.

  2. Jeff Crippen

    Moles is a purveyor of a false gospel whereby the wicked are capable of reforming themselves. And Chris claims to be just the salesman who can close the salvation deal with an abuser.

    You aren’t Chris.

    Moles knows that to remain popular with the mass of big name “christian” figures, he must zero in his energies on fixing the wicked. Let the real victims of evil stew in the false hope he gives – Chris will use his magic program to do what even God doesn’t do.

    And of course Chris’s message of “hope” is bringing him praise from the naive who crave a story with a “they all lived happily ever after” ending.

    But that is fiction.

    One day Chris, this business is going to blow up on you. The Enemy knows Jesus, and Paul, but who is this Chris guy? The devil laughs at it all as the holy charade goes on.

    • Seeing Clearly

      Amen Ps. Crippen!

    • Thank you Jeff!

    • Helovesme

      “And Chris claims to be just the salesman who can close the salvation deal with an abuser.”

      Thank you for putting it so well. That really is a good and accurate description of what I am seeing as this series keeps unfolding.

      I have noticed the Gospel (in a general sense) being treated and boxed up like a product that everyone will want to “buy” or “buy into.”

      If that is the goal, you present only the attractive and appealing parts of the Word.

      Never mention things like personal accountability, God’s judgement or bearing with any sort of real consequences.

  3. Kim

    why do you caution against attending lundys retreats?

  4. cindy burrell

    So the abuser changes “just enough to stay out of trouble…” In my view, this is nothing more than behavior modification – not a heart change. It’s not really love at all, just a way the abuser can still maintain a measure of power (due to the undercurrent of uncertainty) without getting into trouble. Fear and confusion still reign in the relationship, because it is ever teetering between emotional safety and insanity. How can such a scenario ever be considered a success?

    • The abuser can still maintain a measure of power, (due to the undercurrent of uncertainty)…the relationship is ever teetering between emotional safety and insanity.

      you nailed it, Cindy!

    • Helovesme

      Cindy, I don’t think it could have been said better!: “Fear and confusion still reign in the relationship, because it is ever teetering between emotional safety and insanity”

      That part in the post also struck me as odd (they are staying out of trouble so more people are safe) There was nothing to rejoice in that! Why Chris would find that to be positive? I found that to be horrendous.

      My abusive father would never leave bruises on me. So I never had any “real” evidence of what was being done to me. I do believe he knew how to hit hard enough to hurt, but not hard enough to leave bruises.

      So he never went to jail (he stayed out of trouble, technically) so I should be happy?

      Here’s the thing. I was always afraid of him leaving bruises on me. Abuse tends to escalate, though not always..It never happened, but I was always unsure of what exactly he was and wasn’t capable of.

      He probably would have stayed out of trouble, even bruises on me. I would probably have been too afraid to report it.

      But I never, ever felt safe in my father’s house. Whether he stayed out of jail or not, I would always be afraid of him. That sort of fear may or may not ever completely leave a victim.

      So Chris, again, really doesn’t know what he is talking about. To speak of something as serious as abuse in such a casual way (well, at least they’re out of trouble, and victims feel safer!) is proof positive that he doesn’t really understand.

      • It is so unbelievably rare to find people in the Christian counseling realm who actually understand how abusers operate and how to actually empower victims!

      • Hope

        Just to add my voice to all of yours, and this comment in particular (thank you Helovesme), I also never, ever felt safe in my parents’ house because of my father. He never laid a hand on me, just threatened to (among other threats), until I grew up and left home. After he was banned from my own house for verbally and emotionally abusing me, he spent two years calling and threatening and I was an emotional basket case every time – which transfers to becoming a physical basket case at some point.

        “That sort of fear may or may not ever completely leave a victim.” So right, it’s been 10 years now, and I can talk to him on the phone, but sometimes his voice still sends an electro-chemical shock through my nervous system.

        Anyone, and I mean ANYONE that is ignorant enough to think that the more covert abuse becomes, the safer a victim is, needs a sound, Biblical, reality check. The opposite is actually true; the more covert abuse is, the greater the confusion, disorientation, and fear – all of which keeps a person trapped because they/we aren’t sure of what to do. This is still somewhat true for me with my abusive husband, although I am much improved and strengthened by all that I have learned and put into practice. One step at a time, in Jesus footsteps, with God’s arm around my shoulder.

        Considering small, shallow, surface changes a success sounds like nothing more than enabling the abuser to maintain his chronic, cyclic abuse. Since when does any counselor of any worth consider enabling a good idea?

        I’m not really in favor of beating people over the head with the Holy Bible, but every once in a while I’d really like to make an exception…

      • Helovesme

        Hope, my apologies for taking so long to respond! I’m behind and trying to catch up!

        Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for what you went though. My father, too, was verbally and emotionally abusive (that often felt far worse then the physical abuse) Just the sound of his voice would cause anxiety. .

        “Anyone, and I mean ANYONE that is ignorant enough to think that the more covert abuse becomes, the safer a victim is, needs a sound, Biblical, reality check. The opposite is actually true”

        When you wrote that, I recalled to mind such abusive tactics from professing Christians, many of whom I looked up to and am related to, which makes makes it far worse when those memories come flooding back.

        I was at first shocked, and then in real denial when I first started to see these covert techniques emerge. Actually, I should go further. I was in complete denial at first! I thought these were mature, seasoned Christians so I couldn’t even grasp that they would behave like they were.

        Over time, and in hindsight—-I started to see things more clearly. But for years, my inner vision was blurred—-and as you said—I was VERY confuse (fear and disorientation were spot on words to use as well).

        The fear came from mostly from either saying or doing the wrong thing. Also a real desire and desperate longing to fit in and belong.

        I chalked it up to real sensitivity on their part (a need for me to be more cautious and gentle), and also a need on my part keep letting the Lord tame my tongue.

        I still stand by that last statement. To this day, I am a work in progress when it comes to the 2nd commandment: loving others. However, perfect love drives OUT fear; it does not encourage it. So there was a huge flaw in my thinking.

        I still blamed myself, however. Because I had been abused, I thought the fears and insecurities were from my past, and not necessarily because of them.

        On the surface, at first—they appeared kind and loving and generous. And I am not dismissing that. But right underneath, was a whole lot more going on. And if you “pricked” at a certain spot, it would expose what was hiding.

        Ironically, I believe the Lord used my abusive past to pick up on their tactics, which (IMO cannot remain hidden forever. Situations would come up that would bring it out.

        This is the situation that occurred that started to domino effect. We entertained a few people, in our home, that our family disapproved of. That’s a long story. When they found out, one member called my husband and berated him badly. Didn’t ask for his side of the story, accused him blindly and said that no one was on our side (they had obviously talked it over with other family members. That added to the fear. Who knew, and who was talking about us, and how many people were now against us? Also intimated that we could get cut off from his kids if we persisted in associating with them.

        I was so shocked I didn’t know what to think, or do. I chalked it up to them being very hurt, and surprised that we had done what we had done. I even wondered if we really HAD done something wrong. I try not to kick people to the curb blindly, but I didn’t know what to do about the people we had entertained. Should I keep my distance from them, or try to associate with them secretly?

        It took a long time, and I mean a good long time—-for me to really become righteously angry over it. First of all: you don’t call our house and treat my spouse like a child. We’re not under his authority, and you can’t order him around like that. You also do not speak to him so disrespectfully, without repenting of it. My husband was owed an apology from this person, and he never got it.

        Second, you don’t have any right to tell us who comes in and out of OUR home. If the people we had over were dangerous in some way, then tell us about it. But they had no suck knowledge. They were being arrogant and self-righteous.

        Third, they owed the people we entertained were an apology as well. They did nothing wrong and yet they too were treated very badly.

        After that incident, more and more things like that, from other family members, started to show. It was mostly on the grounds of them feeling hurt, being sensitive or being needy—-but I started to see through to the deception.

        But again, it look a LONG, LONG time. I felt ashamed and condemned for being so foolish, but I also had to remember how covert everything was as well.

        I’m now terrified around these people, and haven’t seen most of them for a long time, thankfully. But I feel 100% unsafe around them, which is a 180 from how I used to feel around them. So the total turnaround was also traumatic to deal with.

  5. Finding Answers

    Citing Chris from the original post One evening in particular stands out as incredibly frustrating. My counseling partner Kim and I had begged and pleaded. We tried everything we could think of to call the man in front of us to repentance……

    Something this quote brings to mind. In reference to the begging and pleading quoted: Hasn’t the abused spouse probably done that already? Many times?

    In the quote from the ICBD, a woman counsellor asks, “So I guess my initial question to you in the local church (not to those you minister to in the jail) – do you see people coming to repentance?” Chris talks a great deal about change in his reply, but his only reference to repentance is, “But we might not see repentance.”

    Barb wrote Most victims say that the subtle abuse is the worst: the emotional, verbal, gaslighting, the mind control, the covert sexual abuse and the spiritual abuse… all those things are much harder to recognise. And they take much longer to recover from.

    Amen. (Speaking from my own experience.)

    Free At Last My heart goes out to you. Choosing to share private details can be a struggle…

    • Helovesme

      The “begging and pleading” part also stuck me as odd. I’ve seen a counselor, and he never acted that way. Is this normal in counseling?

      I’m not sure if this person was being ordered to counseling, so he didn’t really want to be there. Nonetheless, I still don’t think it’s the right way to counsel an abuser. They’re dangerous people, not victims of their own undoing.

      You can’t want your client to change more than they want to—if they want to change at all.

      • Chris is referring there to the Batterer Intervention Groups he runs for the government. Elsewhere in this series I have relayed what Chris says about those groups. The men are mandated to attend those groups by the justice system.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you Barb! I was pretty sure it was court mandated counseling as you said. It was later in the evening and my mind wasn’t working as well. Thanks for the reminder.

        I’m not a professional so I have no idea if that is considered a healthy way to deal with court mandated counseling (begging and pleading).

        My mind still leans towards believing that even if you are ordered to do something, you have to put your personal efforts into it to get anything out of it.

  6. Helovesme

    Nearly everyone has brought this up already, but I too loved this part of the post:

    ” The abuser is now practising more subtle, covert, less criminal types of abuse…..Most victims say that the subtle abuse is the worst: the emotional, verbal, gaslighting, the mind control, the covert sexual abuse and the spiritual abuse… all those things are much harder to recognise. And they take much longer to recover from.”

    This is also how a victim can feel more condemned, because the abuse is not as easily recognizable anymore. I’ve felt like a person who must have a very low IQ, because I didn’t see certain things that weren’t right in front of my face! It’s easier to keep me in bondage, because shame as well as fear is keeping me down.

    The abuser has gone more “underground” but they are still managing to cause enormous pain and suffering.

  7. Some Anonymous Bloke

    It is apparent to me that Moles’ approach of making progress with abusers and gently leading them towards repentance (or some form of behaviour modification) is entirely misguided. The emphasis should rather be on offering authentic assistance* to those who have been oppressed and victimised by those who have perpetrated the abuse.

    Abusers, in love with themselves and the sense of power and control they experience in duping, subjugating and bending others (including reality itself) to serve their whims, enjoy being the focal point of existence. In the light of his training, is Moles not cognisant of how susceptible he personally is to being manipulated by these people?

    *e.g. emotional support, financial help, medical treatment, housing, spiritual nourishment.

    • Krikit

      It is apparent to me that Moles, in this context, is cognisant of very little, if anything at all.

      Moles is a classic example of a FOOL, as described by the written word. He is so enamored of himself and puffed up by his whole (so-called) ministry to abusers, that it fairly jumps off the page, in my view. At their core, his phrases amount to little more than false advertising for a putrid and stinking ‘gospel’.

      I don’t care how many courts mandate abuser attendance to these types of “re-training” sessions, or how many speeches Moles and others like him make regarding their efforts and any so-called “changes” the attendees exhibit, ALL of it is a LIE from the Pit of Hell, because NO heart is changed EXCEPT first by the calling (Justifcation) of God, and then by the work (Santification) of the imbued Holy Spirit. This all smacks of the New Age-ism, “fake it ‘till ya make it” crapola.

      Any attempt at “behavior modification” that is lead by anything/anyone other than the Being of God himself, initiated through (what I call) Down and Dirty Repentance, borne out by the soul workings of the Holy Spirit, is a COUNTERFEIT and should never ever be trusted! *****White washed tombs full of dead men’s bones!*****

      • Moles is a classic example of a FOOL, as described by the written word. He is so enamored of himself and puffed up by his whole (so-called) ministry to abusers, that it fairly jumps off the page, in my view. At their core, his phrases amount to little more than false advertising for a putrid and stinking ‘gospel’.

        I agree, Krikit. He’s a FOOL.

        And the biblical counseling organizations and churches that have him come and speak are fools too, because they can’t recognize how foolish Chris is.

        I started working on this series late last year. It’s been a long time in the making. I put it on the back burner for a while in order to publish the Don Hennessy series, because I knew the Don Hennessy series would be much more helpful to our readers than the Chris Moles series. But then I got back into the Moles series…and it was a massive job because I wanted to cite all his words accurately and that took a lot of work! He is very repetitive in his teachings. With the help of TWBTC, I waded through all the repetition and eventually discerned how to show the key things he is doing wrong.

        The sad thing is, I suspect that those in the biblical counseling movement who want to pooh pooh my critique of Moles will not even bother to check the accuracy of my citations. But so be it. I’ve given them the evidence. If they are aware of my posts about Moles and choose not to look at the evidence I’ve given them, then they will answer to God.

      • emmellkaycee

        Indeed, Barbara, you did a tremendous amount of diligent work in presenting this series. Thank you for your dedication to the targets of abusers, and for your commitment to the calling Christ has so apparently made upon your spirit to that end. May His Spirit continue to sustain you in confidence, boldness, and righteousness in His calling.

    • Helovesme

      “The emphasis should rather be on offering authentic assistance* to those who have been oppressed and victimised by those who have perpetrated the abuse.”

      Completely agree! I’ve often wondered how much more a difference would be made if Chris put even one tenth of his energy towards helping the REAL victims here: the abused.

      Your list of options at the end is good and practical. Barb has mentioned the homelessness of battered women previously, and how unacceptable that is. There is so much need.

      He may think he’s helping the abused by helping their abusers (aka trying to restore the marriage, if that is the case) but I honestly think he is making things worse.

      I too have often wondered if Chris understands the seared conscience of an abuser, and how dangerous that is.

      From reading this series, my hunch is that no matter how deep the evil goes in abusers, Chris believes that these people can still change their ways (or become transformed, as he put it).

      I can see how this might appeal to so many, especially to the victims, who may (or may not be) be very desperate to see their abusers change.

      The Gospel is all about giving hope to the hopeless, shining light into the darkness, and freeing the captives. Again, my hunch is that this is how Chris’s mind may be working? Doesn’t the Gospel apply to the worst of humanity, including abusers?

      I’m not saying we should never preach the Gospel to abusers (and others who represent the worst of humanity) Everyone should hear the Word of God.

      But Jesus didn’t hang around a city of people who told Him to leave. He left! Plenty of people turned away from Him even after following Him for awhile, saying His teachings were too hard to understand. He also stopped debating the Pharisees after a certain point in His ministry.

      People even came up to Him, wanting to follow Him—-but He made it clear that it wasn’t easy, or always pleasant. That wasn’t to push them away, but to make sure they understood what it would be like.

      Now, I think most of us on this blog agree that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of all of humanity, and is fully God and fully man. I only say that to bring the perspective that even Christ Himself did not always “succeed” in His appeals to people, and by no means was there any fault on His part because they refused to follow Him.

      And nowhere in the Word did Christ change the message of His Word so that more people would follow Him. He often changed His approach, but never His core, solid message.

      And this is the Person who loves everyone so deeply, so intensely—- that we often can’t fully comprehend it. So it’s obvious that you cannot “love” an abuser into repentance.

      Or, you cannot beg and plead a person into changing (regardless of transformation or not).

      By the way, I totally agree with those pointing out that an abuser changing “just enough” (so we should celebrate, right?) is hogwash.

      So much of abuse is NOT visible, so you can’t declare a person has changed, just because an abuser somehow stays out of jail, and this means a victim is somehow more safe.

      • Krikit

        Yes and AMEN!

        How many times I have had this very conversation with other Christians about how Christ, while on this earth, did not chase after those who refused Him and His message!? Too many to count.

        Evil persons are not “lost sheep” who need shepherding back to the fold. They are WOLVES looking to devour! And when they are discovered in the pasture among the sheep, they are to be PUT OUT, lest they infect the whole heard with their cunning deceptiveness, effectively snuffing out the Spirit among weaker sheep.

      • Helovesme

        “Evil persons are not “lost sheep”

        Perfectly said!

        A lost sheep is someone who WAS once a part of the herd, but wandered away.

        Abusers were NEVER a part of His herd, so how can they be defined as “lost sheep?”

        I believe many victims of abuse, who are a part of His herd, are the ones who may become lost. I’ll use my own story as an example (it will be short).

        After a horrendous, traumatic experience with ministry about 20 years ago, I backslid in my walk with the Lord. Thankfully, He came after me because I really WAS a lost sheep. Due to intense pain and suffering I was in—-prayer, reading the Word and going to church became very difficult to me—and nearly impossible at times. Because I wasn’t feeding on the Word and abiding in Him—my life started to decline. Bad choices and bad attitudes started to dominate my life.

        That is not to excuse myself for bad choices at all. Just to explain how victims who DO love the Lord and are truly born again—-can buckle under tremendous strain.

        About 3 years ago, I was slammed on all sides by huge trials. Believe me, it’s been a test of real endurance and leaning on His grace to NOT buckle under that strain as well. I’m still in quite a difficult place, but even IF I do buckle, I pray He will be there to catch me (again). or come after me IF I become lost (again).

        Krikit please keep that message alive, if and when the Lord opens doors for you remind people of what you spoke of. Even if they do not listen, perhaps a weak, lonely, lost sheep will hear it—-and be encouraged.

  8. Finding Answers

    Barb commented ……I put it on the back burner for a while in order to publish the Don Hennessy series, because I knew the Don Hennessy series would be much more helpful to our readers than the Chris Moles series….

    And, I for one, have been truly blessed by your choice. The series on Don Hennessy
    contributed substantially to my understanding and healing. Without his series and all the other ACFJ posts, the series on Chris Moles would not have connected.

  9. Hello Sunshine

    The idea of abusers slowing down somewhat with age and frailty but not really changing reminds me of someone I knew with a long history of abusive behavior toward his children and (sequential) wives. In his 90s, about all he could get away with was dropping litter all around his chair for someone else to deal with. An outsider who met him might have guessed there were mobility, memory, or vision problems at fault and felt sorry for him, but the family recognized it as about power and control and felt about as oppressed as ever.

  10. Charis

    “So I guess my initial question to you in the local church (not to those you minister to in the jail) – do you see people coming to repentance?”

    I find it very interesting…and disappointing…that Chris never answered this woman’s question. He side-stepped it completely. His long-winded example was from his public/government work (“By the time an individual gets to me through the court system … having escalated that far…”) – which was expressly what she asked him NOT to do. That is a manipulative tactic and a red flag.

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