A Cry For Justice

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

No Longer Under Your False Guilt – a song by “Now Free”

You can press my buttons
You can hurl your vile threats
You can slander me in public
You can beat me til I’m just like death.

But I never said a word
I cried myself to sleep
And when I hustled a little strength
I resisted without sin

Yes I may have lost my temper
Yes I may have been pushed against a wall
Yes I had to, for my life,
get away from your control

You said that I was abusive
You claimed absurd and hurtful claims
Knowing what I hate the most
You made those accusations the same

But now I stand fast
I know now I did no wrong
I know when I had nothing left
I was not the abusive one

I know I am not to blame
I need no longer hang my head in shame
For I am no longer under your game

You can spread all your false allegations
You can try to say my standing up was full of hate
You can try your best to ridicule
my strength to resist was never spate.

For now I know I’m innocent
I am not the one at fault
No matter what happens now in life I know how to behave.
Between me and my God
I have found truth!
Now – You can stop trying to dig my grave.

31st August 2018

28 Comments

  1. Untangled

    I’m still struggling with guilt and self-blame. I feel like I’m drowning in it. 😥

  2. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    I was like that Untangled, until one day in work talking to a colleague suddenly the phrase “No guilt no shame for I am not to blame!” Came into my head like a bolt out of the blue. It changed everything. I’m not saying I don’t have any struggles for I most certainly do.

    God will continue to help and strengthen you. Stay close to Him and let Him whisper the truth to your soul. I had a lot of verbal abuse and was mixed up and still trying to work a lot out, but this song was more regarding the guilt of standing up for yourself. The occasions when things are like an animal cornered that snaps back. I felt heavy guilt for that and losing my temper, but never did I abuse back or be physical with threats. I was made to feel though I was the most vile man alive and a physical threat as an abusive person. Something which I hate with a passion. That’s part of the usage of what I hated being accused of the same. It crushed me, scared me to death when threats and calls were made to authorities, woman’s aid etc. I roamed the country at night often and stayed out in supermarket or motorways service station car parks. In shear fear I would be placed in prison and a record that was not true. That still breaks my heart.

    But I AM NOT TO BLAME!

    God made it so clear to me in some miraculous and amazing ways. It’s not easy to grasp when it’s almost been beaten into you with anger and you begin to almost believe it.
    Deep down inside you know the truth. Will pray God will strengthen you heart and keep your focus on Him as you walk out of the boat as Peter did hand in hand with Jesus. Trust in Him he will not let you drown. He loves you as His precious one.

    Isaiah 43:2
    “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

    • Rescued

      ” I was the most vile man alive” Now free, are you a man?

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Rescued, it’s taken me a while to answer your question as I feel scared to answer. I say that as usually such a question brings concern and sadly with it in my experience an unbelief of anything I’ve said. It usually comes from someone badly abused or hurt by men. That I understand so I’m afraid to answer, but I have made my gender clear on ACFJ.
        Having said that my heart breaks and this is difficult for me to say in response.

        Yes, ladies, I am a man. A real man not the disgusting not even animal type beings that many of you have experienced with deep sadness in your lives. I do not wish to be associated with those vile and horrendous beings called sadly very very sadly “men”. I write with tears in my eyes as to the wickedness carried out in that name. Society calls them men; somehow I think Christ would be like me and say they are something else but not so nice. Scum does come to mind but it’s way too mild. There is no word for this “man”. This pains me so much, as I love children so much that the disgusting evil things have been carried out by one who would dare use my name or gender.

        So I say yes I am a man as Christ became a man. Not all men abuse. Oh ladies be careful but don’t associate “men” with real men as God intended is to be. We are not perfect because of the Fall, but not all [of us] are abusive. My heart goes out to such and to many of you here who have experienced such when babes.

        I say this as I’ve had women hurt me bad by telling me, once they heard a bit of my story [and presumably] just because I was a man they said, “Oh, it takes two to tango,” and they shunned me. They were badly abused and could not get their heads around that a woman alone could abuse. I had to have done something.. my songs say it all inc the one on other posts headed “I’m am not to blame”.

        I will not accept false guilt any longer and therefore your question brought real fear, Rescued. I trust I have not hurt you by my response but on it’s own it [your question] gave me concern. This is first time since first writing years ago in ACFJ that I’ve felt this here, but I feel I have to qualify my answer again in this occasion.
        For most of the time I do not feel worthy to be here at all.

        I cannot change what has happened to me, but I can, I hope, make a difference in hope to change things for others. I certainly have never kept quiet before, having past girlfriends who were abused and witnessing abuse whilst in ministry. I loved and did not cover up then. And I never realised the only abuse I covered up was my own from shame and stigma. Who would believe a man? This my fear of authorities from an extremely manipulatove wife. Please believe me as I know I’m not alone here as others in ACFJ know only too well. Us real men get abused by women who I say are NOT real women …. they are that un-named word as Christ may call them; for now I can only say “women”.

        These things pain my heart probably more than anything bar a poor innocent child receiving…what one day Christ will show His wrath in full toward. No doubt in my mind: if I’m seething, how much more is God seething? A millstone around their neck and drowned in the depths of the sea is awaiting and more!!

        That said, my heart goes out to you Rescued. I hope this helps. I am afraid to say anything but feel I must speak up for truth.

      • Thank you for your answer, Now Free.

        And I want to reassure Rescued that I have interacted a lot with Now Free and I believe he is a genuine male victim who was abused by his former wife. And for any ACFJ readers who only come to this blog occasionally, I understand and appreciate that you may not have been reading the other comments Now Free has written on this site, in which he has been open about his gender. So it’s not your fault, Rescued, that you might not have been aware that Now Free is a man. 🙂

        I hope this soothes everyone’s feelings. I know how hard it is for all of us who have been abused to not be triggered by things other people say, even when the things other people say are innocent and not intended in any way to trigger or disturb others who might be victims of abuse.

        Bless you Rescued for asking your question, and bless you Now Free for answering. 🙂 🙂

  3. Helovesme

    This poem is AMAZING.

    The writer here has incredible talent and the Lord has used it so well. I can’t stress that enough.

    Good writing is quite simple in theory. You use words to draw the reader into whatever story you are trying to tell.

    But it takes great courage to tell your story, and then tell it in a way that truly expresses what you went through. That means you lower your guard, become vulnerable—-and take a big risk. Will your readers believe you, trust you—-take you seriously?

    I’m blown away by the heart of this poem: describing what it’s like to be abused, but also what it’s like to resist and eventually escape it.

    Neither side is very pretty—but the latter yields a fruit that tastes as good as it is to live out: “Between me and my God I have found truth!”

    When I was growing up, we were rightly taught “stranger danger.” Don’t trust anyone you don’t know. You don’t know if they will hurt you. Only trust people that you know. That is the truth. It’s still true, by the way.

    But as I grew older, it became clear that it is the ones closest to you that might also try harm you. They have the greatest access to you. And they have the advantage: more than likely, you trust them, and they can exploit that for abusive purposes.

    This includes spouses—-but also parents, pastors, teachers, coaches and close family friends or family members in general.

    That too is the truth. But IMO, the church doesn’t want to hear that, much less believe that. They are so busy upholding the “ideal” of what relationships should be like—-that the truth gets drowned out in the loud chorus of: but that’s not how it’s supposed to be! We refuse to believe the unbelievable.

    I wish every believer, whether they are in leadership or not—-would read this poem. There is such power and presence of pain (and the hope of victory) in these words.

    I am of the belief that you can explain the inexplicable (abuse) until you are blue in the face—-and if hearts are not open—-it will make no difference. It’s like speaking a foreign language to people like that.

    Now I may have changed my mind. I believe this poem might allow the Lord to soften hearts to at LEAST acknowledge that something is terribly wrong with their ideal (but false) image of relationships.

    Keep sharing, writing and communicating as you see fit. Abuse does not fall into the realm of “Biblical suffering,” but I believe ALL suffering can be turned into something precious in His hands. This poem is a true confirmation of His goodness and ability to shine His light into the worst of darkness.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      It occurred to me today Herods abuse is skipped over quickly. In all the years in ministry I cannot remember it ever really spoken about. Certainly it is not mentioned hardly in adult company.
      It’s brushed under the carpet that he went out and killed all baby boys 2 years and under. What a horror and wicked man.
      Perhaps good reasons not to mention it. On the whole, I think it shows the church in true light, that speaks of life all rosey and wonderful but rarely deals with the real world.
      Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse never spoken of in many churches. Few pastors want to deal with the personal things and struggles in life. Living in a bubble, the congregations are not taught how God’s word applies to much in life.

      Therefore this cry from my heart went unheard and only resulted in spiritual abuse. You say much Helovesme of what I’ve experienced and still no one understands. No one I know understands around me for they will not take the time to put aside any ideas or beliefs and listen.

      My only hope is we are not preaching to the converted here and praying some pastor or leader or parent will suddenly receive food for thought that brings forth good fruit and help for victims and survivors.

      • Helovesme

        Last year I too had the same thoughts as you did about Herod murdering small boys—-noticing that (understandably) that narrative tends to get ignored over the holidays.

        Then someone posted on Facebook, a painting to illustrate that horrific event—-of a woman trying to shield her son from the soldiers. I was so shocked that someone had been thinking along the same lines as I was.

        I often wondered how those soldiers could bring themselves to murder children. What was going through their heads? How desensitized were they in order to carry out such unspeakable orders?

        Herod could not have possibly been thinking clearly. In a panicky rage, I think he lashed out those orders because he feared losing his kingship—-but did he really believe that Jesus would get “randomly killed” along with those other helpless children?

        When I read a Bible commentary about that unthinkable event, it brought up that since it was in a small town, the number of children killed was not on the “high” side—-it probably did not make a large impact—-at least not a big enough one for the secular history books. IMO, it wouldn’t surprise me if this wasn’t an isolated incident. Rome in general was not known for valuing life. People represented profit—-that is as far as their value went.

        Sound familiar? In any “church” setting where we look away when suffering is inflicted on the innocent, where evil is carried out (or ignored) in order to preserve powerful positions, and where a “small” handful of people (even children) are considered expendable—-the attitude of Herod/Rome is present.

  4. Seeing Clearly

    You say it well, it’s between you and God.

    You will not win with an abusive wife or mother; so glad you have been able to announce you are not playing their game. They don’t play fair.

    I felt such sadness reading the simple words, “I cried myself to sleep” . Such pain and loneliness in the hours when no one will come alongside. If only someone would at least believe you. I’m so sorry.

    As with your last poem a few days ago, I would love to hear it sung or played with guitar or keyboard. Maybe someday we will.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      I have various tunes for everything I write in my head. The guitar has not been lifted much since spiritual abuse. It brings many triggers and immense pain. I do hope to write a book with my journey in creative writing or song in someday. If anything to prevent others going through the same in Christian circles. Maybe one day. But yes I do have tunes with everything.
      It’s my only way of release sometimes when the pain or thoughts to great.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Now Free, I am thankful that you have music within you. No one can take that away.
        Often, I am listening to quiet, soothing music to help myself be settled; night or day.

    • Honestly

      You wrote, ” You will not win with an abusive wife or mother”. Did a man write this poem?

      • Yes, “Now Free” is a male survivor of domestic abuse. He was abused by his former wife. He has been commenting at this blog for some time.

      • I should add that Now Free was also spiritually and emotionally abused by his pastor. And that pastor’s church and many of his former friends and colleagues in the wider church network have believed falsehoods about what happened. And the majority of his family are disbelieving him and being callous towards him in his grief. Plus, he is being mocked in by many people in his workplace as well.

  5. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    Feeling extremely uncomfortable with these questions. I can’t describe how upsetting, but I understand as I’ve said previously. I’m sorry if I’ve suddenly upset people, that is far removed from my intention. I’m sorry. My question is does it make a difference if it’s a man or a woman? Please don’t answer that at the moment, I just can’t handle any more. Please read my story over the years here at ACFJ before making any assumptions. Once again I understand but I feel anger directed towards me for being simply male and I may be wrong, but starting to feel extremely uncomfortable in ACFJ. Sorry Barb.

    • Seeing Clearly

      Now Free, will it help you if I say that here at ACFJ, we are not trying to be abusive to one another. You won’t be spoken badly to for speaking truth about your life. When we have been blindsided often, our defense signals start firing.

      You are courageous to have shared your gift of writing with us. As I go through my day, I will be holding you in my prayers that you will find a calming place to heal just a little bit more today.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Sorry Seeing Clearly you wrote
        “When we have been blindsided often, our defense signals start firing.”

        Exactly my point too and why I said I understood

        Sorry if I came across harsh, but heavily triggered by the same. Although Barb mentions my abuse from my ex, it is not the only abuse that I’ve mentioned in ACFJ and I have had a rough year where in the end the abuse I experienced both in the home, church family and work etc and shared with someone close thinking they got it and understood was suddenly overturned and I received a lot of verbal abuse setting me back years. This was the reason as I realised I was in an abusive relationship for returning to ACFJ and Barb for help.

        Therefore in these years of separation there has been other things happening that resulted in serious threat and danger more than what my wife would have even dreamed up. So I’m sorry for saying things here and upsetting people, it was not my intention. I’m sorry if I’ve come across as fake or likes and I wrote a response this morn in my pain. This is all I want for ACFJ as I love you all. You are all I have. I have no one else but you here who understand I hope and get me I hope. So I’m sorry for my silly reaction, but please remember it’s not just women who have gone through what you have as some men have reported here from time to time. I do not want those who have feeling bad or that they cannot have a voice.

        I only hope I bring help and encouragement and I’m deeply sorry if I’ve triggered people by my being. Deeply sorry for that.
        I’ll not post any more. Just be assured of my prayers. I hope you all have a good Christmas and the new year brings much recovery. Deeply sorry again for hurting anyone that more than anything brings deep pain, but do be assured I understand. I do get we all get triggered by just about anything sometimes. Forgive me if I’ve made silly assumptions too.

        I’m not a fake
        I’m not an imposter
        I came here to love and foster
        A good vibe and with good intent
        I wanted to help and bless
        With my content

      • I don’t think you have ever come across as fake, Now Free. 🙂

        And as far as I know, you have not said anything here that has upset people. 🙂

    • HeLovesMe

      Now free I’ve known for a time that you are a man. I don’t recall when I knew, but in terms of abuse it didn’t make one bit of difference to me. Never has, never will.

      The reason why is rather simple: why would it make any difference?

      You were more than free to explain yourself as you did, but it again changes nothing for me. You’re just you, whether you are male or female is secondary.

      Abuse and sexual assault are terrible choices of sinful humanity, and unfortunately no one is exempt from being a possible target.

      I’ve listened to a few men tell their stories of abuse and sexual assault. I’ll never forget their courage. I’m so grateful that they stepped forward as they did.

      In America, a group of women came forward to speak of being molested by their sports doctor. Because of them, a former male wrestler felt inspired to tell his story of being molested by his sports doctor when he was in college.

      After him, more of his teammates came forward. See how that worked?

      They opened up about their experiences with such honesty. They explained how they would try to joke or make light of what happened to them, but it was far more serious than they were admitting. The story is more complex but hopefully you get the idea.

      I am extremely proud to interact with you through this site and hope you feel loved and welcomed. Gender notwithstanding. I would be very sad if you left unless the Lord directed you to, or if your safety was compromised.

      No need to ever apologize on behalf of the male abusers we have dealt with. You’re nothing like them. And our male abusers are nothing like you.

  6. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    This is a song in blues style.

    Music was taken away from me
    It’s only in my heart and mind now
    Everything else was destroyed

    • Seeing Clearly

      I wonder if it is hidden in your soul.

      For me, my soul is that place where only I and God are.

    • I am so appreciative of you sharing your lyrics with us here! You put lament and resistance into words…words that so many of us here can relate to. So it helps us in our own lamentation and our resistance against lies and oppression.

    • HeLovesMe

      I often wonder if there will be music in heaven. I can’t write lyrics or sing, but music has blessed me for as long as I can remember. It was a refuge and escape.

      Music has such power and potency. It can move us inside like nothing else can. Move us to tears. Move our emotions. It can cheer and comfort us as well.

      Some songs pain me, however, but it’s no fault of the music itself! Its connected to certain memories which are hard or painful.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        It was God who invented music in heaven and prepared a certain angel to lead all the others in their worship. God created the first “worship leader,” he was called Star of the Morning (known to us as Lucifer – the light bearer), God’s greatest creation led the angelic creatures to worship in his presence.
        All the Angels sang in unison together in heaven before the rebellion occurred. Job 38:7 describes “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (morning stars are symbolic of angels)
        Music began by having its focus on God, the creator of the first creatures who existed in heaven.

        Note: Jesus, the true messiah is called the bright and morning star, NOT star of the morning.

        Many false cults or secret societies refer to the star of the morning. An indication of their messiah who is false. One who mixes much truth with lies to deceive many. This is a whole different subject.

        I also as worship leader noted one well known song that poetically, but incorrectly referred to Jesus as ‘star of the morning’. I had to make this clear to my worship team and church the difference before we sang the song. For poetic verse and with poetic license we could see why the author of the song wrote it this way to make it sound poetically better. However we most certainly do not give our worship to Satan, but to Jesus, as God the Son. Seems though some Christian songwriters do not know the difference.

        The first rebellion in the universe came from a worship leader that was the closest to God. Before he fell to become Satan (the accuser), he was the worship leader for all the angelic creatures in heaven, even before man was made. After he fell he retained his talent but lost his position.

        Lucifer was created, according to the scriptures, with timbrels and pipes.

        Ezekiel 28:13-16
        The workmanship of your timbrels [small double skinned drum] and pipes [wind instruments]
        Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
        You were the anointed cherub who covers; ….
        You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
        Till iniquity was found in you.
        By the abundance of your trading
        You became filled with violence within,
        And you sinned;
        Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
        Out of the mountain of God;
        And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
        From the midst of the fiery stones.

        The two Scripture passages that describe Satan before he fell are Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14:12-15. Satan was the “anointed cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14). He was adorned with every precious jewel imaginable (Ezekiel 28:13). He was “the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12b). Likely he was the highest of all angels. He was persuasive enough to convince one-third of the angels to join him in his rebellion (Revelation 12:4). Even after his fall from heaven, not even Michael the archangel dared to stand up to him without the Lord’s help (Jude 9). Satan fell because of pride. He did not like being “second best.” He wanted to be God:

        You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain’
        (Isaiah 14:13).

        There is much I could say as former worship leader from these verses, but not for this occasion.

        We also read in Revelation that John heard the playing of harps and that the redeemed will sing like a harmonious choir. The body will be perfect and this will include vocal chords. The music will also come from such harmonious vocals too.

        The music of heaven will be something way beyond what we have ever heard before. It will be so harmoniously perfect with every note and pitch perfect.

        Helovesme, you will be able to sing perfect forevermore 🙂

      • Thank you so much for this! I have never heard that explained before. I knew about Lucifer falling and becoming Satan; I knew the scriptures you referred to; but I hadn’t realised how much that had to do with music, nor had I realised that before he became proud and was cast out of heaven, Lucifer’s special role was ‘worship leader’.

        I will meditate and ponder on what you’ve said, Now Free. And again, let me thank you for sharing it here.

  7. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    The tree

    The tree is bare
    No tinsel strands wrapped
    No angel or star upon it capped
    No icicles hung or glittery balls
    No fake snow upon it falls
    No candy canes or orange slice
    No pine cones or cinnamon stick spice

    No nativity scene or stocking hung
    No gingerbread men dangle or angels with wings
    Or Santa’s on hooks or bells that ring
    No Christmas Choo choo trains
    or reindeers and sleigh
    No advent calendar counting down to the big day
    No snowy scenes with polar bear or penguins in festive attire
    No candles in flame or the log fire
    No snapping crackers with paper hat and a joke
    Does these make me sad or heathen;
    because they are missing a godless bloke??

    One thing is done, it’s all Christmas is to me
    The true essence of what it really should be

    The presents are wrapped and tags written with love
    To give, remembering the most precious gift from above
    To ones that are close to
    My heart, ones that I hold dear
    To say thank you God for sending your Son to come down here.

    • What a lovely poem. And knowing how hard the lead up to Christmas has been for you Now Free — the bullying, the risk of going shopping and being accosted by people you know from church who might say unkind things to you — I think it’s amazing you have got those presents for your loved ones.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Not just people from church but those who have known me in past but not seen for years can pose equally if not more a problem. Past relationships one of my biggest fears here. Meeting abusive vindictive work mates. It’s bad enough in work but I would not trust their words outside with others looking on. They have already proved lately they love spreading slander and getting others to enjoy in their “fun” at my expense. Often I have had my former next door neighbours who even when you looked them in the eye as you could not avoid and tried to speak niceties to them, look away and ignore me as if invisible. Tells me much of what they have been told by my wife, who before always saw her as an oddball.

        Nothing hurts more than being not wanted. This Christmas alone it’s exactly how I feel.

        I had one person recently say to me if you ever need to talk to me I am here for you. A bit rich from someone who in the past helped you through tough times yet does not want to know anything about it all. Constantly tells you you are weak and laughs at you and your words. Ignores you and only if they have no one will speak to you. Tells you sounds like your struggling but really does not care except for themselves. Their words in the past says stand clear tell them nothing.

        I am not for others amusement. I say go find other entertainment at Christmas. The joker in me was destroyed years ago.

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