What do we Mean When we say “Believe the Victim”?

Exo 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exo 23:2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,

Pro 12:17 Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.

One of the best things we can do to help victims of domestic abuse is believe them. This provides them with validation – something they do not receive from most everyone and it is like a life-giving breath for them. I say, believe the victim when she reveals abuse that is happening in her home.

Now, the question arises in this regard – “how do we know she is not lying?” A valid question to ask, certainly. There are wicked women as well as wicked men. Both can be guilty of falsely charging their spouse with abuse. So how do we sort it out?

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Abusers Charge their Victims with sin and Threaten God’s Wrath Upon them

John 8:48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

The tactics we can expect to be used against us when we confront evil of the kind we focus on here (abusers – entitlement, power, control, justified) include blaming, accusing, scapegoating, and the pronouncement of God’s wrath upon us. I have literally had a person raise their hands to “heaven” and call upon the Lord to “bring thy judgment down upon this man for this evil.” “This evil” they charged me with was my confrontation of the person for their ongoing, unrepentant abuse of others.

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The Abuser Wants You to Make Much of Them — Sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

The Abuser Wants You to Make Much of Them  
Sermon 6 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 29, 2010
Sermon Text:  Galatians 4:12-20

James and Phyllis Alsdurf, in their book “Battered Into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home,” speak of one common reason even a severely abused wife stays with her abuser –

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The Abuser’s Evil Demands for Forgiveness

Another common and wicked tactic of the “Christian” abuser is his insistence, on supposed biblical grounds, that his victim continually forgive him and love him.  Anyone who knows much at all about the nature of abuse will realize that abuse occurs in a cyclical manner which involves several stages.  The stage that comes right after the big blowup stage is commonly called the “honeymoon stage.” During this time, which can be short or long, the abuser can appear to be contrite, remorseful and even very kind.  He expresses remorse over what he has done and promises it will never happen again. He makes promises that he’ll change, that this time all will be different. He might buy presents for his victim, fulfill a few past promises made to her or even appear to take an interest in spiritual things. His promises are all nonsense, of course. In fact, because his supposed sorrow and repentance is FALSE (he even has himself deceived about it), the cycle WILL repeat itself.  After all, that is the nature of a “cycle,” right?

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Some More Thoughts on Wrong Thinking About Forgiveness

Look carefully at this statement by the Apostle Paul:

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 2Tim 4:14-15

We know that Christ calls us to forgive one another. We are to love our enemies and do good to them (Matthew 5:43ff; Romans 12:19-20). We are not to take vengeance against them, but to leave it to the Lord to effect justice. (I am still researching whether or not we are commanded to forgive our enemy.  We are to love our enemy by doing good to them, not returning evil for evil 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9).

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The Deception of the Abuser — Sermon by Ps. Jeff Crippen

The Deception of the Abuser
Sermon 5 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 22, 2010
Sermon Text: Luke 3:1-14

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, (2) during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (3) And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (4) As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (5) Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, (6) and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” (7) He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (9) Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (10) And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” (11) And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise. (12) Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” (13) And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” (14) Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:1-14 ESV

In this passage of Scripture, as in many others, we see that there is a false repentance.  The gospel is a gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, just as John the Baptist baptized repentant people in preparation for forgiveness in Christ. I do not believe we need to prove this point – that there is no true faith in Christ where genuine repentance is lacking.

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Shedding Some Light on the Subject of Forgiveness

I am staring at four books written by well-known Christians, all on the topic of forgiveness. I have read three of them and surveyed the fourth. Many more have been written, as a search on Amazon will reveal.  I suspect, however, that a person could read them all and only be more in the fog about forgiveness than before. These books do not agree with one another. At least the ones I have looked at. As has been said, “a mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew.” If Christian pastors and teachers are unclear what forgiveness is, well – the blind are leading the blind.

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