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.
A few years ago our church resigned from ARBCA (Association of Reformed baptist Churches in America). We had been members for several years and sought to work together with other like-minded churches in the furtherance of the gospel and for fellowship with one another. Turns out we weren’t like minded with the core of that outfit at all. Wickedness lurked there. Bullying. Power and control lusting. The thing became obvious when the power mongers set out a 28 page “position paper” over the “how many angels are on a pin” subject of what is called divine impassibility. Never mind what that is. It wasn’t really the issue anyway. The issue was that these bullies wanted to show everyone that if they said “sign on to this position paper or get out!” then all had to do it or else.
We, along with many other churches, chose the “or else.” Good bye. Outta here.
But we didn’t go quietly.
I sent a “reply all” (gotta love that button!) to an membership wide email they had sent and told everyone that we were resigning and WHY. I pointed to the bullying, mean spirit lurking in the association “pillars.” A few pastors who agreed with us privately emailed me and thanked me for saying these things to all, but they also said “but please don’t mention my name.” Fear of bullies. Never a good thing.
Well, the dragon was awakened. You can be SURE that if you confront your dragon, he is going to launch missiles at you. If you are targeted by a domestic abuser, you know exactly what I am talking about. YOU become the villain. YOU are the one who is to blame for all the trouble. YOU are crazy and don’t know what you are talking about. Yada, yada, yada. (And I like to add “yawn.” Tell me something new).
So sure enough, here came the bullies via email. I can quote one of the honchos very words for you and I know that many of your will recognize the spirit behind them. So, here is what this guy said. Read his words and then I get to tell you “the rest of the story” that will make you smile:
Jeff, your email blasted entire committees and raised accusations that were neither gracious nor charitable in regards to matters of which you had very limited knowledge. I know how important it is to you that we not forsake our first love (Rev. 2:4). So I am assuming that you intend to hold to that same standard in your own personal interactions with your fellow servants of the gospel.
Are we to denounce hatred in a hateful way? As your ally in the battle against sinful abuse, I am concerned that you do not sabotage the Lord’s blessing upon your ministry at [your church in Tillamook].
Brother, I would not be writing this if I did not honestly believe that you crossed the line by making hasty generalizations, and charging good men with evil doing in a very public manner. How can you expect the Lord to bless your ministry when you made false accusations and publicly maligned their character?
Thus I am writing to appeal to you that you follow up your resignation letter with a letter of apology in which you take responsibility for your actions so that the Lord will continue to bless your work. Should you disagree with my suggestion, please know that I will still count you as a brother in Christ and will still pray for the Lord to use you to build His kingdom. Blessed are the peacemakers. Praying for you.
yours in Christ,
The Devil (Ha! Actually he went by another name)
Now I could go on and on and on about this statement because it contains so many typical tactics of our enemy. This guy’s words here I bet trigger many of you because you have been on the receiving end of them yourselves. “YOU have sinned. YOU are ignorant of the real facts. YOU dared malign a brother in Christ. YOU need to repent and apologize. You, You, YOU!! And if you don’t listen to me, God is going to get you for what you have done!”
Well, guest what? In these past months, ARBCA has been in the news. One of their “pastors” was charged and convicted of assaulting children in his church and is now in jail again awaiting trial for even more serious charges that include sexual molestation of children. It has come out that for some 18 years, this same core of nasty power mongers in ARBCA covered up for this guy, even commending him to become a teacher of children in a “christian” school, and eventually endorsing him to be a pastor at a church. THEN they covered all these abuse facts up and recommended him and his church to the ARBCA member churches for membership in ARBCA. The people were told NOTHING of these ongoing charges when they voted him and his church in.
And now it is hitting the fan. It has indeed come back to bite them. And here is the really cool thing. This very man whose words are quoted above turns out to be a key player in the cover up. So much so that his own elders (he is a pastor) confronted him before the whole congregation, presenting plain facts of his guilt of lying all these years, knowing full well the evil this other pastor was charged with, yet he himself voted as representative of his church to accept the evildoer into membership.
Is he repentant? Of course not. ALL his elders have resigned. Half of his deacons have resigned. Half of his congregation has left. No doubt though – it is all their fault, not his. They, they, they….
Now, here is my point. When we confront evil, we are RIGHT. We must expect to be maligned. We must expect to have the wicked try to convince us that WE are the wrongdoer, that WE are guilty, that the Lord is angry with US, that WE are foolish and ignorant. Count on it.
But do not believe it! All those years you were abused, all those years that you felt something was wrong, all those years that you believed what you saw was indeed an accurate perception of what he did or said….all those years….YOU were right!