Gen 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
The wicked talk “down” to those they are trying to control and to do this, they very often open up their deceptive assault with words that are designed to establish them on the “high ground.” To make them appear superior – morally, spiritually, intellectually, superior. We are wise if we recognize this tactic. Let me try to explain and illustrate what this business looks like. Many of you will know exactly what I am talking about.
In order to shut down their target – to silence them and bring them into submission – the power and control hungry abuser will speak or write in such a way that he appears to be wiser, more loving, kinder, more godly, and purer in his motives than his target. All for the purpose of making his victim doubt herself, lose her confidence, place blame and guilt and shame upon her, even though in reality everything he is saying is a lie. Here are some real examples of this nastiness in action. The first one was targeted at me, and I have shared it before. It was written by a wicked man parading as an eminent “saint” in the church who was trying to shut me up after I had exposed evil in an organization our church used to belong to. Listen to him speak in his air of superiority:
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
This is just a small portion of what he wrote, but you can see what he is doing. He presents himself as wiser, more spiritual, superior to my inferiorness so that I would put my tail (if I had one) between my legs and sulk off in shame and defeat. [By the way, it turns out that the evil I had pointed out was in fact true and THIS very man ultimately was confronted by his church for lying and covering up gross wickedness. All of his elders resigned, half of his church left].
Now, here is a recent example of a pastor presenting himself as “superior” to a lady who confronted evil on social media. This is a “gag me” spewing of “I am so above you” talk-
My heart aches for you sister. Please know that my comments here are meant in careful love, gentleness, and compassion for your eternal good. The last thing I’d want to do is harm you in any way. (You’ve suffered enough already!!!) But it would not be loving for me (although very tempting to be sure) to just ignore what happened and let it go.
I care for you, and it’s obvious that you are self-justified in what you did – even though (whether you intended to or not?) you very clearly violated several scriptures in your words, approach, and attitudes in the exchange that I witnessed on my thread. (Eph 4:31; Phil 2:3-5; Tit 2:3) Would you be willing to submit yourself to biblical shepherding from your pastor in regards to your approach to social media? Again, I’m not mad with you, I’m not angry with you, and I’m not trying to bully you in any way. I love and care for you sister. But I grieve how you are presenting yourself online, because I believe you are actually sabotaging the good you are trying to accomplish
This is only a part of what he wrote – all designed to establish himself as the spiritual giant whose insight far exceeds hers – and ultimately motivated by the goal of making her just shut up and stop pointing out evil. She has sinned, you know. She is the one who has caused the trouble. She needs to hang her head and listen to him. Why, he is even willing to give her “biblical counseling” (watch out for that term when it is offered!!). In other words, “my dear sister, you are soooo messed up and wrong and you need to submit to ME because I speak for God!” Here is just a taste more of this guy:
Please understand… I’m fully assuming you don’t realize how you are coming across publicly. I expect you are going to be shocked and perhaps even hurt by what I’m saying. So please, again, please understand…it’s only my love and care for you that is motivating my time to write you this difficult note…but I’m hoping you will be able to receive my gentle admonishment in the spirit of 1 Peter 2:1-3…and vv. 11-12.
Unless we understand what these evil types are up to when they speak this way to us, we are going to be duped just like Adam and Eve were by the serpent. What great wisdom the devil had, you know. “Indeed, has God said…? Let me tell you what is really going on here.” We will be convinced that our anger is sin, when in fact it is righteous. We will think that we have slandered or gossiped, when in reality we have exposed evil. And worst of all, we will look up to these hypocrites from the low ground they have convinced us that we stand on. Domestic abuse victims in a church setting will find these things all too familiar.
The Apostle Paul warned the Galatian believers, who had been deceived by spiritual abusers/false teachers. He told them that such evil ones will typically “make much of you.” You can see this tack in the quotes above, especially the second one. In order to draw us in, these abusers use compliments and flattery, but, as Paul says, “for no good purpose.”
Gal 4:17 “They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.”
The entire motive is to “shut you out.” That is, to sever you from your comfort and confidence in Christ and sway you into virtual worship of the abuser. “Oh yes, you are right. I shouldn’t have been so critical. I’m sorry. I will listen to you first next time.”
So watch out for this kind of talk by which the wicked set themselves on high and you end up looking up to them from below. This is one of the horrid tactics that keeps abuse victims in bondage so often for years and years and years.