Genesis 2:23-24 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (24) Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Satan hates marriage. This should not surprise us. He introduced sin into the world through a husband and wife. The devil knows very well that marriage is God’s divine picture to the world of Christ and His bride, the church. When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church, the gospel is preached by that marriage. Satan hates that. He hinders the knowledge of Christ whenever he can –
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. (4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
As I have studied the mentality and tactics of domestic violence and abuse, I have been continually impressed by what I call the Satanic nature of the thing. Describe an abuser – how he thinks, how he attacks his victim, how he deceives – and you describe the devil. I don’t know about demon possession in our day. We know it has happened because we have numbers of records of it in Scripture. Is there any reason why we should not expect Satan to actually possess a man in our day? What would such a person look like? I think that a good description could be given by many abuse victims as they describe their abuser.
Now, before you all run off and start designing exorcism rites for abusers, let me clarify that I am not saying every abuser is demon-possessed. I think there may well be a good possibility that some are. But what I am primarily considering here is that just as the Pharisees were of their father, the devil (John 8), so the abuser is of his father the devil. He does the wishes of his father. He hates Christ and those who are of Christ, and he tries to murder Christ. He lies and deceives just like his hellish father, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning. In this sense, abuse is particularly Satanic.
And yet Christians and pastors and churches are most often oblivious to this. I don’t say that arrogantly, as if somehow I am superior to all other pastors and Christians, but because I was oblivious too for so long. We stubbornly cling to assumptions that abuse is just another kind of marriage squabble between a husband and wife that can be cured with counseling and improved communication. But what if we look at it this way. What if we see it for what it really is – the work of the Evil One. A Satanic attack on Christ through an attack on one of God’s primary pictures of Christ and His redemption – marriage – by a child of the devil. Once we grasp this, then we are in a position to begin to understand that what the victim tells us is being done to her and her children really is happening! We won’t just dismiss her as a talebearer – a silly woman whose hormones and thoughts are running amok and blowing things all out of proportion.
Ask yourself again – why should we not expect Satan to devote large portions of his energies to keeping the world blind to Christ and His glory by twisting and perverting one of God’s fundamental portraits of Christ – marriage? Abuse is Satanic. It is demonic. The abuser is in the grip of the Evil One. As you study abuse and come to understand how abusers think and how they persecute their victim – without conscience – you cannot help but start to realize that this thing is from the pit itself.
Finally, one more thing will happen when we come to this realization. We will re-examine our own methods for dealing with the abuser. This is spiritual warfare at perhaps its greatest intensity. So if we think that we can just have this fellow and his wife come sit in our office for a few times and have a little chat, and help them communicate better – well, what can I say? We are foolish. Very, very foolish.