1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
In the course of my experience with controlling, abusive individuals, I have learned the hard way that a favorite tactic of such people is that of telling us what we are thinking and what our motives were for doing something. This has happened to me many times and I am sure it will resonate with our readers. You do something or say something and in an attempt to control you and/or instill self doubt and false guilt in you, these kinds of people will then announce to you why you did it. This is impossible of course. And yet we often fall for it. Oh, and the motive the abuser attributes to our action will never be a good motive.
Once many years ago my wife and I purchased our home. After the deal was closed, an individual who professes to be a Christian announced to me, in front of others, that the reason I had chosen that particular home to buy was because I wanted to get away from people. He made this statement in a negative light, trying to get me to doubt the purity of my motives and also to cast me in a bad light in front of the others. In fact, we purchased the home because we liked it and got a good deal on it. Of course he was also implying that I had not consulted him before making the purchase, as he would have disapproved of it. Abusers are notorious boundary trespassers. As if myself or anyone needed his permission! But these kinds of statements, this so-called mind and motive-reading, works to cause us to doubt ourselves and our actions, thus making us easier to control.
- You cooked this kind of meat because you know I don’t like it.
- You said that just to put me down in front of the children.
- You were trying to hurt your co-worker when you said that.
Another time, and this time the abuser was a woman, I decided it was time to end a Bible study that I had taught for some years in a neighboring community. I had good reasons, but this woman didn’t see it that way. About one year later, she said to me (and really, right out of the blue, as it didn’t relate to what we were then talking about), “You know, Jeff, when you decided to stop the Bible study you were just taking the side of people who didn’t want you putting your time into us. You really hurt me and I will always remember it.” She then moved on seamlessly with an entirely different topic. These kinds of pronouncements about our motives and thoughts are designed to control us, to instill doubt and false guilt in us, and to hurt us. They also tend toward the purpose of trying to make us turn to the abuser for approval before making any future decisions.
Still another such incident involved an individual telling me how I was thinking about someone else, how I was acting toward them, and what my (sinful) motives were in doing so! It is amazing how much confidence such people can display as they make these accusing pronouncements to and about us! “I know. I know what you are thinking. I know what your reason was for doing/saying that.” Oh really?
We must learn not to fall for this tactic. In particular, Christians must understand that we are a mystery to the natural man:
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. (16) “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
We are not judged by anyone. That means that we are not understood by the world. Christ is in us and at work in us. He is causing us to have His mind on everything. No one who is outside of Christ is going to understand us. And it is a very common ploy of the enemy to interpret what we say and do, and then condemn our motives. Don’t believe it. Don’t yield to this wicked scheme. Enforce your boundaries and stop such trespassing. “You need to stop. You do not know what my thoughts and motives are. I will not permit you to pretend that you do.”
Acts 6:9-11 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. (10) But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. (11) Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
No, not blasphemy. Truth.