2Ti 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
I wonder if Timothy believed Paul’s warning? I hope that he did. I suspect that he did. But if so, Timothy would be an exception to such warnings.
I have seen it over and over and over again. Victims, people who have been targeted by domestic abusers, sociopaths, psychopaths, wolves in wool, tell someone what the evil person is doing. Just like Paul told Timothy about Alexander. But what is the most typical reaction to the warning?
- You are exaggerating
- He can’t be as bad as that
- We are all sinners, you know
- You need to show him love. He probably had a messed up childhood
And then, throw into the mix the denials and charming wiles of the abuser and the victim’s report just blows away in the wind. Why?
There is more than one reason, but the fact is that until YOU have been the target of such an evil person, until YOU have experienced his wicked tactics (and even then for some time YOU don’t even realize what is going on), then you are going to resist the truth about him. Denial. That is the first response. Denial is more comfy than the truth. For you at least.
And this helps us see the total insanity of pastors, church leaders, church members and so on insisting that THEY must be the ones to grant permission to the victim to get free. The people who deny the evil, the people who have for the most part only experienced the charms and spells of the abuser, claim that they are the wise ones in the matter and that the victim lacks the ability to understand God’s will.
Consider the community here at this blog. What is our commonality? Why is it that everyone here readily believes the reports of other abuse victims submitted in the comments? Why do the articles here resonate as truth? Because everyone here has been the target. We have tasted this wickedness over and over. We know what it is. We know who it is.
In a very real sense then, it is correct to say that no one is competent to give counsel to a victim of an abuser unless THEY themselves have been its target. Every single day, disastrous, foolish, and even evil advice dressed up as “biblical teaching” is being dished out in churches, pastors’ offices, “christian” books, and seminars by people who do not know and who refuse to know what is really going on.
Want a very powerful picture of this madness? Just go back and read Job in the Old Testament. Job was targeted by the ultimate abuser, Satan. What happened? Well, along come Job’s “friends,” insisting that they know. They are going to tell him. “It’s as simple as this,” they say. “Job, you sinned and God is punishing you for it. You need to admit it. This is how it works. Do good and God rewards you. Sin and He nails you. That is why your kids are dead.” Job knew otherwise, but they wouldn’t have it. In the end, God’s hot anger is against them for claiming to speak for Him.
I suppose we should coin a new term for all the people who insist they know, when they do not know. All the ones who badger victims of abuse and demand that they submit to the decrees of the church. Yep. A new name for this mob: Job’s Friends.