1Jn 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Mr. Decker: “Captain, shouldn’t we take every possible precaution?”
Captain Kirk: “Mr. Decker, I will not provoke an attack. If that order isn’t clear enough for you….”
Mr. Decker: “Captain, as your executive officer it is my duty to point out alternatives.”
Captain Kirk: “Yes it is. I stand corrected.”
“Yes, it is. I stand corrected.” Words you will never hear from an abuser.
Pastor Larry Dean, a reader of this blog, loves to talk about repentance. He would tell you that it is sorely lacking not only in the world today, but in the church. And yet without repentance there can be no forgiveness of sin. A gospel with no call to repentance is no gospel at all.
I was raised in a home that professed to be Christian, but that was devoid of repentance. That is to say, I did not grow up seeing a model of people who readily said, “I was wrong” or “I did wrong, please forgive me.” The example set down for me was one of insisting you are right, blaming the other guy, and consequently learning that confessing sin or error is a sign of weakness. I think that this is one of the main reasons that I was ashamed, when I was in about the third grade or so, of coming home from an after school Bible club and telling my parents that I had made a decision to follow Christ. The only reason they ever found out is that my sister ratted me out – as she had been there when I put my hand up during the prayer time. Nothing was said to me except “Well…that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Now go wash your hands. Dinner is ready.” I felt ashamed and soiled. Fortunately for me, Jesus did not see it that way. I was as white as snow, but it would take me decades to really understand that. In fact, I’m still working on it.
You see, believing the Christian gospel necessarily requires admitting that one has been wrong. Grievously and fatally wrong. Wrong about oneself. Wrong about God. Wrong about most everything. That is why the Word of God insists upon us confessing these things. Confessing our sin. Confessing our rebellion against the Lord. Confessing all of the corruption that has proceeded from our heart. Confessing that Jesus is Lord, and not me. To confess means to agree with God. “Yes, Lord, You have been right all along, and I have not.” I never heard words like that when I was growing up. Not at home at least.
Not only can we not have a relationship with God without confession and repentance, but we will never have safe and healthy relationships with one another either. Most all of you that belong to our little blog family here are quite familiar with the sad fact that human beings who we call abusers have a trait that almost functions like a badge to identify them. They will not admit fault. They will never confess that they are wrong (unless faking it is to their advantage). They always lay the blame on others, most often their victims. This is another reason why I maintain that an abuser is not a Christian.
We would be very wise to watch for this trait in others. A person who will not repent, will not admit wrong, will not confess sin, is not a safe person to have a relationship with. The only “relationship” possible with such a person is 1) you must always be wrong, must always yield to their way, and 2) they must always be right. By this single characteristic, you can pretty readily discern if a person is an abuser, a narcissist, a controller, a sociopath, or whatever title you want to give these types.
When abuse victims come and talk to me and tell me their stories, it always, always, always comes out – “he will never admit that he is wrong. I am the one who is always to blame.” And what do I tell these victims? “That person is not safe to have a relationship with. They are not capable of functioning in a healthy, normal, biblical marriage. And they aren’t going to change, especially if they have been pretending to be a Christian all the while.” And that is hard reality.
Isa 1:18-20 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”