Luk 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
As we see in this account of Zacchaeus, one mark of a genuine Christian is concern for the poor. To mistreat the needy, to oppress a widow or orphan, is a great wickedness in God’s sight.
Unlike Zacchaeus many people who claim to be fine Christians regularly oppress the poor, and some of them even do so to their own spouse. The domestic abuser uses economic oppression as a tactic to maintain power and control over his target. Listen to the testimonies of scores of abuse victims and you cannot help but see it.
Many abuse victims live in poverty. At the same time, their abuser often lives quite high on the hog (apologies to hogs…I prefer their company that of the abuser). Financial abuse looks something like this:
- The victim is allotted only a small, inadequate allowance for food while the abuser eats out at restaurants regularly
- The abuser maintains separate and even secret bank accounts in his name (or her name: one of the worst financial abusers I know of was a woman sociopath)
- If the victim starts to prosper at a job, the abuser will often sabotage her career in various ways – calling her at work, annoying her employer, spreading false rumors about her, etc
- Abusers often move their victim and children into isolated areas far from any support groups. This cuts her off from possible resources.
- Demands are made upon the victim that she account for every penny spent and there is hell to pay if she does not
- Many abusers forbid the victim from working, keep her pregnant, and insist that she home school the children (I am not criticizing large families or homeschooling by the way). As the years go by the victim ends up with very few marketable job skills and this makes her even more dependent upon the abuser.
- Victims are often denied the ability to buy a decent wardrobe. She is told that all shopping has to be done at Goodwill and even then her purchases will be criticized.
- Funds for adequate medical care are denied.
And of course as most of you know, this financial oppression continues long after the victim leaves the abuser. She is left with debts the abuser ran up, he hires attorneys to get him off the hook for child support or alimony, cheat her our of funds and property that are rightfully hers, and in many cases he ends up living quite well while she lives in poverty.
What does the Lord say about such men? He says they are worse than unbelievers. He says that His wrath is upon them.
What do most local churches say about such men? They insist that they are fine Christian saints who really never wanted a divorce but their wives just wouldn’t listen and sinfully left them.
The Day is coming. The Lord is coming. The wicked will not fool Him and on that Day there will literally be hell to pay….forever, and ever, and ever.