John 3:7 ESV Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
With some frequency I receive reports from domestic abuse victims/survivors about how they were directed to various types of short term programs that promised a cure for their marriage. A common name for such scams is “marriage intensives” though other titles probably are used as well. The idea is that the abuser and his/her spouse go away together and participate in counseling and other exercises, the goal of which is that in a few days or less, “the Lord will wonderfully heal things.”
It’s a scam.
First of all, in most of these cases, huge fees are charged. One lady reported that she had to pay $7000 for the “intensive retreat.” God, you know, doesn’t charge for salvation or miracles! But these scam artists do. Think of it! Seven thousand dollars! And how many abuse victims can easily afford that? This is nothing less than robbing from widows and orphans.
A second aspect of these reports concerns the outcome of the thing. Victims find a huge new load of guilt and blame put upon them because quite commonly the message given them directly is, “you have been disrespecting your husband.” Anyone who knows much of anything knows full well this is a load of garbage. Abusers abuse because they are abusers. It is who they are and what they do regardless of how the victim tries to please them. But these counselor wolves in wool won’t have that. They need to fake a cure, so they blame the victim and order her to repent.
God does not work in this way. As Jesus told Nicodemus, speaking of the new birth, the Holy Spirit is like the wind. You cannot see Him, but you can see the things He effects. This means that the Spirit of God cannot be manipulated or scheduled. He cannot be pressed into a mold of some “intensive” and made to be obligated to work. What, in fact, you have in these weekend conjurings is a form of magic – sorcery if you will. The “counselors” mix up their potions in the cauldron and dispense it, then pronounce a miracle accomplished.
The miracle lasts at best a few days.
I have no hesitation to pronounce these things to be false hopes offered by false teachers. Don’t fall for them. As I always, always, always say, abusers never change. A marriage to an abuser does not need to be fixed, it needs to be ended.