Lynn made the following comment recently in response to our post on “Love Conquering All” and the great harm this falsehood causes. I wanted everyone to be sure and see what she said, so here is her comment:
‘Love’ conquering all in relationships is a Disney fantasy projected into the minds of children so that when they become adults they long to have that kind of ‘love’ in their romantic relationships. Except it’s not real love, and it opens the door to all kinds of abuse.
Run far away from relationships that mimic any of the Disney princesses. Do not long to be Cinderella – flee from both the matriarchal abuse presented in the story and the idea that you can know someone well enough after one night to commit to a life of marriage – even if he is a ‘prince’. Titles and a lovely waltz don’t save you from abusive people. They may open the door to even more abuse. or Snow White – whose kind, trusting, naive nature endangered her life because she wasn’t wise to the nature of evil. Do not seek to be like Belle in Beauty and the Beast and try to tame the beast because you think deep down there is a heart of gold underneath that beastly exterior. 99.999999% of the time, the beast is just a beast. Remaining in a relationship only sacrifices you and will not change him.
The love we see in the Bible demonstrated by Jesus isn’t the same “love conquers all” love we see in the movies and TV. Yes it is powerful enough to redeem us from our sins. Yes it saves us and regenerates us bring us from darkness to light. But it will not save everyone. It will not save the unrepentant sinner. It will not save those who blatantly pursue a life of wickedness. It will not save the covert abuser from his or her coming judgement.
Being saved by God doesn’t mean that all will be made right for you in this life. It doesn’t guarantee your body or your mind will be immediately healed from whatever ailments you wrestle with as a result of living in a broken, evil world. It won’t magically fix your issues with your boss, your finances or your toxic relationships. Healing comes slowly with time, with study of the scripture, prayer and in being in relationship with other real Christians. It comes with finding the right tools, techniques and resources to break through the negative behavioral patterns in your life. It comes with letting go of all desire to enact vengeance on those who harm you and entrusting God to get you perfect justice. It comes with choosing to embrace healthy boundaries with yourself and others. It is a lifelong journey we pursue and never quite arrive at, but the investment is worth the effort.
Choosing to follow Christ may result in life getting worse for you because what you used to tolerate and participate changes, causing the people you’re in relationships with to notice, and not always in a good way. I don’t say that as a means of discouragement, but as one who wants to speak the truth to you in love. Following Christ will cost you something. It may cost you everything. And it is worth the cost. Eternal bliss with Christ, free from sin, pain, abusive people and death is worth everything.
Those who’ve been accustomed to your old way of life, especially if they’ve had control and influence in your life, most likely will not appreciate you choosing to stop doing things their way and choosing to get free of the toxic and ungodly relationships in your life.
We are told in scripture that if we love, father, mother, sister brother more than Christ we can’t be his disciples. Christ has to be preeminent in our relationships. Any relationship that is abusive we are commanded to leave. Remaining in its toxicity is not loving to yourself or the abuser. It doesn’t honor God, and only adds to your pain.
God doesn’t require you to remain in abusive relationships with family, friends, spouses, or ‘professing Christians’. He commands you to not eat with such a one and to not be unequally yoked with them. Remaining yoked with abusive people only brings misery. The good works you are called to do cannot take place when you are unequally yoked with an abuser. They will force all of their burden on you and then shame you for not being able to carry it.
Cast off that old heavy yoke of bondage and embrace the yoke of Christ. His burden is easy, his yoke is light, and in him you can find rest for your souls.
This is wonderful and wise.
Thank you to Lynn for sharing these thoughts.
Thank you for posting Lynn’s wonderfully passionate piece. It is rich with balanced biblical wisdom and life-giving truth! I’m printing this one out so I can always have it at within arm’s reach.
I just struggle to understand why this kind of bedrock understanding seems to be so rarely acknowledged within the contemporary church.
Because the majority of so called Christians aren’t born again.
Have you noticed that these fairy tale fantasies rely on the belief that the abuser “made a mistake”? As if years of deliberate abuse and choosing repeatedly to inflict countless abusive incidents is just one error that is washed away by love and a “second chance.” I’ve literally never met anyone who’s gone no-contact with an abuser long-term without lovingly giving him or her dozens or even hundreds of chances to change.
In my own case, I eventually told my abuser to not contact me until they took a small, specific step to improve. It very much needed to be done, and the abuser said for years they were about to do it “in a few weeks” or “after the holidays.” So I finally said, “Great, call me after you’ve done that.” Then they tried to override that boundary. They’d never intended to do it!
I’m glad I finally drew that line in the sand, and wish I had done it years before. I’m actually glad the abuser didn’t do that one thing, because I now realize that it was a systemic problem that wouldn’t have been solved by a token gesture. I still feel like a fool to have believed for so long that it was “about” to happen.
Most tv shows and movies use the “made a mistake” example with abusive people and then expect and usually show the victim ‘forgiving’, continually giving ‘second’ chances and keeping the relationship in tact. Because that’s the loving thing to do 🙄👀🙄. They’ve normalized abuse so much, that unless you’ve been physically or sexually assaulted, and even then, it’s not a guarantee that they will show the end of the relationship, it’s up to the victim to tolerate it as a sign of the depth of their love for the other person.
I can’t remember a single story where a narcissistic abuse victim sets healthy boundaries, goes no contact and that is shown as a positive choice to the audience. All of the Disney princess stories would fall apart of the heroine had agency and was equipped to practice healthy boundaries. She wouldn’t need the prince to rescue her, she’d rescue herself and begin her own journey of healing. But that’s not going to send the right message to the little girls that watch their movies and buy their stuff. They may grow up to think they don’t have to tolerate abuse and get help to combat the wickedness in their midst if they know the truth.
Even sexual assault and murder has become less horrifying and more normalized in culture. We see this TV shows like – CSI and their spin-offs, Criminal Minds, NCIS and their spin-offs, and pretty much every single drama or procedural on TV and in so much of the movies that are made. We’ve become desensitized to the violence and seeing the effects of violent death. How do I know this? I’ve seen it in my own life. My mom loves all of the gritty procedural crime shows. Criminal Minds was her favorite. Much of my teens and 20s when I lived with my parents were spent watching these shows. I can’t anymore because it’s too disturbing for my mind to handle now that I know more about the nature of evil and the level of wickedness of my narcissistic family.
After more than 3 decades of having this kind of desensitizing crap on our TVs, in our movies, in the video games produced, are we really surprised when victims come forward and say my husband/wife/parent/grandparent/girlfriend/boyfriend is abusing me and very few people believe them? We’ve been numbing our brains as a culture to the pain of victims or will only seek justice maybe once they are dead, and somehow think it won’t effect us in real life? That’s pure foolishness.
While God commands us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves regarding evil and to seek to become spiritually mature so we can discern good from evil, the reality is, most people, including most professing Christians, can’t do that. They’ve drunk too much of culture’s toxic Koolaid and its poisoned their minds. They want to hold onto their guilty pleasure tv show, movie, book, or video game, not really thinking about what’s it’s doing to their souls.
That is not of Christ. Christ tells us in scripture to think about and meditate on, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. When we know the truth and choose to walk in it, it sets us free from the bondage and deception that permeates everything around us. Seek the truth and walk in it. When the son sets you free you are free indeed.
Thank you Lynn. Exactly. And I would add that it is not only Disney, but the so-called “Christian” movies being produced that send that same “you can all live happily ever after with your abuser” message. Honestly, anymore if I see that a movie is “Christian,” I reject it without even seeing it.
I agree Pastor Crippen. I gave up on “Christian” movies along time ago. Outside of the bad theology, they just aren’t great at storytelling. Knowing how much my family liked them made it even more appealing to ignore them.
Strength under fire
Thank you all, greatly benefited from all thoughts and comments. Lynn – it’s so helpful to see your strength under past and present fire, and it’s also encouraging as we too march onward beyond the flames of abusers’ poison.