A reader recently wrote and said that her ex, and abusive man for over two decades, insists that his only problem is anger. He claims to be a Christian and is verbally repentant about his anger. The only problem is that in the same breath that he “confesses” his anger, he lays blame upon her for leaving him. She can fully expect him to continue his other various abusive tactics as he has opportunity. Nothing has changed.
Those of you who have read Bancroft know that anger is not the abuser’s real issue, and therefore anger management strategies are like water off a duck’s back. In fact, they can even give an abuser another excuse — his anger, and whatever it is that supposedly made him an angry man. (or woman).
When we are dealing with a person who battles with anger, it is possible that we are dealing with a Christian. It is a question of sanctification. We will still expect to see improvement and genuine repentance however, and if that repentance is absent then the individual is not a Christian no matter how loudly he insists that he is. We who abide in Christ the vine will bear fruit and that fruitbearing continues and even increases as the Father prunes us.
But when we are dealing with an abuser, we are dealing with issues of justification. That is to say, salvation. A person who is convinced that they are entitled to power and control over others and who has no regret about using whatever means he deems necessary to obtain that control, is simply not a regenerate individual. It cannot be. Just read through I John and you will understand why.
I mistakenly dealt with a person once from the assumption that he was a Christian who just needed help in his sanctification to over come his abusive ways. And I dealt with him for — I am ashamed to say it — years. Yep, it took Jeff that long to get a clue. But I finally did. The reason nothing changed is because there was no repentance. And where there is no repentance, there is no Christian.