Luk 3:7-8 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
With some regularity I hear from domestic abuse victims that they believe their abuser has changed – for the good. Most Christians today it seems do not like it when I tell them “abusers never change.” Not the kind of abusers we talk about here – those who lie in wait in disguise in churches, pulpits – who have no conscience, who lust for power and control. They do not change, they are not changed, because they don’t repent of their evil.
I was looking at the reviews of my book on Amazon recently and saw a “one-star” reviewer say, “This book allows no hope for God to work in a repentive heart. Not a single chapter acknowledged anyone who has truly repented to the Father and their spouse…As a pastor, implying to readers God doesn’t work in repentive hearts is not biblical.”
Well, God does indeed hear the prayer of a believing and repentant person and I have never taught otherwise. But this reviewer is coming from a false premise – that we need to expect God to work in the abuser’s heart and cling to the hope that he will one day repent. Such a hope, I maintain, will lead to continued bondage to the wicked and necessarily causes us to make bad decisions.
This reviewer also made this statement that really reveals his mind: “If you are hoping and praying for a better understanding of yourself and looking to create a better version of yourself, this book tries to convince you that change is impossible.” Well, just who is the “you” he is speaking of? It is the abuser. The abuser, he insists, can want to create a better version of himself and understand himself better. And therein is the lie. Abusers do not desire to understand themselves – because that would mean wanting to know their sin. But abusers are never wrong, never guilty. They are quite sure that they know themselves and their victim. Further, no sinner can ever “create a better version of himself.” That is not the gospel of Christ. Change must come from above. We must be born again.
I also heard recently of an abuse victim who is rejoicing because her abuser is evidencing such wonderful change. He has found a program to enroll in that is just enabling him to be transformed, she says. And “she says,” – why? Because “he says.” He says he has changed.
But the thing is a false hope. Wicked, conscienceless, “christian” hypocrites – these wolves in wool, will do most anything possible to ensure that their target remains under their power. If that requires enrolling in a program whose steps promise reformation, many will gladly do so. They will “get counseling” although before the program or the counseling are over, they will have won the director and counselor over to their side!
There IS hope for us in Christ. But “us” does not include the wicked who refuse to bow to the Lord and turn from their evil. To think otherwise is to remain enslaved to the enemy’s lies.