2Ti 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (15) Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
These two verses have been a tremendous help to me. I have written before about what Paul says here but there are still more insights to be gleaned. Here is one….or two.
What do you suppose Paul would have said if Timothy had said – “I think we should get together with Alexander and work things out. I would be happy to mediate”? We know the answer. Paul has already handed Alexander over to the Lord for judgment for what he had done. Timothy would have caught a pretty hefty rebuke from Paul had he been foolish (and arrogant) enough to propose such a thing.
There is sin, and then there is sin. Some sin is more wicked that other sin. Sodom and Gomorrah will have it better on the day of judgment than Capernaum. Both Jeremiah and John tell us that there is a kind of sinner that we are not obligated to pray for. Alexander was that kind of wicked.
And so are RASN’s who claim to be Christians, all the while reviling, abusing, sociopathing and narcississing (is that a word?). The Lord will repay them.
Let me give you another scenario. Let’s say that Alexander sent word to Paul that he “forgave” Paul. Or what if your abuser did the same to you? How would you respond? How should you respond? Are you now obligated to “work it out” with them? Of course not. The whole thing would be a setup.
One reason that RASNs often continue to contact their victim after they have left them is that they still crave that evil power and control. The only reason they want to “get together” is to suck you in once again, blame you, shame you, and remind you how superior they are to you and how stupid you are, how very much below them you are. These kind never change.
The Lord will repay them according to their deeds.
Thank you, Pastor!!
THANK YOU! Oh yes, told how to work it out by many a “Christian”. Surgeries, permanent physical injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars later it was obvious the RASN craved power and control more than Christ. Sadly, the majority of the “church” looked the other way…. even after the RASN continued to deny, lie, contact directly or directly, etc…. thank you Pastor Crippen for saying it like it is.
This was such a timely and welcomed message for me personally today! Thanks be to God!
Yesterday morning, my RASN spouse (who I’m in the process of finally divorcing after years of abuse and deception) took the envelope the check for our weekly tithe to our church was in, ripped it up in front of me and the kids, and wrote a new check for more than half less! She then proceeded to mock me to my face for MY CHRISTIAN FAITH (which we supposedly share) and told me I might want to think twice about volunteering and assisting our Pastor at church when I get there because I’m the hypocrite. This woman went to church with us, sat in the pews, and prayed and sang like NOTHING had ever happened just 1 hour before! Incredibly heartbreaking and wicked/sinful.
Why this little display of control, power, and reviling? I had the nerve of confronting her the day before about putting our family of five at severe risk after she drained our joint bank accounts due to her wreckless cash and credit card spending that wiped out just over $14,000 in 2 months leaving us with just hundreds of dollars to our name with a mortgage, a car payment, and the usual weekly/monthly bills to pay!
As you wrote above, “And so are RASN’s who claim to be Christians, all the while reviling, abusing, sociopathing and narcississing (is that a word?). The Lord will repay them.”
With RASNs, words mean nothing. They are just a tactic used to gain power and control over their victims.
If any of my abusive family members were to somehow get the chance to tell me they’ve changed, I’m not confident I would believe them without a mountain of evidence from people I trust. There would need to be voluntary restitution coupled with a genuine apology – where they specifically own their bad behavior – with the promise to let me decide if there will be any contact moving forward. Even then, it would be a slow process before I would consider having any sort of a relationship with them or trusting them again. Given their history, I don’t have any hope that genuine repentance is possible for them. They love the darkness more than the light. They love themselves more than Christ and his church and their own family members.
Some things are not reparable in this life even with genuine repentance. The chances that a RASN will be repentant are even less than the chances that a camel can go through the eye of a needle. They love themselves and the darkness too much to embrace the light of the gospel. They hate the idea of sacrifice and picking up their cross daily. They want all of the benefits with none of the sacrifice. They contain none of the Christian love Jesus said we are to be known by.
So I encourage those of you ensnared by wicked family to find freedom in Christ. Know your family will not change no matter what you do. You could give them the entire world and it would not be enough. Learn to rest in Christ. Embrace the freedom he offers. For whom the son sets free is free indeed.
This is excellent advice. We really want people to repent and we really do want to reconcile, forgive, etc. But the reality is, these kind of people simply don’t change and therefore to engage with them by taking the bait they throw out to you is simply to find out there is a hook in it.
Lynn, your posts are incredibly well timed. You said it perfectly, some relationships are not repairable, particularly when dealing with family of origin. Thank you so much –
Lynn, such wise words. It’s hard to let go of the praying and hoping they will change and just accept that they won’t. This is so hard, as we are so willing to do what it takes, but can’t, because we simply can’t make it right. A little bit of love bombing from them because they suddenly need us for something is not genuine repentance. You are right, genuine repentance is obvious, and we wouldn’t have to talk ourselves into believing it is real.
Thank you for your comment. It is hard to let go of praying and hoping for their repentance. We’ve been wired from birth to be emotionally attached to our families. Breaking that connection is hard and painful. We can’t fix others who insist on remaining broken and toxic. It’s like living in a landfill. No matter how much perfume you use to try to masque their toxicity, it only gets worse. Once you know their tricks and that any love-bombing or appearance of caring about you is a ruse, it gets easier. Imprecatory prayer helps as well. Technically it’s still praying on their behalf, but its focus is on God bringing the perfect justice their actions deserve. In the end, God is in control. He’s the one who’s decided who are his children and who aren’t.
The promise of me praying for my parents shouldn’t be a comfort to them, but a warning. I don’t pray imprecatory prayers out of malice, but out of the hope that if there is any chance of repentance left in them that God will do whatever it takes to break their stubborn stone hearts and grant them repentance. If not, I know that they will get exactly what their actions deserve, because God promised he would avenge his children, and I rest in that.
Genuine repentance when it comes to abuse is super costly, which is why it is so rare. Too often those in the church try to propagate false repentance without having the works to prove they’ve genuinely repented of their sins. The money, the fame, the power and control, are too much for so many professing Christians and “pastors” who have been caught up in abuse and publicly exposed. It’s why they double down on their sin, minimizing it, gaslighting those around them, because, at their core, they worship self, not Jesus.
In the end, we have to trust that God has it all under control. Genuine repentance is a gift from God, not something man can manufacture no matter how much the devil tries to counterfeit it. If He does decide to redeem our abusers and grant them repentance, I will trust his judgment. But it will come at a steep cost for the abusers in my life this side of eternity. Repentance doesn’t erase consequences. It’s not reconciliation.