The Abusive Man as a Servant of Righteousness — Sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

The Abusive Man as a Servant of Righteousness – Exposing the Deceptions of Abuse
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on September 19, 2010
Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 11:1-21

In the years leading up to WWII, Adolf Hitler came to be viewed as a kind of savior of the German people. In fact, he was one of the greatest abusers and users of people in all history. But during the era of his popularity, the large portion of the German people served him and even loved him. They thought him a kind of servant of righteousness. Unless, of course, you happened to be a Jew. Most people ignored the reports that Jews were being slaughtered. They were deceived and, to one degree or another, we might say they preferred to be deceived. It was more comfortable than the truth.

And so it is today. Our enemy is, as he has always been, a masterful liar. He is master of the disguise. And one of his favorite disguises is that of an angel of light, a servant of righteousness. A wolf, in other words, dressed up as a sheep.

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The Burden for Repentance Rests on the Wicked, Not on their Victims

1Pe 3:10-12 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; (11) let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. (12) For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Who is responsible for repentance? The person who sins. The guilty. Innocent people do not need to “turn from their evil deeds.”

And yet this “repentance of the innocents” is precisely what we see taught so often in our churches today. Let me illustrate.

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“Speak the Truth in Love” has come to mean “Just Keep Quiet About it”

Eph 4:14-16 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (15) Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (16) from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Recently, and many times in the past, I have had to confront a professing Christian about their sin. It’s my job and really it is the job of every Christian. Generally, there is no possible way to do this so that the person confronted is happy about it. Very often they will criticize you for the way you told them. Long ago I gave up trying to sort out a way that is painless.

But something else often happens when I have had to admonish someone and then others hear about it (often from the one admonished!). These people come back at me and say something like this common mantra – “you should have spoken the truth in love.” The implication of course is that they are quoting Scripture.

They aren’t.

Speaking the truth in love has become a catch phrase that really means “keep quiet.” Just love the person, whatever that means. It has morphed into a synonymous phrase with “don’t judge.”

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