Listen to Me! – A Common Demand of Abusers

2Co 11:20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

One of the worst abusers I have ever known, a man who caused all kinds of grief with many attempts to portray himself as the finest saint we ever met and yet worked tirelessly and by nature to enslave those around him, was heard to say more than once, “you didn’t listen to me! All these bad things have happened because you wouldn’t listen to me!”

This of course is a common trait of this kind of wicked person – he or she demands to be obeyed. We all need to step back and take a long look at what is going on whenever we find ourselves constantly wondering, “What will Joe say about this?” “What would Jesus say?” gets replaced with Joe. It sneaks up on us and usually we aren’t aware of just how much of this is going on.

Years ago in our church a very wicked sin was committed and how to handle it was not an easy matter. Ultimately we chose a course which I still know was the right one and what the Lord would have us do. Not everyone was happy (“everyone” never is), and there were various kinds of fallout. Some months later in a meeting, this man in his arrogance and anger because he had not been obeyed, said “If you had done what I told you, none of this would have happened. But you wouldn’t listen to me.” He was right in a sense. If we had listened to his demands, none of the positive outcome of obeying the Lord would have happened!

The level of wicked arrogance in these kind is incredible as you think it over. Here was a man who would gladly look at a pastor, elders, godly grey-hared church members, and tell them all, “Listen to me! You should have listened to me!” Let that soak in. What level of evil does such a thing require? It is designed to revile. The abuser is a reviler. He villifies, ie, makes his target the villain. The Lord says plainly that revilers will not inherit the kingdom of God and we are not to even eat with such a person, let alone permit them to be among us in the church.

1Co 5:11-13 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. (12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

I am sure that every domestic abuse victim has heard this rhetoric a bajillion times. “Listen to me! You should have done what I told you! Now this is all your fault!”

I have also seen this same type of arrogance revelaing itself often in people who contact me and say they are looking for a church to attend. Sometimes of course those questions are genuine and come from real Christians who are frustrated by not being able to find a group of true Christians to fellowship with. But my red flags start going up when someone right off presents themselves as a real authority on theology, a follower of….(you fill in the famous preacher names), and evidence a lot of Bible “verbage” (christianese as I call it). There are more warning signs too but in the end I just realize that they leave me with an uneasy feeling.

So I test them.

I tell them, for instance, that one of our church’s important missions is to help domestic abuse victims and expose abusers. I advise them to read one of my books to understand more about us. If one of their favorites is the kind whose teaching oppresses abuse victims (ie, “no divorce for abuse”) I point out that person’s error. I tell them that our church requires that someone be with us for about a year before we would consider them becoming a voting member, and that we require a background check for people who attend regularly here in order to protect children and others.

Guess what happens?

In every case of a person of this kind, I know that the inevitable scathing email response will be forthcoming. It always is. How dare we require a background check – Jesus would never require such a thing! (Hmmm, “Test the spirits to see if they are of God, for many false spirits have gone out…). How dare we be so divisive as to be critical of a preacher who simply holds a different point of view than us on divorce for abuse. And in all of this verbage, they ooze accusation and guilting, exalting themselves. “You need to listen to me!”

One of the most common pieces of wisdom that the Lord gives us and which we have suffered very much for many years because we were not wise in this way, is that we are not to quickly trust people just because they claim to be a Christian. In my early years of being a pastor, I was foolish in this regard many times. We wanted to see the church grow. We wanted people to come and to hear and to be saved. So we too readily believed, accepted, invited, and ….suffered the consequences of evil coming in among us.

Many pastors and church members and “church experts” would call us too rigid, too hard, and unloving for these safeguards we have in place. But I can tell you this – failing to exercise these wise cautions in the past resulted in years of trouble, division, and evil creeping in among us. If those “church experts” and others would be honest, they would admit that their system in fact produces counterfeits and trouble. But they aren’t honest and I don’t look for them to be.

I know that probably the majority of people who learn about our practice and realize that no, we aren’t going to listen to them (ha! a demand that we listen to them when we don’t even know them!!), are going to be done with us.

And I consider that a win. We wouldn’t listen to them. We listened to the Lord.

1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

The Matriarchal Kingdom of Abuse

1Ki 15:11-13 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done. (12) He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. (13) He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.

We know that the very large majority of domestic abusers are men and that churches have been enabling abusers by teaching and practicing what we call patriarchy. The father this. The husband that. It’s all about the father and everyone else in the family exists to serve him and further his “mission” in serving the Lord. The father becomes the “priest” of the family – a virtual mediator between them and God. Men who lust for power and control and self-glory love this system. The Lord does not.

But what I want to talk to you about here is a very similar system in which it is the wife or mother or grandmother in the family who is “queen.” I know this evil exists because I have met it numerous times over the years, and as the scripture above demonstrates, we find examples of it in the Bible as well.

The matriarchal kingdom is established by an abuser who is a woman. In the circles we are most familiar with, in Christian circles that is, a mother or a grandmother craves power and control. She uses her religion (just like Asa’s mother did) to establish an idolatrous dynasty over which she rules. It looks something like this:

  • She presents herself to her husband, her children, her grandchildren, as kthe most saintly, godly, wise woman they have ever known.
  • Her verbage is filled with Bible talk and scriptures (twisted and perverted of course).
  • She is regarded by her offspring and their offspring as a virtual prophetess.
  • She is very skilled at punishing anyone who demonstrates any hint of independence from her kingdom.
  • Her punishing tactics include, guilting, shaming, threatening, removing her favor, hinting at taking away their inheritance, turning other family members against the “wandering sheep,” etc.
  • Anyone who breaks from her control will pay the price of being a non-person, rejected by all in her kingdom.

Get the picture? And don’t miss this – an evil matriarch like this always establishes a false religion. She and her “family” system are the idol-god which is to be worshipped by all…or else.

And here is a sobering, sobering warining: Very few people in a matriarchal system ever break free. They yield to fear and when Christ in some way calls them to come out from this enslavement, they cling to the false god.

Anyone who is born into such a kingdom of darkness is blind to what it really is. Like everyone else in it, they think “mother” or “grandmother” is indeed the model of a true saint. It is only the Lord who can open their eyes and begin to show them the bondage they are in. You can tell them and tell them and tell them in order to help them see, but ultimately the Lord has to give them the eyes to see. And then they have to make a choice which no one else can make for them. Stay in bondage, or leave it to follow Christ.

How many of these matriarchs of darkness hold key and noteable positions in many local churches? More than most people imagine. It must have been something like this at Thyatira-

Rev 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Recently Lynn commented on this blog, sharing her experience of getting free from such a family system – ruled by numerous tyrants. Her comment is worth repeating here:

When God opens your eyes, it is an invitation to let go of what you think you know and embrace his loving truth. While his gift to each of his elect is free, it is also extremely costly.

It will cost you family, friends, and reveal to you who are the wolves, who are the sheep, and who are the goats. Anyone who has appeared as godly on the outside but ends up being rotten to the core, we are commanded to remove ourselves from. That’s hard. None of us want to lose people, but the truth of the matter is that if your faith is genuine and you are obedient to Christ, you will not be able to hold onto all of your relationships. Your faith will reveal those who hate God in your midst. Don’t be surprised when you experience the hatred Jesus talks about when he tells us that they will hate us just as they hated him. We live in a day and age and a nation that refuse to be obedient to God’s word yet profess to carry his name.

It was hard leaving my entire family, including my extended family behind. While leaving my immediate family was less painful – they are a pack of narcissists wearing the guise of godly saints. I’ve had to purge most of my extended family and church relationships as well. They may not all be the wolves Christ mentioned, but they are also caught up in deception of false teaching around who Christ is, and what their responsibilities are as the Christians they claim to be. They refuse to separate from those who the Bible instructs us to avoid because they are family. Family means more to them than obedience. They refuse to seek to understand who God is for themselves nor gain wisdom in the face of evil. They let their ears be tickled by lies all the while being convinced they are walking in truth.

One of the things that has been so many fail to take seriously is that when Jesus said he’s come to separate fathers from sons, mothers from daughters and that if you choose family over obedience to him you are rejecting him. That instruction is missing in much of today’s churches. Rejecting unsaved family, especially if they wear the clothes of godliness yet are filled with dead men’s bones, is deemed unchristian.

How dare you be so unloving as to reject your family? Don’t you know you’re not being Christ like you know? And other such accusations are what you will hear from those who proclaim to be Christ’s yet refuse to obey him.

It’s not the narrow road for nothing. If it was easy, everyone would do it. But it’s not. It is hard and costly, yet nothing in this world is worth more than being Christ’s. Not family. Not friends. Not position. Not possessions. Nothing.

So to all those who are broken by wicked people parading around as godly, come out from the wolves den and live. You too can find the healing, hope and belonging your heart craves in the arms of Christ and his true sheep. No longer must you remain in the hands of wicked abusive people. Embrace the freedom granted to you by Christ. If the son sets you free you are free indeed.

Friends May Desert Us – Christ Never Will

FriJob 19:18-19 Even young children despise me; when I rise they talk against me. (19) All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me.

I bet you all can identify with Job, right!? This is one of the most painful facets of wickedness and evildoers – our “friends” ally with them and abandon us. Family turns against us and takes up with the wicked one, feeding his facade of “godliness.” In a real way, victims of evildoers are seen just as Job was – unpleasant and unclean as if they contracted some kind of leprosy.

Every real Christian is going to experience this betrayal in one degree or another. Jesus said it:

Mat 10:34-39 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. (36) And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (37) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (38) And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (39) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

So, is this true or not? That is the question I would put to people who profess to be Christians and yet they insist on maintaining that this should never happen. That if “family” bonds are being threatened, they must be preserved at all costs. Is the cross the offense that Paul said it was?

Gal 5:11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.

The question then is not this (which is so often put to victims of evil): “Why is there conflict and alienation between you and your family members?” but rather this (which is properly put to those accusing the victim): “Why do YOU not experience any of this in your own life in your relationships?”

I want to write in another article about something I call “the Judas Moment.” The basic premise is this: there comes a time in everyone’s life – particularly in the life of a person who claims to be following Christ – when the Lord puts a pivotal question to us. Will we follow Him regardless of the cost, or will we look back at Sodom longingly? Will we take up our cross and follow Christ, or will we have one foot in the world and one foot in His Way? He won’t let us do it, you know. It is Him or the world. It is Christ or family and friends.

Most choose the world and you can be sure that when someone makes that choice, they are not going to walk with you in Christ’s truth. They will go their way, looking for someplace where they can continue to deceive themselves and others about their standing with the Lord.

Is it worth it? I mean, is it worth being hated by family and friends? Well, Jesus said it – if we find our life in this world, we will lose it. But if we lose our life here, we will truly find life in Him – and that is life indeed.