An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 2) is now published at Light for Dark Times. This is the series that you can help me turn into a book with your comments and experiences. Just comment or email me at email@example.com
Jeremiah 7:5-8 ESV “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, (6) if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, (7) then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. (8) “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.
Listen to Matthew Henry’s comment on these verses. The underlining is mine:
Those that had power in their hands must thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, without partiality, and according as the merits of the case appeared. They must not either in judgment or in contract oppress the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor countenance or protect those that did oppress, nor refuse to do them justice when they sought for it. [Matthew Henry, Commentary on Jeremiah]
We all know that abusers and other evildoers work very hard to gather allies for themselves. And frankly, in local churches, they don’t have to work all that hard to accomplish this. We have firsthand testimony time after time after time of how a pastor, other church leaders, or church members did exactly what the Lord is commanding Jeremiah’s countrymen to repent of. They do countenance (approve) of these wicked people and protect them from judgment.
Acts 5:7-9 ESV After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. (8) And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” (9) But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
A wise lady sent me the following observations about this account of Ananias and Sapphira and their sin and what it tells us about this widespread oppressive teaching in churches that a wife is to “respect” her husband by remaining silent even when he is wicked:
Isn’t it interesting that Ananias AND Sapphira were questioned separately? So if she was not supposed to hide the truth about their joint decision…why should a wife have to keep hiding the truth about what the husband is really like behind closed doors? If he treated a co-worker the same it would be seen as verbal harassment and assault. Both have safeguards under the law. Therefore when a woman comes forward she is doing the right thing by saying her husband is actually committing a crime against her. I think this is why the Christian witness before the world is so odious on this topic. It defies common sense that we would encourage a woman to stay in a situation where crimes are continuously committed against her. How is that showing the love of Christ before the world?
I think that says it all.