The Beauty of Vindication – A Table in the Presence of my Enemies

Psa 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (3) He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

In this present evil world, the Christian is going to be accused, slandered, persecuted, and hated. Is that not what Jesus experienced? Well, the servant is not greater than his master. If the world hated Christ, it will hate us as well.

We know that the wicked accuse the righteous. They even use the fact that we are persecuted as “evidence” that God is not blessing us.

Mat 27:43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”

Notice then very carefully what David tells us in the 23rd Psalm:

Psa 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Christ vindicates His people. We experience some of that vindication now on occasion, but the Day is coming when we are going to be “guests of honor” at Christ’s banquet. He will own us, He will invite us. The King will say to each of us “come to My banquet which I am preparing in your honor.”  And get this:

The King is going to do this right in front of our enemies

They will be “outside” looking in. They will not be invited, but they can see it all. So let’s put this right down where we can get a firm hold on it:

One day your abuser and all of his wicked allies are going to watch you be honored by Christ the King at a banquet like no banquet this world has ever seen. You will receive absolute vindication right in front of them. All of their evil, false accusations made against you will be revealed to be lies. And then the King will order these enemies to depart into outer darkness, never to return.

That is what the Scripture means when it tells us that Christ prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. And it is going to taste really, really good.

 

Accusing the Victim – A Favorite Tactic of the Wicked

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Zec 3:1-2 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. (2) And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”

Have you ever been accused of something falsely? If you are someone who has experienced being the target of the wicked, such as a domestic abuser spouse, then I am certain that you have. As you can see from the Scriptures quoted above, accusing is the devil’s business. Particularly accusing Christ’s people. This is why Satan loved the Law. While God’s Law is holy and righteous and good, Satan pointed at all who broke it (which was all of us) and demanded our death. Christ rescued us from the curse of the Law and thus removed the basis for the devil’s accusations:

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–

Col 2:13-15 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (14) by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (15) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Satan therefore no longer has a basis for accusing Christ’s people. The curse that was upon us for our own sin, Christ took upon Himself on the cross and paid our debt in full. Begone, Satan!

But in this fallen world, Satan and his servants still use this tactic of accusing. Sometimes they focus on times that we have sinned and though we confess it and repent and Christ forgives us, these wicked ones try to convince us and others that we stand guilty and condemned. We must reject such lies.

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Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All

Listen to these far too common words from a pastor to an abused wife who has gone to him for help. The abuse has occurred for decades, habitually, without repentance:

From what I have been told, you have suggested that your husband’s looking at inappropriate images on the internet is adultery,  but he has not committed the physical act .  Could this not be more appropriately handled with counseling than divorce? From what I have been told your husband has not deserted you but conversely is willing to go to a counselor of your choice. You have intimated that your husband has not physically abused you, but has said mean things in the past and has been manipulative.  Again, could this not be more appropriately handled with counseling rather than with divorce?

There it is. “He has not committed the physical act of adultery. He has not physically abused you. Therefore, tough it out and quit complaining. Why, your husband is even willing to come down here to the church building with you and let me counsel the two of you.”

Continue reading “Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All”

There is No Neutrality, No “Innocent” Bystander When We See Abuse

John 7:12-13  And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

Let us hear what Judith Lewis Herman says about this kind of silence which is, in practice, a kind of neutrality:

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Bribe-Taking in the Church

Deuteronomy 10:17-18 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. (18) He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

Romans 2:11 For God shows no partiality.

Galatians 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

1 Timothy 5:21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

True justice is much rarer in this world than we might believe.  Human beings, including judges, are not completely impartial.  Justice (as the blindfolded lady with the balance scales illustrates) is supposed to be blind, weighing the evidence with complete objectivity.  But we are not completely objective.  Justice is not totally blind, so decisions and rulings are very often tainted with injustice.  Not so with God as Judge.  His rulings conform to perfect righteousness, and by it He will one day judge the world by His appointed Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible condemns the taking of bribes.  One of the most wicked sins in Israel, condemned by the Lord, was that the leaders oppressed the poor because the rich paid them bribes to rule in their favor.  Such people should fear God’s wrath:

Exodus 23:7-8 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. (8) And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

Often, the Bible connects injustice to widows and orphans and other weak, defenseless people to the taking of bribes.  Bribes, as Exodus says, blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.  By their very nature, bribes originate from people who have money and influence and power.  The weak and helpless cannot pay a bribe – they have nothing to pay it with!  And so it is very often in the case of victims of abuse.  Their abuser has the resources, they do not.  The abuser is often a person of influence and reputation, unlike the victim.  So justice is perverted.  Bribes are given and accepted.  The judge is blind – but in this case he is blind to what is right.

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I Don’t Want Your Christmas Cards – A Victim’s Response to an Abuser Ally

Isa 1:11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

Mat 12:30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

It happens every Christmas. You go to the mailbox and there it is. A Merry Christmas card addressed to you from a voice from the past. From someone you don’t want to hear from ever again. Yet here they are showing up in your holiday. If you are really unlucky, it even has their fine, family picture on it.

Not only do abusers do this, so do those who allied with them. You know, those people who told you how wrong you were, how unforgiving you were, how unloving and unmerciful and unkind you were when you confronted the abuser and broke relationship with him. The ones who said you were the one sinning. Who told you that you were the one God regarded as the guilty one. Then they went and wrapped their arms around your abuser and said, “you poor, poor, poor fellow.”

Merry Christmas. In Jesus’ name, of course. That’s what the card said. “Sure hope you hang this up on your fireplace.”

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Angels of Darkness Masked as Light – The Satanic Nature of Abuse

2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Jack’s wife Mary was in the pastor’s office. Apparently there had been some kind of spat between them and she had come to the pastor to tell him about it. Jack was one of the finest Christian men in the whole church – everyone knew that. If you wanted something done, Jack was the go-to guy. What a servant’s heart! But now here was Mary – visibly troubled, haltingly sharing a few details of what had happened last night. Jack, she said, had been in a rage. He pushed her down hard onto the bed and told her to sit there and shut up and listen to him until he was through!

Depending upon the initial response Mary gets from her pastor, she will tell him more, or she will tell him nothing else. Abuse victims “test the waters,” whether they realize this is what they are doing or not. If they know that their hearer is open to listening and appears to believe them, they will tell more. If, however, they hear “Well, Mary, your husband is a fine Christian man, and I am sure that he loves you.  He must be under a lot of stress for him to lose his temper like that. Did you say anything that would set him off?” – then forget it. She is done talking.

Continue reading “Angels of Darkness Masked as Light – The Satanic Nature of Abuse”