Just How Deceitful can an Abuser be? – When Bad Fruit Looks Good

1Co 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Jesus said that we can know evil people “by their fruit.” That is to say, we watch the kind of fruit that their lives produce, that is visible – their words, their actions – the visible things you see. And it is what we can see that tells us what we cannot see – the true condition of their heart. Bad fruit = bad tree. Good fruit = good tree.

But sometimes discerning these things isn’t all that easy. No doubt many victims of abuse struggle with this. So let’s do some serious thinking about this.

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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.”

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What the Presence of Christ in Us Will Mean

One of the most common ways that a Christian is persecuted today is in the scenario of a Christian who is married to a non-Christian.  Very often the unsaved spouse, the abuser, parades himself or herself as an eminent Christian, but is really only a Saul.  And at the root of the abuse is a fear of Christ, as the abuser sees that the Spirit of Christ is in the victim, and a hatred for Christ and thus for the victim.

This is vital for all churches and pastors and Christians to realize.  Not only for themselves personally, but because it will enable them to understand what is really happening to an abuse victim who is a Christian.  Listen now, and learn.

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“God Can Save Anyone” – A Common Line Used to Keep Abuse Victims in Bondage

Heb 3:18-19 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

You hear this all the time from pastors and professing Christians – God can save anyone. There is no one who cannot be saved.” This is an absolutely false and unbiblical statement that continues to do great harm to many. It enables evildoers. Let’s think this through.

Now, it is true that God desires all to be saved:

1Ti 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I mean, don’t you desire all people to be saved? Of course. It should not surprise us therefore that God desires the same. But all people are not going to be saved. Many are going to hell. So why, if “God can save anyone” does hell even exist?

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Come Out From Them and Be Separate – “But He’s Your Husband”

2Co 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

I once had a target of an abuser tell me how her pastor and other members of her church and her parents were pressuring her to remain married to her abuser. They were giving her the usual gibberish about divorce not being permitted by God, do a better job submitting to him, and all the typical lines used by the usual suspects in these cases.

Her response to them was classic:

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Domestic Abuser Intervention Programs Don’t Work – Don’t Get Drawn in by Them

As most of our readers probably know, I always tell abuse victims these two things:

  1. Abusers never change, and
  2. A marriage to an abuser does not need to be fixed, it needs to be ended.

I advise people to base their decisions about whether to leave, whether to stay, and so on upon these two fundamental assumptions. If they do, they will make wise decisions and avoid being further deceived by the abuser and his array of allies.

Now, I have caught flack for making these absolute statements. You see, people (especially professing Christians) want to believe that everyone is redeemable. That God is the God of the impossible. That we must never give up hope on anyone. This is the stuff that makes the tear-jerker feel good movies a hit, you know. The serial killer is forgiven by his victims’ families, they tell him about Christ, and he gets saved and marvelously transformed. This is the thing, you see. This is the stuff that sells.

But it is not reality. And it is not in agreement with the Word of God.

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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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