All Power and Control Regimes Share the Same Basic Characteristics

Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. (26) It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, (28) even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

My wife is getting used to it. We just settle down for the night, my brain starts working, and I say “I have to get up and write this idea down or I will lose it.” That is what happened tonight. So here I am, writing.

Here is the big idea: all structures that rule by power and control, whether they be monarchies or the Third Reich, or ruthless corporations (not all corporations are ruthless), or churches gone wrong or families gone wrong, are characterized by some very similar if not identical attitudes and tactics. What Hitler did to enslave a nation, the wicked man does to enslave his victims.

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Saul of Tarsus was not an Abuser – Let me show you why

Act 9:13-15  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.  (14)  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”  (15)  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

Quite often when I tell people that abusers never change, they will ask about the case of Saul, later the Apostle Paul. After all, he was assaulting the early church and then the Lord appeared to him and converted him wonderfully. Should that not give us hope that even the worst domestic abuser could one day be born again?

My answer is, no. Let me show you why.

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How the Wicked Use “Christian Servanthood” to Gain Control of People

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

I was talking with a friend and was relating an experience I have had more than once with people who turned out to be revilers/abusers parading as Christians. My friend referred me to something that Gavin DeBecker wrote in his book, The Gift of Fear:

May I note two observations that I took from your scenario? 1) The handyman initiated the contact and offered his assistance. DeBecker in his book, The Gift of Fear, would call this tactic — Loan Sharking. He explains that some men know that if they help you that will “place you in their debt, and the fact that you owe a person something makes it hard to ask him to leave you alone.”

I cannot tell you how vital this is for ALL of us to get a firm grip on. Our local churches almost always have these kinds of loan sharks circling about in their pews and quite often these sharks have become “pillars” of the church they are in. You know the drill. The most “godly saint” in the whole church. The go-to guy whenever there is a need. “Just look over there at the church building most anytime and there will be good old (insert name of shark here) working away for the Lord.”

And this is how it works.

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Stephanie’s Story: Part 1

Stephanie, like most of our readers, married an abuser and, to make her plight worse, her church and pastor added to the abuse. Stephanie wants to tell her story, so we are publishing it here in a series. AND we are going to include the emails and letters her ex pastor and church sent her. This first part will be a bit longer than the next few because it is a summary of her story, and as you know, our stories are very hard to summarize. Many thanks to Stephanie!

[In your comments to this story, see how many typical abuser tactics you can identify here. Naming them will certainly help others who are following the blog]

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The Essential Nature of an Abuser – Devoid of Love

You never loved me. You only wanted to possess me. Your curse is that you cannot love.

I came across this quote in, of all places, a dark comedy movie. It jumped out at me as true truth in regard to the people we class as sociopaths and it is certainly an excellent description of a domestic abuser as we define them here. Power. Control. Possession. Devoid of love.

Understanding this is key to getting free of the confusing fog abusers cast and to getting actually free of them.

The abusers I have had personal experience with have for the most part been church members in churches I have pastored. Professing Christians, yet still children of the devil. The most pious saints, they would have you believe. And it took a long, long time for me to realize that ALL the show of religion they put on was absolutely false. That they never loved me, they only wanted to own and control me for their own evil designs. That they were people who knew nothing of love and were in their very being incapable of knowing or giving love.

Oh they can mimic these things, and often do so very, very convincingly as we all have seen. But when a person who is incapable of love seems to be exercising love, it only seems that they are. In fact they are mimics. They see other people loving one another and then they outwardly mimic that love. But it isn’t love at all. Your abuser has never loved you. In fact, he or she has never loved anyone.

Their curse, justly deserved, is that they cannot and they will not, love.

I don’t talk to Abusers

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Over the years in this ministry to abuse victims, I have been contacted numbers of times by people (mostly men) who are domestic abusers and Christian pretenders. Their line is always pretty much the same: “I don’t want a divorce. I haven’t been a great husband, but that has all changed. I am willing to go to counseling with my wife but she refuses.” Done. Finished. Call ended. Communication over. Why?

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The Abuser is Acting With Intentionality — It Takes us Normals a Long Time to Realize This

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

I cannot tell you how many, many years I was blind to the fact that (1) I was dealing with abusers, and (2) They knew exactly what they were doing when they carried out their abusive tactics.  When they told me what I was thinking, they were intentionally abusing me, craving that power and control that is their diet. When they accused me, they were intentionally abusing me. When they lied and re-wrote history, they were intentionally abusing me. They knew exactly what they were doing and they knew precisely why they were doing it.

And yet, here comes Jeff the very next day after one of their attacks, running into them again and greeting them, being long-suffering, letting bygones be bygones — you all know the drill. Why? Why did I do this? I did it because I did not yet understand what they were and how they worked their evil. I thought I was dealing with a brother or sister in Christ who was simply “difficult.” How do you deal with a “difficult” person? Well, you are patient. You are forgiving. You respond to them as if they knew Christ but were still pretty rough around the edges. And there are people like that. The problem is, many of these “difficults” have been “difficult” for decades!! Where is Christ in them? Where is their growth into His likeness? One “Christian” lady I once knew even boasted of her “German General” stubbornness and then laughed about it, claiming to have been a Christian for decades.  I think not.

But, you see, when we wake up to the truth and realize that who we are dealing with is an abuser and that abusers KNOW full well what they are doing when they launch their schemes and attacks, that changes the whole playing field. Right? Now when I run into such a person there is no more smiling and forgetting and handshaking. Oh no. Now I hold them accountable because I know their wickedness is intentional and planned. I identify by the appropriate label what tactic they used on me — or tried to use.  It still isn’t a cake walk for me, don’t misunderstand. But you know what? I find that there are fewer and fewer of these evil ones in my circle of relationships now. In fact, I don’t know of a single one. You see, abusers tend to clear out when they know they are exposed.

Your abuser didn’t slip. He didn’t unknowingly do what he did because of some unconscious childhood event leftover in his psyche. He did what he did with intent. And that means he is culpable. Guilty. Someone to be held responsible.

He wasn’t just having a bad day.