**Abuse as Cruelty – Willful and Intentional Infliction of Pain and Suffering

Exo 1:13-14 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

Exo 5:6-9 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”

Abusers are cruel, just as Pharaoh was cruel to the Israelites. Cruelty is a topic that deserves some serious thought because it helps us see even more clearly just how wicked the abuser is. Cruelty hurts another person (or a pet, like a puppy), but is of a particularly evil genre of hurting. Cruelty suits the mentality and character of an abuser because cruelty is exercised by someone who has power over another. Like Pharaoh’s power over the enslaved Israelites, or a wicked man’s boot kicking a little dog. Cruelty is the infliction of pain and suffering by a person with power, willfully and intentionally, without regard for the suffering of the victim. Cruelty (Cruella Deville and the Dalmatian puppies). And, as Cruella’s wicked smile demonstrates, cruelty enjoys it all.

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He Doesn’t Think Like You – A Very Important Truth to Get Hold of

One of the most difficult truths to grasp is the realization that the domestic abuser does not think like us. Your abuser’s thoughts are not your thoughts. Let me explain by illustration. Victor Davis Hanson, in his book The Second World Wars [Basic Books, 2017] a statement by the British statesman Anthody Eden is quoted. Eden said that very few Brits had, as Davis says, “ever encountered anyone quite like Hitler or Mussolini.” Eden said:

You know, the hardest thing for me during that time [leading up to the war] was to convince my friends that Hitler and Mussolini were quite different from British business men or country gentlemen as regards their psychology, motivations and modes of action. My friends simply refused to believe me. They thought I was biased against the dictators and refused to understand them. I kept saying, ‘When you converse with the Fuhrer or the Duce, you feel at once that you are dealing with an animal of an entirely different breed from yourself.’

Eden had it pegged, but as it is today in most cases, very few would listen. Most people felt that, like themselves, Hitler really didn’t want war. Why? Because they didn’t. And they assumed that ultimately everyone wanted peace.

But there are people in this world who do not want peace. They want power. They want control. And the attainment of those stations usually requires war, oppression, the making of victims, and the infliction of suffering.

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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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