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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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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Financial Abuse – a typical tactic of the Abuser

Luk 19:8  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

As we see in this account of Zacchaeus, one mark of a genuine Christian is concern for the poor. To mistreat the needy, to oppress a widow or orphan, is a great wickedness in God’s sight.

Unlike Zacchaeus many people who claim to be fine Christians regularly oppress the poor, and some of them even do so to their own spouse. The domestic abuser uses economic oppression as a tactic to maintain power and control over his target. Listen to the testimonies of scores of abuse victims and you cannot help but see it.

Many abuse victims live in poverty. At the same time, their abuser often lives quite high on the hog (apologies to hogs…I prefer their company that of the abuser). Financial abuse looks something like this:

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The Wicked Often Hide Behind a Mask of Theological Acumen – Watch Out for Them

Mat 23:23-24  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  (24)  You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

I have seen a very common pattern of how the wicked disguise themselves as fine saints, eminent examples of holiness, shepherds who we must go to in order to be fed, etc. It is so common in fact that I can issue this warning:

When a professing Christian, a supposed pastor, a church leader or theologian type writes lengthy articles filled with detail, evidences an academic air focusing on debate to prove their own theological point, beware. The devil himself is quite a theologian. He is quite capable, as are his servants, of writing intricate and convincing theological tomes that will receive praise and recognition from those who admire a form of godliness without the power.

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Accusation by Abusers to Victims: “You Cannot Keep Friends”

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

Abusers are the children of their father the devil. So it is not surprising that they share one of his favorite tactics — accusation. And one of the very common charges that abusers level at their victims is something like this: “You never keep friends. Your friendships never last. You always reject them eventually. Or they reject you when they see how weird you really are.” Ever heard that line? I have. Plenty of times.

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Watch Out for Wolves in Wool — a True Story of Disguises

We all know that abusers love to hide in the pews, wearing “holy” garb as a disguise. It’s one of their favorite methods, and a very effective one too.  I never cease to be amazed at how many of these mask-wearers are in churches.

Recently I did some searching online to see what had become of a fellow and his wife who I had known many years ago. They were church members and he was active not only in the church but also held a seminary degree and worked in a professional ministry setting with a well-known Christian organization. I found that he had died, as had his wife, and I located their obituaries and read them.

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Local Churches Have Become Primary Lairs for Abusers

Jude 1:4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Oh, and by the way, did I mention he is active in church?”

Those words came from a friend recently who was helping an abuse victim understand what has been happening to her. After filling me in on some of the evils this man had been doing, he ended his note with the brief sentence above….he is active in church.”

I do not think that we need to hold back any longer. We are fully justified in just coming right out with it:

Local churches have become arenas of choice for domestic abusers, narcissists, and sociopaths.  

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