The Worst Abusers are the Kind Who Parade as Christian Leaders

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

  1. “He premeditates his actions. He uses people and every thing he can get as an alibi to cover or justify his actions. He is the master of excuses, a liar, a deceiver and frequently contradicts himself. He is very aware of his power of charisma and persuasive talk.”
  2. “He is not verbally or physically abusive. He sounds loving and caring.”
  3. “He admits he has failed in his role as a provider, protector and leader of the family and then asks for forgiveness and says he is not happy about it either and he needs help to understand why that happens in his life, but he never changes despite all the help is offered to him.”
  4. “I find this abuser the worst because it is not very evident. He disguises himself as a good father and loving husband thru words and showing himself very active in the family matters, but in the reality does not take responsibility for providing, protecting and leading the family.“

These descriptions of a wicked man were sent to us by a Christian wife and mother whose abuser claims to be a godly servant of the Lord. And he has been successful for many years in convincing the people in his church and in other Christian organizations that he is the real deal.

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“How do I Avoid Getting Tied up With Another Abuser?” – A Common Question

2Co 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  (14)  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.

Recently I was asked a very good question by an abuse survivor who has had more than one experience with abusive relationships, one in which she was nearly killed. The question is stated in the title of this article, “how do I avoid getting tied up with another abuser?”

Well, the answer is not an easy one. There is no fixed formula with guarantees. As the Apostle Paul said in the scripture quoted above, evil comes in very, very deceptive disguises. How many of you for instance can tell about how charming and wonderful “he” was when you first met him? And how he is still thought of as the most wonderful, godly saint in your church? No, there are no acid texts. But we can still apply some pretty good wisdom.

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Abusive Tactics: The Claim to Know Our Thoughts

1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

In the course of my experience with controlling, abusive individuals, I have learned the hard way that a favorite tactic of such people is that of telling us what we are thinking and what our motives were for doing something.  This has happened to me many times and I am sure it will resonate with our readers.  You do something or say something and in an attempt to control you and/or instill self doubt and false guilt in you, these kinds of people will then announce to you why you did it.  This is impossible of course.  And yet we often fall for it.  Oh, and the motive the abuser attributes to our action will never be a good motive.

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Playing the Victim – Always Remember this Tactic

Isa 58:3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.

I have written numbers of times before on this subject but we really cannot be reminded of this favorite tactic of the abuser too often – playing the victim. The wicked among the Israelites even tried to pull this scheme with God. Didn’t work of course, but it does work quite often with people.

Those who live to have power and control over others – the people we call abusers – act cruelly toward their targeted victims and then if they are ever confronted, they turn on the tears. They become the poor, oppressed people we are to be sorry for. They are the ones who surely deserve our empathy – or so they make it appear. In truth it is the abuser who abusesed! But then, when they are called out on their evil, in one way or another they work to make it appear that they are ones who have been wronged. Pity them. That is what they want from us.

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The Nature of Abuse Demonstrated in the Crucifixion of Christ

Last week as I was reading through the Gospel account of Christ’s betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, I was struck with how often this narrative exposes the mentality, nature, and tactics of abuse.  This really should not surprise us because abuse is just plain sin.  I think that it is in fact perhaps the most “diabolically beautiful” portraits of sin to be found.

Its essence is the lust for power and control over — everything!  It is the acting out of Satan’s declaration, “I will be like the Most High.”  In other words, the abuser, like the devil, lusts to be God.  Understand that and your eyes will be opened to everything else he does.

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A Lesson in Evil – and Not Being Deceived by it

1Co 2:1-5 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. (2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (4) and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (5) so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

It has become almost commonplace to read of still another well-known “happening” pastor being exposed in some wicked, hidden sin that has been going on for quite sometime, all the while he continued to preach to and teach others. We are all sick of it. And we are also sick of how these guys and their band of brothers treat victims of domestic and sexual abuse. One of the chief reasons for this oppression of victims in local churches is nothing less than the fact that the head guys are wolves.

But would you like to know what I am even more sick of? I will tell you – I am sick of these guys’ statements of “confession and repentance.” 

I am going to give you a fairly recent example of just such a case and then I am going to point out to you why most all of these claims of “repentance” need to be rejected by us. Ready? Here we go.

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Abusive Tactics: Telling Victims What to Think

1 Corinthians 2:11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Pharisees claim to know out thoughts and motives better than we do.  Those of you who have done much reading about abuse know that abusers, be they domestic or spiritual or both, proclaim the ability to crawl inside the mind of their victim, see what the victim is thinking, discern what her motives are, and in addition tell her what she is to think and what her motives are to be.  Of course no one except the Lord can do this, but the abuser can be very convincing.  I remember a scene in the movie Cape Fear (not recommending it by the way) in which the evil character (Robert Di Niro) is doing this very thing to a teen-age girl.  It was very well portrayed as he diabolically analyzes and dictates her thoughts and motives to her, holding her mesmerized.

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