It Only Takes a Wink or a Glance to Abuse

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; (Proverbs 6:12-14)

I have probably written posts about these verses before, but they are on my mind again today and the truths they teach cannot be announced too often. As you read this, please note: I am in no way here being critical of victims who have not yet left their abuser. We realize that “just leaving the jerk” is not so simple.  No, I am primarily speaking of other people like church members who continue to associate with the wicked/abuser rather than dissociating from him. Ok, here we go:

When it comes to dealing with an abuser — with these wicked ones who see themselves as gods to be served and worshiped — we cannot employ half measures. And these Proverbs explain why. Let me explain further.

Continue reading “It Only Takes a Wink or a Glance to Abuse”

Never Go to a Meeting When the Purpose is Unknown to You

I have learned (the hard way) that one of the ways the wicked work their evil against the righteous is by setting a trap or snare. Jesus said, “beware of men.” And so we must.

A typical way that the wicked set their traps is to ask their victim to –

  •  come to the office to talk
  • let’s just sit down and talk
  • I need to talk to you very badly
  • No, no, no. We don’t need anyone else to come. Just come yourself so we can talk

Continue reading “Never Go to a Meeting When the Purpose is Unknown to You”

If You Haven’t Read David Instone-Brewer’s book, You Really Should

Here are some powerful and refreshing words from David Instone-Brewer’s book on marriage and divorce in the church. This will make you want to get your hands on the book for sure. And by the way – ANY pastor or counselor or Christian who fancies that they are competent to counsel on this subject but who is still ignorant of what Instone-Brewer presents and proves here – is not competent to counsel at all. [The boldface highlighting is mine]-

We will see in later chapters that what defines a broken marriage is broken vows: the vows that marriage partners make to each other in God’s presence. We will find in chapter three that the Old Testament describes God’s relationship with Israel like a marriage that ended in divorce because cause of Israel’s adulteries. So God is a divorcee-and he hates it as much as any victim of divorce. A victim?

Yes, God is a victim of divorce, even though he actually carried it out; in the same way, many victims today are actually the ones who initiate proceedings to bring the marriage to an official end. They call in the lawyers to stop the mockery and pain of constant adultery or the anguish of abuse. But as we will see, the Bible does not regard the victim as the sinner. It is the person who is guilty of causing the marriage to break up whom Jesus addresses when he says, “Those whom God has joined, no one should separate.”

In other words, his warning is not to the person who finally tidies up the legal mess after the marriage has broken down but to those who would violate their marriage vows and, in so doing, cause the marriage to break up. Jesus says that divorce should never happen because when two people marry they are joined by God, who is a witness to the marriage vows and is there to bless the marriage. These vows should never be broken-especially especially since they are made before God. But of course people do break them, just as they break God’s other commands. Jesus never says that these vows are impossible to break-as if God ignores the reality of sin-but but he teaches that if a partner breaks the vows and is then repentant, we should forgive that person.

If the vows are continuously broken, without repentance, then the marriage will be left in shreds. Therefore although the breakup of a marriage is always due to sin, it is not the divorce vorce itself that is the sin; the sin is the breaking of the vows, which causes the divorce. In later chapters we will look at the biblical marriage vows closely We will learn that the Bible allows only the victim to initiate a divorce-that is, it allows them to decide when enough is enough and, if their partner remains unrepentant, to decide that the marriage is over.

Jesus’ main complaint was that the Jews had abandoned this principle. They allowed a man to divorce his wife even when she hadn’t broken her vows-that is, when he had no grounds for divorce. Paul similarly condemned a Greco-Roman groundless divorce. Later on in the book we will look at the Old Testament’s teaching on divorce and remarriage-which allowed divorce on the grounds of neglect or abuse-and discover that Jesus and Paul both affirmed this teaching.

David Instone-Brewer. Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities (p. 18-19). Kindle Edition.

(We have added Instone-Brewer’s book to the Resources tab on the top menu bar.  There  – and here – is an Amazon affiliate link if you are interested in purchasing the book.)

The Lord Holds All Responsible When Evil is Tolerated

Rev 2:14-16  But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.  (15)  So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  (16)  Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

I am sure that most all of you know of the longstanding evils being exposed within the Southern Baptist Conference. Case after case of domestic and sexual abuse being covered up by corrupt self-seeking leaders. It has been in the news. Google it if you need to get informed.

Recently I saw a thread on this subject on Facebook and I commented there that the SBC just needs to go away. In response, an SBC loyalist replied that it is wrong to judge 15 million Southern Baptists on the basis of the sins of a few leaders. She went on to list many “good things” these SB’s are doing and said that her church and pastor are known for not being active in the SBC, though they are members. So don’t judge them, she said.

Continue reading “The Lord Holds All Responsible When Evil is Tolerated”

Want to Get Clarity? Read David Instone-Brewer’s Book

Only the Lord really knows the heart; as Jesus said, evil comes from within and loves the dark. We cannot leave it up to a minister or a church leadership team to decide when a marriage ends; it is up to the individual victim, in prayer before the Lord. Only they and the Lord know what their life is really like. Only they know if their partner has expressed repentance, and only they will have to live with the consequences of the decision.

David Instone-Brewer. Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities (p. 105). Kindle Edition.

No one is competent to interpret Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels on marriage and divorce until they have carefully read and assimilated what Instone-Brewer has discovered in his study of rabbinics. His book is very, very freeing to abuse victims and, like the quote above, serves to silence all the amateur juries in the churches that are adding to the victim’s suffering.

(We have added Instone-Brewer’s book to the Resources tab on the top menu bar.  There  – and here – is an Amazon afffiliate link if you are interested in purchasing the book.)

 

Don’t Fall for the Abuser’s “Repentance” — Lessons from Zacchaeus

Just about all of you have heard an abuser claim to “have changed,” or “I have repented and the Lord has forgiven me and now you must also.”  We have had pressure put upon us by the abuser’s allies to “forgive” and reconcile because, after all, he said he was sorry. Yada, yada, yada.

Real repentance is a gift from Christ and it is a rare jewel (emphasis on rare). There is no salvation and no forgiveness from the Lord Himself where there is no genuine repentance. The “grace on steroids” crowd thinks that repentance is easy and cheap. But if you want to see the real article in action, let’s take a look at true repentance evidenced in a man named Zacchaeus. Here he is:

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 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.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

He was a CHIEF tax collector. He was RICH. Power and privilege were his in enough abundance to counter the people’s hatred of him (tax collectors working for Rome, ripping people off were not exactly well thought of).  Small in stature and yet he was a “big man” and he liked it.

This day was an appointed day in Zacchaeus’ life. The Lord had decreed that this day this man at this particular place would meet the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Jesus came to “THE” place. His gaze goes right to Zacchaeus and he NAMES him! “I MUST stay at your house today.” These are the words of divine decree declared in eternity past.

Zacchaeus’ response was a miracle. He hurried and came down. He received Christ joyfully. AND HE PAID A HUGE PRICE —

  • The entire focus and goal of his life changed. Christ now was precious to him, not money.
  • Without anyone telling him to do so or compelling him, Zacchaeus spontaneously bears the fruit of repentance by announcing he is going to give half of his goods to the poor (who he had no doubt disregarded or despised before).
  • He knows he has defrauded many people and he is going to now set those crimes right by paying them back four times what he took from them (far in excess of the Old Testament requirement by the way).

JESUS makes the announcement — “Today salvation has come to this house.” He declares Zacchaeus to be a true son of Abraham, no longer lost. If the Son of God declares that a man’s repentance is real, you can count on it being real.

THIS is the kind of response we MUST see in people (specifically in abusers) who claim to be repentant. Zacchaeus’ response was the fruit of a heart truly regenerated by Christ, and we must settle for nothing less. No coercion to make things right. No telling victims they MUST forgive him. None of it. Only a radical transformation into a brand new person who delights now in Christ and of their own volition and accord are willing to give up everything.

You are NOT being too narrow if you insist on this kind of evidence. You are NOT an unforgiving person if you will not reconcile with a person in whom these evidences are absent. You are, in fact, wise.

“Alright, Mr. Abuser, you claim you are a changed man. You insist that you are sorry for what you have done and that the Lord has forgiven you. Well then, what has your ‘repentance’ cost you? In what ways are you actively working (without someone else telling you to do it) to make things right with your victim?”

Don’t accept halfway measures. Be very suspicious of someone who claims repentance but is asking “well, what do you want me to do to prove it?” Answer: “go away and leave me and the children alone. Provide for us even if a court doesn’t order you to, and leave us alone.”

Zacchaeus didn’t ask. He didn’t have to. He knew. And he knew because he was a new creation.

Will We Justify Child-Sacrifice to Baal?

Psalms 106:37-38   They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.

The charge that Christians are sacrificing children to Baal (demons) occurred to me again this week, and I thought I recalled having written on this subject once before. Sure enough, I wrote this article way back in early 2012 and it remains true today. It is worth repeating. Not because I wrote it, but because it is true. Local churches, pastors, writers, and many Christians in general are guilty of this evil when they demand that an abuse victim and her children remain in bondage.

Israel became conformed to the pagan idolatry in the Land.  They did what the Psalmist describes — they sacrificed their children to the demons (Satan is behind all idolatry).  They made them “pass through the fire.”  Now, here is quite an incredible thing.  The conservative church today decries abortion (and so do I).  We call abortion the slaughter of the innocents, and so it is.  The enemy is behind it.  But…

Continue reading “Will We Justify Child-Sacrifice to Baal?”