Sometimes it is the Christian’s Duty to Flee From Danger

Matthew 24:16-18  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  (17)  Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,  (18)  and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.

These verses are of course from the Lord’s words to His disciples which we call the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25). Jesus is speaking to them here about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, but we can correctly apply what He says to our own daily lives now as well:

We see that flight from danger may sometimes be the positive duty of a Christian. The servant of Christ undoubtedly is not to be a coward. He is to confess his master before men. He is to be willing to die, if needful, for the truth. But the servant of Christ is not required to run into danger, unless it comes in the line of duty. He is not to be ashamed to use reasonable means to provide for his personal safety when no good is to be done by dying at his post. There is deep wisdom in this lesson. The true martyrs are not always those who court death, and are in a hurry to be beheaded or burned. [J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, p. 318-19]

One of the most deceitful and wicked wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing that I have ever known used to love to push this business upon people. “Oh but just think of your reward in heaven if you willingly undergo this suffering,” he loved to say to people who were being reviled and maligned by some other wolf among the flock. Of course if anyone were to malign HIM, he would blow up in anger and not stand for it for a second. Abusers have double standards you know.  Always double standards.

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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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Grumbling When Good is Done is a Mark of Pharisees

And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him. (Luke 13:11-17)

One of the clearest signs that a church (and many, many of them today are) is ruled by Pharisees and hypocrites is when you see leaders and members of such a place loudly protesting and gnashing their teeth when someone, like this daughter of Abraham, is loosed from bondage to Satan. It’s the very same thing. An abuse victim who has suffered torments for years and years calls out for help and is rejected by the pillars of the church. Then the truth comes along, she sees it, and she gets free.

What happens? Celebration? Hardly.

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