Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Tag: entitlement

More Weapons in the Enemy's Arsenal – Sermon by Ps. Crippen

More Weapons in the Enemy’s Arsenal
Sermon 3 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 8, 2010
Sermon Text: Daniel 4

Power and control. As we have been proceeding now in our study of the Psychology and Methods of Sin as contrasted with the mindset and fruits of the Spirit, we have seen that sin craves to be God. Satan announced that he would be like the Most High. His emissaries, like Diotrephes, come to the church of Christ craving power and control, looking to enslave the people of God. All this for power and control – to be worshipped.
And so it is in such a man or woman’s family and marriage. The abusive person is all about getting and maintaining power and control over a spouse primarily and also over the children. Last time we learned that one of the most important and effective weapons in such a man’ s arsenal is secrecy. We were warned that we really do not know the abusive man – though we think that we do. We think, as he intends us to think, that he is a fine man, a nice man, a model Christian. He is the go-to guy in a church many times. But this is all a façade and mask. Behind it lurks a man whose philosophy is to be like the most high. To enslave others to the service and glory of himself. And quite often, he is a master at his craft.
We must be on guard against him. We cannot assume. We cannot afford to be duped by his ploys because if we are, his victims remained oppressed – and we can find ourselves aiding him in his purpose.

**Another Fundamental Attitude in the Abuser – Justification+3

1Sa 13:8-12 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. (9) So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. (10) As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. (11) Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, (12) I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

“I had to do it.” “I did it for your own good.” “You made me do it.” These are some examples of the mentality of justification which characterize the abuser’s thinking. Entitlement to power and control and justification in doing whatever is necessary to obtain and maintain unwarranted, unauthorized, power and control. This statement really defines the abuser.
You see it here in Saul. When confronted by Samuel for offering sacrifices he had no right to offer, Saul blamed first circumstances (not his fault) and then he blamed Samuel (again, not his fault). Saul was, in his thinking, justified in doing what he did.
And so it goes with the domestic abuser (and other types of abusers too). He rages at his target all evening long until she is beaten down and the children are hiding out of sight. And though later he may bring her flowers, he still believes he was entirely justified in doing this to her. And he will do it again in spite of any promises not to. After all, in the end he was just in what he did. She needed his raging punishment. Maybe he didn’t want to do it, but it had to be done, you know.

**The Quest for Power and Control – the Heart and Mind of the Abuser+2

3 John 1:9-10 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. (10) So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

At the heart and in the mind of all abusers – be they domestic, sexual, or spiritual – is this profound mentality of entitlement to power and control. You see it in this Diotrephes who the Apostle John is going to take on. Diotrophes “likes to put himself first.” And so it is in an abusive marriage. The abuser is to be top dog, or else.