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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We Must Use the Discernment the Lord Has Given Us

Joh 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  (35)  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1Jn 2:10-11  Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.  (11)  But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

As I look back over many years of Christian ministry now, I am seeing with more clarity one way in which I was frequently duped by the enemy and his servants. As I have grown wiser in this regard, I am accused of being “too judgmental” and of “over-reacting.” Nope. I’m not.

Let me explain by illustration.

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Who is a Christian – Psalm 15 Answers the Question

Most of you have had to struggle with the question, “is my abuser a Christian?”  Why? Because he (and sometimes she) claims to be. Because the abuser so often parades as the finest saintly holy one in the entire church, and most of the people believe it. Just as the abuser’s father can appear as an angel of light, so can his servants.

Local churches and pastors often and even typically insist that the abuser is indeed a child of God, not of the devil. We all sin, you know. So they allow him to remain in the pew, and sometimes even in the pulpit!

But what does the Bible say? Who is a Christian and who is not a Christian? While Scripture clearly answers these questions over and over, we are just going to look at one such text in this article. Here it is. Read carefully:

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She Came to her Own, But They did not Receive Her

Joh 1:11-12  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  (12)  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

I want to show you the fundamental reason victims of abuse are routinely and regularly rejected by their pastors and churches when they expose the abuse and ask for help. It actually is no mystery.

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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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Don’t Listen to People who want to ride the fence

This is a grass roots movement — bottom up. The higher up levels in ministries and denominations will never listen unless there is a ground swell from lowly Christians. I dont see us dialoguing with the power brokers because they would only be trying to trick us into believing that they really do care about justice. Historically that is always how it goes down.

Here is a quote from Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther. There is a lesson here for us about people who claim to be our friends but want to ride the fence so they don’t suffer any loss. They say things like: “Surely it is fine to point out error and to criticize certain things, but you must not go too far. If you will just not cross ‘the line’ then we can all work together and you won’t alienate people from you and….” on it goes.

Anyway, here is what Bainton wrote:

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