Abuse and Anger: Is it a Sin to Be Angry Toward Our Abuser?

Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (27) and give no opportunity to the devil.

We had a discussion once in a Bible study group about whether it is right or not for a Christian to ever be angry when they are sinned against.  That is to say, some people wondered if anger is ever appropriate when we ourselves are the victim.  Being angry when another person was victimized didn’t seem to be troublesome to anyone, but the idea of being angry when we personally are victimized seemed to be sinful in the thinking of some.  Someone said, “well, Jesus was angry when He drove the money changers out of the temple, so anger must not always be sinful.”  Someone else responded, “but we are not Jesus.”

Now, this much I do know.  If we tell abuse victims that it is sinful for them to be angry about what was done or is being done to them, we are going to do them much harm.  In fact many abusers will use this very tactic against their victim: “You call yourself a Christian!  You are just an angry, bitter person!  You are unforgiving.” You know the line I am sure.

So what about it?  It is pretty easy to find Scriptures that show that it is right to be angry when we see evil and injustice.  But what about when we are the victim of that evil and injustice ourselves?

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“God Can Save Anyone” – A Common Line Used to Keep Abuse Victims in Bondage

Heb 3:18-19 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

You hear this all the time from pastors and professing Christians – God can save anyone. There is no one who cannot be saved.” This is an absolutely false and unbiblical statement that continues to do great harm to many. It enables evildoers. Let’s think this through.

Now, it is true that God desires all to be saved:

1Ti 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I mean, don’t you desire all people to be saved? Of course. It should not surprise us therefore that God desires the same. But all people are not going to be saved. Many are going to hell. So why, if “God can save anyone” does hell even exist?

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Another Important Facet of True Forgiveness

1Co 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Most of you know that subjects like forgiveness, repentance, mercy, reconciliation and so on are regularly twisted and distorted into unbiblical caricatures of the real thing. And then they are used by the wicked to continue to oppress the righteous. So here in this article I need to be very clear that what I am about to say is not about accepting fakes and facades. It is not about demanding that we all must reconcile with the unrepentant or even with the repentant (a very rare creature) whose past evil was of such a nature that there cannot be reconciliation in this life.

No, what I want to talk about here is an aspect of real forgiveness that is extremely freeing. It has to do more with us being forgiven than with forgiving. And, like all truths, it is a subject that the wicked will distort and try to deny us.

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Praying for God’s Justice

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.  (13) Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? (14) But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. (15) Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

(16) The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. (17) O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear (18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. Psalm 10:12-18 ESV

Forgiveness.  Reconciliation.  Love.  Mercy.  Justice?  How does that last one fit into our Christian experience?  Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  Maybe the prayers of Psalm 10 are Old Testament stuff, not for us today? Maybe the same applies to all of those other Psalm-prayers that we call imprecatory?

Wrong!

Because God has never changed and never will change; His justice, wrath, and judgment against the wicked still stands.  In fact, it is increasing in its intensity as evil men oppress His people.

Let me prove it with a NEW Testament imprecatory prayer –

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Forever My Girl (A New Movie) – Ammunition for Abusers and Their Allies?

Eph 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

I just watched a trailer for a new movie, “Forever My Girl,” and recognized what I believe is the same old, same old, same old line that domestic abuse victims are handed – especially Christian domestic abuse victims. Here is the blurb describing the storyline:

One of the biggest country stars in the world, Liam Page, left his bride, Josie, at the altar 8 years ago, choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam has never gotten over Josie, his one true love….As he attempts to reclaim everything he loved and lost, Josie does her best to keep him out of her heart, but life has one more surprise waiting for Liam, one that could change everything, in this heartwarming look at love, family and second chances.

Now, yes, you can call me negative, pessimistic, and accuse me of raining on everyone’s parade as they get sucked up into the fantasy world that this movie is going to present, but then I look at hard facts through the lens of hard experience.

The scene in the preview that I watched which really made me jump out of my chair and head for the blog to write this article is the scene in a church service. The preacher is up front, stained glass behind him, dishing out the old “love forgives all things” line. What a rush! But wait, “forgives all things”? This line has a deviously wicked, dark magic in it. Suddenly the onus for reconciling is removed from the wicked one and placed upon the shoulders of the victim.

In the movie, I suspect, all ends wonderfully. Happy ever after. The audiences in the theaters will applaud. Tears will be shed. Liam and Josie are finally together.

Now, you can correct me if you watch the movie and see it differently. But only if somehow the trailer I watched does not reflect the story line of the movie accurately. I am not interested in hearing from people who want to mount the soapbox of “it’s true! People can change! We are to forgive everyone and everything.”

I also realize that there are people who profess to be Christians who will be all upset because I am, they say, making a mountain out of a mole hill. Nope. This is already a mountain. Over and over and over again, churches and people who claim to follow Christ place the heavy, ungodly burden of “forgiveness” on victims of wicked people who have no intention of changing or repenting. And more, they demand that victims must reconcile in relationship with such people. That is to say, the victim must always remain in the abusive marriage “because God can change anyone.” These are all fantastical lies.

This is a movie. It is not reality. The Liams do not exist in real life. Liam is a slimeball who chose the world over his vow to a young woman, and now he blows back into town wanting it all back. In the movie you can be sure that he will play his role as a sincere, sorry, repentant, humble guy and you are gonna “just love him.” The poor fellow. Come on, Josie! Take him back!

It sounds like in the movie she does. But in real life when the wicked say “I am so sorry, I will never do that again, I love you and I just don’t know why I keep treating you like trash,” we are wise to proceed with extreme caution. Because the fact is, he will do it again. And again. And again.

Is Your Abuser a “Child of God”?

John 8:39-44 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, (40) but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. (41) You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.”

(42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (43) Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. (44) You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Quite often we hear from Christians, pastors, authors, and counselors something like, “you must love your abuser because he is a child of God like all human beings. God loves all His children, and so must we.”

Totally bogus. I will prove it to you.

Look at the passage quoted above. Does that sound like the Pharisees are children of God? Nope. Who is their father according to Jesus? The devil. They even share the devil’s spiritual DNA.  “If God were your father…”.  But he isn’t. The devil is.

This business of all human beings being children of God is simply the same old theological liberalism that infected the church long ago and which was opposed by faithful saints like J. Gresham Machen.

Think a bit further on this. If God loves the wicked because they are his children, then necessarily his love for them is motivated by something in them. That is to say, in some way, God finds them “loveable.” But is that what the Bible says about man outside of Christ? No way. Did God elect us to salvation because of some merit he saw in us? No way. If he did, then grace is no longer grace.

So don’t ever fall for the line “we must love everyone because everyone is a child of God.” The fact is that the wicked, such as the domestic abuser hiding behind a facade of “saintliness,” is an object of God’s own hatred. And thus the Psalmist can say in perfect holiness:

Psalm 26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.

Psalm 139:21-22 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? (22) I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

 

 

A Powerful True Account of How False Teaching on Forgiveness is Dangerous

The following is a comment submitted to us in response to a recent post on forgiveness.  I am posting the comment here as a stand-alone post because of its importance. [We also published it on our other blog at lightfordarktimes.com] Many, many thanks to the courageous lady who wrote and shared her story with us. We want to honor her desire that as many people as possible hear what she has to say so that they too can be wise:

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