Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command – sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command
Sermon 4 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
a 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 15, 2010
Sermon Text:  Esther 3:5

“When we are honest, we come to the humbling realization that in each abuser is a piece of us.  Jesus recognized this when he stated that anyone who was angry with his brother has committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:22). Here Christ eradicates any subtle distinctions we might make between degrees of violence as a way of defending our own violent thoughts or actions. Jesus cuts through to the spawning ground of violence: the human heart. Thus, the fundamental issue of violence is not one of actions but one of the condition of the heart. Until this heart condition is changed, violence will continue its ‘dynamic of growth which condemns it to increase.

The church’s failure to effectively confront the problem of wife abuse [and, we add – the church’s failure to confront the problem of the abusive, power-seeking, deceptive wolf among the sheep who is so often also an abuser of his wife and children] more than being just a reflection of a fundamental disregard for women or a fear of any challenge to a patriarchal system, is a reflection of the failure to recognize evil for what it is. Before Satan can be defeated, he must be identified. And, once identified, he must be fought on spiritual ground. The problem of wife abuse is not one of feminism, secular humanism, or a lack of headship in the home. It is the problem of evil – unseen and unopposed.” [Battered Into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home, by James and Phyliis Alsdurf]

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Another Fundamental Attitude in the Abuser – Justification

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.

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