If They Didn’t Really Know Him – How can they say he repented?

2 Timothy 4:14-15  Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.  (15)  Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

The Apostle Paul was wise about evil. Notice that in this warning to Timothy, Paul does not make any excuses for Alexander nor does he minimize his culpability. Paul does not tell Timothy to “pray” for Alexander or to urge him to repent.

The typical line that professing Christian people use on victims of domestic abuse is something like, “but I’m sure he is sorry. I’m sure he has changed. I just know that he loves you.” Blah, blah, blah. But here is my question for everyone who lays that kind of load on a victim:

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**A Sure Sign of a Bully or Abuser: the Gnashing of Teeth

Now when they heard these things they were enraged,
and they ground their teeth at him. (Acts 7:54)

Recently I was reminded still once more of how the wicked react when their evil is exposed and they are called to account. The fangs come out. The bullying begins. They are like vicious, wild animals snapping at their prey. In this account here in Acts 7, Stephen has just confronted the Jews with their sins:

You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered. (Acts 7:51-52)

It sets them off like a pack of wolves and of course as we know, they murdered Stephen right there.

My recent experience with this sort was in regard to pastors who were rightly confronted with wickedness and spiritual abuse. They added to the oppression of victims and now it has come out. The response? Fangs. Gnashing of teeth. Direct assault against those exposing them. Vilification and reviling, demeaning and accusing. Of course they do all this in the name of “righteousness,” but they are anything but righteous. “Who are YOU to tell ME?” “How DARE you speak to me this way.” “You don’t know anything and I do.” “YOU are the guilty one here for slandering and gossiping.” See it? Fangs. Gnashing. It is characteristic of the wicked who are enraged when they are exposed. No hint of anything resembling repentance.

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Saul of Tarsus was not an Abuser – Let me show you why

Act 9:13-15  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.  (14)  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”  (15)  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

Quite often when I tell people that abusers never change, they will ask about the case of Saul, later the Apostle Paul. After all, he was assaulting the early church and then the Lord appeared to him and converted him wonderfully. Should that not give us hope that even the worst domestic abuser could one day be born again?

My answer is, no. Let me show you why.

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