Guide to The Law in South Africa; 3rd Edition.] In order, not to quality as slander or crimen injuria, even truthful information, either written or related to even just a third person, must be for public interest and benefit; or be informative and profitable to society, or protective and beneficial to a specific section of society (such as a marriage, family, or a group like Christianity,) or intended as a warning to those who are in danger of suffering through the unrepentant misconduct of others. [I.e., publishing the names of convicted murderers and other criminals is not crimen injuria.] What is said publically may be repeated in context, fairness, impartiality, and truth. Publicly means, if you relayed your opinion via the media, it may be repeated. (If you lied intentionally or disclosed mean, distorted stories of non-public interest via the media, [or in a family and society,] you can be sued. To expose a willfully unrepentant and unstoppable abuser such as a slanderer is in public interest, as such people deceive, use, and abuse others as well, and draw them into sin and emotional, even spiritual and physical murder.)
If you yourself told your secret to more than one friend, it’s not a secret anymore. The third person then has the choice to repeat your secrets at the peril of becoming an accomplice to crimen injuria. However, the story must be relayed truthfully and in context, and must still be beneficial to the victim, family, or society, otherwise it will amount to spiteful troublemaking and crimen injuria, or character assassination. If you spread character slaying rumors on hearsay, and it turns out to be false, or that the intention was merely spiteful backbiting and without motive to benefit the hearer or society, that is crimen injuria. You can then be hurled into court together with all your friends and other accomplices!
Private confrontation is not crimen injuria
Concerning disputes, God commanded fidelity in Prov. 25:9, (fidelity means faithfulness, trustworthiness, impartiality, and reliability,) “Debate [or defend] your case with your neighbor, [when a quarrel arises between you two,] and do not disclose the secret [entrusted to you] to another; [do not avenge yourself by repeating what had been told to you confidentially;] lest he who hears it exposes your shame; [lest someone tells your former friend of your betrayal,] and your reputation be ruined; [because then everyone will know that you are an untrustworthy slanderer, and your former friend can sue you in court for the crime of crimen injuria.]”
God forbade us to “hate our neighbors in our hearts.” He directed us to deal with anger and disputes, stating, “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, [IN A DECENT AND GODLY MANNER,] and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, [by slandering his name and persecuting him,] nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I Am the Lord,” (Lev. 19:17.)
God also declared in Prov. 10:18, “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips. [The hypocrite who keeps anger in his heart and hates his neighbor, but never speaks to his neighbor directly and in a decent manner to rectify the situation,] And whoever spreads slander, [thus taking revenge or aiding revenge without an attempt to resolve the matter privately,] is a fool.”
It is not crimen injuria to confront your abuser directly and privately for the purpose of resolving the matter between you two. In times of dispute, the first instruction of Scripture as well as of judicial law is to debate the matter between the two of you in private. For the sake of clearing the air and to enlighten the mind of the unrepentant abuser to the reality of what he or she is doing, we often have to express the most hurtful truths to that person privately, and that is not provocation, slander or defamation of character, as the intention is restoration, not destruction.
Godly confrontation to resolve problems can never qualify as abuse. Abuse is unprovoked, repeated and escalating insults, either privately or publically, with the intention of destroying character, self-worth, good name, and integrity.
God commanded exposure of unrepentant abuse for the protection of society
Scripture also forbade us to keep quiet about the evil unrepentant and intentions of others, which have the potential of harming us and any of our neighbors! Consequently, Prov. 16:30 warns, “He who shuts his eyes to do perverse things and compresses his lips, bring evil to pass.” God also commanded in Lev. 5:1, “If a person… is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the [serious UNREPENTANT] matter, [which affects society, or the relevant members of society] – if he does not tell it, he bears guilt.”
The Matthew Henry Commentary wrote, “If a person hears the voice of swearing, [crimen injuria,] if in such a case, for fear of offending one that is his friend, he refuses to give evidence [of the truth,] or gives it but in part, [or acts defensive,] he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which, if some course be not taken to get it solved, will sink a man to the lowest hell. Such a man is a partner with the sinner, and he ‘has not his own soul,” (Prov. 29:24.)
Such cowardice man-pleasers have become the slaves of their sinning friends, family, and spouses!
They have fallen into the pit of satanic control by becoming “friends of the world and enemies of God,” (Jam. 4:4!)
God forbade cliques, and the spreading of twisted and harmful truths
God commanded in Ex. 23:1-2, “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man, [just because he is poor,] in his dispute.”
This means, it is a sin to aid the distorted and false opinions of others. Do not become truth-bending witches who influence others to join cliques, isolating the innocent and spreading evil stories to aggravate the situation. Tell the truth of every situation as circumstances necessitate the truth; as guided by the Moral Law of Love and the Holy Spirit. Do not be partial and unfair! It is good to illustrate an impending danger by relying examples of your own or other people’s lives, which will not embarrass them unnecessarily. This is not maliciousness but love, intended as instruction for the hearers. However, nothing should ever be done in spitefulness. Paul commanded in Eph. 4:31, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking, [false reports, partiality, and mobbing,] be put away from you, with all malice.”
Even a true report, intended for malicious purposes, murders just as surely as lying slander! The following illustrates how the spiteful spreading of truths can harm the innocent involved. A ‘dear old saint’ used to pray during prayer meetings, “O Lord, we pray for Andy Joke... He started drinking again. He is beating Anna and the children are going hungry. Last week, in the cold, we had to collect clothes…”
Even if these ‘facts’ about the Joke could have been thoughtless blabber, uttered in public, (and most despicably, in prayer,) it did just as much damage to the innocent as the lies of crimen injuria would do. Surely, in an attempt to resolve the situation, Joke should have been confronted privately according to Jesus’ commandments in Mt. 18:15-20. In any case, for the sake of Anna and the kids, secret charity would have “covered a multitude of sins.”
Jesus warned in Mt. 12:35-36, “A tree is known by its fruit, for out of the good treasure of his heart a man brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle [or character assassinating] word men may speak; they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.”
‘Raca’ means character murder, or defamation of character
Jesus spoke against the dreadful consequences of ‘unlawful’ and unresolved anger, which has the power to spiral into hatred and murder. He warned in Mt. 5:21-22, “You have heard that… you shall not murder and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his [neighbor] without a [just] cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his [neighbor] ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council, [or human court...]”
Jesus wasn’t making the Old Testament law of ‘an eye for an eye’ into legalism; He was applying the outward Old Testament law to the inward heart of angry humanity. Jesus actually said, ‘You know that physical murder is a most horrendous crime, which deserves the death sentence. But now I say to you that everyone who is angry with his neighbor groundlessly; without real or good provocation, reason, or in moderation, will himself become an emotional and spiritual murderer.’ This means, unreasonable and unresolved anger will lead to tongue-murder (and even physical murder) through the undeserved reviling of our neighbor’s character, (by calling him ‘Raca!’) So, in modern terms, the word ‘Raca’ will qualify as the crime of defamation of character, or crimen injuria (in South Africa.)
Jesus wasn’t forbidding us to call a real, unrepentant thief “a thief,” or a real, unrepentant prostitute “a prostitute,” neither was He forbidding descriptive symbols relating to true character. Jesus Himself used such allegories in Lu. 13:32, “Go, tell that fox…” And in Mt. 23:33, “Serpents, brood of vipers…”
On the other hand, ‘Raca’ is an undeserved swearword, intended as verbal abuse; a word derived from the root-verb ‘to spit.’ Raca means the person is ‘as vile and worthless as spittle,’ ‘good for nothing;’ ‘will never amount to anything,’ etc. So, by commanding us to abstain from destructive name-calling, (not from truly descriptive and useful allegories,) our Lord forbade us to call innocent people undeserved and character-defaming names. Jesus warned that the use of words like ‘Raca’ constitutes a serious crime, which necessitates severe spiritual and legal consequence, as in the legality of God’s Eternal Word and in judiciary court. Yet, most abusers commit tongue-murder daily without ever restraining themselves or weighing the severe harm they are doing to their victims, while, in most cases, family and friends participate and/or stand idly by without a thought to their suffering victims, or the impending judgment of God!
An incredible example of ‘Raca!’
For nearly sixty years, a socially accepted, loving ‘father,’ who died after refusing to speak to ‘his son’ for more than 20 years, repeatedly and without a flicker of remorse, screamed at him, “You mule’s ****! You are no good to man or beast!” [His filthy omitted swearword describes ‘a highly offensive term for a prostitute’s genitals. It is a swearword for someone who is viewed with great dislike and contempt, especially a man,’ – Thesaurus.] What’s more, as male mules are infertile, that abuser repeatedly ridiculed his victim for being as vile as a prostitute’s genitals and as unproductive as a ‘mule’s genitals’ - phrases directly from the pits of hell, which describe the swearword ‘Raca!’ perfectly.
According to that evil man, his victim had absolutely no right to live either as a human or as an animal, as he has absolutely no purpose or function in life but to be useless and vile. Furthermore, he cursed his victim from an early age to be completely worthless to both humans and animals; and therefore, to be despised and rejected by humans and animals alike! Maybe even more horrendously, the ‘good’ mother of this person, the wife of this cruel so-called ‘father,’ never once attempted to defend her own child, but instead, defended and revered her demonical husband — especially after his death; extending his evil legacy – (Lev. 5:1; Prov. 17:15!)
‘You Fool!’ is a murderous curse and slander
Jesus also warned, “But whoever says, ‘You Fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” In this context, ‘You Fool!’ is much more than an insult, and it does not merely refer to uncalculated behavior. It is a word spoken as a destructive curse. Jesus forbade cursing because it attacks the victim’s mental capacity, and his life and work in general, and intents to condemn him to be rejected and expelled from God, his very existence, work, family, and community!
Sources conclude that, where Scripture calls people ‘fools,’ it does not mean that they are mentally retarded for rejecting the Savior or the truth of God’s Word. Scripture refers to ‘fools’ in the sense that their decisions, words, or behavior are irrational or illogical. For instance, Ps. 14:1 states, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God!’”
However, the reviling abuser to whom Jesus referred, was not separating the person from his bad behavior. He was calling his innocent victim ‘a cursed fool,’ attacking his intelligence and self-worth. Also, that abuser incited the family and community of his victim to either actively participate, or to keep silent by turning a ‘blind eye,’ which constitute their approval and passive participation of that emotional murder, (Lev. 5:1; Prov. 17:15; Rom. 1:32.)
A good example of calling someone ‘a cursed fool’ and involving others either to never defend the victim and to participate in the crime, is the abusive ‘father,’ (describe above,) who continually brainwashed his victim with these curses, “Where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling!” “You're the brawn, but I am the brain!”
The reality of abusive curses
‘You Fool!’ and the term ‘Raca’ go beyond emotional murder to attack our neighbors from the spiritual world. Curses are in fact evil incantations; evil sayings, slogans and prayers; spells, religious bans, or evil oaths, which invoke demons over the victim and his life. As Satan never passes up an opportunity to maim and murder, these incantations do not necessarily have to be said in the ritual language of outright witchcraft. Abusive phrases like, ‘You good for nothing moron,’ or the terrible slogans of the so-called ‘father’ illustrated in this study, release dark forces upon the victim’s personhood and life to rob, belittle, pester, destroy, and even murder him physically. When it comes to cursing and blessing, ‘death and life are indeed in the power of the tongue,’ (of which lies and deception, especially concerning the Truth of God’s Word, are the worst,) as this type of crimen injuria surpasses the material world in source and severity, because it is brazen witchcraft!
Thus, Jesus seriously warned that abusers, who commit such murderous cursing, “Are in danger of hell fire:” God’s eternal punishment!
HEALING BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
Face the facts; do not play with the roaring lion
While sincere believers ought to “pursue [Gospel-peace] with all people as far as possible,” Scripture does not suggest that victims of abuse may secretly cling to the hope that there can indeed be a relationship between them and their unrepentant abuser - regardless of their affiliation.
Jesus warned in Mt. 10:34-29, “Do not think that I came to bring [outward] peace on earth… I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s [worst] enemies will be those of his own household. He, who loves father or mother [son or daughter] more than Me, [My Truth and commandments,] is not worthy of Me…”
While we must “do good” to even our enemies for the possible salvation of their souls, we dare not fraternize with the roaring lion, thus giving him a “foothold” in our lives by submitting to his control and enticements, thus “becoming slaves of whom we obey,” (Rom. 6:16-23.) We should rather flee from him, contending for our physical and eternal lives!
If both parties in a relationship do not submit to the truth of God’s contextual commandments and the leading of the Holy Spirit, a Godly relationship will remain an uphill battle. If one of the parties stays unrepentant, a true, Godly relationship will remain impossible. In fact, Paul said that God forbade us to “be unequally yoked with unbelievers,” or unrepentant believers, friends, and family, (1 Cor. 5:11-12.) He firmly declared 1 Cor. 15:33 that sick relationships will lead to our own emotional and spiritual demise! The only exception to this rule is when one spouse comes to the Lord after marriage, while the other spouse chooses to stay behind in the world. Paul does not promote divorce under such conditions, if the unsaved spouse is willing to live with the saved spouse, and not vice versa!
God’s time is always now, this very moment; today!
An important aspect of life needs to become clear to every lonely victim, yearning for love and acceptance. We gamble our lives away by living in a dream world, pretending that our abusers will come to Christ shortly, and all our suffering will be over, (1 Cor. 7:16.) God can save anyone’s soul and radically transform any life. But for now, we are concentrating on Scriptural guidelines to deal with those who are intent on destroying us.
Following Christ does not mean we must live in denial. Despite all the Christian doctrines to the contrary, God did not promise us the whole world. Jesus said, “Narrow is the way and few are those who find it!” And so, we might spend a whole lifetime in hope of sharing a better tomorrow with our abusers just to find that, for our own sakes, God wanted us to follow Him today! God expects us to realize that our lives are real now, for God’s time is always this very moment! (Heb. 3:7.) Thus, while seeking God’s face to lead us in His will for our particular situation, let us not remain focused on what we have lost, or become consumed by what we hope to gain. Let us rather thank God for the wisdom and everything else we have already gained, and for everything we have today. Let us ask Him to help us do the best with what we have now - for the sake of everyone involved. We can always trust God, for despite our physical circumstances, today, now, every sincere believer is already safe in Christ – if we remain in His will for us, of course, (read Rom. 8:31-37.)
Prepare for resistance and take care of yourself first
God created us as free-willed beings. Our Lord is the Highest God, and He is almighty, omniscient and omnipotent. He calls, and we must answer; He leads, and we must follow. He commands, and we must obey. Still, in utter fairness, He allows humans to choose their own destiny. God has a million ways to deal with sinning humanity, and eventually, He will punish all unrepentant disobedience. Yet, He allows us to choose what we want to do with every situation in our lives, (Jn. 1:11-13; 10:3-4; Mt. 7:21-23.)
In Mt. 18:6-9, Jesus taught on the gravity of abuse, and began by calling out “Woe” to those who reject His discipline, invoking the Devine Judgment of God upon them, even before He began describing the process to recover both victim and abuser from the edge of this treacherous abyss. Knowing the hardness of the psychopathic heart, and the stubbornness of its unrepentant soul, Jesus warned the victims of abuse, there is a great possibility that their abusers will never repent, (1 Cor. 7:15-16.)
And so, Jesus instructed the victims of abuse to take care of their own lives first, commanding, “Take heed to yourselves! [Look after yourselves; take care of your eternal souls and your physical bodies, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit! Do not allow hurt and anger to escalate into unforgiveness, hard-heartedness, and revenge!] If you brother, [or neighbor, seriously] sins against you, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him…” (Lu. 17:3.)
If our abusers submit to Jesus’ steps to recovery, fine! Yet, there is a great possibility that they will not. So, be prepared to meet with unrelenting resistance, in which case, we must be prepared to also obey Jesus’ commandment concerning our own safety, whatever the cost.
FOLLOWING JESUS TO FREEDOM
Jesus Alone is the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the salvation, blessing, deliverance, comfort, healing, and peace of the Father, except through Him! Jesus’ Word is true under all circumstances. Jesus Himself has promised, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will never pass away.” Our Lord did not give us His Word to make life difficult, but so that we can live a life of emotional and spiritual freedom in Him. He did not speak in riddles either, but gave us clear-cut instructions to follow, so that we do not stray from His Way and get lost in the ever-deepening darkness of this world.
Especially when dealing with sin, suffering, and abuse, His “lamp for our feet,” (the whole context of Scripture,) tells us exactly how we should do ‘unto others,’ and what we can expect others ‘to do unto us.’ All we need to remember is to stay prayerfully at Jesus’ feet. He is the Good Shepherd. If we are willing to follow Him all the way, He will always lead us to safety.
Step 1 – Let us deal with our own ‘hang-ups!’
We cannot deal with anyone’s sin and abuse against us, if we do not deal with ourselves first, (Mt. 7:5.)
Jesus said, if we are truly His disciples, we will [increasingly] know the truth; and the truth shall set us free! Therefore, we should first ask our Father to let His Holy Spirit reveal the truth about ourselves and our own sinful emotions such as unforgiveness, hatred, and revenge. Then, we must seek Him to show us the truth concerning our situations, so we can know God’s will, and act according to the Truth of His WORD!
A: Do not believe lies about yourself
A concerned mother caught her overweight, but clever and talented 15-year-old daughter crying in her pillow at night and sticking her finger in her throat after meals. The girl abhorred school and wanted to quit. On further investigation, it came to light that, in gym class, one of her classmates, who were always on her case, mockingly laughed, “You know what, old Daisy de Melker? [Daisy de Melker was a serial killer and the first woman to be executed in South Africa!] No one can ever love you because you have the ugliest legs on earth!” No amount of reasoning could save this intelligent girl from quitting school soon afterward, and years later, she probably still lives with hang-ups about her looks. This victim of abuse did not realize it, but that was in fact a demon speaking through her ‘pretty, popular’ classmate. Yet, this girl chose to believe the devil’s lies; allowing Satan to murder her sense of self, as well as her desire to follow a promising career as a teacher.
It is a self-destructive sin to believe lies about ourselves. If the hurtful criticism of our behavior were true; if we are lazy, or a loveless busybody, or whatever, we must ask God’s forgiveness and repent with all our heart. However, when Satan reviles our looks, intelligence, character, gifts, calling, and worth; that is the crime of tongue-murder. We must reject and disregard such malicious onslaughts on our humanity and God-given abilities with all our might.
God did not merely love the world – He SO loved the WHOLE world, [every one of us personally,] that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who [personally] believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life! We can and must believe that we are SO valuable and loved that Jesus our Lord suffered and died, and was risen from the dead especially for us! May God help us to always remember that in His holy estimation, we are perfect just the way He made us! By human standards, we might not be rich, good looking, or clever enough; but praise God; He will never leave us nor