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How do I pray for my abuser?
We indescribably ‘bless’ those who curse us and ‘do good’ to those who hate and persecute us by praying for their repentance and salvation, (1 Tim. 2:8.)
Praying effectively for our abusers does not have to be emotional prayer. We must simply pray for them sincerely and in faith. God regards the sincere intercession of His children. Thus, it is of great importance to petition Him for the spiritual needs of our abusers first, as commanded in Jam. 5:16b, “…pray for one another, that you may be healed [of illness, hatred, broken relationships and affliction.] The effective, fervent, prayer of a righteous person avails much.”
Prayer is the highest form of spiritual warfare
We do especially ‘good’ when we seek God’s face by praying for the lost and troubled souls of those who abuse us, “as we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not [physical] but mighty in God for pulling down [deception, division, hatred and other] strongholds,” (1 Cor. 3-4.)
To pray ‘effectively,’ God called us to ‘humble ourselves under His Almighty hand;’ relying completely on His protection, provision, guidance, conviction, leading, wisdom, and help. The more we obey God’s Moral Law of Love, the more we are submitting ourselves on an ever-deepening level to Him. Through our active obedience to His Word, we are submitting to His Almighty Reign, Infinite Wisdom, and Righteous Judgment.
In praying for our abusers, we also need to ask God to lead us in the whole truth of His Word and the truth of our situation. We also need Him to show us the state of our own hearts, to know and do His perfect will, (Jn. 16:13.) We may also ask God to reveal the hidden causes of our problems, so that we can know exactly what we are dealing with, (Jam. 1:5.) The Spirit Filled Bible’s footnote explains, “The wisdom which may be had by asking ‘in faith’ is not intellectual knowledge or philosophical speculation, but spiritual understanding of the purpose of trials [and how to deal with them God’s Way.] When God grants a gift, He does so generously, not grudgingly.”
Then, we should ‘storm the gates of Hades,’ [spiritual death, not ‘hell’ - its not written ‘hell’,] by petitioning God to turn the hatred of our abusers into love for Him and for us; to open their spiritual eyes, ears, and understanding, and to soften their hardened hearts to Jesus’ Gospel of grace, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the knowledge of His Word. We may also pray for abusers to be humbled by their own sin to find their knees and be saved, (Jer. 2:19.) And we may ask God for their emotional and physical healing, should they repent.
Finally, we must obey God’s commandment to ‘resist the devil’ by praying against him, standing against him in the full armor of God, [scroll down on the webpage,] and by fleeing from his traps and temptations. We must ask God to deliver us from the evil one and his evil workers; revealing and destroying all their evil plans and works against us, and all the ‘weapons they have formed against us,’ as well as the lies and deception, by which they intend to hurt, enslave, and destroy us. We should always remember that we also have the authority in Christ to, in His Name, “cast out demons… take up serpents…, and lay our hands on the sick, so that they recover,” (2 Ths. 3:2; Mark. 16:17-18.)
However, according to the context of Scripture, prayer is never enough. (I.e., it is not enough to pray for our hungry neighbors, we should also feed them.) James lamented in Jam. 2:20-22, “O foolish man, do you not know that faith without works [of obedience] is dead… Do you not see that faith was working together with Abraham when he offered Isaac on the altar, so that by works faith was made perfect?”
ANGER IS A DANGEROUS EMOTION
Anger “without a good cause” is ‘unlawful’
Unresolved anger gives Satan a powerful and destructive grip or “foothold” on our souls, minds, or thoughts. (Read Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:26-27.) However, the notion that believers may never become angry and simply have to forget the causes of anger is not Scriptural. Anger is a natural passion and not a sin in itself. God does not forbid natural passions – but He does command us to constantly control and manage natural passions according to Scriptural guidelines.
Jesus sternly warned in Mt. 5:22a, “I say to you that whoever is angry with [someone else] without a good [or just, fair, and moral] cause shall be in danger of the judgment!” Controlled and soon to be resolved anger is therefore ‘legitimate’ in cases where it is ‘moral’ and Godly to abhor the incredible sin, which causes natural anger, (Read Jn. 2:14-17; Rom. 12:9.) Continuous abuse and dangerous sins are not insignificant problems; therefore, anger over crucial matters that affect not only ourselves but other people as well, is not “without a good cause.”
Jesus declared that we do not have the ‘right’ to be angry without a good cause. In other words, it is childish, selfish, egotistic – even idolatrous, and thus incredibly sinful to allow even a slither of anger into our minds over trivial and Scripturally resolved matters such as repented abuse, which now belongs in the past for always! When Jesus said that whoever is angry without a good cause is in danger of God’s judgment, He wasn’t speaking to lost and sinful unbelievers, but to hard-hearted Christian and other religious abusers, who remain angry with their victims over trivial, manipulative, exaggerated, and even fabricated causes. Such anger is completely ‘unlawful,’ and brings the offender dangerously close to God’s eternal punishment! Our Lord Jesus forbade His disciples such disobedience to His Word by declaring, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the [backbiting, self-righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven…”
Never hold on to anger (or hurt!)
Anger has the incredible power to quickly spiral out of control, turning the tables on innocent victims of abuse by bringing them to a state of hatred and sin; threatening their spiritual, emotional, and even their physical lives. Therefore, all forms of anger (and hurt) must be dealt with as per the clear dictates of Scripture.
To this effect, Paul wrote in Eph. 4:26, “Be angry [at gross offenses, while rejecting anger arisen from trivial or selfish causes,] but do not sin [in the process of resolving anger.] Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, [do not hold on to anger but work through it as soon as possible, as anger will grow into hatred and vengeance and destroy us and those around us…] Do not avenge yourselves, [refuse the urge to gratify or vent your anger in a destructive, sinful way,] but rather give place to [God’s] wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Matthew Chapter 5 is Jesus’ handbook on anger management
We should never ignore or lessen the seriousness of Jesus’ commandments. Similarly, we should never read more into Jesus’ words and illustrative parables than intended. In Mt. 5, Jesus addressed the roots of sin; sinful anger in particular, and told us how to manage minor as well as escalating offenses, which, left unchecked, will lead to major sin and problems.
Jesus commanded, “Do not resist an evil person, for if anyone wants to sue you to take away your shirt, let him have your jacket also…” Our Lord did not command us to submit to continual or major abuse! He did not instruct us to be passive laggards either, passively submitting to hurt and harm. In Scriptural context, Jesus forbade anger, revenge, and over-reaction to occasional insults and non-lethal injustices, of which we should take little or no notice for peace’s sake, (1 Cor. 7:15b.)
Jesus’ disciples must never place themselves in a position that warrants legal proceedings against them, (Rom. 13:7-8; 1 Cor. 6:1.) If it should happen that “an evil person” sues us unjustly for something minor like a shirt or jacket; these items are replaceable and really not worth all that much. We must abstain from arguments and troublemaking over such unimportant and minor matters, and even be prepared to suffer yet another injustice from the same person, who unlawfully took our shirt, by allowing him to claim our jacket as well. Such an unjust lawsuit would be provoking and insulting, but it will not damage us spiritually, emotionally, physically, or harm us financially. Fact remains, it will not take any skin off our backs to yield, for peace sake, to one or two minor, unfair harms! However, Jesus was not saying that we should allow anyone to keep on stealing and extorting from us!
Jesus continued in Matthew 5, “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Note that this allegory does not demand subjection to constant abuse! A slap in the face signifies an occasional insult, not continuous, soul or life threatening assault. An insult does not represent rape, molestation, or a violent beating. A periodic insult or two does not destroy our name, self-worth, and integrity, for it does not relate to defamation of character or slander, which is emotional and spiritual murder, (1 Jn. 3:15.)
In this case, no bones were broken. The insult might have been hurtful, but it wasn’t soul or life-destroying. In this broken world, we will have to endure many insults. Therefore, we must ignore sporadic insults; turn away, forgive, and do not seek revenge. Prov. 10:12 refers to such circumstances when stating, “Hatred, [or bearing grudges over minor loss and insult] stirs up strife, but love, [forgiveness,] covers [or simply forgets] all [minor] sins [without paying any attention to them.]”
UNRESOLVED ANGER SPIRALS INTO MURDER AND SELF DESTRUCTION
Most abusers choose to fuel their unreasonable anger for a whole lifetime, never satisfying their lust for revenge, destruction, and murder. As stated, abuse is always and escalating process.
Such is the case with all the allegedly ‘victimized’ slanderers, who constantly commit the crimes of defamation of character and slander against even their own friends, young and adult children, family that has never harmed them but whom they view as eternally damned sinners, and their own good spouses.
Most abusers choose to fuel their unreasonable anger for a whole lifetime, never satisfying their lust for revenge, destruction, and murder. As stated, abuse is always an escalating process.
Such is the case of all the allegedly ‘victimized’ slanderers, who constantly commit the crimes of defamation of character and slander against even their own friends, young and adult children, family that has never harmed them but whom they view as eternally damned sinners, and their own good spouses. During all the years of abuse, such abusing parents, spouses, grown children, nieces etc., in utter disobedience to Jesus commandments to reconciliation, never made a single attempt to tell their victims directly what they have done to upset them so, or what they expect their victims to do to end and resolve their heartless persecution.
Constantly labeling their victims as witches, hypocrites, and everything else vile and ugly, even the co-conspirators of such abusers fail to notice that these ‘victimized’ abusers are reversing role-play, (shifting from being the actual persecutors to so-called innocent victims.) Such crafty abusers, while attacking their victims with every possible accusation, are in fact the male and female witches; twisting the truth and conjuring up distorted truths and outright lies to injure the innocent, and mislead many others to join their murderous crusade, (read 1 Sam. 15:22-23.)
Unresolved anger will ‘defile many’
All unresolved anger goes beyond natural emotion, healthy reason and things relating to our natural world. Over time, abusers’ refusal to resolve their unreasonable and ‘unlawful’ anger, escalate into a controlling, caustic force, which usually ends in self and overall destruction, (1 Jn. 3:14-15.) Even if the REAL victims, on numerous occasions, try to ‘pursue peace’ with vengeful abusers, that “root of bitterness which caused so much trouble that many became defiled,” (Heb. 12:15,) cannot be treated with obedience to God’s Word anymore. Such abusers, by their own choice, are beyond the reach of the mercy of God, shown to them by their victims each time they plead for peace and reconciliation.
More importantly, to allow the anger of unrepentant abusers to infect their victims as well, causing them to remain angry without telling them their mistakes, thus granting them the opportunity (or actually, God’s grace) to ask forgiveness and repent, is barefaced hatred, a cruel form of spiteful torture, and a gross violation of the Moral Law on the side of victims. God commanded in Lev. 19:17, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him, [nor oppress and persecute him in sinful, unresolved anger.]”
Whatever slanderous, unrepentant abusers are trying to achieve, they should know that such hatred has the power to imprison, murder, and destroy not only their victims, but especially themselves. Yet, such ‘victimized’ abusers choose to gratify their ‘unlawful’ anger by humiliating, controlling, and continually punishing their helpless victims into total hopelessness without allowing them a single way of escape.
DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER AND SLANDER CONSTITUTE THE CRIME OF “CRIMEN INJURIA”
The persecuting crimes of “defamation of character” means, ‘to intentionally and unremittingly insult, offend, harm, demise, and damage another’s character, humanity, name, intelligence, honest work, financial and social status, and dignity to destroying the person’s self-worth and integrity.’
The crime of “slander” means, ‘to repeat or spread matters relayed to you confidentially and trustingly. To disseminate malicious lies, unproven hearsay, uncontextual and twisted words and situations, as well as harmful truths that are not in defensive, or public interest, as it serves no restitutional, educational or cautionary purpose.’ In addition, slander means ‘to spread defamation of character statements to even just a third party with the intention of hurting, harming, ruining, demising, and dehumanizing another’s character, intelligence, name, work, financial status, and reputation in the eyes of a family and/or community; resulting in emotional pain, suffering, separation from spouses, family, friends, community, and/or financial loss.’
Under South African law, both these terms constitute the crime of crimen injuria.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia Online describes the crimes of defamation of character and slander as follows, “Crimen injuria is a crime under South African common law, defined to be the act of "unlawfully, intentionally, and seriously impairing the dignity [and name] of another… The crime is used in the prosecution of certain instances of road rage, stalking, racially offensive language, and emotional abuse."
Why Crimen Injuria is such an Evil Crime
Our names personify who we are; our very being here on earth. Therefore, Prov. 22:1 declares, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” Riches can be lost or stolen, but the morality of good character will still prevail. When our moral character is defamed, however, not even great riches can ever buy it back again. Hence, God strictly forbade gossipers or slanderers and their co-conspirators to destroy the characters and reputations of others, (Ex. 23:1-2.)
Someone once described the sin of lying and other types of slander as a pillow stuffed with millions of feathers, emptied into a strong wind from a high rooftop. To do restitution for the murder of the victim’s name, character, work, income, and life, the murderer should collect every single little feather and stuff it back into the pillow! God will surely judge and repay such heartless, loveless hatred for one’s ‘neighbor,’ for the ‘wind’ of evil tongues spread slander much quicker and further than any natural wind can.
One of the greatest spirits of destruction is therefore that wicked ghost called “Slander.” More marriages, homes, families, friendships, congregations, and other relationships have been destroyed by Slander than by anything else. The crime of slander consists of lies, deceit, and betrayal.
Paul reserved this crime for a judgment from God in Rom. 1:30-32, “…They are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God… proud, boasters… undiscerning, [not discerning abusers from victims and truth from lies,] untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; knowing that those who practice such things are deserving of death, [as are those] who approve of those who practice them!”
The methodology of that evil ghost named Slander
While Eph. 5:11 commanded us to expose truths which are in personal and public interest, that wicked angel called “Slander” has nothing to do with truth – although he also uses truth to harm his innocent victims! That ghost Slander is a formidable foe. He can take control of even ‘good’ Christian tongues to direct fiery darts at their victims, incinerating their good names and moral character; grieving their hearts and destroying every aspect of their lives, (Jam. 3.)
Slander doesn’t shoot paper darts. He passionately hates God’s creation, the sincere children of God especially, and his aim is to rape his victims emotionally as well as physically. For instance, I once had to counsel the shocked and guilt-riddled classmates of a victim, whom they continually slandered and shunted because he did not fit into their clique. One day, he mysteriously disappeared, and police found him in the veldt where he had hanged himself from a tree branch. What these cruel classmates did, could never be undone again. They did not merely rob this boy of his name and self-worth, but of his life.
That underhanded demon Slander always uses people to wage a full-out war against their victims to gain glory for themselves; collecting as many supporters as possible to strengthen their hold on people and their and positions in society. They isolate their victims by destroying their relationships and support systems, and then, Slander and his pack of ravaging wolves shake their victims to the core. They advocate such distrust in people and in God that their victims lose their salvation – and ultimately, even their physical lives, (1 Tim. 6:12.)
God stated in Prov. 17:15, “He who justifies the wicked and condemns the just is an abomination to the Lord!” Thus, James wrote in chapter 3, “The [unbridled] tongue is a little member, which creates great [disastrous] things. See how great a forest a little fire destroys! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity… which defiles the whole body [of that abuser; the souls of those who participate in or consent to that abuse, and especially the souls and lives of innocent victims!]”
When is it not crimen injuria?
Love, fairness, impartiality, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, (Gal. 5:22,) must always govern Jesus’ disciples – (may God have mercy on us ALL to obey God’s contextual Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit!) God commands us to expose unrepentant sin and non-stop sinners for the benefit of persons, families, and society. However, John warned that we should never do anything, (even exposing sin,) with the wrong motive, “Whoever hates (his brother, spouse, parents, children…) [will become] a [tongue]-murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him,” (1 Jn. 3:15.)
“Part of the right of free speech is that anyone who wishes, may express his genuine opinion on any matter of public interest,” which will benefit and/or protect persons, families, or society - provided it is fair, impartial, and true! - [Family 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.”