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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 forbade us to keep quiet about the evil unrepentant deeds 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, unnecessary, 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, no matter who they are. 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, cruel, 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 or to bring harm to others. Paul commanded in Eph. 4:31, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking, [false reports, partiality, blackmail, extortion, and mobbing,] be put away from you, with all malice.”
Even a true report, intended for thoughtless or 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 family could have been thoughtless blabber, uttered in public, (and most despicably, in prayer,) it did just as much damage to the innocent, (being unlawful, unethical, loveless truth,) as the lies of crimen injuria would do. Surely, in an attempt to resolve the situation, Joke should first have been privately confronted according to Jesus’ commandments in Mt. 18:15-20.
In any case, for the sake of Anna and the kids, secret charity, and Godly love and care 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.”
When to “expose” sinners (Eph. 5:11) and when to let Godly “love cover a multitude of sin”
The Holy Spirit will always apply the truth of His Word to the full context of the situation. For instance, it is necessary to expose unrelenting, unrepented sin, (such as false doctrine and bad affiliations,) which destructively affect other people – sometimes for generations, (Eph. 5:11-2.)
However, as seen in the above example of the Joke family, when we abuse truth, it can also be a deadly weapon that wreaks havoc on the souls and lives of the innocent involved. The reason to expose sinners must therefore never be unscriptural, uncontextual, payback/revenge, or spiteful underhandedness, but for the benefit of everyone involved, sinners included. James 5:19-20 explains, “If anyone wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back [by speaking the truth of God’s Word and the situation in meekness and love, Eph. 4:15; Mt. 18:15-20,] he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and [thus, rather than exposing him,] cover a multitude of sins.”
We must always attempt to resolve serious sin committed between people between the two or whoever else was sinned against by the same abuser, (Jam. 5:16 — Mt. 18:15-20.) However, when public figures such as politicians, (minsters of the Gospel in particular,) are exposed for adultery, theft, corruption, and false teaching, they must confess their sin in public and ask forgiveness in public - and, as every other repentant sinner, do restitution during a trial period to prove they have really repented.
Paul commanded in 1 Tim. 5:20, “Rebuke those who are sinning [unrepentantly, and whose unrepentant works affect the public,] in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” Accordingly, he wrote in Gal. 2:11-21, “When Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed [for] fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter before them all..”
The sins of adultery and fornication are ‘prickly pears’ as far as ‘exposing sin’ is concerned. I know a man who murdered his wife when someone told him ‘confidentially’ that she was committing adultery, and he caught her in the act. The Holy Spirit will never expose adultery instead of following His directives in Mt. 18:15-20 to resolve the problem. Adultery and fornication instantly break the marriage covenant, (Mt. 19:9.) So, it cannot be hidden from the unsuspecting spouse. From the start, the sinner must be privately confronted with the trusting spouse present, because adultery and fornication involve them both. The adulterer can also be confronted first and given the opportunity to, without delay, confess the adultery to the spouse, but under no circumstances must the matter be discussed with outsiders before following Jesus’ commandments to resolve the situation, (Mt. 18:15-20.)
If the offended spouse chooses to forgive, he or she must be supported spiritually and emotionally, and the matter must be “covered by love” for the sake of the innocent involved, (1 Pt. 4:8.) After that, if someone spitefully chooses to expose this repented sin, the person must begin by first exposing his or her own forgiven sins.
Sadly, the innocent spouse is usually the last to know about adultery and fornication. Al those who participate in such slandering and back-biting, are violating Jesus’ commandments in Mt. 18:15-20, and cruelly robbing the spouse of the opportunity to make decisions about the marriage and the future of the children born from the marriage.
It also frequently happens that the terrible abuse of adultery and/or child molestation remains hidden for nearly a lifetime until, at last, the unknowing spouse is confronted — while the sinner is still ignored. Such ‘do-gooders,’ the victims of molestation too, usually have been wrongfully accusing the unwary spouse all the time, and secretly slandering the name of the innocent spouse, not thinking that it was their duty to confront the abuser and involve the spouse according to Mt. 18:15-20. Attacking the blameless spouse without timeously speaking up, cannot be the Voice of the Holy Spirit. It is much more likely that this is the voice of jealousy, destruction, hated, malicious abuse, and vengeance.
Be careful of ‘confidants’ who gossip or force victims to expose repented sinners
One is not allowed to ‘expose’ sin, which will merely make one a tattle-tale and trouble-maker, causing unnecessary disruption and enmity between people. Of course, while victims of abuse need to work through the pain of loss, humiliation, and confusion, it is not ‘exposing sin’ or ‘slander’ to confide in fellow believers or friends, whom victims believe they can trust. Confidants then need to treat such ‘information’ with fidelity and in a supportive manner.
Nevertheless, victims must be wary of ‘confidants.’ I know of ‘confidants’ who cruelly violate the trust of victims by gossiping, using confidential confessions to slander and extort all kinds of selfish things from the victims. Some even threaten to ‘expose’ the victims’ repented abusers to spouses, children, family and society in general, to gain power over the victims. What’s more, such cruel people usually abuse Scripture uncontextually to force victims to expose repented spouses in public, while destroying the innocents involved to cause greater hurt and harm to the victims.
It is immoral and unlawful before God and society to ‘expose’ sin that does not affect other people, and which has been dissolved between the sinner and his or her victim(s,) according to Jesus’ process of restoring an unrepentant sinner, (Mt. 18:15-10.) In fact, if the sinner and his or her sins were dealt with according to Jam. 5:16, between the abuser and the abused; forgiveness was asked and given, and restitution was done by repentance, it would only be instigating mob-justice and illicit revenge to take the matter any further.
This is the time to say, “It is also written, love will cover a multitude of [forgiven, repented] sins,” which, exposed, can only needlessly harm and hurt those who are innocently involved, (Col. 4:5.) Truth, even Scriptural truth, without Godly wisdom or the leading of the Holy-Spirit, is a most destructive force. Hence, Jam. 3:17 teaches, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable [as in always speaking the truth in wisdom while following the Spirit,] gentle, willing to yield [not to the sin but willing to relent because of the precarious situation that affect the innocent,] full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace [truth and sincerity] by those who make peace [according to the moral law of love.]”
1 Pt. 4:7-8 refer to such difficult situations, saying, “...Be serious and watchful in your prayers [that the devil does not deceive you even by quoting Scriptures to do harm to yourself and others, instead of doing good.] And above all things have fervent [Godly, righteous, Holy Spirit led] love for one another, [even for sinners and especially for the innocent that are affected by their sin;] for [wisdom in Christ, showing His] love, will cover a multitude of [resolved, repented] sin, [which will not harm the innocent any longer.]”
‘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 [God’s] judgment. And whoever says to his [neighbor] ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council, [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 African law.)
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,’ etcetera. 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 judicial 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 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.) On top of that, mules are a bastard species; a cross between a horse and a donkey, and male mules in particular, are sterile. That abuser repeatedly ridiculed his victim with phrases directly from hell, which perfectly describe the word ‘Raca!’
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 demonic 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 worth, 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 of, and passive participation in 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 spirit 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 steal, kill and destroy, these incantations do not necessarily have to be said in the ritual language of outright witchcraft, (Jn. 10:10.) 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 the victim spiritually and emotionally.
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 calculated witchcraft!
Thus, Jesus seriously warned that abusers, who commit such murderous cursing, “Are in danger of hell fire:” God’s eternal punishment! (1 Jn. 3:15.)
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 cling to the hope that there can indeed be a relationship between them and their decidedly 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 then, all our suffering will be over, (1 Cor. 7:16.) God can save anyone’s soul and radically transform any life. But salvation and renewal are always based on personal choice, (Jn. 1:12-13.) The Spirit calls, convicts and leads. He never forces, oppresses and drives.
Following Christ, therefore, does not mean we must live in denial. Despite all the 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.)