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HEALING BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
Face the facts and do your research to know your enemy — do not play with the roaring lion
Sincere believers ought to “pursue [Gospel] peace with all people as far as it depends on them,” (Rom. 12:18.) Nevertheless, Scripture does not suggest that the abused may cling to the hope that there can indeed be relationships between them and their unrepentant abusers. No matter who they are to the abused, light and darkness cannot be yoked together, (2 Cor. 6:14.) They are two completely opposites that influence humanity from the spirit world. So, do not attempt to closely associate with unbelievers and unrepentant “believers;” it cannot be done. Believers cannot fight, pull, scare, plead, or reason people out of darkness if they refuse to willingly heed the call of the Holy Spirit to come into the Light through faith in Jesus, (Jn. 16:8-15; 1 Pt. 2:9-10.) That is why the abused severely harm themselves by expecting God, despite the personal convictions of people, to violate His universal laws such as free will, if the righteous in Christ supposedly ‘just pray and fight hard and long enough.’ The whole world is called, (not carried as in the “camel method” of evangelization,) to redemption, salvation, and blessing in Christ, (Jn. 3:16.) Jesus and everything we are in Him can only be found by decidedly dying to sin and self to follow Him to the end, (Jn. 1:12-14; Mt. 24:12-13; 28:18-20.)
The degrees of abuse and the brilliance of abusers are so intricate and, (from our finite perspective,) often indiscernible, because their genius crimes are supernatural. All evil is orchestrated by demons that covertly work through humans. Hence, unrepentant abusers, in symbiosis with demons, “always” seem to “get away with everything” - on this side of the grave, anyway. So, it is only when the abused choose to see the truth of God’s Word and the reality and depth of the abuse, and understand who they are actually dealing with, that the strongholds of distortion, dependency, and deception that abusers have erected in their minds, will begin to fall. After that, the abused will be able to follow Jesus to freedom. Keep in mind that recovering from abuse is always a process. Failure will not nullify progress. What will keep the abused in chains, is the refusal to let go of deception and evil people, and thus, failing to strive to attain freedom and emotional healing in Christ.
Freedom begins by clearly distinguishing darkness from Light. The abused were brainwashed to believe it is okay that their abusers provoke and violently plunge them into their sewerage holes, to engage there with them in constant quarrels and physical fights. But peace and discord are two opposites on the scale of life, and living in indissolvable hostility is spiritually, emotionally, and physically detrimental to the abused. Thus, the abused must stop believing they can angrily go over to the dark side to fight, reason, and lay down themselves to be spit and trampled upon to “win abusers to Christ.” Jesus forbade us to “give what is holy to the dogs,” (Mt. 7:6.) Our “love,” faithfulness, forgiveness, patience, and above all the Gospel of Christ, are holy.
¨ Abusers live to provoke, brawl, and destroy to gain more and more control. They seek contenders, not rescuers and peacemakers. Abusers deliberately reject Jesus and the Truth of His Word to provoke their captives to do battle with them in their dark world of deception, arguments, and rages. There, they make the abused into their opponents in a filthy boxing ring, where they hit the living daylights out them on all levels of life. Satan and his demons are the satisfied spectators of that massacre where abusers voraciously feed their greed and grandiosity. So, Proverbs 26:4-5 commands, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you become [a narcissist] like him, [and help him to become] wise in his own eyes.”
Darkness cannot cast out darkness. From inside God’s Kingdom of Light; standing immovable in His Truth, and managing their emotions in Holy-Spirit power, the abused must take a stand against all the strategies of the devil, who causes this madness through those that surrender themselves to him, (2 Cor. 10:3-5.) We cannot conquer the lunacy of people but we can, by God’s grace, “withstand” evil to remain in control of our emotions. When we loose our tempers, abusers get to choose the battle ground where they always win. When the abused stand up for their freedom, they must understand they are not merely withstanding deceived human beings. That is why the abused must research the facts and arm themselves with the bare truth about themselves, situations, and abusers, to know their true enemy and his strategies.
¨ Jesus did not give us a mandate to “conquer” darkness. All darkness was conquered at the cross when Jesus won the war against Satan and all his demons, (Col. 2:9-15.) We do not make war but “battle” against these terrorists, who creep into our lives and souls, (our thoughts and emotions,) to plunder and murder us, (1 Jn. 3:15.)
The only way to “overcome” abusers and break free from their webs, is to completely disengage from the fight and flee as far as possible from them. Jesus said, “If you bring [My] peace to a city, [person, or situation,] and there is not someone on whom [My] peace can rest, let it return to you… And as you depart, shake their dust [or dirt] from your feet…” (Mt. 10:13-15, 23; 7:6.) This means, do not try and plead or drag them into the Light. Unrepentant abusers have refused the grace of God. The abused must set them free in His hands, (which is the sum of forgiveness,) and simply move on with their lives without anyone being able to stop or divert them again.
While we must “do good” to even our enemies for the possible salvation of their souls, we dare not fraternize with the devil who walks about like a roaring lion, and so, give him a “foothold” in our minds by submitting to his control and enticements. The warning stands tall that we “become slaves to those [evil ones] whom we obey,” (Rom. 6:16-23.) Instead, we must flee from evil people; contending for our spiritual, emotional, 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 is impossible. Paul firmly declared 1 Cor. 15:33 that sick relationships will lead to our multilevel 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 darkness. Paul does not promote divorce under such conditions, IF the unsaved spouse is willing to live a holy life with the saved spouse, and not tempt and plunge the saved spouse into sin!
FOLLOWING JESUS TO FREEDOM
Prepare for resistance and take care of yourself first
In Matthew 18:6-9, before Jesus began to describe the process to recover both the abused and their abusers from the edge of this treacherous abyss, (Mt. 18:15-20,) He called out “Woe!” to those who reject His discipline; invoking His Devine Judgment upon them.
Knowing the hardness of the psychopathic heart, and the stubbornness of its unrepentant soul, Jesus warned the abused that there is a great possibility their abusers will never repent, (1 Cor. 7:15-16.) Although all things are possible, chances are, abusers will not, out of the blue one day, bow to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, come fall before the abused, confess all their mutilating and murderous crimes to them; sincerely ask their forgiveness, and show their repentance by doing restitution, (Jam. 5:16-18; Lev. 6:1-5.) (E.g., tell the truth where they lied, be faithful where they were unfaithful, give back what they have stolen, make peace where they caused enmity, etcetera.)
And so, in His instructions on dealing with abusers, Jesus commanded the abused to first take care of their own lives, saying, “Take heed to yourselves!” Paraphrased, “Start with yourselves; you must take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in all sincere believers!” (Mt. 18:15-20; 1 Ths. 5:23; 1 Cor. 6:15-20.)
Jesus Alone is the Truth, Life, and Way, and no one comes to the deliverance, salvation, peace, comforting, and healing of the Father, except through Him! (Jn. 14:6.) Jesus’ Word is true under all circumstances. Jesus Himself has promised, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will never pass away.” So, “In Him [Alone] we breathe and move, and have our being!” (Acts 17:28.) Hence, our Lord did not give us His Word to make life difficult, but so that we can live a life of spiritual and emotional freedom in Him. “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!” (2 Cor. 3:17.) 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, (1 Jn. 5:18-19.)
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.’ While following Him in obedience to His Word, we need to remember to stay prayerfully at Jesus’ feet through it all.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. If we are willing to trust Him all the way, He will always lead us to safety.
Step A: Let us deal with our own ‘hang-ups!’
As seen above, we cannot deal with anyone’s sin and abuse against us, if we do not first deal with, or “take care of” ourselves, (Mt. 7:3-8.) May our Father in heaven give us all the grace to “remove all specks from our eyes,” so we can see clearly when we look at ourselves, other people, situations, and above all, the Truth about Him and His Word!
“Seeing clearly” or being fair, humble, sober, sensible, practical, or levelheaded about everything is the first step to healing from all forms of abuse and other suffering. Jesus said, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples. [Therefore,] you will [increasingly] know the truth; and the truth shall set you free!” (Jn. 8:31-32.) In the context of abuse, confusion, trauma bonding, post traumatic stress, hopelessness, and everything related to it, this translate into, “Nothing but the truth about everything can set us free!”
Therefore, we should first ask our Father in heaven to reveal to us the truth about ourselves and our own sinful behavior, misconceptions, and emotions such as unrighteous anger, hatred, hard-heartedness, and revenge. May God give us all the grace to never allow trauma and natural anger to escalate into hard-hearted unforgiveness, (Lu. 17:3-5.)
Then, we must seek Him to show us the truth about “the great and unknown things we do not know [or understand,]” as well as the truth about all our situations, so we can know His will, and act according to the Truth in Holy Spirit leading, (Jer. 33:3.)
A1) 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 in the world!” 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 abused 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.
As this example of abuse illustrates, it is a self-destructive sin to believe lies about ourselves. If criticism of our behavior were true; if we are lazy, 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 or crimen injuria that is condemned by God and a judicial court, (Mt. 5:21-22.) We must reject and disregard such malicious onslaughts on our humanity and God-given abilities with all our might. Jesus warned in Jn. 10:10, “The devil does not come [to you] except to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that [everyone who sincerely believes in Me,] may have life more abundantly [than we they can ever think!]” Jn. 8:12, “If you follow Me [as My disciple,] you will never walk in darkness, but have the Light of life [abiding in you,]” (1 Jn. 2:20.)
God did not merely ‘love’ or felt sentimental about the world – “He SO loved the WHOLE world, [every one of us personally,] that He [acted upon the problem and] gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who [personally] believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life!”
We can and must believe that everyone of us is SO valuable and ‘loved’ by God, He gave Himself in the human form of the Man Jesus to suffer, die, and rise from the dead especially for you and me! (Jn. 3:16.)
May God help us all to remember that in His holy estimation, we are perfect just the way He made us! Psalm 149:14 declares, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well!” Isaiah 44:2, “[God] made you and formed you from the womb… I have called you by your name. You are Mine!”
Someone said, “God never made any rubbish.” Filth and rubbish began to pile up on the earth because of humanity’s state or spiritual position of sin, lostness, and cursedness without God, (Gal. 3:10-14.) We turn ourselves into ‘rubbish’ or as Jesus said, “Thorns and thistles that cannot bear [anything good such as] figs,” by believing and following Satan, the pervertor and destroyer of everything good.
By human standards we might not be rich, good looking, or clever enough; but praise God; He will never leave us nor forsake us, as He supplies all our needs! May God grant us all His grace to, despite our circumstances, be grateful for what we do have, and use all our God-given talents and everything else He had entrusted to us, to serve and glorify His Holy Name above all else!
A2) Realize that you had been the victim!
This heading does not pertain to the abused, who turned themselves into unrepentant abusers by seeking revenge not resolve. This discussion relates to people who have been conditioned through gaslighting techniques and other forms of physical and psychological abuse to believe that they are the abusers, while the true abusers hide behind a victim-façade.
As per the example at the beginning of this study, a woman desperately sought help for her ‘unreasonable jealousy’ of her husband. She took full responsibility for supposedly ‘destroying’ their marriage, because he repeatedly told her she was ‘sick,’ ‘demented,’ ‘senseless,’ and if they were to divorce, ‘everything would be her fault,’ as he is ‘breaking his back’ at earning a decent living for them, and ‘all she can do, is nag, complain, and jealously control him.’
However, in reality, he was a heavy drinker, who constantly embarrassed her and the children in public. At her insistence, he promised a ‘thousand’ times to take control of this destructive habit, but grandiosely failed every time. She suspected that he was also a womanizer as he eyed nearly all females, sometimes flirted openly, (which humiliated, hurt and angered her deeply,) and some of her friends complained that he had made suggestions to them. When confronted, he aggressively denied everything and thundered that she is insane and making his life a misery with her jealousy and false accusations. When she retaliated in desperation and anger, he violently assaulted her. Because she could never find proof of adultery, loved him, and was dependent upon his provision for her and the children, she always stayed on. She also described him as a workaholic, who left at five in the morning and came home at 10 o’clock at night; supposedly working weekends and most public holidays as well. Although he was a good provider, he left her to tend to all the needs their family and take care of the household and garden as well, while still working at her own career.
In counseling, she was very relieved to hear that every relationship is a two-way street, and such a problematic marriage rarely has only one culprit. What’s more, jealousy, as any other emotional problem, has many causes and catalysts. Therefore, the counselor insisted that her husband must join his so-called ‘jealous’ wife in counseling.
The man firmly refused with the excuse that “he cannot even talk to his own wife; how would he be able to speak to a stranger?” As usual, the wife accepted his lame excuse and again overlooked his clever manipulation. To offer consolation, he solemnly promised he would work on their relationship from then on. The wife believed him again and struggled along, promising that she, in turn, would try everything in her power to get her ‘jealousy’ under control.
After carrying on for years, flirting and scanning their environment for potential sex partners, it turned out that the so-called “husband” was an alcoholic not just a ‘heavy drinker,’ as well as a secret drug addict, child molester, and serial adulterer. While the ‘whole’ world knew what he did, as usual, the good spouse was the last to know. This evil man, pretending to be the perfect example of kind heartedness, was a dangerous cross between a grandiose narcissist and a covert, “passive aggressive” narcissist, who, through all of their married life, constantly made a rubbish heap of their marriage and flushed all her love, trust, respect, goodness, fidelity, and continual forgiveness down the drain.
Apart from agonizing nearly a lifetime over non-stop, underhanded abuse, such maltreatment is always multi-tiered. Thus, chronic abuse adversely affect the way the abused perceive God, themselves, other people, life in general, feelings such as love, institutions such as marriage, and other relationships. For instance, the spouses of serial adulterers will eventually see most men or women as immoral, and a threat to their safety and sanctity. When the callous treason, lovelessness, and rejection of adulterers finally dawn on spouses, they will have a hard time to define their so-called “marriages” in terms of romance, fidelity, acceptance, and a safe harbor. This is because the soul-destroying crime of adultery is hatred and emotional murder, (1 Jn. 3:15.) Adultery instantly demolishes God’s holy marriage covenant, and one of the deepest and most serious forms of ‘love’ humanity is capable of, (Mt. 19:4-10.)
¨ Although none of us are without sin, real victims of abuse should never allow abusers to obliterate them with false accusations and projective guilt. It can never be true that ‘it is all your fault’ unless you are also a narcissist. Real abuse can never be the victim’s fault, (except for tolerating and thus allowing it to escalate and continue unrepentantly,) unless the victim is not the victim at all, but a clear-thinking, psychopathic dominator or dominatrix, (the dominant male or female partner in a sado-masochistic relationship,) disguised as the victim. Such so-called ‘passive’ dominators secretly act out disturbed and even life-threatening role reversals. They are incredibly troubled people, who dominate their victims for sexual and other gratification, and especially emotional and physical control.
The real injured parties never choose such intolerable situations of entrapment. They never willfully escalate their own dreaded abuse or spiritual and emotional (even physical) imprisonment; although abuse nearly always continues and escalates through their trauma bonding and ‘passivity.’ Neither do real victims intend to continue that misery to the end – whatever horrible end that might be. Truly abused people always long for, and work towards an escape, a solution to the problem, and closure, so that they can find peace and a new life.
The actual abusers, on the other hand, are never interested in ending their abuse or letting the abused go free. (This is especially true for victims turned vengeful abusers, who wear the I-am-the-victim mask!) They have no conscience, feelings of guilt, shame, or remorse. E.g., although unrepentant spouses might cry a river of tears when exposed, their emotional tantrums will be just another manipulative trick to regain control of the situation, get their own way, and continue and escalate their abuse. Thus, the abused dare not treat abuse as ‘forgiven and forgotten’ until they have obeyed Jesus’ Moral-Law commandments to resolve the matter to aid their own healing and to bring the abuser to repentance, should the abuser eventually choose to obey the Word of God and surrender to the conviction of the Spirit.
Step B: Realize that God loves both you and your abuser
In God’s eyes, sin is sin in young and old. Physical murder is just as serious as spiritual and emotional murder. Both fornicators and liars will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Everyone will reap what they have sown. God has no favorites. Jesus Is Complete Righteousness. Thus, He forbade us to destroy our abusers and commanded us to restore them to Him and to us, “as far as it depends on us.” Yet, we have no say in their calculated, willful decisions and actions. When we have done our duty to show them ‘agape,’ our hands are clean and we remain in a right standing with God in Jesus.
Jesus warned in Matthew 5:21-24, “[Under the Old Testament Covenant,] murderers were in danger of the judgment. [But under the New Covenant of grace, which centers on the ‘heart’ and mind, nothing changes about the Moral Law that governs all behavior, Jn. 13:34.] Whoever is angry with his brother without a [good] cause, is [also a murderer and] in danger of judgment, [as the Moral Law judges him now, (1 Jn. 3:5.) Therefore, to spare that ‘unlawfully’ angry person God’s judgment,] before you bring your prayers and worship to God’s throne, first be reconciled to him [as far as it depends on you,] and then come offer your gift.” This means, our obedience can save a sinner as well as ourselves from God’s wrath, as we would sin against him and God, should we refuse to restore him even in his silly, unlawful anger.
B1) Private rebuke is a Scriptural commandment and not an option
Jesus broadened His commandment in Matthew 5:21-24 when He again ordered the restoration of those who sin against us in Luke 17:1-5 and in Matthew 18:15-20, “If [someone seriously and/or unrepentantly] sins against you, first go and tell him his fault between you and him alone…”
Most believers and even unbelievers choose to disobey this vital commandment to restore broken relationships. Maybe this is so because believers as well as sinners see honest confrontation as ‘trouble making’ and ‘fighting,’ while it is obedience to God and agape “love” for abusers. They also fear that abusers will not take kindly to rebuke — and this perception is not groundless. Therefore, I believe we should tread carefully if this step endangers our physical safety. In this case, we should rather talk in public than in private - for instance, in a restaurant. Nevertheless, let the necessity of this step be fully explained by Lev. 19:17-18, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, [venting or expressing your anger and resentment in a grown-up, Godly manner,] and not bear sin because of him…” As we have seen, Godly dialogue has the power to eliminate the reoccurring problem of abuse, and, if the abuser chooses to repent, save the relationship.