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ABUSE IS SEATED IN UNREPENTANCE
It is foolish to believe that abusers will ‘miraculously change’ without surrendering to Jesus. No one can deliver themselves from sin; especially not from sinful character traits, which they have been “training” to perform to perfection over a whole lifetime, (Rom. 3:9-31; 2 Pt. 2:14.) For instance, even if alcoholics decide to ‘quit’ the bottle, once sober, these people, still set in sin, will still be exactly the same persons, who cunningly manipulated everyone; constantly lied about everything, and shouted and swore at everyone when they could not get their own way. That’s why ‘difficult’ people, who never truly accept and follow Jesus will only grow worse with age, as their appalling nature and behavior also keep on ‘maturing.’
Scripturally, not even God, Who can do anything, changes headstrong people without their consent and constant, active participation. To escape the dreadful condition of constant abuse, damaged people need to realize that they need much more than meaningless threats, a shoulder to cry on, and empty promises. When confronted by unrepentant abusers, they need to implement drastic, personal character and lifestyle changes, as cough drops cannot cure lung cancer. Someone wisely said that mainly, “God changes our circumstances by changing us.” If victims fail to “withstand the devil” actively and steadfastly, they will slip into an abyss of violence and other types of crimes against them. Abuse always begets more abuse, as all other types of sin do, “when good people do nothing.”
However, I realize that not all victims of abuse are able to follow Jesus’ commandments to deal with abusers, as children, teenagers and even adults with absolutely no where to go, have to remain under the control of their abusers. This does not mean that victims should keep on submitting to abuse; that they should give their consent to abusers by hiding and keeping quiet, because they are too afraid and ashamed to speak out. For instance, there are cases where captured children, who were completely deprived of an outside life, finally got the chance to escape the unimaginable torment by running to the neighbours for help. Even children at barely an accountable age, are often able to elude abusers, who have no authority over them; do not live with them, or do not endanger their safety.
Yet, humanity submits so readily to abuse. The problem is that passively, and actually in violation of Jesus’ clear commandments concerning abuse and abusers, victims often fail to flee when it is impossible to fight, even if flight is possible. When the opportunity to escape presents itself, they choose to stay because they are dependent upon, and even addicted to their abusers in various ways. Therefore, millions of victims spend their lives in humiliation, anger and fear, without realizing that Jesus does not condone either the abuse, or the victim’s passive acceptance of the abuse.
God works in many miraculous ways to help and protect the innocent, but the old saying, “God helps those who are willing to help themselves,” remains true. God will most probably never restrain that abuser until the victim speaks out against the abuse, and follows Jesus’ clear commandments in dealing with the abuser. God does work supernaturally, but He chooses to work through the Scriptural obedience of people. Still, people fold under oppression, and fall into temptation to sin by holding on to anger, guilt, and unforgiveness, instead of dealing actively, as far as possible, with the problem. Victims put the “temple of the Holy Spirit,” (their human spirits, souls or minds, and physical bodies, 1 Ths. 5:23,) in danger by allowing pathological people to wreak havoc on everything they are supposed to be in God’s eyes. They disregard Jesus’ commandments to “take heed unto themselves not to be deceived;” and to be “vigilant” in obeying the truth of Scripture, which is our guideline against all the schemes of the evil one. Knowing or unknowingly, these victims expose themselves to escalating abuse through their disobedience to the protective commandments of Jesus, and often suffer complainingly but willingly, believing that their ‘hell on earth’ is either God’s punishment, or most unbelievably but true, His “will” for them! (Read Mt. 18:15-17.)
In fact, the dreadful cycle of abuse can never be broken unless either the abuser or the victim, (and hopefully both) repent from their abusive habits, and from the sinful tendency to passively allow abuse.
Abuse is always an escalating process
Once abuse begins to take hold on a victim’s life, it never stops with just a few misdemeanors. If a girl or guy is in debt before the marriage, they will bankrupt their spouses once the honeymoon is over. If a man lifts a hand against his girlfriend, he will batter her when they are married. If a guy flirts with other girls (and especially when his fiancée is present, and vice versa,) he will be a womanizing adulterer through their entire married life, unless he accepts and follows Jesus, and really repents. If a person drinks too much alcohol during dating, that person will abuse alcohol in marriage later on.
Abuse is always an escalating process, which, in the end, produces paralyzing fear, numbness of mind, tremendous hopelessness, and entrapment. All forms of abuse will eventually oppress the victim’s spirit and hinder healthy communication with God and other people. Ultimately, abuse will control the victim’s soul (or mind) with the sickening symptoms of depression, and attack the victim’s body with disease. Hypertension, Migraine, Arthritis, Diabetes, Ulcers, and Asthma are all such stress-related illnesses. Once Satan has accomplished submission to chronic abuse, he pushes his victims into complete acceptance and passivity – entombing them alive in a smothering coffin, from which victims rarely get free. In this place of utter desperation, victims of abuse usually forfeit their will to fight, flee, or live. Suicide then seemingly becomes the only option to resolve the situation - which, of course, is never the case!
Inherited and learned patterns of abuse
Sinful patterns of abuse, abusive mindsets, and evil slogans and catchphrases easily latch on to victims and bystanders alike, slowly turning everyone involved into abusers themselves. The sickness of abuse is highly contagious. Thus, all of humanity sinfully abuses someone or something sometime.
For instance, in strict [especially Calvinist] patriarch societies, children are ruled not raised, and usually, excessive beating is the only form of disciple these parents know. As a result, a husband raised in a patriarch home might love his wife, but still cling to his inherited misogynist view that all women are subjected to all men just because they are female. As a result, the husband might claim ‘male privileges’ such as the sin of adultery while demanding the slavish submission of his wife.
Also, many societies, raised their children to believe that animals do not feel pain, fear, loneliness, or hunger, and assume such power over these defenseless creatures as to cruelly beat, starve, chain and crowd them into pens without water, food and protection from the heat or cold. Yet, God created animals so that Adam could take care of them, not abuse them, (Gen. 1:30-31; 2:15, 19-20.)
Nevertheless, without condoning or lessening the power of learned patterns of abuse, we can say that our own constant, deliberate disobedience to God’s commandments is the catalyst, which separates ‘unintentional’ offenders from deliberate, willful abusers. This means, we were (or are) all abusers in some way, but as soon as we are enlightened to the fact, we have to repent and turn to God for forgiveness repentance. However, unteachable and arrogant abusers completely disrespect God and mostly, disregard all life on earth except their own. Such cruel egotists will always refuse to repent from repeated offenses and extreme cruelty.
Will God kill that abuser to end the torture?
Can we say that abusers, (murderers, rapist, child molesters, especially) are ‘more evil’ than other sinners, and that therefore, God will kill them if they don’t repent, and so deliver us from their torture? Well, if God starts killing unrepentant sinners, people would suddenly become “as scarce as hen’s teeth.”
When we study the Bible in context, we find that some sins are indeed more serious than others, (Mt. 18:6-7.) However, ALL types of sin, which we refuse to “put to death” to follow Christ, will be our own bad choice to miss a relationship with Jesus and eventually, eternal life in heaven. Paul warned in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and in Rom. 1:29-32, “Do not be deceived: Neither [unrepentant] fornicators, nor idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners… [murderers, tongue-murderers, liars,] backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, and also those who approve of those who practice them, will [ever] inherit the Kingdom of God, [because actually, they are all] deserving of [eternal] death,” (Rom. 1:29-32.)
If all our attempts to bring savvy to sinners fail, because abusers harden their hearts against the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and reject God’s mercy of Scriptural confrontation and discipline, we can be sure that the righteous Judge will punish these stone-hearted maniacs. However, it is not the will of God to simply kill unrepentant sinners. Instead, “it is His desire that ALL people should [choose to] be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, [and willing repentance from sin,]” (1 Tim. 2:4.)
In Luke 9:53-55, when the Samaritans refused Jesus’ Gospel of grace, James and John asked, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as [Old Testament Covenant] Elijah did?” Jesus rebuked them, saying, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
And in Lu. 13:1-5, “Do you think that these Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, [and those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them,] were worse sinners than all others, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent [from your own false, religious perceptions, and deceitful religious piety, and other secret immoral sins,] you will ALL likewise perish.”
May God have mercy on us all to stay at His feet and obey His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit! Confession of and repentance from all forms of sin are integral parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hence, our own obedience to the TRUTH of God’s Word might not help others, who choose to persist in sin, but it will certainly keep us safe from the dangerous deceit and control of the evil one, (see 1 Jn. 5:18-19!)
ABUSERS ARE CUNNING SHAPE-SHIFTERS AND ALWAYS HAVE TWO FACES
The warped minds of abusers, (vengeful victims turned abusers too,) are fully set on ruling, controlling, dominating, and dehumanizing their victims to use them to their own advantage. However, inwardly, that macho, clever, ‘in control’ exploiter is a pitiful and fearful coward.
Abusers can only prey on the innocent, unwary, naive, weak, and defenseless. To trick their families and other helpers into supporting them, abusers do not hesitate to shift their role from dominator to victim, (or from real victims turned unforgiving abusers,) to gain the sympathy and support of socially esteemed and even highly intelligent people. In fact, abusers will use anyone who can assist them in maintaining and extending their hold on the victims, whom they have in their sights.
Abusers hardly ever succeed in controlling those who are psychologically stable and/or physically stronger than they are. These are the people who withstand, fight and expose unrepentant abuse. Thus, those who say ‘no’ to them and refuse to support their lies and to submit to their control, usually become their most hated and targeted enemies. Nevertheless, abusers will control all those who are unable to discern their true character and secret intentions. With unfathomable depth to their cruelty and malice, they harness all those whom they can use, because such unsuspecting victims are not vigilant against deception, without knowledge of their evil ways, or the truth of God’s Word. This also applies to hatred for perceived passive protectors, who, blamed secretly, might never know why they are mercilessly haunted for crimes they have no clue of, (read Rom. 1:28-32.)
Abusers always have two faces. First, they have the good and cheerful face, which they present to friends, family, and outsiders. Then, they have the face of raw hatred and cruelty, which they show to their victims. Therefore, should an abuser be exposed, his or her friends and family often refuse to believe this ‘kind,’ ‘generous’ person could be capable of such incredible wickedness.
Scarily, only the victims of abusers are able to tell what really lies beneath the ‘good-natured’ faces of their tormentors. Yet, often, not even their victims know what these people of debased minds and morals are really capable of, as the power of abuse always comes from evil entities, operating from a sea of lies and deception!
‘DO-GOODERS’ AND THEIR BRAINWASHING TECHNIQUES
All unrepentant abusers commonly make up either wild stories, entirely fabricated, (stories made up from outright lies,) or stories made up from twisted, embroidered, and uncontextual truth, which they quite believably present as ‘the honest truth.’ Most of them also live double lives with multiple or double identities. Hence, men who keep ‘mistresses’ without the knowledge of their wives, women who keep more than one man, or conmen who take on false identities to scam people out of their hard-earned money, are all able to play their different roles so convincingly, even those closest to them might not realize that they are unscrupulous imposters and dangerous deceivers.
Such people have the demonic ability to pretend that they are someone else, that they are super rich while they are abysmally poor deceivers, and so forth. Then, there are ‘do-gooders’ in families and among friends, who are isolating their victims from society by bombarding not only their victims, but also all outsiders with their lies until they have blinded and confused even their victims to believe their falsehoods. In the role of do-gooders, (usually religious do-gooders,) abusers usually present themselves as ‘good-hearted’ idols, whose attention, acceptance and affection are desirable, but only obtainable by playing their demonic games according to their demented rules.
“CHRIST CALLED HIS DISCIPLES TO A SELFLESS LIFE; THEY MUST NEVER PROTEST ABUSE!” - “CAN THAT BE SCRIPTURAL?”
The Lord Jesus Christ did not call His disciples to suffer and die for continuous, demonic abuse. Jesus called His disciples to be willing to suffer if He so wills - in His own time, for the truth of the Gospel, and to the glory of God. However, the notion that Jesus’ disciples should not utter a ‘negative’ or ‘condemning’ word; never question false teaching and other forms of abuse, or try to defend themselves when persecuted, attacked and abused, is entirely against God’s commandments to protect the innocent and the helpless – and to love even our sinning ‘neighbour’ as ourselves. God's Word clearly commands victims of abuse to flee constant persecution and to expose unrepentant abusers. Victims of abuse must call abusers to account for their unconfessed and continued sin. Moreover, in both the Old and the New Testaments, God’s Word commands that victims of abuse should, in cases such as theft and public slander, demand restitution for the serious crimes of abuse, (Mt. 10:23; Job 29:11-13; Eph. 5:11; Rev. 2:10; Lev. 5:1; Lev. 6:1-5.)
Jesus and His disciples did defend their human and legal rights
Jesus Christ, the Sinless Lamb of God, went to the cross willingly to pay for the sinful and cursed state of all humanity. No one killed Jesus; He willingly laid down His life in the place of all of lost and cursed humanity, (see Gal. 3:10-14.) Hence, Jesus endured the high priest’s unlawful inquisition without protest. However, when an officer violated the law by hitting Jesus in His face, Jesus objected, “If I have spoken evil, then bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me [contrary to the law]?” - (Jn. 18:23.)
Paul also defended his lawful rights when struck on the mouth by the high priest Ananias, saying, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” (Acts 23:2-3.) When the magistrates tried to cover their abuse of Paul in secret, he said, “They have beaten us openly… [for all to see] and have thrown us into prison. And now, do they put us out [of their prison] secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out,” (Acts 16:27.) Scripture warns, all those who desire to live fruitful lives in Christ will be persecuted. That is why, when under timely persecution, we have to endure persecution for the sake of advancing the Kingdom of God and to glorify God’s Name. In such trying times, we should have “faith and patience to endure in persecutions and tribulations… For it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you and to give you who are troubled rest when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…” (1 Ths. 1:4-8.)
However, even timely persecution should vary between times of rest and hardship. A soldier does not fight every moment of his life for the rest of his life. According to Scripture, even God-allowed persecutions have Biblical options, as we will see. None should passively tolerate acute or chronic crimes such as rape, molestation, incest, adultery, lies, slander, and so forth. Such soul-and-life-obliterating delinquency, which millions upon millions of innocent victims of abuse are suffering, are definitely not persecution for the sake of Jesus’ glory, or His truth. Lifelong, remorseless and especially persistent abuse can never aid the advancement of God’s Kingdom, or our spiritual growth in Christ!
As a result, victims of abuse must prayerfully seek Scriptural recourse against their abusers. As we will see during the course of this study, victims of abuse may, and in fact, must object to the torturous maltreatment of their oppressors, while calling their abusers to account for their crimes as far as possible to stop the abuse.
Defending ourselves does not constitute revenge! To hold ourselves and our sinning ‘neighbours’ accountable for unrepentant abuse, is our moral duty and an important pillar of God’s Kingdom of Righteousness and Truth, as described in the parable of the talents and Jesus' separation between the sheep and the goats, (read Mt. 25:31.) God’s Word is protective as well as punitive. For both these purposes, God gave us His Word to obey. Usually, God does not intervene as long as we fail to do our duty by obeying His contextual commandments. The Spirit will speak to us to lead us into obedience to Him according to the truth of His Word, but to follow Him always remains our own choice and responsibility.
God commanded us never to take revenge on even the worst criminal, (with the exception of taking completely unrepentant, criminal abusers to court, should Jesus’ Scriptural commandments to resolve confrontation and discipline fail,) because vengeance, or final judgment belongs to Him, not to us, (Lev. 19:18; Rom. 12:19.)
“LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR!” “EASY PEASY!” “REALLY?”
The Word of God commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength — and your neighbour as yourself.” When Jesus gave this commandment to love our ‘neighbours’ as ourselves, He was not just referring to the person next door. He referred especially to our spouses, the members of our own households, our fellow believers, co-workers, extended family, and friends.
In a perfect world, Jesus' commandment would have been easy to observe.
However, in the broken world we live in, honest disciples of our Lord would admit that it is often a difficult commandment to obey. It is easy to forget someone who offends us on the highway. However, our ‘neighbours’ are generally those closest to us, who hurts and harms us the most. Those, whom we love with all our hearts, but fear with all our souls because of their dreadful destruction wrought on our bodies, souls, and lives. In short, our ‘neighbours’ are those next to us at any given time, whom we have to love by Royal Law. So, how do we do it?
God’s Royal Law is Also a Two-Way Street
The Moral or Royal Law of Love, as described in both the Old and the New Testaments, is not a sick sentimental feeling, seated in displaced loyalty to abusers that never repent - such as a father who molested his children but demand undivided loyalty nonetheless. Neither does God’s Moral law of love sanction a demonic ‘love of self,’ which not only nurtures our own idolatry, but also the sin of others. God’s Moral Law is defined as “sober,” thoughtful, and active obedience to the Moral commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. Contrary to false doctrines that promote ascetics, [self-denial for religious discipline to earn salvation, redemption and blessing,] Jesus did not command His disciples to love our neighbours more (or less) than ourselves, but “AS” ourselves. To explain this commandment, Jesus said, “JUST as you want men to do to you, [because you have to love yourself,] you also have to do to them, [because you also have to love them as yourself…]” (Lu. 6:31.)
According to Jesus’ Royal Law of Love, we should expect others to treat us as He has commanded us to treat them. All relationships are two-way streets of give and take; take and give. The Moral Law of God is a two-way street, designed to build our relationship with God, (we receive everything from God and willingly give Him ourselves in return,) and our human relationships with one another, based on obedience to the truth of Scripture.
How then, would abusers like to be deceived, condemned, raped and rejected without constructive rebuke, or the right to defence? Yet, most often, it is exactly these unscrupulous abusers, who rely on the mercy and forgiveness of God and others, and even attend church diligently, while they themselves do no show their ‘neighbours’ a slither of the grace, which they have received from God and from others. Sadly, such deceived abusers do not know that Jesus “desires mercy” and not outward religious sacrifice, such as church attendance, as described in 1 Sam. 15:21-24. Showing the ‘mercy’ of personal repentance and forgiveness towards others is the highest form of “loving our neighbours and even our enemies AS ourselves,” because we also expect them to treat us this way.
Such obedience to the Moral Law of Love constitutes the whole of God’s New Testament Covenant in Christ. Disobedience to His Moral Law will therefore causes God to “deliver” haughty, selfish, and relentless abusers that will not repent from unforgiveness and self-centeredness, “to the torturers until they too, have paid all that was due to them,” (Mt. 12:7: 18:23-34.) Simply because God is the just Judge, Who shows no favouritism or unfair preference, it is not God’s will that anyone should suffer abuse continuously without any choice.
Jesus knew that those closest to us can deal us deadly blows, and so, He warned, “Do you think that I came to give [outward] peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. [Mt. 10:34 calls this ‘division’ “the sword.”] For… I have come to set an [unbelieving, disobedient, harsh] man against his father [or son] and a man’s [worst] enemies will be those of his own household. But he who loves father or mother… more than Me is not worthy of Me…” (Lu. 12:51-53.) Instead of passively allowing our beloved fathers, mothers, spouses, children, brothers, and friends to commit emotional murder on us by looting our characters and ruining our emotions and lives, we should stand up to them as God commanded in the true context of His Word. To submit to their nonstop abuse, is in fact idolatry, (loving and honouring