Eph. 5:8-11…at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
I usually do not get personal on my blog, mostly because of this issue. And because personal issues are usually just that, personal. And most days it just seems too big…but those days are over. I am breaking the silence (and no doubt this will be long as there is a lot to say, sorry!). Real is real, and I know I am not the only woman to suffer emotional and spiritual abuse at the hands of her husband. So for those who do too, I will say that this is a very timely article for me (although I read it after the fact), as I have just given my own abusive husband the choice of continuing to live as he has been or to live with godly boundaries and to live within the marriage as the Christian that he claims he is (honest, God loving, repentant, humble, transparent), as God defines marriage, love, etc. Mine chose divorce, or as he put it “I can’t live that way so I guess I will have to let you go”. (Like he is doing me a big favor or something.) Abusers only take ladies, they are never willing to truly give, especially when it may cost them the ability to do as they please while keeping up an appearance of marriage to those outside of the home. Sadly, the only love they truly have is for themselves, not for God, not for you. Yes, it is a heartbreaking truth, but truth nonetheless that eventually has to be faced. Yes, it is incredibly hard, and if you are going through anything similar my heart breaks for you as well. It is a no win situation they put us in…we are to love them but never to enable their sin. As godly women we are to call them to repentance, and to the faith they profess. That price can be quite high.
Those who abuse in this way do not like you to have “normal” feelings (like you should somehow have no emotional reaction when constantly lied to, rejected, stonewalled, etc). They do not have normal feelings. But make no mistake, regardless of how they attempt to make you think (and feel…ironic isn’t it?) that your feelings are “bad” (and they punish you for having them and for expressing them), your feelings are NOT bad. God made us to feel. GOD feels. And in this stuff, He feels your pain, and He hates it. And God never punishes us for having and expressing our feelings. That is spiritual abuse. That is emotional abuse. God is never like that. And His word bears it out…think of David, for one. Passionate and a man after God’s own heart. Not because he was passionate, but because he was honest about his feelings, repentant when he sinned, and trusted in God. Be a female David. Leave those with dead consciences and hearts of stone to have to deal with it. Your feelings are not bad. You asking them logical and reasonable questions is not “bad”, they just do not like it. They do not like having to answer for their incongruities. That is them, not you. So it is not bad. God welcomes our questions and He is GOD…they are not. So don’t let them cause you to feel like you are somehow wrong to notice things that do not add up and that you ask questions. Not bad. Neither is your setting boundaries on your husband’s behavior. God sets boundaries. You know that. He has set them for all of us. We who are not false professors try to live within God’s boundaries, with the help of His Holy Spirit. God sets boundaries. His Law is boundary. He sets them for your out of bounds husband. That your husband rebels against being told to do anything and having boundaries set he knows not to cross is his rebellion against God as well, even though it seems like it is only against you. And make no mistake, he is continually rebelling against God. How he treats you is exactly how he treats God, and it shows how he takes grace as some kind of entitlement that he does not have to even give a hat tip to and can just claim for himself. He shows that when he does things like cut and run when required to live like a husband and a man who is actually regenerated and loves his wife like most men love. He is running from God as well…he cannot. Eternity will catch up with him. So, pray for him. In doing these things he demonstrates his damnation, and that is even more horrible than the things he has done to you (it wouldn’t be an issue were that not the case…he would be a truly God honoring and loving man, obedient to the word and protective of your heart and soul. Woman KNOW when they are honestly loved, so does God and he makes it plain in His word). In actuality though, you have to remember that the only one he is really hurting is himself. And that is one of the saddest things of all to watch. Think how God feels. His anger will not dissipate over time, it will only be satisfied through Christ and their genuine repentance and total surrender to Him as LORD, or through casting them into eternal Hell. So, pray for them! They are so lost. That said…
In this case, while it is true there can be no relationship with anyone who continually lies either overtly or covertly or both, and who is utterly narcissistic while they pretend they are “rebuilding trust” and seeking God, it is not what I would prefer (I would prefer a genuinely repentant and godly husband who reeks of honesty and who is capable of genuinely loving other people and who loves the Lord with all of his heart), even if there were the usual issues to work through. But I have no other option. I gave him the choice and he made it. And so let this serve as both a warning to you and a call…regardless of what they do, YOU live as God tells you to live. Do not add to your husbands sin with your own. God hates what they are doing even more than you or I do. He will care for you and He will avenge your husband’s sin…do not avenge it yourself, let God handle it. This side of life or next, God will have His righteous justice for every sin committed against Him, and this is against Him. They blaspheme Him. He also will avenge sin against you, the wife of their youth, covenanted to in marriage WITH God who takes marriage (He created it) and His covenants more than quite seriously.
So how does God feel about liars, about men such as these? He calls them the Devil’s children and He promises them their part in the lake of Fire. No relationship there. Truth is, if any man is truly repentant, they will impose boundaries upon themselves, strict accountability, and do whatever it takes to guard those so as not to sin against the Lord and against their wives. That’s what the word of God clearly shows in so many places, with so many examples. The word of God is truth. Fruit always shows, good or rotten, it shows. Believe it when you see it. And you will see it, one way or another. God has said that you would. He never lies. (If you want to really see the truth of their fruit…confront them, call them to actually change their wicked ways. But be sure you are prepared to see the truth of them, although nothing can really prepare a woman’s heart for the full view there). As for me, although my own husband has done and continues to do some incredibly wicked and sinful things, it has served to remind me of my own sin against our dear Lord. And maybe it is Him in me, I don’t know (it must be, on my own I am not like this at all…not my flesh, that’s for certain!), but regardless of all he has done and is doing, I love my husband and wish to see him truly saved whether he is with me or not. So I shall let him serve as a reminder to me what my own sin against the Lord must feel like to Him, and continue to seek His ways and walk with Him while keeping my husband in prayer. He is with me. He loves me. And He would rather that my husband repent and be saved too. May He see fit to draw him to genuine heartbreaking repentance and true surrender to Christ as Lord, reborn with w new heart and new desires. And may I remember to thank Him in this and to never lose sight of just how ugly and bilious and utterly vile sin really is.
And so, for those who are caught in this same kind of insanity of being abused by a guy who is insidious in how he accomplishes it (while professing “love” to you that is self love alone and a ravenous need for power), cowardly and ever changing what words and things really mean…a warning. Seems they do not take kindly to boundaries or to being called to having to actually live what they pretend to be. Do not be surprised when they throw you away so that they do not have to live with objective integrity and so they can continue to live any way they please. And do not be surprised when they choose their sin over you…they have been doing that all along. More than that, they choose their sin over God and over His mercy in offering them genuine salvation, rebirth through the biblical Jesus Christ. They spit on grace, regardless of what their lips profess or their deceived minds believe. As the word says, they crucify the Son of God all over again (Hebrews 6:4,6….For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.… The seed has fallen on rocky, bad soil.). It is about them, not about you. So when they attempt to blame the victim (you) and look like they are the victims, it is par for the course. God knows. That is all that matters. In the meantime, keep looking up…Jesus hates what they do even more than we do, and what they do, they do to HIM. He also knows the pain of the Judas kiss. And our Father doesn’t mess around. Be sure to stay on His narrow path no matter what your own abuser does or does not do, for we only answer for ourselves, and we love Him through obedience to His word. One more thing…so that you know the difference between how the abuser lives as opposed to a genuine Christian’s living (just to take note of truth, you cannot correct them, you cannot change them, only God can and if He does there will be no room for doubt, it will objectively show like a beacon)…
“The true Christian will walk in the light. That means they will live a style of life that reflects something of God’s character and reflects obedience or conformity to God’s will. We also saw that a true Christian will be sensitive to their own sin and that sensitivity will lead them to repentance and confession.
We have also seen that the true Christian will have a new relationship not only with God and not only with sin, but with God’s Word. That true Christian’s life is marked by habitual obedience.
Our obedience will not be perfect. A true Christian will sin. That is why he must be sensitive to sin. But the life of a true Christian will be marked by a new relationship, a real relationship with the Word of God. And then, lastly, we studied that the true Christian will walk like Jesus walked. That doesn’t mean that we will be able to do all
the miraculous things that Christ has done. It doesn’t mean that we will live a life of sinless perfection as he did. But it means that our style of walking, of living, of being, of talking, every aspect of our life will somehow be brought into conformity little by little, to the life of Jesus Christ, to the life of Christ.”~Paul Washer
(Also timely….shared by a friend on Facebook…He will never leave us nor forsake us beloveds. Never. He shall get us through whatever He allows, for our good and for His glory. And He will have glory out of it all. And we shall have His good. Keep praying for your abuser that he may be granted real repentance and rebirth, but do what the word says, and if the unbeliever (as no abuser is truly reborn in the biblical Christ, regardless of what they have convinced themselves of. The Emperor has no clothes. The abuser has no Holy Spirit, only the spirit of the god of this age) wishes to depart, let them go. And walk on with Christ.<3 )
Jeff Crippen’s review of Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Victory Over Verbal and Emotional Abuse, a booklet by June Hunt.
Why is this book so bad and even harmful to abuse victims?
1. It gives way too wide of a definition of abuse and as a result ends up making recommendations that might work in a difficult marriage (drawing of boundaries for instance) but which will NEVER work in a marriage to an abuser. Remember, always remember, the abuser is an ABUSER, not a person who sometimes commits abusive acts. The abuser is a person who has a profound sense of entitlement to power and control over another and who feels fully justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control. Boundaries are meant to draw a line and clarify consequences for crossing that line and they can work effectively with a “normal” person, training them toward more positive behaviors. But you are not going to “fix” an abuser by the use of boundaries. Furthermore if a victim draws boundaries with the kind of abuser we deal with, they may well get themselves killed. I may not have stated this as clearly as some of you could, or as Dr. George Simon or Barbara Roberts could. But I do know that Hunt primarily relies upon boundaries to “fix” the abuser and the relationship.
2. Hunt’s goal is to “fix” the abuser. For example, listen to her response to the question, “How can I deal with the hurtful things my husband says to me?” Answer:
When things are peaceful between the two of you, ask him, “If we could have a better marriage relationship with each other, would you want it?” WHEN HE RESPONDS AFFIRMATIVELY” [caps are mine so you don’t miss that phrase]…say, “I want that too. But sometimes we get into verbal battles that are not the best for us or for the kids. So I’ve decided just to step out of the room when that happens in the future and then come back later. I’m going to do this because spoken words cannot be taken back any more than toothpaste that has been squeezed out can be put back into the tube.” (pp 70-71).
Now, I have to ask June Hunt, what kind of person are you talking about? Because the kind of abuser, the ABUSER, that we deal with day in and day out would not let the victim get past “If we could have a better marriage…would you…”. And that’s it! Immediately he would start playing the mind games, announcing the accusations, and so on. June, this just ain’t gonna work with these dudes! In fact this kind of talk will be ammo in his arsenal and he will see it as weakness and a point to attack her on. June, you are not knowledgeable of the abuser mentality. You are assuming he is a GOOD person! Abusers are not good people.
3. Hunt is waaaaaay back in the dark ages in this field. Check it out (from page 88-9):
Anger Management is Mandatory. People who have difficulty with anger control may express their anger in two ways. If you vent your anger at someone else, your anger is explosive, but if you keep your anger bottled up, your anger is implosive. Explosive anger is outwardly abusive, while implosive anger is inwardly abusive. Both are damaging to relationships….Be aware [she writes to the abuser] when you are feeling irritated or aggravated. Take note when a sudden feeling of anger explodes in your mind. Discover your trigger points… Restrain angry thoughts and actions. Turn your thoughts toward Christ (asking him), “Lord, may I have your peace?”… Train yourself to keep a lid on your anger until your agitation is calmed down.
Crikeys!! One of the first things we learn about the abuser is that anger is NOT his problem! June, stop writing and teaching this stuff. All you are doing is giving false hope to the victim and full-blown ammunition to the abuser.
4. Finally (and I could give many more examples of bad teaching in this book), you notice in #3 above that Hunt is approaching the abuser as if he is a Christian, desirous of obeying Christ. That further pumps the gasoline of enablement on the fires of abuse.
This book definitely makes the list on our blog of resources that will not help an abuse victim or anyone desirous of learning about abuse.
Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression,
to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be their spoil,
and that they may make the fatherless their prey!