Abuse Victims Must Take Care Lest They Become Abusive
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (27) and give no opportunity to the devil.
Each one of us have important choices to make. Only we can make them — no one can do it for us. Whether we will follow Christ, or the devil. Will I submit my will to the Lord or remain autonomous and thus a law unto myself? Choices, you see.
One of the choices we all must make concerns how we are going to respond to evil perpetrated upon us. Will we respond as Christ would, or will we turn bitter and vengeful? No one can make that choice for us. But if we take the wrong road here, we can become increasingly like our abuser in a frighteningly short time. Someone put it this way — shamed people shame people. If we are not careful, shame very quickly morphs into anger and launches abuse “right back at ’em.” If you have been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that we are not talking here about insisting upon some unbiblical form of “forgiveness” that says we must reconcile or we aren’t forgiving, or that demands we not stick to consequences for the abuser if he says he is sorry. That is nonsense and we know it. But with all of that confusion swept aside, we all still need to decide. Will we let the sun go down on our anger and thus give the devil an opportunity to recruit us to his team, or not?
Listen to this quote from by a man named Erich Fromm who is quoted in M. Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie (remember, I don’t totally endorse Peck, but he still has some really good stuff in this book) –
“Our capacity to choose changes constantly with our practice of life. The longer we continue to make the wrong decisions, the more our heart hardens; the more often we make the right decisions, the more our heart softens — or better perhaps, comes alive. Each step in life which increases my self-confidence, my integrity, my courage, my conviction also increases my capacity to choose the desirable alternative, until eventually it becomes more difficult for me to choose the undesirable rather than the desirable action. On the other hand, each act of surrender and cowardice weakens me, opens the path for more acts of surrender, and eventually freedom is lost…. Most people fail in the art of living… because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide. They are not aware when life asks them a question, and when they still have alternative answers. Then with each step along the wrong road it becomes increasingly difficult for them to admit that they are on the wrong road, often only because they have to admit that they must go back to the first wrong turn, and must accept the fact that they have wasted energy and time.”
Peck goes on to say, “There are only two states of being: submission to God and goodness or the refusal to submit to anything beyond one’s own will — which refusal automatically enslaves one to the forces of evil. We must ultimately belong either to God or the devil.”
So, let us all take great care. When evil happens to us, we find ourselves at that fork in the road. The one way is the path to settled anger and bitterness which seeks personal revenge and strikes out at others. Call it, perhaps, Broadway. And then there is that other way, a bit narrow and bumpy, but it ends in healing and life. Whichever way we go, we will surely find that we become increasingly like the road we travel upon.