Abuse and God: We Must Cling to the Goodness of God or We are Undone
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.
Psalms 34:1-8 ESV
(1) Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(2) My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
(3) Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
(4) I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
(5) Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
(6) This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
(7) The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
(8) Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
The Lord is good. He does good for those who fear Him. He is even more than good. He is goodness itself.
The religion of the Pharisees teaches us otherwise and to the degree that we have been infected with its leaven, we are suffering. We must cling to the truth that the Lord is good, or we will be undone. The Pharisaical, abusive counterfeit of Christianity that is so common today — the religion of the Pharisees — teaches us that God is not really good. It teaches us that even those who fear and reverence Him had better fear Him because He is watching and waiting for them to mess up. It teaches us that God is really quite mean and in a bad mood most all the time.
Abusive people, whether they be an abuser spouse or an spiritual abuser in a church, distort our image of the Lord. They tell us that no one, including the Lord, is pleased with us. That the way we dress, or how we talk, or what we like is all downright evil and repugnant. And very often such people put themselves across as speaking for God. And we believe them after while. They tell us from pulpits. They tell us when they drop by our house. And if you live with one, they tell you all the time. ALL the time.
The thing is one big lie! God is good. He is abounding in lovingkindness toward His people (and He is actually pretty good to His enemies too!). God delights in pouring out good gifts upon His children. He gets a kick out of it. And yet we are told that He really does these things begrudgingly and with much hesitation. He is made out to be the great Celestial Miser.
BUT HE GAVE US HIS SON! How much more will He give us every single gift heaven has to offer (see Ephesians 1).
The Lord puts us all through some pretty trying times. Sometimes, and it can be for quite a long time, He just seems absent. Heaven is silent. We find ourselves in great difficulties and we start to doubt His goodness — if not His very existence. We wonder (with plenty of help from Pharisees around us) if the miserable mess we are in at the moment is ever going to change.
And then it does. Oh, maybe not entirely. Perhaps in just some little way. But though He puts us through trials for the strengthening of our faith in Him and to teach us things that we could never learn apart from those trials, God always, always, always delights in His own. Christian, God is not mad at you. And I will put it in another way that is going to sound a bit shocking to many of you because you have been told the opposite for so long. Here it is:
A Christian does not deserve hell.
The religion of the Pharisees says otherwise. Haven’t you heard it pretty frequently from people who say they are Christians? “Well, you know, we are all sinners deserving of hell.” NO WE ARE NOT! We used to be, but not anymore. In fact we are no more deserving of Hell than the Son of God Himself — how does that strike you? I can prove it –
Romans 8:1 ESV (1) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know why God in His perfect wisdom and providence permitted (we Calvinists will even say “decreed”) that you would get yourself tied up with a wicked, abusive spouse. I do know however that such evil people will one day give an account, and it won’t go well with them. And I also know that God hears the cries of His oppressed people, and that He loves to give them EXODUS.
So don’t fall prey to the religion of the Pharisees. It is all around us. It may even sometimes be that entire churches have been totally infected by its leaven. But God is good no matter what Pharisees say. And like any good father, our Father delights in us and takes great joy in doing good for us. Cling to that truth and don’t let go of it.