A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Abuse and God: We Must Cling to the Goodness of God or We are Undone

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.

10 Comments

  1. Really appreciate this one, Jeff. Something I did not understand for way too long!

  2. Anonymous

    God is good and the evil one is evil. Somehow, that truth is muddled here on this earth. God just doesn’t seem that good and the evil one doesn’t seem that evil. That’s not surprising when evil has a deliberate agenda to muddy the waters and present a twisted picture to us. But one day, when the pure is separated from the defiled, we will see goodness as it is.

    Don’t know if this makes sense, but my take is that when we accept evil into our midst and even go on a mission to try to change it, we get such a mixture of good and evil that both get clouded. The evil person gets more refined in his/her behavior and justice seems hidden. I often wonder if that’s why the Bible has words to the effect of, “let the pure remain pure” and “those who have ears, let him hear”. Some just don’t have the capacity to hear, or change from what they hear.

    The goodness of God is indeed something to celebrate and rejoice in. What could be better news for those of us who have experienced wickedness in our homes and still suffer the aftermath of destruction, sometimes seeing very little light at the end of the tunnel? The fact that we have in us, a God of perfect goodness, not only gives us hope for the future, but a conviction that there is victory even in the midst of the war.

    Thank you, Jeff!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank YOU! Very good insights. Yes, we live in a pretty muddled world where clear-sightedness is no easy thing.

  3. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  4. Diane

    “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.”

    Thank you, Jeff. That was good to read-just wanted to post it again!

    I also hear professing Christian, supposedly born again believers/pastors/teachers calling themselves unworthy, lowly worms, undeserving of any blessing from God (although still grateful for any blessings- yet calling themselves undeserving of it), depraved and wicked. I have heard some famous celeb pastors state they (and Christians in general) are wicked and depraved. We cannot trust our still evil, still wicked and still depraved hearts. I reject that.

    I am not depraved…I was, but I am now redeemed and belong to God, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. God sees me, and all believers who trust in Christ and Christ alone, as beautiful sons and daughters clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Adopted, blessed, chosen, redeemed, forgiven and favored, as it says in Ephesians. A joint-heir with Jesus Christ. How incredible is that!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      That pretty well nails it, Diane! Good job.

  5. Finding Answers

    Most of the time I have encountered people “preaching” the goodness of God in their life, the main purpose has been to launch into talk about themselves, not God.

    The difficulty is reaching beyond words on a page, reaching through the pain, reaching through the fear, clinging to an unseen Presence….even as I follow His leading.

    John 20:29 (NMB)

    29 Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, therefore you believe. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe!

    Sometimes, I feel caught in limbo. Sometimes, I wish I could be like Thomas and physically reach out and touch…and I cling to the knowledge I am led by the Spirit in my walk through day-to-day life.

    I cling out of desperation because I don’t know any other way. I feel I am an orphan child, an Oliver Twist begging for more…

    I don’t know how to hold His hand in child-like trust, only in desperate obedience. There is trust, yes, or I wouldn’t follow His leading. Maybe….maybe I don’t understand the meaning of trust beyond words on a page.

    Reading the definition of trust, I see the true character of the One I follow….

    • [ insert net-speak for wordless praying ]

    • Most of the time I have encountered people “preaching” the goodness of God in their life, the main purpose has been to launch into talk about themselves, not God.

      I hadn’t realised this before, but now you’ve articulated it, I think I agree with it.

      I can remember so many people who raved about the “goodness of God” in their lives, but they were actually just raving about the material bargains they had acquired, or the parking spot that had been ‘miraculously provided’ or some other temporal (earthly) blessing. But when it came to the goodness of God in exposing and routing wolves from the church, these people quickly hid in the shadows. They didn’t stand up against wickedness.

      • Finding Answers

        Nailed it!

        In the last couple years, I remember singing a worship song at ‘c’hurch called “Good Good Father”. Sometimes I struggled to sing through tears, the words not matching the “image” I had, yet feeling the song was true.

        What you write helps explain a facet of the tears. Not only was I struggling with false beliefs about God, but the timing and presentation by the ‘c’hurch seemed temporal. Creating a form of cognitive dissoonance?

        I think I have received so many mixed messages about God…I have been surrounded by a lifetime of abusive relationships…I am fighting to reach freedom. The ACFJ community is the only place to combine the roots causes of my bondages.

        God is a good good Father. I need to unlearn the lies that say otherwise…

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