A Cry For Justice

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

The fear of the LORD

Here is a what the Book of Proverbs has to say about the fear of the Lord. Some of the passages are very familiar; others might surprise you. The over-emphasis given to some and the under-emphasis given to others tells us a lot about the state of the church.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (9:10)

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate. (8:13)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. (1:7)

Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices. (1:29-31)

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge. (14:26)

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life. (22:4)

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it. (15:16)

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor. (15:33)

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. (16:6)

The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm. (19:23)

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God. (2:1-5)

Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. (23:17)

The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short. (10:27)

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death. (14:27)

The one I like best is the one that says the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. In most Sunday schools, they don’t talk much about how to hate evil when those closest to us are exercising and perpetrating evil, do they?


  1. Begin healing

    Am I the only one that feels guilt when I read these? After hearing many sermons about the sanctity of marriage, the importance of the covenant we made, and sacrificial love. I read these passages and wonder do I not fear The Lord enough?

    I have read so much this past year about abuse. I am confident that is what I was living with. I am trying to rewire my brain and what I was taught. When will the guilt go away….

    • soldiergirl

      These scriptures are a applicable warning to the perpetrators that use the “guise of Christianity” as their cloak to continue their oppressive, and manipulative control over Gods people.
      There is much emphasis abroad in the church that keeps the pressure up to maintain the “Institution of the Marriage”, come what may, rather than maintaining honesty and equal respect of both partners within a marriage.
      God cares more about the people within the marriage, rather than the institution of the marriage.
      There is not much recognition regarding the repetitive covert abuse of one partner towards another with in a marriage, so the church is still not yet prepared to deal with it.
      This makes it easy for an abuser to go to the church for support to “maintain the marriage”, under the false guise of a ” repentant sinner”, and get the support and alliance necessary to try to pressure, guilt or shame his partner back to him. But this is wrong. The church is not addressing the problem, but rather whitewashing the problem by refusing to acknowledge it. (sweeping it under the rug to the demise of the victim.) In doing so the church becomes the ally, a manipulative tool that the perpetrator uses to try to maintain his prison hold over the partner, to continue the home-wreaking that he is doing.
      This is the true “travesty of justice” that leaves the victim “almost appearing” as the home wrecker, rather than the tormented and abused soul that she truly is. God sees this.

      This denial by the church also gives the perpetrator a platform to try to appear as
      the phoney victim. But God sees this evil, and will hold all perpetrators and enablers accountable.
      After 35 years of abuse this is what I see being referenced here in the book of Proverbs. .

    • Seeing Clearly

      Begin Healing,
      Please give yourself time and space.. Let your head and mind rest awhile. Your healing is an exhausting process. God is not condemning you, but loving you with mercy and grace. Only the abusers condem you. We who read this blog with you accept you and believe you. Hopefully, a little of the guilt will wash away today.

      For me, the guilt creeps back when I am weary, discouraged, and start second guessing myself.

      Refer back to (14:26). You are God’s child, God’s daughter.

  2. Brenda R

    No, Mam this is not taught in SS. We are told to love everyone in spite of the evil, if evil is even brought up at all.

    Begin Healing,
    To fear the Lord is to love Him, our neighbors and to walk in his path. Doing His will is fearing the Lord. If you were living in abuse, you were not the one that broke covenant and God never said that we are to live with evil. In God there is no darkness, only light.

    Turn it all over to God. It takes time and everyone is different but he will rewrite the lies in our brains and hearts. I listened to a sermon this morning RE: The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Of course, pastor had to bring up marriage and the people in the home being our neighbors. I no longer feel guilt when he brings up the divorce rate or when he gives his perception of “it takes 2” to cause the battles in a marriage. I whole heartedly disagree with him and he knows it. I smile and feel no shame. A year ago there would have been doubt, guilt, and wondering if I did the right thing in leaving. No longer do I doubt the decision was best or that God was a part of it. Pour out all of your concerns to Him, ask him for peace and I will pray the same for you.

  3. Desiring healing

    It has been a while since I have commented but today I feel lead possibly just so I can see myself say this but it may help others. I was reared very legalistically. I was taught to “fear” (inner changeable with respect) God, parents, authority, pastor… So that judgment would not befall me. So my go to feeling in these passages is so be “scared” of messing up before God because Wrath is coming. Recently, I realized that Christ’s wrath for me died on the cross leaving only his love. With that thought in place…. I read these passages differently to hear them as I believe they are meant for me. Instead of “fear” I used the word “awe”. Since I have left my husband I have seen God care, provide and protect me and my 3 children in a new light. God has done this for ME not as a result of my being connected (codependent) to another “higher leveled” (patriarchy junk) relationship. I now catch myself being codependent on God and my relationship and love for him is so much deeper and richer! I am truly “in awe” of his love and care for me propelling me to want more of him. I believe for me I am in the state of “fearing The Lord” now that his love is the driving force not scared of his wrath and judgment on me. So much sweeter looking at life this way and makes desire to control and change others lessen realizing they are responsible for themselves and I am not! Thanks for letting me share!

    • Not Alone

      Your post reminded me of a quote from Milton Vincent’s “Gospel Primer” that was life-changing for me as I looked on what it means to fear God:

      “In justifying me, God declared me innocent of my sins and pronounced me righteous with the very righteousness of Jesus. God also allowed His future and present wrath against me to be completely propitiated by Jesus, who bore it upon Himself while on the cross. Consequently, God now has only love, compassion, and deepest affection for me, and this love is without any admixture of wrath whatsoever.”

      It doesn’t get much better than this!

      • Wonderful wordds, Not Alone!
        and welcome to the blog! 🙂 I didn’t give you a welcome when you first commented.

  4. Still Reforming

    Thank you, Barbara. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. One of the things that I have chastized myself for over the past year is my neglect of reading Scripture as I have become more saddened and despairing over the evil in our home. It’s not that I rejected God – not at all. I pray, I still teach children in church, I still serve Him, but I have been so little fed real balanced solid Truth in church that I just let my own personal study fall since there was no supplementing in our church. Nothing. And I miss that time with the Lord. Dearly. I have lamented to God to please deliver me from this evil (and He is!) and to take me to a body of believers where I and my child can be fed (and I am trusting Him to do this in His timing). So every morsel you feed us here from His Word is hungrily eaten by me. Thank you so very, very much for this. I need it. Desperately. Especially for “a time such as this.” (hugs) ❤

  5. KayJay

    When we did a study in Proverbs last year with our teen Sunday School class, I began to realize that the “fear of the Lord” is simply realizing, in humility, that I fall far short of God’s awesome righteousness, love, etc. and that I stand before Him now clothed in HIS righteousness in humble trust in Him. HE is the one who imputes righteousness, HE is the one who is love, HE is the one who gives us discernment to understand His word and obey Him in love (you know, that “new commandment” that we should love one another–John 13:34-35!) I think the abusers among us don’t EVER really “fear the Lord” because they don’t ever, in humility, turn from their sin and wrong ways of thinking about themselves (entitlement, etc.). The fear of the Lord is truly the beginning of wisdom! Hugs to DesiringHealing (()).

  6. joyisnowfree

    I do appreciate these verses. The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. ONE can never go wrong with God’s word.

  7. Finding Answers

    I still feel distant to the Book of Proverbs. The heart knowledge is missing. I can see both their “twisted” and “untwisted” applications. They become almost meaningless words on a dusty page. No fear. No awe.

    The ACFJ community has untwisted and restored Scripture to me.

    The ACFJ community has untwisted and restored Psalms to me.

    Now I’m aiming for Proverbs… 🙂

  8. Jamie

    I’m back to linking to Sam Powell again. 😉 I have been so grateful to be able to worship with his congregation live (online) each Sunday through their Facebook page. I don’t know if you have a FB account or consider it safe, but you’d be welcome. And there are a number of older sermons and Sunday School videos archived there.*

    There is a recent post here at ACFJ on his sermon Finding Rest, Proverbs 1:10-33:

    Or at Sermon Audio, I love how it is possible to filter results by Scripture, Topic, Date, etc. Here is a link to the results for his sermons on Proverbs since 2011:


    Sunday morning worship has been based in Proverbs since April. (Pacific Standard Time)

    • Jamie

      Oh…and even more recent, you probably saw today’s post – Giving Wisdom to the Simple
      Proverbs 6:1-5, Ps Sam Powell:


    • Thanks Jamie 🙂

      Sam Powell also shares his sermons on Twitter. His twitter handle is @sampowell365

      • Finding Answers

        Barb and Jamie,

        I appreciate your replies, the time you have taken to provide me with some options.

        I am guessing I have some healing to do before I can listen to sermons on proverbs, rather similar to the process with Scripture and the Psalms. The “heart blockage” has the same “feel” to it.

        Maybe seeing yesterday’s post brought up the issue(s) to – finally – be addressed. Somehow, some way, the answer is here in the entire ACFJ community, past and present. The path is definitely not linear.

        And yes, Pastor Sam is part of the ACFJ community…I have also read some of his My Only Comfort blog posts.

        The solutions for Scripture and the Psalms took a back door route…I suspect Proverbs will be equally step-by-step, word-by-word. A gentle leading. (The same gentle leading brought me to the ACFJ website after leading me through the preliminaries necessary to understand and acknowledge I am an abuse survivor.)

        Perhaps the public nature of my ongoing zig-zag searches through the ACFJ website will suggest part of a route to others…..

      • Seeing Clearly

        It thrills me to see your comments to so many different subjects presented on ACFJ. It tells me that the fog is lifting and light is shining for you. I am praying for you as you open doors and step in carefully, but only as far as you feel is safe.

      • Jamie

        Oh, Finding Answers, I sympathize.

        I sometimes have to concentrate on the written word for a long time before I can listen to anything recorded as an audio or video.

        This is the best way I can explain it. I don’t know if it will be helpful to you or not. I don’t mean to imply any certain course for you. Maybe we will arrive at some conclusions together that will help us both. I am having to do a good deal of work and reading right now, too…on similar issues. 🙂

        In daily life, I draw a lot of conclusions, usually subconsciously, based on observation of minuscule details. Sometimes it means that I can connect the dots on things unexpectedly. (other people often don’t enjoy this, lol)

        When I’m tired or stressed, my processing of everything slows down. It isn’t subconscious anymore and I tend to find it distracting. The data is all still there, but it can be overwhelming. So I often avoid video presentations, audio presentations, etc. and gravitate to the written word. (Or I might use visual/aural input as escape/coping, which can become unhealthy of course.)

        I usually have to process A LOT of information from someone in writing (or in seeing their actions) BEFORE I can hear what they have to say out loud. (I am also constantly trying to reconcile discrepancies if those things do not align. =\ )

        This is one reason why ACFJ was such a great match for me when I found the community here. I read constantly, and still do…scouring a lot of older articles the way you do. (although I have had more trouble posting. You are amazing that way.) But I avoided Barbara’s video presentations until much more recently. 🙂 Not because her Aussie accent isn’t lovely, but it adds a whole batch of additional information for me to process.

        I LOVE how God knows us so well. …knows what type of “learners’ we are!

        I think it’s possible my struggles with this stem from the fact that I was manipulated in so many calculated ways as a child. Now I recognize a lot of that as “grooming” or “brainwashing”. (And not just as a child…they would still be doing it now, using many of the same tactics to reinforce it, if I had not left.) But I was told what to think. …for example: told what people were like from different regions, professions, etc. and what I should deduce about them because of that. …and how I could not seek help from them because of that. 😦

        So I have to work at overcoming a lot of false information, placed there by people who had other motives, and align my observations with REAL truth.

        Fortunately, I am privileged to be able to customize my own curricula for my style of learning, even when it fluctuates, rooted in the many different means of grace given to me by God. I am safe here at ACFJ because of the many ways I am pointed to those.

        How wonderful of God to give us such a variety and engage so many of our senses in the sacraments, in the different ways we can “hear” the preached word and in prayer. I am constantly astounded that we have the privilege to learn DIRECTLY from our creator!

        Here is a quote; it is from Sam Powell, too. 😉 …from Sunday School a couple of weeks ago. (If you decide you want to listen to just this bit, it is at 18:45 of Ps Sam Powell’s, The Pride of Uzziah
 – https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=61018196428)

        “In Jesus Christ, we call the creator of the heavens and the earth ‘Our God’. He is our ‘Our God’ and we are ‘His people” with all of the rights and privileges of being ‘His People’. We have the right to come to The Lord’s Table, to receive the waters of baptism, to sit in the preaching of the word and hear the preaching of the word, to sing our hymns of praise to God.”

        We have the RIGHT… 🙂 This is constantly amazes me.

  9. Finding Answers

    Another one of my “stunned / semi-wordless” replies…I am overwhelmed by your responses.

    Seeing Clearly – Your words and prayers are still seeping into the nooks and crannies.

    Jamie – Are you my twin?? 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Umm, the rest of the words are wordless [….thank you both…]

  10. Jamie

    Finding Answers,


    You might be interested in the post – Triggers Due to Trauma: A Journey of Recovery (in Progress), here:


    It came up in some of the reading I’ve been doing in the past week. There is wonderful discussion in the comments.

    I love this quote from Barbara about the process of overcoming triggers, about a third of the way down the page:

    I would simply share them all with Jesus, asking Him and trusting that He would re-configure my wiring in the way He knows best. Sometimes He would do the healing and re-wiring with me having some awareness of what He was doing; other times He would do it beyond my sight, so to speak. But always He did it perfectly, and never too fast or too much at any time.

    He knows exactly when to operate, when to let the patient recover and convalesce, and when to schedule the next operation.

    • Finding Answers


      Thanks for the reminder and link to the post – you’ll find my reply there…. 🙂

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