“Reconciliation” With an Abuser is the Twilight Zone
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.
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:12)
There are two brief times every 24 hours when darkness and light attempt to co-exist. Dawn and twilight. (Hey, pretty good book title: The Dawn of Twilight. No idea what that means, but it’s good, right?). Anyway, at dawn and at twilight, light and darkness mix it up. Just for a bit. The sun rises, the night recedes. The sun sets and night comes. One shows up, the other must go.
Day and night. We even use that phrase to describe two things that are radically different: “Man, those two are as different as day and night.” The Bible uses these images, light and darkness, to underscore the complete incompatibility of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world (headed up by Satan). Kingdom of Light. Kingdom of Darkness. Righteousness. Unrighteousness. You can’t mix the two. In their very essence, light and darkness are as different as. . .well. . .night and day.
Twilight and dawn are nature’s announcement to us that light and darkness cannot be reconciled. When the one comes, the other must go. Light is light — it is some-thing. Darkness is. . .is. . .darkness is no-thing. It is the absence of light, not a thing in itself. Light and darkness cannot co-exist. And so it is with the kingdom of our Lord and the kingdom of darkness.
Which brings us round to our main point. You cannot reconcile darkness and light. Jesus did NOT (notice this now very carefully), Jesus did NOT reconcile evil and goodness, righteousness and unrighteousness, at the cross. The cross is not God saying to all of us, “Come on you guys, look how much I love you all. Can’t we all just shake hands and co-exist?” This apparently, as bizarre as that sounds, is what many people apparently believe who profess to teach us what the Bible says. No. At the cross, THIS is what happened:
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9)
At the cross Jesus destroyed the works of the devil. He did not effect some divine reconciliation plan wherein the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light could reconcile into some eternal twilight zone. No. The light comes, the darkness must go.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
You cannot reconcile darkness and light. Darkness must become light. That is one of the most incredible truths of the gospel:
for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Which brings us to our application of all this to abusers and abuse victims. Ready? You can never reconcile with an abuser. You can never effect reconciliation with an abuser. Give it countless hours and even years of effort, of counseling, of trying this and trying that. . .the thing cannot be done. Because he is darkness. You may as well try to get Cain and Abel to be best bud’s. Not gonna work. Cain murdered his brother simply because Abel was righteous and Cain was not. Darkness hates light, and that hatred is intensified when an abuse victim is a Christian. The light of Christ is particularly repugnant to the darkness of the abuser.
What, therefore, do these facts say about the efforts of churches and pastors and counselors to “save the marriage”?