Abusers and Their Supporters: The Grand Millstone of Judgment that Awaits Them All
[This post was written by IAmMyBeloveds, a long-time reader of this blog and abuse survivor]
Luke 17:1-2 Then said He unto the disciples, ‘It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones’. (KJV)
As I was praying one morning, struggling through the prayer due to more abuses being hurled at me, God led me to this passage. I’d read it an innumerable amount of times before. But this time, I decided to really open it up and pull it apart and look deeper into it, believing God had led me there for a reason and for a deeper understanding of Who He is and how He felt about what was happening in my life. This post, is the result of that study.
Let me start by sharing with you some definitions. The word “offence” here is not what one would most likely think. It is not about being offended by something someone said to you like “having a bad hair day, aren’t you” or “your yard was prettier last year” etc. It is not about giving that kind of offence. In short summarization, offence in this passage means,
“A trap set, which causes entrapment, resulting in possible ruin for the one entrapped.”
This is much more than someone saying they don’t like your hairdo or saying your yard isn’t as nice as it used to be! This offence has to do with the ruination of the one being offended in many ways, but also includes the ruination of someone’s faith – causing them to doubt God in their life or to stumble in their faith or to turn completely from their faith in God.
The term little ones in this passage is referring to the lowly humble people of God, which could include children, but it is not singled out to just be children. So it is you and I folks. All of us that belong to Christ, young and old alike. There are instances where the term is used just for children, but that is not the case here.
Next let me address the word offend at the end of verse 2. Its meaning is much the same, but is more about the one causing the offence.
“To be a stumbling block to someone. To cause to offend; lead astray; lead into sin; to fall away from the truth.”
Let’s apply this now. When one is living in abuse, one is pretty much living in constant offence. A trap is set by the abuser and it is definitely intended for your ruin and from what I have read from victims of abuse here on this blog, including myself, more often than not, it involves your faith. So, the intent of the offender is to cause you to stumble in your faith to your own ruination. Does he come right out and say that? Of course not. The ruination of the offence comes in many other forms as well, not just your faith. It includes everything that could be ruined about an individual, such as their character and reputation.
Now people may say that is carrying it a bit too far to use this in dealing with abuse, but we have all lived it and know what the intent really is. If an abuser can get his victim to turn from God or as in a lot of cases, the abuser can ruin his victim’s witness with the Church and the Church in turn sees her as the guilty party, then there remains the possibility in the abuser’s eyes that his victim will turn from God and belong solely to him. Isolation in its completeness. It is the age old story of satan in the garden, thinking that if he can draw Eve away into his darkness, she will turn from God and follow him instead. Remember, an abuser belongs to the father of lies – he is not born again of the Spirit and therefore not an adopted son of God. We know that abusers love power and control and being on top, right? We know that abusers have murder in their heart, right? This passage is very clear about these kind of offences. They are meant to entrap and ruin an individual.
If a victim is not a Christian, the intent remains the same. Even though the abuser may not be trying to draw her away from her faith in Christ, he is bringing ruination nonetheless and it is his intended trap for her. There are many ways to ruin someone. For example, the term can also mean to bring to financial ruin. How many victims of abuse are financially devastated by their abuser? And this verse makes it clear that the offence (entrapment) is set with the intent for ruination – no matter what form that takes.
The trap is always laid by the one causing the offence. That would be the abuser. At the very least, the offence is meant to entrap someone. How many of us feel/felt trapped in the abuse?
The good news is, that we don’t have to allow the offence which has entrapped us, to lead us to ruin. In Christ’s strength, we can remove ourselves from it. We can stand in our faith and the truth and say “not anymore”. I believe this is all part of coming out of the fog of abuse.
Jesus says that it would be “better”, meaning the best thing that could happen to a person like this, would be for a millstone to be hanged around his neck and for him to find himself at the bottom of the ocean. That would be much better for him. God is saying that there is a day coming for abusers and their cohorts that they will wish they had never seen. He is saying that their punishment will be so horrible, that they will have thought it better to be cast with that millstone tied around their neck into the ocean. That is what God has to say on the subject.
Now let’s apply this to the Churches that send victims back to their abuser. It seems to me, that they would be partners in this judgment, as they are sending the woman back to live with the evil one who has offended, ie entrapped her to her own ruination. They entrap the victim all over again with words like “reconcile”, “forget”, “look at your own sin”. So, is there a millstone for them as well?
Why is it so often that victims of abuse find themselves in a Church, where they are told to continue living with the offence of abuse that is known to be set upon them to their ruination – including the ruination of their faith? Why?
I am so disheartened. I am broken that the Church is so unconcerned for the evil that has besieged it. I am concerned when someone cannot discern between good and evil – and I am concerned when a Church does not care enough to know and interpret rightly the Word of God. I am concerned when they become unteachable.
There is a millstone awaiting every abuser and every supporter of the abuser or abuse in general. “Who is a supporter of abuse? Certainly not us”, they would say! “Now I’m offended that you would accuse me of supporting abuse” – they would say. But the truth is, if you don’t stand against the abuse by aiding and protecting the ones being abused and standing openly against the abuser and his tactics, then you really are an endorser and supporter of the abuser and his abuse.
A millstone for the abuser and for every person who endorses the abuser or forces a victim through coercion or guilt, to return to that offence. That is God’s judgment to them – not ours.
Wake up Church.