A Cry For Justice

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

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.


  1. Robert Simpson

    from the Common English Bible translation: “Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause people to trip and fall into sin must happen, but how terrible it is for the person through whom they happen. It would be better for them to be thrown into a lake with a large stone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to trip and fall into sin.”

  2. a prodigal daughter returns

    Wonderful post that you for writing this explanation about the passage on offense! There are so many ways that abuse is trivialized in the church while its victims offense about it is made into a mountain. As if the real sin in the situation is offense at evil rather than the evil of abuse.

  3. Overcomer

    Excellent post. I have often thought of this verse pertaining to my abuser. Especially how his abuse effects my daughter. It is a picture of unspeakable judgement. And it comforts me greatly.

  4. Reaching for the prize

    I can remember almost the exact time when I realized that the best way for me to live in peace with him was if I had no hope, no plan for the future, no goals in life, living only for NOW, and thus no God.

    I spent many tears alone and at church over this. Everytime I would be reminded that God is good, it would conflict so strongly with having to live in peace and maintain the marriage that it would feel like I was being ripped apart. And, of course, when I cried at church (interestingly) no one noticed even though it was almost every week.

    My daughter and I came up with this theory. Church people like all these causes (abuse, homeless, slavery, etc. ) as long as it doesn’t make them
    uncomfortable. You can steal, abuse, be homosexual in the church as long as no one sees it and the ‘c’hurch will accept you with open arms. But the moment a woman comes in with her kids and no man beside her, she becomes ostracized. There is so much weight put on having the right reason for divorce until it is done. Then no one will ask to make sure you did it correctly. They want to be polite and not ask questions which leads to judgement and assumptions. Because we Know that by allowing women to have minds of their own just leads to them being all uppity.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      I understand your conflict. I believe that anytime one enters a Church and is immediately ostracized because she does not have a man on her arm, you are not in Church. You may be in a building that looks like a Church with a steeple on the top or a cross outside, but you are definitely not in Christ’s true Church among His true believers.

      I am sorry that so many of us have and are suffering that. Please know that God permits divorce for abuse and that as long as He agrees with it, you do not need anyone else to agree or tell you that divorcing your abuser was okay. He is our source of all righteousness and truth. He says it is right to put ourselves away from evil, so let God be true and every man a liar. Hold your head high and worship your King as you continue reaching for that blessed Prize!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      I also want to add to this, Reaching, for your encouragement, that when Paul refers to us that we are all now “sons of God”, he does so, because women were formerly not allowed to be partakers of the earthly inheritances – they only went to the sons. But now, Paul is making clear, that women are all included in the inheritance of Christ, because he calls us all “sons of God”, hence representing our inclusion – as women – into the inheritance promised us. He purposely does not use the term “daughters”, because they were not included in the earthly inheritances, but now that we are all seen as “sons of God”, it means we are all included in the inheritance. Hope that makes sense and gives you encouragement about how God sees you as a woman. You are in, girl! Completely in –

      • Still Reforming

        Although the five daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27) applied for their rightful land inheritance since their father had not a son upon the former’s death – and in God’s great economy and love, it was granted to those women. So God granted earthly inheritance to women, even before the Land was settled. Pretty amazing. I ofttimes read the word “sons” in Scripture as meaning “children” (depending on context, of course), kind of like “mankind” mostly means “people,” although men and women are granted distinction in various texts of God’s Word.

      • IamMyBeloved's

        Yes, you are correct, SR, about the OT story. God did give the inheritance to the daughters there, but it was not the norm.

        In the NT, Jesus made it clear that there was no distinction now between male and female as far as Salvation and coming to Him, and the inheritance was to all. Paul uses the term “sons of God” to make it clear that all people who come to Christ get the inheritance. Yes, sons can mean “children of God” as well. Thanks for this.

    • Still Reforming

      Amen, Anonymous!

      And evil is particularly disdainful and offensive when winked at by the “professing” church.

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      Yes, Reaching, what an astute observation. Those that aid and abet abusers by their callous indifference and unwillingness to extend friendship to the single woman surviving abuse like to look compassionate. They like causes that cost them nothing emotionally. They like causes that make them sound compassionate and sensitive to the suffering as long as it is all at arms length and it doesn’t involve any sacrifice on their part. As long as it doesn’t involve a smile, or an invitation to coffee across a pew.
      I notice one of my relatives that increased the suffering of the battered woman in the family by not inviting her to family events is the loudest talker about the disadvantaged on Facebook. She lives a life of ease and privilege while erasing her impoverished relatives at the same time she posts rants about racism, and taking care of the poor on her website and Facebook. Talk is cheap, it is what we call talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

  5. Anonymous

    Many times as I’m going through the latest trial God has me in, I wonder how this will ever be beautiful in the end? How can going through something so horrible possibly produce beauty in the aftermath? Then I read things like this and I see it. The beauty of helping others by putting into words the horror of evil. The violence of spiritual rape, written down by someone else who has gone through it and who doesn’t deny the complete devastation or pretend that it wasn’t that bad.

    Evil is offensive. Evil is MEANT to offend those who belong to Jesus. We are supposed to abhor it and turn away from it and help those unwillingly caught up in it. We are also supposed to learn to recognize those who desire to live as marauders. Those who devise ways to do evil, who plot ruin for others and we are supposed to deny them access to ourselves and to help others so they don’t become victims as well.

    What we mostly see though is people who say that they love EVERYBODY UNCONDITIONALLY, like this is a good thing or biblical. This is basically saying, if you stop to think about it, that we love evil. How wrong and how offensive this is to those who’ve been raped by evil; to deny them the ability to say that they were raped, that it was cataclysmic, and that they never want to see anybody else go through it if they can help it. Nope. Instead we hear preachers yammering on about how marriage is not meant to make us happy, but holy. That we should suck it up and embrace it. I have yet to read anything Jesus said in the Bible that endorses this. Everything he says is about seeking truth, turning away from evil, and calling evil what it is–EVIL.

    Thank you little one, for not forgetting the horror of abuse and for turning and helping your brethren. Evil is real and it is offensive, as it was intended to be, and you beautifully put into words the ugliness of it. I’m both sorry that it happened to you and grateful that you shared.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Anon, I asked God one day, “Why does this keep going on and on and on, Lord? I don’t know how much more I can take.” His reply to me was simple, “Because I am not done with them yet.” I realized then, that through all the abuse and evil that was being perpetrated against me, God was not done in His judgment against those who were doing the evil. In other words, the Bible says that when we see evil coming to full bloom, it is so that it can be destroyed forever. I believe that judgment comes to all involved in abuse that perpetrate or enable it. The length and duration at times, is only there because it takes time for the evil to come to its own ugly head, so it can be destroyed by God through judgment. We may not see the judgment right away, but trust me, it is there. And, you are right, we are to hate evil, never embrace it. That is a false teaching that is being spread.

      Thank you for your kind words to me. I needed that today. Been waking up the past several days with reminders of the torment and torture I have lived through and how at times I still feel that my life is irretrievably broken, and it is hard. Just plain hard –

  6. Still Reforming

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful examination of this Scripture passage. Your thoughts on it rang so many bells with me.

    The thoughts swirling in my brain include the intentionality of my ex-husband’s behavior and words, the church’s complicity in the abuse whether knowing or not (sadly, to the extent they walk past it, it is knowingly), and the still-present image that flashes through my brain at times of scrambling.

    The latter is more a sense or visual image and there’s no one specifically known near me, but I have this image of myself in a mud pit sitting and somewhat leaning back on my hands – not forward but back. And…. scrambling. Trying to get out, but unable to. And my arms and legs are flailing as if trying to get away but I remain in place.

    I suspect in some ways it’s just a sense of where I am – moreso where I was – but still… in many ways still feeling caught and stuck – with either the ex-husband or the church leaders and members or all of them standing near, out of view, and not helping. I’m just there wallowing and scrambling. It’s not even a dream, but an image at times that just passes in my brain.

    And I think in large part it has to do with the church. It was one year before things got their worst in the home (or at least came to my own attention, the fog clearing with greater clarity than ever before) that I stopped reading the Bible. There was no one with whom to discuss it in depth at my own church, strange as that sounds. No one interested in mining. Bible studies at the church started and then stopped within months if not weeks in preceding years. The pastor had other things to do and sometimes there would only be two of us in the study anyway. Sundays the pastor would yell from the pulpit until I finally took to reading Pastor Crippen’s book and other books on abuse during sermons.

    Certainly no one at home wanted to talk about God’s Word with me, other than our child. And the church lacked true interest in what was happening in my home. So I just stopped. I attended church, taught, and went through the motions. Still prayed, but you know…. stagnated, then felt (and still feel) guilty about the stagnation.

    Anyway, I don’t want to get off-topic to the post, but it relates tangentially because I remember thinking after he left us – without telling or talking to us, but coming around in a stalking manner and spreading lies saying I had a court order against his return – I remember thinking that he’s thrown me off balance but not off course. I’m still not back into Scripture as once I was or would like to be, but perhaps it’s just not exactly in the same way.

    I’m reading and listening to teaching more on-line during the week and not at a brick-and-mortar church on Sundays and Wednesdays, although I miss the social aspect – not just the friendship but the connections, or so I thought. Turns out after nearly a decade with those I thought my Christ-given family in Him, were they really? I wonder. No one has called or written, apart from maybe three or four brief messages via Facebook.

    I don’t think abusers can take God’s people away from God, but indeed they sure can thrown them off track. Were it not for God’s sovereignty, I would fear more for my own little one – especially as she is forced by a judge to spend half of her time with the abuser.

    Oh, one last thought – your post reminded me of Jesus’ words to Chorazin and Bethsaida. He said:

    ….it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. [Luke 10:14]

    –because of the miracles He performed before them. Likewise His words to His disciples before sending them out, that if a town rejected their teaching that:

    ….the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.

    All to say that indeed there appears to be very harsh judgment awaiting those who heed not the words of our Lord – for some punishment appears that it will be far, far greater. And I fear the Lord’s righteous judgment against abusers of His people, particularly against the more physically weak (women compared to men) and those who are under authority given by God (husbands over wives and pastors over their flocks).

    • IamMyBeloved's

      SR – thank you for sharing your heart here. I think some of us had the same type of experience in reading the Word due to the fog and pain and abuses of the “c”hutch etc. I made myself continue to read even if in short segments and then started a ten chapter a day reading plan and it was huge in my healing and moving forward. I started seeing how abusers dig pits for us but they will fall into them themselves – at least that is God’s promise to us. Then I just chose to believe Him about this, but after decades of being abused it was hard for me to believe that God loves me anymore and would apply and uphold these promises for me. I did not change my belief in God at all, but just did not think He loved me like I once had believed He did. I know that was all due to abuse.

      Please know that it is okay to take time to listen to Ps. Jeff’s messages at home and heal from the abuses you suffered at your former “c”hurch’s hands. Perhaps just try reading a Psalm a day and let Christ minister to you through that reading. It’s all about finding those small places to begin living again. Prayers for you and hugs.

      • Still Reforming

        Thank you, IamMyBeloved, for sharing how you continued to read and stay in the Word. I like your plan. I think I need to kick-start my own getting back into the Word that way – with some kind of planned approach (ie, goal) so I’ll do it and stay with it. Even if not discussing with anyone. Well, anyone in a tent of flesh anyway. God’s always talking with us in His Word, huh? Thanks for your encouragement. I like your idea of a Psalm a day and also “finding those small places to begin living again.” That sounds good.

  7. Bitter But Getting Better

    IAmMyBeloved this is a brilliant unwrapping of God’s word. Thank you for sharing it with us. If we would do this for every passage of scripture we would grow in maturity and wisdom and know the true depth of His love for us.

    No matter how horrible abusers are I can not find it in my heart to wish these promises on them. It will be a fearful thing, for them, to fall into the hands of the Living God!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Yes, Getting Better, we do not “wish” this judgment on anyone. I think sometimes we have forgotten that God is still a God of wrath. There is something healing about trusting God’s love for those who love Him and also trusting his wrath for those who hate Him. We do not implement or desire the wrath of God for others – that alone is God’s choice and doing – but it is pretty stilling to imagine what it will be like when that wrath comes.

      When I feel badly for my abuser, I have to remind myself that I need to bring myself into compliance with God’s commands for how I should feel and think toward him and make my feelings match what God wants me to feel or think. We always have to choose the good over the evil.

      • Bitter But Getting Better

        Re: “When I feel badly for my abuser, I have to remind myself that I need to bring myself into compliance with God’s commands for how I should feel and think toward him and make my feelings match what God wants me to feel or think. We always have to choose the good over the evil.”

        Don’t always know what the right thing to think is anymore???? Thanks again for this wonderful post!

      • IamMyBeloved's

        Getting better- read Deut. 13 and see God’s command about how we deal with feeling pity for anyone who would try to take us or turn us from Him. I did a post on this awhile back. Hope that helps! Blessing to you as you heal and move forward.

      • Here is IamMyBeloved’s post on Deuteronomy 13
        Nor shall your eye pity him

      • Bitter But Getting Better

        Barbara Roberts, thanks for the link: nor shall your eye pity him. It was helpful!

  8. 12wildflower

    Thank you for sharing this inspirational insight! I wish we could sit down and share a pot of coffee, or tea…lol. We’d probably go through at least that much sharing what we’ve learned…lol.
    It’s amazing that God, The Lord, Spirit, Angels…WILL (and do) come to help us, and we will, eventually sense it, hear it, dream it, know it in our soul and being, or perhaps finally comprehend the words of a friend or perhaps of a complete stranger (angel?). He loves us so much that He will keep trying and keep trying to get His Love message to us.. “It is I who truly loves you unconditionaly. Come away with Me to a place of safety, a place where you can be you again, for that is what I’ve always intended for you to know, you are My Beloved and nothing and no one will ever change that.”
    When we start realizing how much He really loves us, the strength, the righteous anger, the clear mindedness and sense of peace will help us do what must do. And He will be by our side, always.
    Believe you are that beautiful, worthy, Beloved one!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Yes Wildflower it would be nice if one day we could all meet. Thank you for sharing your words of encouragement with us all.

  9. marriedtomyself

    i’m crying right now!!! i so needed to desperately needed to read this. I’m now separated from my spouse. I have compromised my faith, my character. I don’t know who I am anymore. I always pray and ask God to help me and deliver me from myself and bring back to true fellowship with Him.
    It don’t seem like I can get back there.

    • healingInHim

      Marriedtomyself – You’ve come to the right place to cry out. Keep reading the countless articles and listen to the excellent sermons and teachings on the Resource page. ACFJ and a few other pastors do understand the crazy-making that victims fall prey to; to the point like you described. We’ve compromised and now don’t even recognize who we are. BUT God knows us. He knows and loves us more than we can ever imagine.
      Praying for you and I can reassure you that others reading this blog are already praying. (((hugs)))

      • marriedtomyself

        thank you so much!!!!

    • Dear Marriedtomyself
      please email twtbtc and ask for her to guide you about how to disattach any identifying material from your gravatar on WordPress. We care about your safety. Her email is under the ABOUT tab in the top menu.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      MTM – Healing has given you great encouragement here. Please get the books by Ps. Jeff and Barb and read them. Also know that God has not left you and He knows and understands the effects of abuse on us much better than we do ourselves. Prayers for you.

      • marriedtomyself

        thank you for your prayers!!!

  10. thepersistentwidow

    Great post! I remember considering this passage while trying to get help because my abuser was deliberately corrupting one of our children. The church did nothing to support me as I desperately tried to keep my son from becoming like his father. They just didn’t care. Essentially they consented to the abuse (and the lessons that my son was learning) by enabling the abuse. The pastor and session, who had authority to protect, chose to stand by while a little one was being devoured before their very eyes. Their focus was on condemning me for wanting to divorce the abuser. (I am shaking my head as I write this, but know full well that God will avenge.)

    Finally I realized that the only way my son would learn that the abuse was unacceptable was to divorce the abuser and walk away from that church. It was only after doing so my son began to respect me, I began to respect myself, and my life took a turn for the better.
    My son has since turned from being like his father and has made his own decision to have no contact with him, praise God!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      PW – thanks for sharing this with us. It is always discouraging to learn of people who view an earthly marriage that will end eventually (no marriages in Heaven) as more important than the eternal outcome of peoples’ souls! Ugh!

      I think it is true that our children have more respect for us for leaving and getting them out of the abuse, than for staying and sacrificing them to the God of abuse.

      • Reaching for the prize

        I know my kids are praying daily that God would bring them a new daddy that is nothing like their current one. When I finally (all the emotions of getting papers together) delivered divorce paperwork to lawyer, the kids threw a mini-party for me (and them) since they saw it as a step toward protecting us from him.

  11. Not Too Late

    Well said, IAMB! As I look back, I am so grateful that even in the midst of evil and condoning of evil in the church, the Lord rescued me. Torture and torment belong to the past, and as much as it hurts to grieve past losses, the knowledge that abuse belongs to the past and tomorrow holds a better future is such a wonderful, hope-filled, feeling.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      This is good, NTL – we do have hope and a better future. Amen!

  12. beckylovesthelight

    This is so good, IamMyBeloved’s. When I was coming out of the fog many years ago, God brought that verse to my attention over and over. I kept coming back to it, meditating on it. But you have opened it up beautifully, and I see it so much more clearly from what you have written here. Thank you for this. I look forward to hearing other insights from you about scripture!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Like you, Becky, God continued to bring that verse to me over and over again as well. It was how I hung on in the worst of times. I kept going back and reading the same verses He would give to me, over and over, clinging to it for my very life. I think we all know how that is. 🙂

  13. StandsWithAFist

    Bless you for clarifying TRUTH
    Shining the LIGHT
    Exposing the darkness

    Jesus’ words were full of grace, compassion & empathy on the abused, with judgement and law pronounced on the abuser. I am also reminded that whether it’s Satan or his demons, the end result was always destruction, sometimes even destruction of the very person who was tormented or possessed by the demon. (judas Iscariot is a good example).
    Destruction is not of God; peace and healing are.
    Thank you for an excellent post!!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      “Destruction is not of God”, This right here. I know a lot of people who say this and say they believe it, but when it comes to abuse, they do not practice it. Our problems with abuse victims obtaining help will diminish, when God’s truth gets applied, as it should, to all cases of domestic abuse. Thanks for this –

  14. Escaped

    What a saving grace is this website. It has been nearly one year since God forced my removal from my marriage and home with my children. Your postings continue to reassure me and give me constant strength to fight for my freedom and my children. Thank you God the Lord Jesus for your comfort and knowledge without you I would be ruined . But you lifted me up and set me on solid ground and my heart is more grateful than anyone in the world . Amen xx

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  15. Lost

    Yes. They’re so proud and passionate to be leaders and yet they don’t listen to a woman pleading with them to hold her husband accountable. Instead they end it walking out and hugging and laughing, having satisfied themselves with their godly words and human emotions, while leaving me with a hateful and evil man. There will be a day when justice is served. I agree!

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