You Cannot Drive Abuse Out of the Abuser
Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him. (Proverbs 27:22)
The fool in Proverbs is not merely some simple-minded person. Nope. This fool is a wicked individual. You can check this out for yourself if you want by simply reading the occurrences of “fool” in this book of Holy Scripture. And many of the descriptions of this fool given us by Solomon describe the abuser we know so well perfectly.
So, look at this verse cited above. What does it tell us about the fool/abuser? It says that you can sooner grind him up in a flour-making machine (a mortar and pestle in those days) and get his blood out than you can use even the most severe methods on him to “bleed him” dry of his abuse. Which is all to say this: you can’t fix an abuser. Not the abuser we know so well here at ACFJ. Not this guy who so often claims to be a Christian, but whose very essence of personhood is a profound sense of entitlement to power and control and who feels quite justified in using whatever evil tactics he needs to employ to get what he wants. You can’t fix him. That is what these divinely inspired and inerrant words are telling us.
To many people, this fact seems disturbing. I mean, can’t Christ change anyone? Aren’t we as Christians supposed to “have faith” in the Lord’s ability to give anyone a new heart and do whatever we can to lead such people to salvation in Christ? Christ gives a new heart to anyone who calls upon Him in real faith and repentance. But abusers don’t do so. For all their common claims that they have changed, that they have really repented, for all the crocodile tears they shed, they do not humbly come to Christ in genuine faith, exercising real repentance. Crush them, winnow them, sift them all you like, their folly is not going to depart from them.
This seems disturbing to many people, but I find it a source of the very beginning of freedom from abuse. When an abuse victim comes to clearly understand that not only is her abuser an abuser, but that there is nothing she can do to change him by driving his abusive mentality out of him, then she can begin to take steps to get free.
And this is why I choose to devote my energies to helping victims of abuse, not spending my time and resources on efforts to “fix” abusers. There are others who choose to do so and who claim that they have some measure of success. I don’t criticize them, but I remain highly skeptical. What do they mean by “success”? Do they mean that the abuser has been so remarkably changed by their program that he is no longer an abuser? Do they mean that he is a “new man”? Or do they mean that for his own selfish motives, he has simply learned to modify his outward behaviors? In which case, his folly (as Proverbs says) is still in him.
We Christians must come to a clear understanding of a fact that is repeated in Scripture. There are wicked, evil individuals in this world who are never going to change. Whom the Lord is done with. And for whom we are not even required to pray. And I cannot think of a better candidate for this category than the counterfeit who claims to be a Christian but who in reality abuses his wife and insists that he is entitled to have “the power.”