If You Have Ever Exposed an Abuser, You Know the Loss of “Friends”
After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. (2 Samuel 15:1-6)
Abusers steal the hearts of those who once were close to us
Like King David, abuse victims know the pain of having their family and friends alienated from them by the deceiving work of “Absalom.” Behind the scenes, constantly accusing and slandering and insinuating, the wicked one steals the hearts of those who once were close to us.
I have experienced this very thing numbers of times, as have most of our readers. We have watched as children grew up loving us until the day came when they phoned and repeated back all the lies the abuser has used against us, then walked away. His spell is still on them. For them to admit otherwise — that the abuser is the evil one in truth — is totally outside of their thinking paradigm. They will have to find out for themselves, if they ever do.
As a pastor who came to understand evil some years ago, I have walked down this painful path myself. Men, women, and children who for years came to church on Sunday mornings with smiles — “Good morning, Pastor! What good stuff do you have for us today?” — now hate me. I have been disowned. Why? Because the evil of abuse was exposed. As you probably know, back in 2010 I preached a 22 part sermon series originally entitled “The Psychology of Sin” which dealt in detail with abusers, their tactics, and how they hide in the church. One man who hated this series said, before leaving, “These past few months of sermons have been hell for me and my family.” I suppose in a way they had been. After all, the truth of Christ proclaimed is a kind of “hell” for the wicked.
Without exception the wicked ones successfully alienated their families and “disciples” from me and those who once pronounced me “blessed” now will have nothing to do with me.
So yes, we here at ACFJ know exactly how victims suffer and this aspect of their suffering is one of the most cruel — the loss of family and friends due to Absalom standing at the city gate deviously working to win hearts for his own evil purposes and ultimately leading an armed revolt against his father the king.
Now, of course, those who are deceived by Absalom are not without guilt. Absalom was David’s son. How dare he stand at the city gate and “share” his desire to be king, claiming his father was not a good ruler! The people certainly should have seen that, but they chose instead to listen to Absalom’s fictitious promises. They chose. They did not want to see evil. And so it is today.
Note: Jeff Crippen’s sermon series originally titled “The Psychology of Sin” was later renamed “Domestic Violence and Abuse”. It was from that series being on Sermon Audio that this blog came to be. Find the series here.