Why Does He do That? – The Fundamental Motivation of the Abuser
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 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. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:11-14)
I believe I have written before on these verses, particularly on verse 12, but I am compelled to write again.
The first part of the title of this post is familiar to most all of you — “Why Does He do That?” — as it is the main title of Lundy Bancroft’s wonderful and foundational book that has helped so many people learn what they could not learn in their churches. Namely, abusers abuse because they have a profound mentality of entitlement to power and control and feel fully justified in using whatever tactics they must to obtain and maintain that self-deifying power.
But let me suggest that Scripture tells us there is perhaps an even more basic answer to the question, “why does he do that?” And it is this —
The wicked hate the righteous with a murderous hatred simply because their own deeds are evil and their victims are righteous.
Darkness despises light because the light exposes what the darkness hides. Light breaks the power of darkness.
The liar despises the truth because the truth robs the liar of his deceiving power over others. Liars hate the truth because they are liars and the truth is truth.
The world hates Jesus Christ because the world is antichrist, and Christ is King of kings.
You see it here in the words of the Psalmist —
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalms 2:1-3)
Why do the nations rage? Because the Lord is the Lord and they are not.
I have absolutely no doubt that the murderous, destructive hatred of the abuser (especially the kind of abuser who claims to be a Christian) rages against his victim simply because she is righteous, and he is evil. In the world today, even in and perhaps especially in the West, domestic violence and abuse are perhaps THE leading form of persecution against Christians.
Listen to it once more —
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)
Understand? Why does your abuser abuse and hate you? Why? Because he is evil. Because you are not.
And it really requires coming to grips with all of this in order to begin to see the blinding, deceptive, fog cast by the abuser begin to fade and lift. He is evil. Not difficult. Evil. Not damaged by his childhood. Evil. And no matter how skillfully he constructs a disguise of holiness, inside there is a wicked, evil heart that hates all good.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.