Chris Moles doesn’t fully understand the story of King David
Chris Moles uses the story of King David’s taking Bathsheba for his sexual gratification to illustrate what he calls the “four pillars of domestic abuse” (W*). The four pillars Chris sets out are:
- superiority – the abusers misuse their power because they believe in their own superiority
- objectification – abusers treats their victims like objects
- forced submission – abusers force or compel their victims into submission
- violence or abuse with impunity – the abuser has been getting away with this for a long time will little to no consequences.
And we all know that David repented when Nathan confronted him. Chris Moles concludes that this ‘gives us hope’ for abusive men.
But while David repented of his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah, his repentance and change of heart only went so far.
David had been abused and persecuted by King Saul, so, unlike most men who abuse their female partners, David knew what it was like to be an adult being victimized by another more powerful adult. David knew what it was like to be a victim, so he should have been especially vigilant to protect others from victimization.
The Bible says that David was “a man after God’s own heart” and we can understand this when we read the Psalms which David wrote under the inspiration of God. But even David, the man after God’s own heart, was deeply flawed.
David misused his privilege and kingly power to take Bathsheba for his sexual gratification and then kill her husband Uriah to get him out of the way. When Nathan confronted David, he repented of those sins. But David still harboured a tendency to go along with male privilege at the expense of women. We know this because David did not put enough effort into curbing and curtailing some of his evil-minded sons.
For all King David’s repentance, he still harboured presumptions about male privilege. David was still willing to overlook the abuse of power by privileged men.
Has Chris Moles given much thought to how David’s repentance falls short of what is required to keep women safe from predatory men?
David played a supporting role for his son Amnon, which gave Amnon an opportunity to rape Tamar:
Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let Tamar my sister come and make a couple of cakes for me in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”
And David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Now go to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare food for him.” (2 Sam 13:6-7 NKJ)
It could be argued that David was completely deceived by Amnon’s crafty ploy. But David had taken advantage of a woman (Bathsheba) before and had supposedly seen the error of his ways, so he ought to have been on the alert for the possibility that his own son was doing something similar. If Amnon had really been ill, he could have been cared for by his male servants. David ought to have been very suspicious of Amnon’s request.
And after Ammon raped Tamar, the Bible tells us how David responded:
When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry (v21).
The Dead Sea Scroll and Septuagint add: “But he [David] did not grieve the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him because he was his firstborn.”
David not only failed to reprimand or punish Amnon, he also failed to vindicate and support his daughter Tamar. David just got furious…and then did nothing.
Chris Moles doesn’t see any of this. He just concludes his teaching about David by pointing to the ‘hope’ for abusers because they can repent like David did.
But the ‘hope’ that Chris Moles draws from the story of David’s repentance is like a will -o’-the-wisp.
Thanks to the commenter who has pointed out that our definition of abuse is a pattern of behavior with the intention to control. This pattern of behavior is a long term thing. And because of this, David story doesn’t seem to be a great example of abuse and repentance to apply to domestic abuse.
David was a man after God’s own heart; abusers are not. While there are other stories in the Bible that show David’s character flaws, he is not depicted as someone who habitually abused his power over the long term.
Person A can do something terrible and abusive, and repent. That does not mean that Person B, who has made a life habit of using abuse as their normal way of getting what they want, will also repent. Person B has already decided not to repent many times.
I know a domestic abuse survivor in the USA who cleans people’s houses for a living. She told me that one of her cleaning clients runs a government drug program – those found guilty of drug charges can go through this program instead of going to jail. She asked him how successful the program was. He told her a figure (she thinks it was between 20-40%). It was a higher percentage than she was expecting. She then told him she had read a bit about DV programs, and the success rate for DV programs seem to be much lower. His response:
Oh, DV is a different animal. I have a buddy that runs a DV program. He sees very little if any change in his guys. And even in my program – it’s very hard to measure success. The numbers we show on paper are probably too high.
Lundy Bancroft used to worked in the Emerge Program which was one of the early programs in the US for men who have abused their female partners. Readers of our blog will know that we do not recommend the “healing retreats” Lundy runs for abused women (link). But I think it is likely that Lundy is fairly familiar with the likelihood of abusive men changing for the better. I watched his 2017 webinar and took notes. Lundy said:
I have not seen any lasting change from religious conversion, recommitting to his own religion, deeper studying of his religion, or when a man deepens his commitment to his faith.
How religious a man is does not appear to have any effect on now abusive he is. Abusive men can be atheists, or deeply religious, or ‘lightly’ religious.
We don’t have reliable stats on the percentage of abusers who change. The studies measure different things. And no studies measure change in verbal abuse.
No abusive men change in the absence of intervention. Interventions can be
- jail / criminal conviction
- being left by the victim for an extended time (at least three months) or for good
- or both of the above
but even then, the abusive man has to do substantial work – and few do.
Only when he realises “My partner could live without me” is there any likelihood that the abusive man might start to do the work to change.
Abuser Programs need to last at least six months minimum. And abusive men only change if they do 18 months or more work, so that means they attend three or more times.
There is lots of research about abusive men being bad parents. The problem in the US court system is the absolute refusal of the courts to look at the research.
Programs for abusive men in the US vary tremendously in quality. Not all of them contact the woman. Some even write him a report saying he is really empathic.
Citations in this post are shown in grey, with each item designated by a capital letter. The Chris Moles Digest gives a link to each item cited by a capital letter.
David’s sin against Bathsheba and Uriah – two sermons by Ps Sam Powell
King David and Bill Gothard — a reblog from My Only Comfort, by Ps Sam Powell
31 thoughts on “9. The will-o-the-wisp of hope for abusive men”
I have been doing some strong thinking since post #6, in that; I would agree that it is not our “responsibility” to be the ones, as Christians, to offer redemptive and restorative counseling to men who are abusers without a strong accountability frame work. In fact I have seen very little change in those who go through even excellent Christian-based programs. I suppose it comes down to the same issue as it is for addicts; “Does the person wish to change their thinking and their life?” It is not enough that the abuser goes through a program and ticks off the boxes so they can say; “I’ve done it, I’m better now.” because honestly it doesn’t work that way, and in fact could be seen as gaslighting to convince a target that it’s safe again when it’s really not.
So then what do we do as a society? Is it enough to “Raise Awareness” about abuse issues in the ‘c’hurch and in schools? I don’t think so really. It’s going to take the whole of society to decide, just like the abuser, that it needs to change its way of thinking. But I wonder if that is even possible. We can certainly teach our children differently, we can choose to be more forthright in confronting individuals who encourage and utilize male privilege in their everyday lives, but can we honestly change thousands of years on male-dominated thinking?
Starting the dialogue is a “good thing” and necessary. But like the addict and the perpetrator, social attitudes need to change before the climate surrounding abuse changes. As long as there are men who thrive on the victimization of others, and they remain in power, I don’t think that we will make much of an impact in the eradication of not only abuse, but change how it is handled within the ‘c’hurch and governmental venues. I know how defeatist this sounds, but sometimes I get the impression we are beating our collective heads against a titanium wall.
So we change how we talk to and teach our children, we change what we accept as social “norms”, we change how we respond to abusers as a whole demographic. But until God changes hearts and minds, we can only continue to face abuse head on and with stronger punitive measures judicially and socially.
On a different note, I do agree with Mr. Moles “Four Pillars of Domestic Abuse” theory, but I don’t think it goes far enough as there are so many more nuances to DV / IPV. He shows a basic working knowledge of those issues, but indeed I think he misses the mark by a wide margin.
Unfortunately, I think this is true. I’ve seen this attitude in another area and coming clean is not likely to happen. Being able to articulate the way you do is a display of maturity and healing which is a testament of our Father’s care.
David’s repentance was met with forgiveness, but not without dire consequences and discipline – I find this example of David interesting because it was actually used by my abuser.
As a survivor, especially in the church, the pressure to hope for change, or pressure to reconcile because they appear to have changed, maybe they did change, or God can change anyone, added so much legalistic confusion to the healing and decision making process of trying to break free (besides the church completely supporting him, though there were no ministry consequences, and zero reaching out to me by church leadership).
I feel like hearing advocates / counselors / pastors emphasizing hope about abusers changing can add pressure and confusion to victims to wait it out, go back, give another chance, as well as instill doubt about leaving or the gravity of the situation, especially since hope for change is what kept many of us in abusive marriages for too long, plus this message can be even more confusing especially if you’re still coming out of the fog.
I also would find it difficult to confide in or feel I could gain clarity from a therapist/pastor with this approach/priority. I just now read No. 7 in this series, which more than covered what I was trying to process here, thank you for bringing clarity to this subject.
I think this comment of Mary’s is fairly accurate:
Hope is in Jesus not in a need for a husband. The good word “hope” is current culture manipulation. After about 10 years, I left and came back for four more with his agreement to change but it got bad and I divorced. Psychology has a term called triangulation and I add strangulation when it comes to couple’s counseling which will never address the truth and will place blame on the wife for “her part” if not give more trauma. There’s a popular NLP [Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner] / Hypnotist that boasts of instantly fixing a marriage. Is that a man who changed?
Hi FreedominChrist, we have lots of stuff on this site about the dangers of couple’s counseling in domestic abuse.
And we also have a post about triangulation.
Triangulation – a method used by abusers.
I would not recommend NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) or hypnotism. I think they are both techniques of manipulation.
Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. 🙂
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Thanks Barbara for the links. I had read triangulation to be a third person siding with the abuser therefore feeling like strangulation. Many of us have experienced this. I’m sure gossip would be able to accomplish this as well.
I agree, Mary. 🙂
The example of David (and Paul, from the NT) are often used as support for the narrative of “God can change anyone; nothing is impossible for Him.”
It actually breaks my heart more than anything—-to not only read and watch David live his life in certain ways, but also watch the consequences unfold from the way he fell incredibly short.
The child from abusing his power and using it to have sex with Bathsheba died after he was born, no matter how long and how hard he prayed for mercy.
His own sons could have benefitted so much if only David had gone deeper and did some real parenting with them:
Hope is a tricky thing. Chris “doles” it out like a carrot on a stick it seems, wanting others to believe what he seems so firmly convinced of himself: that abusers CAN change. They CAN change, if we just pray and work hard and believe and have hope and don’t give up.
I do not know if Chris tries to give sort of: “100% guaranteed to work or your money back” sort of message. It doesn’t seem so, but it seems pretty close!
No one comes to the Lord unless He beckons them in their hearts (John 6:44). No human being can do this. No one can change a person from the inside out (which is the ONLY way that real change occurs). It is not from the outside, then it works into the inside.
What tears me up inside is how much I DO understand this desperate, stubborn desire to believe that abusers can change. That it doesn’t have to be this way. That this evil CAN be reined in and hopefully stopped. People can stop getting hurt. Families can be made whole again. Marriages can be salvaged. Relationships can flourish again. Children can be raised by BOTH parents, which is far preferable.
I doubt Chris believes that he has the power to stop ALL abuse, in all its forms and degrees. I can see that he is trying to do what he can to make a difference (even a small one), but common sense probably tells him that abuse will continue no matter what. He is just hoping to insert some real hope and real help into these unimaginable situations.
My hunch is that he does not want to see victims becoming re-victimized and sent back to be abused even more — after abusers have claimed to complete his program or claimed to have changed.
But I cannot shake the deep conviction that he is doing more harm than good—-despite whatever he intends or thinks within himself.
The fact that the Lord ordained death for a newborn baby is nothing to wink at. The Lord does not go “overboard” in His judgments. He is 100% fair when He metes out the appropriate consequences for sin.
When I first read David’s story, I was shocked that he did not rein in his own living sons—especially after he lost one of them due to his own sins. I also couldn’t believe how he did not stand up for his own daughter, and after that—we all know how his son ousted him and eventually died as well.
He lost THREE sons overall: the newborn, Amnon and Absalom.
Perhaps Chris should focus on all that David lost, due to his lack of “complete” repentance (NOT dismissing Psalm 51 where David is truly repentant).
The “hopeful” aspect in David’s life is relevant, but it is not the full story. It’s a big deal when you know you deserve death, and God says you won’t die (as Nathan told him after confronting David).
And perhaps Chris should focus on Nathan as well. Nathan, who was brave and bold enough to obey God and confront the most powerful man in the kingdom—-regardless of how David reacted. Kings in that day held absolute power of life and death over everyone and anyone. We take it for granted that Nathan knew that David would repent, but there was no guarantee of that.
A man who is a rapist and a murderer may not choose to repent! And as David’s example shows, he obviously didn’t 100% bear worthy fruits of that initial repentance.
Any abuser claiming to want to change, or claiming he will change, should be told such things, and warned as well.
I was not just abused by my ex-husband and I have suffered by man’s hands because they thought I was playing a game when I divorced. It is final. I don’t want any undue influence used on me such as transference etc. The truth is not one of these men had to abuse their wives. It was a choice. I was told it was for God and country. God doesn’t abuse or lie and the country is a mess.
FreedomInChrist I’m so sorry for what you went through. Very true that additional abuse from others often plays out as you described.
From the last post about “silence as defiance” I have been thinking a lot about the price that is paid when we break our silence (if we choose to). And the price of silence, should we choose to go in that direction.
A poster very well described the pros and cons of silence and speaking out. There are no easy answers.
Abuse for “God and country??” How horrible! What an awful, awful lie. Shame on them and anyone else who uses such awful lies or protects those that use them.
And yes, God does neither: abuse or lie.
FreedomInChrist; I am so very sorry for what was done to you. I am very glad to hear that you know that God has no part in it. I hope that you are safe and starting to heal now.
It must have been beyond horrific to be told “it was for God and country” as an “excuse” for the abuse you’ve suffered.
Thanks Helovesme! I really like your comment, especially this part —
Thank you for those kinds words!
There were a good handful of servant-minded men in the Word that often get overlooked for one reason or another. Nathan is one of them. He loved the Lord more than himself, than his own country. David was his king—uncovering political scandal can cause instability and chaos in an entire nation of people. David had worked hard to unify a divided country under his rule. Bringing scandal to light in his “administration” had great potential to tear such a country apart all over again. But Nathan refused to give in to that fear as well.
Jonathan, David’s brother-in-law, is another. He was technically next in line for the throne, but stepped aside knowing that David was God’s choice. He and David also loved each other deeply, from the heart. Jonathan even stood up to his own father for David’s sake. And when David and Jonathan parted ways, they wept profusely—David more so.
I’ve often wondered what life would have been like for David as a king, had Jonathan lived.
Joseph, Mary’s husband is another one. He was a good man who refused to publicly “shame” Mary. He believed God when it was revealed that it was safe to marry her (never mind the gossip that probably came with it!). He protected his family well (went on the run to Egypt in the middle of the night) and raised Jesus as his own son.
I need reminders of men like them. I have had such great disappointments and betrayals in forming real bonds with my brothers in Christ. No way am I a “man hater” but I have a really hard time knowing who to trust these days.
Does anyone have any thoughts or insights about this passage when Nathan confronts David:
This is not to excuse or defend or justify David’s lack of parenting and taking real action when his own daughter was assaulted.
When this prophecy was made, it’s likely that David didn’t exactly know how all of it would play out. It is a powerful, potent prophecy for sure.
It’s likely he didn’t know it was going to be one of his own sons that would be sleeping with his wives in broad daylight, even though it says “one who is close to you.”
Just (again) looking for thoughts or insights. The Lord’s prophecies are NEVER to lead us into apathy (IMO) and an attitude of: well, we’re doomed so why bother trying to live righteously.
And the story of how the city of Nineveh repented when they heard God’s prophetic warning delivered by Jonah, is a case point. God relented and did not destroy Nineveh. (Jonah chapter 3)
For women who are currently in divorce proceedings, please don’t be afraid (as I was because I had been gaslighted) to tell your attorney that you were abused and ask to get sole custody of children….
I’m hearing they are turning the children against their mother. How about some Christian love and support for women even if they divorced and were not the problem to begin with?
I edited your comment a bit, hope you don’t mind. I took out the quote by Gary Thomas. Even though the quote was okay, we do not recommend Gary Thomas to our readers. If you want to understand why, check out these posts and the comments threads on the posts:
“Sacred Influence: What a Man Needs from His Wife to Be the Husband She Wants” — a review by Avid Reader
Gary Thomas’s book “Sacred Marriage” — a review by Avid Reader
David repented for his acts of abuse, but that does not mean other abusers will also repent. As your definition of abuse says, it is a pattern of behavior with the intention to control. It is a long term thing.
This story does not seem to me to be a great example of abuse and repentance to apply to DV. I could be wrong, but I think time is an important missing factor.
David was a man after God’s own heart, abusers are not. While there are other stories in the Bible that show his character flaws, he is not depicted as someone who habitually abused his power over the long term.
Person A can do something terrible and abusive, and repent. That does not mean that Person B, who has made a life-habit of using abuse as their normal way of getting what they want, will also repent. Person B has already decided not to repent many times.
I do not know how many weeks or months this episode covers, but if my partner had been abusive for weeks or months and then changed we would still be married.
I don’t want to claim to know what God thinks beyond what is in the Bible, however I get the feeling that if David done something like this again, even once, let alone repeatedly over years, he would have had no more chances to repent at all.
Thanks, Trying to Think. 🙂
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This portion of Trying to Think’s comment is so good, I am going to add it to the text of the blog post —
Trying To Think, I divorced a man who refused to stop and change. Repenting when someone is allowed to, told to, or just feels like it, doesn’t change the years of an abusive, neglected relationship. Understand that abuse was a willing choice, that [it] was damaging to the woman and disobedient to Biblical teaching.
Well said, Rescued, and even IF there was TRUE repentance there has been so much damage done that I would fear it would take years to resolve anything. I think a lot of people including many counsellors [both] Christian and secular, it seems, forget that there are perhaps many things still hidden / suppressed within us and that there is nowhere near enough time in sessions sometimes to cover all the things within our very being or going on deep within us. I therefore cannot if I was a counsellor assume all is dealt with fully for certain and certainly not enough to warrant encouraging any person back with their abuser, no matter how much they say they have repented. Far too much Easy Believism in churches especially today. I don’t see how I personally could take that risk. I’ve moved forward and I’m never going back. I’ve made many mistakes since and have amended [emended] them with the same resolve of never going back. It would not be in my best interests for my safety or sanity.
I personally cannot see how someone who even says they have repented could [even] be given any chance back in the same relationship, when it would certainly on my part take a lifetime for them to prove they truly had changed or repented. I would not put that pressure on myself or any partner in a previous relationship. That’s not down to any unforgiveness on my part, but due to the fact I need time and space to recover and heal without having to deal with whether or not a person has really changed. I think I deserve every chance to have the best of chances to move on and heal and gain life again. I know some have been able to repent and amend [emend], although it is very rare, and it has worked. This is fantastic and shows only that with God anything is possible, but I must leave that to God and not test Him out on it. I do not decry any true repentance if it is true, but no one should ever force that onto me as Christ’s way for us all. I honestly don’t believe it is and I have heard it even said a year for every year of abuse?? If they prove they have changed then go back?? Nah!! I moved on and if they have truly repented – all the best to them, but I’m saying a definite “no!” to them being back in my life!! Once I walked out and it took years of soul searching and summoning all my strength despite heavy opposition to get there, there was no way back!
It’s not that I do not believe God can change a heart, of course He can – He can do anything IF the person allows Him to. However, He is not a God of force and He does not coercively control us. It is not that I have not forgiven truly my abuser, that was done many, many times over and over as I pressed on through the torment of abuse. Never have I forgiven a person more, and still do, despite the mind games.
What I do call it is – wisdom – being wise to the subtleties of satan using an abuser. May they have changed? Maybe or maybe not. If I was all-knowing and all-seeing then no problem, I’d get it but I’m not God and I’m absolutely sure He does not expect me to take a leap of faith into that arena. He expects me to be wise after teaching me so much. He expects me to continue to be wise and learn to be careful as He brings me through and into new life. Even then I’ve made mistakes and I’ve had to get back up and move forward again, many, many times. This is why counsellors and pastors need to be so careful of putting dangerous or even lethal notions into heads and hearts. We are not perfect and we are not God, we do not see perfectly today or into the future.
I’m reminded that we are very like that of an eggshell (not the ones we have walked on for years). There’s a strength there to protect our inside being. The bit inside, the real us, that holds so much life. However if dropped a certain way we are so strong and never will break, but if knocked at other times at our most vulnerable spot, it is so easily to damage us and break our yoke [yolk?], i.e. our inner spirit.
Wisdom is so important when dealing with anyone who has been through trauma or abuse, when we are fragile even though we at times also present strong. We are very much both, in fact every human being is both. Sensitivity with each unique person is a must, not a condemning, critical spirit that many of us have faced by ones who were out for supposedly our own good.
I call it “damage limitation” in order to help me have the time I lost out on, so I can gain a life again! So much lost and taken away and still I must live without so much and very much alone. It’s time now for ME to rebuild, not time for us to rebuild.
I call it self-protection as I put myself first for a change and ensure no one gets their hands on my mind, body, spirit and heart ever again that will damage it. I feel still deeply hurt and broken and they will have no part in my healing or recovery!! God alone is my healer! I am in His hands now!
They had their chance over and over and over again to build me up, love, cherish and honour. Well over 70 x 7, as Jesus said, have I forgiven them, but being forgiven does not mean I must drop all and embrace my abuser or believe their every word. Definitely not shack up with them again!!
I think I may just know my abuser more intimately than some may give me credit for, just because they have done some program or had some sessions of therapy or counselling. I may be fragile at times but I’m not stupid (I never was!!! Just very loving and forgiving.) but some things still don’t “wash” with me. I am a little wiser to the one who manipulates and hoodwinked me for years.
Question: how do you know you are not being deceived, as counsellors, by abusers?? How can you determine our future?? You are not God!!
I am quite happy to let my abuser live their life out without me. They can enjoy proving their repentance among others and perhaps receive their own healing and recovery, if you really do need that. Personally I say to them “you need massive recovery and healing in my opinion as you are well damaged in your head and heart, for you are not what God intended you to be, but it is in no way an excuse to continue to abuse! Especially when it was pointed out many times. I will wish you every blessing in that and hope truly God does do a great miracle in your heart. Only He can change you!! For your sake and others I have always wished that and that never will change, but you are not going to do that with me in your life. I need my own space, my own life and my recovery and healing. You are not part of that anymore.”
I know for me I cannot take that risk of being together again, despite many Christians wanting that, plus for my own healing it’s best apart.
In over 20 years I have seen no remorse or even one tear, let alone heard one “sorry” for anything to me for anything. Once said she was 99.98% right all of the time! Farcical but did I ever get an apology even for that crazy 0.02% that I must have been right? You bet I didn’t.
Many years on after a long battle to break finally free and heading towards divorce, and I can still see that coercive control and wanting to know everything. The tactics may have changed slightly but the same person is “at the wheel.”
Has anything changed? Definitely not!
Today I have given them no option but to move on but sadly they are still in full belief that they were the abused party, manipulating and posing as innocent, when actually the opposite is true. Still trying to manipulate and isolate and if given half a chance pile on false guilt. I’m wise to that now. I had to learn a long time ago from someone else badly abused, and recovering, but it’s still hard at times to apply -“No fuel , no fire!”
I never realised until recently that [it] is biblical and wise, and that [it] is my position on this, and this is why even though I may still struggle and sting as I recover and bathe my wounds, I am nevertheless NOW FREE!!
A word to counsellors – do not minimalise the damage done by the abuser to your victim / survivor that you have not gone through or cannot see. Only God knows what is going on inside and why, all that is required to bring that person to full healing. Stop “trying” to be God, and let Him work! Pastors / counsellors need often to take a step back, from thinking God needs you to work – He doesn’t! It’s only by His grace and mercy He does use us. Just as He does not need you to save souls, He does not need you to save abused souls either! Oh yes He may use you that is different, but all too often God is forced to be a backseat driver and not given the steering wheel. Don’t be like my abuser who often did the same. Often further damage is done when God is not allowed to work because of our preconceived ideas or ideologies of what should be. We need to be so careful when dealing with broken spirits and damaged lives. God should never be pigeon-holed or boxed in. It [is] the truth that sets us free. God is truth and speaks truth. We need to let Him heal us in His time and in His way, and no two cases are ever the same. Why?? Because God in His wisdom and love made not one of us the same, we are all unique. Therefore, we need to remain mindful of these things when talking [to] and caring for others.
This Is why Don Hennessy’s recent book – “Steps to Freedom” is excellent. Over and over again he points out that as a counsellor he wants us to move at our pace and not be coerced by him to act or react. A lot of so-called counsellors and those within our friend-circle (if you have one – I have no one) and families who say they support us could take note. Ultimately we listen to God and no man! Then we will truly be free!
Extending some thoughts for consideration based on the original post and the comments generated….
Does Chris Moles believe he is acting like Nathan to the abuser’s David? If so, does he believe he is “sent by God”? Could this indicate arrogance?
That’s a thought provoking Question! Interesting.
Finding Answers what an excellent question!
I am very careful to not speculate too much about someone I barely know (aka Chris). I’ll try to tip-toe carefully while I give my thoughts.
He might think as you are suggesting, but if so, he is not really reading Nathan as he is truly depicted. A sort of “modern Nathan” is what he might be aiming for, one that is dressed up in more pleasing, acceptable methods. Less offensive but still trying to be effective (doesn’t really work, however).
Nathan never called David his buddy or pal—even though being a prophet to the king does imply some closeness. Nathan was pretty hard core! Nathan was also quite fearless.
Yes, Nathan used a story in speaking to David, before claiming: you are that man! It think it was intentional, because David was a shepherd for many years, so he would connect with such a narrative. It might also have reminded him of his shepherd’s heart, which he had obviously lost sight of since becoming king.
He also didn’t try to “convince” David of his sin. Simply said: you are the man!
No hours of counseling, no step-by-step procedures, no “pray about it and let me know if you think you need to repent” sort of attitude. Note: counseling isn’t a bad thing. But in serious situations (and abuse is serious), direct confrontation is a must.
To be honest, it is the Lord’s actual words, spoken through Nathan, that make my heart hurt, because I feel the Lord’s anger AND sorrow at what David did:
I have no problem if believers want to emulate those in the Word that they should emulate. They left us amazing examples and wonderful encouragement.
But no one is as a modern day Nathan, or David, or anyone like that (IMO). Each one of us is unique for our time in history, for a distinct purpose and calling.
As a survivor, I believe and advocate the number one way (and the only thing within our control) is for women to learn the early signs of an abuser and to study in depth the phenomena, and then to use that knowledge to 1) weed out abusive persons before getting involved, and / or 2) set AND enforce firm boundaries while in the observation stage with anyone new.
I learned, as many of us have, the extremely hard way, but God had a plan for me and woke me up to this insidious, horrid and destructive behavior and it is my heart’s desire to help other women learn how to avoid the kind of pain and suffering I endured for over 30 years in my marriage, and other relationships before that.
In every case my tender, vulnerable heart overlooked and forgave verbal and physical abuse, disrespect and indifference as “mistakes,” instead of seeing them as patterns of abusive, unloving behavior that demonstrated a cold, calculating, cruel hearted person.
I have to say also, that the story of David has always bothered me because of his lack of support for Tamar. David is no hero in my mind for sure, but only an example of humanness, and the consequences of sin.
Hope is not a method.
Real, true hope is only effectively placed in that which is already known to be worthy of the placement.
When targets receive the counsel to forever have “hope” that their abuser will –or even can– change, they are being led to place their trust of hope onto a person that has provided no evidence in character that they are worthy of such hope being placed upon them. There is absolutely no basis in foundation to have any hope whatsoever that an abuser will change.
The best and only truthful place to put HOPE, is in the faithfulness of God. The assurity that He will open one’s own eyes to the reality of the situation, the need of one’s own heart to change with that acknowledgment, the action of one’s own will to walk away from the oppression, and the faith of one’s own mind to live life forward in His Freedom.
Targets do well to turn away and leave abusers in the just hands of God. Hope is reserved for believing what God can and will do with the yielded target’s life, not the abuser’s.
The sinful passivity of David in the face of his son Amnon’s plotting and rape of Tamar led to Absalom seeking vengeance and finally slaying Amnon for bringing dishonour upon his sister (also in 2 Samuel 13). In this instance, David failed to act righteously and use his kingly authority for good.
It may have been that Amnon already suspected that his father David was so weak and compromised that he would receive little to no retribution for committing a heinous act, despite David’s position of power.