A Cry For Justice

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

The righteous and the wicked have very different goals

The desire of the righteous is only good,
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
Proverbs 11:23 (NKJ)

The righteous want peace, mutual respect, and safety.

The wicked covertly stir things up by manipulating other people to become enraged at each other.

Having sowed the seeds of the conflict, the wicked one walks away squeaky clean leaving others to cut and bite each other. And the righteous then have to clean up the mess, tend the wounded, and pay the bills which the abuser did not pay.

Here is Myles Coverdale’s sixteenth century translation of Prov 11:23, in modern spelling. This is the translation that is in the 1537 Matthew Bible.

The just labour for peace and tranquillity,
but the ungodly for disquietness.  (link)

You can read and compare other English translations of Proverbs 11:23 at BibleHub.

The Levite who cut his concubine into pieces and sent her body pieces out to the tribes of Israel as a ‘call for justice’ is an example of how abusers stir up conflict and walk away squeaky clean.

If you want to better understand that awful story in Judges 19, you can watch my video on the Levite’s Concubine.


  1. New Life

    So true!

  2. AppleofHisEye

    We are experiencing this kind of wickedness right now with some members of my husband’s extended family.
    These people are so manipulative and destructive.
    They seem to enjoy trying to shame and slander innocent people.
    We pray for God’s protection.

  3. Finding Answers

    (Light airbrushing……)

    From the original post:

    Having sowed the seeds of the conflict, the wicked one walks away squeaky clean leaving others to cut and bite each other. And the righteous then have to clean up the mess, tend the wounded, and pay the bills which the abuser did not pay.

    ^That….with a single instance to which this did not apply.

    In over five decades of abusive relationships (personal and professional), one abuser got spattered with some flecks of mud. Eventually, the flecks of mud dried and fell off. That abuser is, once again, squeaky clean.

    And, once again, I am the target.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      Hope you are ok, Finding Answers. The devil definitely does not let up after all you have been through. Praying much for you at this difficult time. May God grant you great wisdom and strength. He has not brought you this far to let you down.

  4. Helovesme

    Barb, you have a wonderful way of packing a lot of food for thought in a few sentences.

    My favorite part was:

    And the righteous then have to clean up the mess, tend the wounded, and pay the bills which the abuser did not pay.

    My former pastor is a good example of this. I recently described it in a similar way: he spilled a big glass of milk, then ran out on us, leaving those left behind to clean up the very big mess that he was responsible for. There were a lot of people he hurt and lied to, but he didn’t stick around to even survey the damage he had done.

    I am reading through Proverbs now. As you read through them, you really get a strong flavor and feeling as to how different the righteous and wicked are in God’s eyes.

    With our own eyes, we cannot always see that so clearly, if at all. I don’t believe it’s possible apart from the razor sharp, perfectly pinpointed and unmistakably accurate discernment from the Lord.

    I remember a phrase called “shades of grey.” It was often used when people would say that an issue is not black and white. There are “shades of grey” that make certain matters more complicated.

    Abusers are wicked persons. I don’t think there are any shades of grey in this issue. But for those around the abuser, even for the victims—they may have a hard time coming to that realization.

    “The abuser is not wicked. They are acting wickedly, which is a much different thing.” “They are unhappy.” “They had a difficult upbringing.” “They are lost and out of touch with the Lord.” “They have a drinking or drug problem.” “They are misunderstood.” “They are very complicated persons, and it’s not fair to label such a person with such a term as “wicked” when the real narrative has a lot more factors to consider.”

    “Not only that, but labeling an abuser as “wicked” implies that we have given up on them. They are lost causes. There is no hope or restoration, and so in essence we are “banishing” them to Hell—-something God does not want to happen to anyone.”

    I’m actually going to leave that issue there, because recently I’ve been struggling with a rather intense issue that I very much hope encourages someone—anyone.

    I’ve been the object of abuse for my entire childhood. In school and at home, I was taunted and terrorized and frankly—terrified for most of my life. Who wouldn’t be? Every day was a matter of survival—finding ways to cope and not ultimately go crazy from the enormous strain I was under.

    I have dealt with abusive behaviors from professing Christians as well. I have also been around what I call “toxic and dangerous” persons who again, profess Christ—-but they are controlling, manipulative and power hungry. I didn’t see these things for years because they often played just the right cards in order to evoke pity, guilt or fear from those around them. Including me.

    Now I’m trying to process all these things. And one thing stood out to me, from thirty plus years:

    Why in the world did I carry so much shame? Why was I so ashamed of myself? Why did I feel so much self-disgust for being verbally taunted, emotionally manipulated, rejected or publicly humiliated? Ridiculed directly or behind my back, childishly name called or purposefully excluded from groups of people that I desperately wanted to fit in with?

    I have too many examples to try to illustrate what it was like. Different stages of life and different circumstances were involved. The main take away was the same for me: humiliation.

    When I was taunted, the main reaction I had was to stay silent. Just get it over with. I was being targeted (the main school of thought is that if you are being singled out, you deserve it), so I had to take it. Kind of like taking medicine that tastes horrible, but you are forced to swallow it anyway. You sat there and just hoped it would be done and over with as soon as possible. Until they had unloaded their hate onto you and they were satisfied.

    I did try to fight back sometimes. But no one was interested in what I had to say. They just wanted to hurt me as much as possible. And nothing I said (or tried to say) made any difference. It was like I wasn’t speaking at all, really.

    As an adult, when I look back at those situations—-for the life of me I cannot figure out why the persons DOING the harm were not ashamed of themselves. Embarrassed at how they were behaving. In my memory, they looked foolish—frankly, ridiculous. They were the ones making a lot of noise, saying horrible things and relishing the attention.

    They had no shame. They had no remorse. They were center stage acting up and acting out—-but most people were looking at ME, as I said and did nothing. Or, they were laughing, egging on or joining in with the taunting. Others said and did nothing, as if that did not make them complicit. One person gave me a condescending, pitiful look—-but no way was that person going to step away from the taunters.

    Why in the world did I carry around huge, binding, crippling amounts of shame, for something that was 100% NOT my fault? The responsibility did not belong to me, it belonged to them—but I took it upon myself as if I deserved it. They refused to take it, so for some reason I did.

    And it nearly ruined my life. I tried to commit suicide when I was eighteen. Looking back, I am surprised I held out for so long. I was nothing but “target” practice for those who loved to shoot metaphorical guns at anyone they deemed weak and vulnerable. Years and years of bearing all those wounds finally caught up with me.

    Not at all justifying my suicide attempt, by the way. Just explaining that when you are loaded down, day after day, year after year—-it will cause serious, sometimes deadly consequences.

    What is truly beyond wicked—-SO wicked that I cannot find the words—-is when the righteous are shamed, burdened and humiliated BY the wicked—and then (as Barb wrote so well) they walk away, leaving the righteous bloodied, muddied—-and extremely weighed down. Carrying the weight of humiliation, battling the forces of darkness—-that the wicked should be dealing with.

    I heard a testimony of a rape victim, who was being rushed to the hospital after her attack. She said that a worker was there, assuring her that what happened was not her fault. She said later that she couldn’t believe anyone had to reassure her of that. She never thought it had been her fault, and was shocked that she had to even be told such a thing.

    I wish I had been more like that wonderful woman. She saw right away what I could not see for years. She saw that a wicked man had done a wicked thing to her. She was not going to bear any shame or blame—-she saw no reason to!

    I once heard that Jesus did not come to set the world upside down, He came to set it right side up! For me, that means calling out the wicked for who they are. That also means freeing up the victims from feeling ashamed and guilty when the wicked prey on them. In short—they have nothing to be ashamed of when they are targeted. They should not, and are not expected to—-bear the weight of ANYTHING that is not their fault. Period.

    • I think you almost answered your own question, Helovesme. Your father shredded your self-esteem and personhood so much that when others taunted you, you automatically took the shame on board. Your father conditioned you to take the shame. He probably brainwashed that into you so deeply that it never occurred to question it.

      In contrast, I would be willing to guess that that woman who was raped had not been severely abused previously and she understood clearly that victims of abuse do not deserve shame or guilt because the shame and guilt belongs to the abusers.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you Barb; I never saw that distinction. I truly hope that woman who was victimized was not abused previously as you suggested.

        Yes, absolutely I was “trained” to assume I was the “wicked” one and the abuser (or taunter) was not. It was like I was “groomed” to take on all that shame. I’m not surprised anymore as to why I behaved as I did in the past—-I just don’t know why it’s taken me so long to break that awful pattern. AND realize that I was punishing myself for no good reason.

        I’ve read testimonies of young persons abused by those in the church who were made to feel dirty and stained (as if they deserved being abused. As if they were the wicked ones.)—-or that they would be doing something wicked if they spoke up.

        I don’t believe all of them had been abused previously, or in their homes. But since their abusers were so revered or considered pious, they had a hard time coming forward.

        The kids in school, or professing Christians in my life weren’t considered pious, but they were considered powerful. I liken it to being in the “in” crowd. They were mean, but they were popular, and being around those persons made them popular, too. They were feared—-as well as idolized. Being powerful, or wanting to be in power—can mess with us and warp our minds like nothing else.

        It seems that when powerful persons abuse their authority (in order to abuse others) and label themselves as “men or women” of God—-that they are able to “groom” their victims much in the same way I seemed to have been. My dad wasn’t in the church, but by being my father, he felt entitled to use that title / authority as he saw fit. Aka: “I’ve got the power, and you don’t.”

        Abuse makes you feel so powerless. Not only did I not know how to fight back, or process all that pain—but those around me had all the power to do pretty much whatever they wanted, with little to no consequences. That adds to the “grooming.” Don’t even try to make it stop, because you’ll only make it worse. You’ll only feed their sense of power.

        In fact, such aggressive persons can be prized by others—they are groomed to be leaders. Their controlling, coercing and often charismatic characteristics often come off as impressive. It should be the exact opposite. Churches, especially, need to stop prizing that sort of thing. The Word is very careful in listing out what is leadership worthy.

        Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!. (Isaiah 5:20)

        It truly fits so much wrongness that we see around us.

        By the way, there were definitely many times that I have not been, and still am not—a likable person. Not at all delightful to be around! I wouldn’t have considered myself to have been a very kind person growing up, or as an adult. That may have fed into my narrative as to why I was targeted, and why I deserved to feel so ashamed of myself so often.

        But being disliked does not mean anyone has the right to destroy you. And that is what abuse does.

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