A Cry For Justice

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

Apologies—the good and the bad. Wade Mullen’s wisdom from observing institutional apologies.

Fake apologies employ self-justification. They appease just enough to quell resistance. They excuse the abusers and condemn the victims.

Real apologies involve surrender, confession, recognition and empathy.

What I’ve Observed When Institutions Try to Apologize and How They Can Do Better by Wade Mullen.

Too often the words “We are sorry” are casually offered and easily accepted as if they possess a supernatural power to resolve every grievance and heal any wound.
– Wade Mullen

Wade Mullen writes to help those in abusive situations. He has personally experienced and confronted abusive individuals and organizations. I recommend his latest article to all victims of abuse, esp those who have suffered abuse from churches and other institutions.

Go here to read Wade’s article:–  What I’ve Observed When Institutions Try to Apologize and How They Can Do Better

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You can follow Wade Mullen at these places—

 

 

33 Comments

  1. Finding Answers

    From Wade’s article “Too often the words “We are sorry” are casually offered and easily accepted as if they possess a supernatural power to resolve every grievance and heal any wound. Yet, in my experience working with abuses in organizations, this short statement, offered as a bridge of reconciliation, is often surrounded by other messages that serve a very different purpose.”

    ^That.

    Under the “The apology that condemns.” heading from Wade’s article is an example “I’m sorry you feel that way.”.

    I remember one time I heard ^That example phrase and laughing to myself. Without knowing why, I knew the individual speaking the phrase was on the defensive.

    Under the “The apology that appeases.” heading from Wade’s article is the sentence “It is self-protective and leads to zero change because it is not an attempt to do all that is necessary to right wrongs, but an attempt to offer only what is needed to quell the outcry.”

    I encountered examples of ^That sentence in my personal life with my ex-“husband”, as well as his professional life. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    Under the “The apology that excuses.” heading from Wade’s article are five excuses I have encountered SO many times in my both my personal and professional life.

    Under the “The apology that justifies.” heading from Wade’s article is the phrase “while justifications are attempts to shape your perception of the wrongs.”

    I encountered examples of ^That phrase in secular / non-secular / New Age thinking.

    Under the “The apology that self-promotes.” heading from Wade’s article is the sentence “A statement of apology should never double as a medal.”.

    I encountered examples of ^That sentence regularly from a VERY evil man. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    Under the “The apology that asks for sympathy.” heading from Wade’s article is the sentence “Such messages cause the recipients to misplace compassion and reveals an inability on the part of organizational leaders to get outside of themselves.”

    My encounters with ^Those kind of messages caused me a great deal of pain. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    I never encountered apologies that checked off any items under the An Apology S.C.O.R.E. Card heading from Wade’s article.

    • Helovesme

      Really good sum up, Finding Answers. It would take me some time to unearth the memories, but I too have had to deal with non-apologies disguised as real apologies—-when there was no intent to actually apologize!

      I’m still reading the article. The moment I saw the subject matter I was pretty sure a lot of people would identify with this subject.

      I’ve read other posts about Biblical repentance in relation to abuse, and it’s truly amazing how good it feels to have a lot of bad information corrected. Things fall into place when you start to see the heart of the Lord, not the heart of man.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented “….The moment I saw the subject matter I was pretty sure a lot of people would identify with this subject.”

        ^That.

        By using general explanations in the writing of his article, and using specific examples only if necessary for clarification, Wade provided an excellent tool with a wide range of personal / professional / website / social media / etc. applications.

  2. Anon61

    Words can’t express the gratitude for THIS one! All the leaders, friends and counselors believed the phoniness of the Emperor with No Clothes! Even people with a lot of discernment. I’ve received thousands of empty, unproductive, unempathetic apologies. Shame gets a bad rap these days, yet Paul talks about “the things you are now ashamed of….” He also says, “I say this to your shame.” In other words, you SHOULD be ashamed. For a time. And then Jesus takes your shame. But it should not be before shame has accomplished in us what it needs to do.
    What we’ve done is try to shield people from shame and say: Guilt says, “I did a bad thing.” Shame says, ” I AM bad.” So don’t feel any shame, it’s BAD. Boloney! That is Psychology trying to excuse away any bad feelings one might have for the wrong they’ve committed.
    God gave us shame, (New Testament after Jesus) to convict us of sin. We need to feel it, embrace it, and have SORROW over it, THEN give it to the Lord! We can’t camp out there, but we can’t dismiss it before it’s run it’s course.

    • Thank you, Anon61. Your words ring so true. 🙂 🙂

      • Anon61

        We should also note that a lot of “Accountability” groups teach that Shame is bad. They are removing the very thing God gave us to work in our hearts against sin. Churches have also adopted this philosophy, and it is dangerous!
        The Church has failed miserably with porn addiction, which goes hand in hand with physical abuse. Drug and Alcohol addiction cannot cause a spouse to die unless he assaults her, which absolutely can happen. But porn is a downward spiral that leads to prostitutes– male and female, and the wife can end up with a deadly disease and have never known her husband was in it until it’s too late.
        1 Cor 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are OUTSIDE the body, but whoever sins sexually, SINS AGAINST THIER OWN BODY.

      • Finding Answers

        Barb,

        Perhaps you could clarify shame.

        An internet search provides a variety of (including some Biblical / “Biblical”) definitions / usages / synonyms / etc..

        Depending on a reader’s background, this could lead to poor theology / hopelessness / despair / etc.

      • I am not sure how much these posts clarify shame, but you can check them out:

        Shame, Abuse Victims, and the Woman at the Well

        More Thoughts on Shame — From “Mending the Soul” by Steven Tracy

        Prayerfully Hand Shame Back to the Abuser

        Also, I untangle one of the theological misunderstandings of shame in the latter part of this post. After you’ve clicked that link, scroll down to the sub-head “Their discussion of what Jesus substitutionally bore on our behalf”. I am pasting below some of what I wrote there.

        Here is the truth:
        On the Cross, Jesus became sin — not shame, not pain, but SIN.

        Tamar bore no guilt for the sins committed against her, and it’s foolish to say that on the Cross Jesus entered her pain and shame as her substitute. Why would Tamar need a substitute for her pain and shame? She was not guilty of the sins which caused her pain and shame. Jesus bore the penalty for Amnon’s sin of sexualized assault, not Tamar’s sin of sexualized assault!

        But of course, in Amnon’s contempt for God he wasn’t interested in the offer of grace and forgiveness from the Messiah, the promised sacrificial lamb who would make substitutional atonement.

        The Holcombs have handled the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement very badly. So badly, that for all their good intentions they have added to the muddy flood of victim blaming which is awash in the church.

        Yes; the abuse victim can find comfort in knowing that Christ understands her suffering because He was abused, and He is very tender with bruised reeds. But the victim doesn’t need a substitute for the pain and shame she suffers due to others having sinned against her.

        Rather, the victim needs validation, empathetic resonance and compassion for her pain and shame — something which the church rarely gives, but which Christ (and many other abuse survivors) bestow on her in abundance.

      • Finding Answers

        Thanks for the links, Barb.

        Separating the way the secular / non-secular worlds use / abuse / misuse shame can be difficult, especially for victims / survivors with a history of long term abuse / extreme abuse / multiple abusers AND a mixture of secular / non-secular backgrounds.

        Sorting out the mess can be crazy-making.

    • Gany T.

      ^ THAT

    • Years ago I had brief email contact with a guy who is a qualified counselor and who described himself as a ‘reformed abuser’ and he leads a counseling service based in a church. I had used the words “shame on the abuser” and he wrote to me saying he thought it was wrong to shame abusers.

      That told me all I needed to know. I didn’t respect him as a counselor or advocate after that.

      It would be interesting to study how many times the Bible says abusers need to feel shame for what they have done.

      • Anon61

        YES! Why soften the blow for abusers? They NEED to feel shame to wake up to what they are doing!
        When the Church wasn’t able to help people, hurting people began flocking to therapist’s offices or Twelve Step groups, as opposed to pastoral counseling. Psychologists invented the idea, “it is bad for the abuser to feel shame.”
        Completely unbiblical! But the Angel of Light knew how to create false doctrine, and he mixed in just enough truth to shift our thinking, which has infiltrated our churches. Even if you do find compassion and validation, you can’t find anyone with the courage to administer church discipline. So….families keep breaking down.

      • Helovesme

        “Even if you do find compassion and validation, you can’t find anyone with the courage to administer church discipline. So….families keep breaking down.”

        “I had used the words “shame on the abuser” and he wrote to me saying he thought it was wrong to shame abusers”

        Shame does not always equal condemnation. That is a big misconception. That is why I think it is shunned so easily without any real understanding.

        And Barbara’s description of Tamar and Amnon is wonderfully spot on. A rape victim has no reason to feel any amount of shame. It is a shameful act that was inflicted upon her. Amnon had every reason and every need to feel ashamed for what he had done to the Living God, and to his victim.

        But again, in the guise of repentance, shame is not meant to lead to the conclusion of: there is no hope for me. I am doomed and defeated and I am in a pit of despair forever. Before the Living God, there is hope. He IS our hope. He is gracious to forgive when we confess.

        When the church does NOT discipline when needed, and the argument is “well, we don’t want to shame the abuser. It will destroy the family even more,” that top quote is what they need to hear. No, you are contributing to the family breakdown even more by pulling back.

        Shame is not an easy word. For victims, it may understandably be a trigger word. Shame is used to vilify or break us down or chip away at our sense of worth and dignity. Shame, in that context, is a heavy word with a heavy weight attached to it.

        Sometimes what scares me the most about humanity in general is the lack of a conscience, or a conscience that is not working right. I believe Barb was indicating that when she used those words: shame on abusers. Their conscience needs a wake up call! Do you feel nothing at all for what you’ve done, and what you’ve done to your victim? If not, there is something terribly wrong here.

      • Helovesme said:
        “Sometimes what scares me the most about humanity in general is the lack of a conscience, or a conscience that is not working right. I believe Barb was indicating that when she used those words: shame on abusers. Their conscience needs a wake up call!”

        Yes, that is what I meant. 🙂

    • Helovesme

      “What we’ve done is try to shield people from shame and say: Guilt says, “I did a bad thing.” Shame says, ” I AM bad.” So don’t feel any shame, it’s BAD. Boloney!”

      There is Scripture in the Old Testament that rebuked His people for not experiencing shame for their sins. It had nothing to do with condemnation. It was along the lines as you described
      (Jeremiah 8:12 and 6:15).

      I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve engaged in non apologies and I’ve experienced them. BOTH are terrible, traumatic and trying to the soul—-the ones you have hurt, and the ones who have hurt you.

      The ones who experienced the hurt are worse off. They are owed something that they were not given. That debt remains unpaid, so the account is never fully satisfied and closed for good. It remains open and as time passes—-either that account accrues interest (the pain only grows), or we try to pay that debt off ourselves (I was at fault somehow, so I’ll take on some of that debt myself).

      IMO, we are coming to the point where a true, Biblical apology is seen as a sign of weakness. The article described this notion beautifully. If the focus is on how to keep and maintain a position of so-called strength, and to keep up such an appearance—-nothing in that “SCORE” card is applicable.

      The factors he described in that SCORE card indicate an absolute lack of interest in power. There is no real concern for anyone or anything else but the one or ones they have wronged.

      Whatever price they end up paying with this mindset (and remember, no one has a crystal ball to predict the outcome) will be faced with dignity and an utter lack of regret. They did the right thing in apologizing the right way—HIS way. They trust that He will honor that somehow.

      It IS ironic that some of the thinking behind those false apologies focused on maintaining the “honor” of their institution, or the people that did the wronging. When in fact, it does the exact opposite. You are only pulling them down further, yourself included.

      Before you think about protecting the ones who did the wronging, as if they are the victims, this might be good to keep in mind:

      People who are not in positions of power are unlikely to hurt others as easily and as carelessly as those who are IN power. So, why are you bent on protecting the ones who had the ability and opportunity to hurt someone who was not as powerful, or utterly powerless?

      When you have power, you can choose to use it to hurt, or to help others. What kind of a person should be protected if he or she chose to do the former?

      If you are like me, you first of all may have no idea what a real apology should or should not look like. And then when you do, you may think that you’ll never get one like that. No one thinks enough of you to give you something like that. You have to settle for whatever they are willing to give you (if anything at all).

      A half baked apology is like a half baked cake. Well, at least half of it is baked all the way through. Just throw out the rest and hold onto the edible part. It’s not very satisfyingly, but it’s better than nothing, right?

      You don’t expect anything more. You realize that they hurt you because they saw you as inferior. As long as they think that, you are also too inferior to deserve a full apology

      First of all, get rid of that lie that you are inferior. You’re not. That is insulting to you and to the God who loves you just as much as the next person.

      Second of all, a half baked apology is no apology at all. Throw it all out.

      Third of all, don’t apologize for not accepting that half baked apology. You have nothing to apologize for. They do: first for what they did to you, and second for daring to believe that a half baked apology is “good enough” for the likes of you.

      Fourth, remind yourself that is not selfish to want a real deal apology. You are not guilty of holding a grudge. You are not being petty. You are not asking for too much. You are not guilty of a hardened heart. You’re not keeping score. And you’re not to be shamed or blamed.

      Back to that bank account: pay the entire balance off. It’s your debt. You owe every penny that you owe. Bear in mind that Christ Himself paid YOUR debt for you, so through Him, if you have wronged someone—-you have the means to pay off what you owe them.

      Too often those words are twisted to hurt the offended party. He paid the ultimate price, so aren’t everyone’s debts already paid off? Why are you leaving this account “open?”

      I am still learning on how to apologize as He commanded. If I am still on that road, that means that there IS a such thing as owing those I have wronged. His blood paid for my sins. I don’t have to shed MY blood and offer that to those I have wronged! That is not how you “pay” off how you’ve hurt others. Even with an apology, there is only so much I can do in terms of healing, depending on the wound, of course.

      Too many apologies are self-centered. You know it’s a sincere apology because that person has actively and intentionally discarded themselves as being the main focus. YOU are the main focus.

      It is not merely: what I did to you. It is: this is what was done to you.
      It is not primarily: the price I pay. It is: you are the one paying a price.
      It is not focused on: I wasn’t thinking. It is: you were the one I didn’t think about.
      It is not all about: what is going to happen to me, or these “fine” persons, or this “godly” institution? It is: what is going to happen to the ones who got hurt?

      Not just: I was wrong. No, you were the one who was wronged.
      Not just:reconcile with me. No, this person does not owe me that.
      Not just: I’m suffering. No, you are suffering way worse.
      Not just: I’ve changed. No, your life is changed forever because of me.

      The article did a wonderful job in pinpointing all sorts of twists and turns that reflect insincerity that I did not catch at first. So I now wonder, in looking back, how much insincerity I’ve either engaged in or justified.

      I’m used to being shamed and blamed. It is NOT something anyone should ever, ever get used to, but when it’s been thrown at you so often, you unfortunately DO devise strategies to cope and survive. You simply cannot control the choices of others, and too often they will choose to throw mud at you.

      Even the quickest and most trained of reflexes cannot always duck or dodge that mud fast enough. Not only that, if the mud slingers are the LAST persons that you thought would do this to you, understandably that puts you in a much more difficult position for sure.

      However, there is hope. He can undo what has been done, and reverse your course so that you stop taking on burdens that you do not deserve to be burdened with.

      In the meantime, I am going to not only to continue to learn how to apolgize as He would have it, but apply those same standards to those around me. It works both ways.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented “The article did a wonderful job in pinpointing all sorts of twists and turns that reflect insincerity that I did not catch at first…..”

        ^That.

        Helovesme also commented “I’m used to being shamed and blamed…..”

        ^That.

        Helovesme also commented “Even the quickest and most trained of reflexes cannot always duck or dodge that mud fast enough……”

        ^That.

        Helovesme also commented “….remind yourself that is not selfish to want a real deal apology……”

        ^That.

        Helovesme also commented “….we are coming to the point where a true, Biblical apology is seen as a sign of weakness…..”

        ^That.

        Helovesme also commented “….People who are not in positions of power are unlikely to hurt others as easily and as carelessly as those who are IN power.”

        ^That, yet the people who are NOT in positions of power are the people most likely to give an honest, heartfelt apology.

      • Helovesme

        “^That, yet the people who are NOT in positions of power are the people most likely to give an honest, heartfelt apology.”

        That’s amazing. Never thought of it that way!

        Perhaps what you described occurs because those NOT in a position of power, are NOT afraid of losing a position in power. Their mindset is that they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain—-in expressing a heartfelt apology.

        For those that ARE in positions of power, BECAUSE they are in those positions of power, they are petrified of losing their positions of power. Their mindset is that they have everything to lose, and nothing to gain—-should they dare to express a heartfelt apology.

        These are very sweeping, generalized statements. They are not all encompassing! They are just following a train of thought that is not based on 100% absolutes.

      • Finding Answers said
        “The people who are NOT in positions of power are the people most likely to give an honest, heartfelt apology.”

        Helovesme said
        “Their mindset is that they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain—-in expressing a heartfelt apology.”

        In my experience, expressing a heartfelt genuine apology keeps my conscience clean. Those with discernment and ears to hear will respect me for making a full and genuine apology. My good name is thus preserved or enhanced. Not that I make a genuine apology to preserve my reputation. I make it to keep my conscience clean with God and with those I have hurt. Keeping my reputation in the eyes of others is just a byproduct of doing what I know to be the right thing.

      • Helovesme

        Thank you Barbara for that personal insight. And that is spot on.

        Our conscience SHOULD bother us if and when we do not make heartfelt apologies. When it does not, that is a problem right there.

        I did enjoy the “byproduct” narrative. You put it really well. It is a dang good thing to be known for being sincere and genuine, and it is not about “damage control.”

        I do not know if we have a lot of trust towards the church as an institution, or authority figures in general. I know I do not.

        But individuals like Barbara are not a part of anyone’s agenda, and she is not looking to honor herself more than Christ, or even alongside of Him.

        That helps. I have had the honor of receiving one of Barb’s apologies, and I can vouch for her on this. She does treat you like a human being, on equal ground with her, and she will listen to you and respond with humility.

        Proverbs talks about how humility comes before honor. There is no way that pride leads to honor. Never. I think we need to let the Word speak for us on this! If you want honor, you must pursue humility.

  3. Anon61

    Abuse does not have to be physical. Emotional abuse by lying, addicted, narcissistic, selfish people causes extreme chaos to wives and children. Wives get health problems while they’re trying to hold it together in near impossible circumstances.

    Living with the instability of constant lying can cause a form of brain damage to the frontal cortex. (Which God can heal but it’s serious.) Porn is an evil shaping the mindsets of our men and boys to abuse us. I’m not on a man hating soapbox but we need to look at the genesis of abuse. No one in the church was prepared for the onslaught of pornography — pedophilia, sadomasochism, snuff movies (porn with actual torture to murder.) This is real.

    I believe there is a woman-hating spirit attached to pornography. I asked God to show me that in the Bible and He took me to 2 Sam 13 where David’s son, Amnon, raped Tamar. It says that as soon as he raped her, “he HATED her more than he ever LOVED her.” He lusted after her and as soon as he raped her, it turned to hatred.
    Interesting.

  4. Gany T.

    Barb, Thank you for this very helpful further explanation of shame (posted on 23rd July, 7:11 AM).

  5. Finding Answers

    Excerpt from a comment on Wade’s original post “…..add the rambling “confusapology” that is overly verbose and rambling leaving no one is sure what they really saying or apologizing for.”

    ^THAT!!

    • Helovesme

      Thanks for that excerpt. In expressing a real deal apology, there is never any confusion about what you are apologizing for.

      If there is, it’s not an apology at all. It is not focused on blessing the wronged party or parties. It is about deceiving the wronged parties into believing that they are receiving an actual apology.

      That is never going to be bring any blessings to anyone, including the ones who did the wronging. Their guilt will remain.

      We forget what a blessing it is to repent as God designed it. It blesses the ones who were wronged, and the ones who did the wronging. It is not about coming out ahead, or coming out as a winner, or coming out of a crisis.

      It’s about BOTH sides coming to the Lord, confronting the conflict, and resolving it—before Him and before each other.

      There may be no restoration of the relationship. That may be broken for good. But resolution does not equal restoration, and it is all right if it is left at resolution.

  6. Anon61

    I’m exhausted from church leaders who won’t stand up to the abusers.
    Jude says some people will need to be saved by the fires of hell. They NEED to be given the truth about their lives if they don’t repent. They need to be ashamed, and they need to understand disobedience and judgment. Then they need to receive forgiveness from the Lord. I LOVE grace and mercy, but Love is Anemic without the Truth.

    • We have two posts about that passage in Jude which talks about being snatched from the fire. You might like to review them, Anon61 🙂

      “Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire” — Does Jude 23 relate to Domestic Abuse? This post discusses the textual variant in verses 22-23, and how different English translations have translated the word diakrino. It is somewhat technical, but interesting because it helps explain why verses 22 & 23 have been misunderstood and mishandled by some Christians.

      Snatched from the fire This post features an account by a survivor of abuse which illustrates how victims of domestic abuse have been in fire…the dragon-breath of the abusers…the fire that shrivels…the fire that desiccates, kills skin and leaves raw flesh. The blast of radiant heat from the church when it stigmatizes the victim for leaving the abuser. And how God is using ACFJ to snatch them out of that fire.

      • Finding Answers

        Barb commented (26TH JULY 2019 – 6:31 AM) “We have two posts about that passage in Jude which talks about being snatched from the fire…….”

        ^That (passage in Jude) explains “Why?” it can take me SO long to properly understand the Bible. And thank you, Barb, for (probably unintentionally) giving me a springboard to explain my way of thinking / processing / etc.

        At the risk of repeating myself on the ACFJ blog, I read the Bible COMPLETELY through three times when I was five years old. The Bible I read was NOT the simpler children’s Bible, but an adult Bible. (Omitting details for my protection.)

        In those very young childhood readings of the Bible, I created MANY pictures in my mind for EVERYTHING I read in the Bible, though it would take DECADES for some of those pictures in my mind to come to life (be understood by me).

        Over the decades, I have read a MASSIVE quantity of books (fiction and non-fiction) / articles / websites (including blogs) / manuals / research papers / media input (news, movies, TV shows, various videos, etc.) / ETC.

        EVERYTHING I read / watch / etc. creates a picture in my mind.

        Returning to the passage on Jude.

        Given the MASSIVE range of input relating to fire / being snatched from the fire, perhaps those who communicate with me (writing / verbal conversation / etc.) can understand “Why?” it MIGHT take me time to sort through ALL the pictures in my mind to understand and / or re-calibrate my understanding.

    • Helovesme

      ” Love is Anemic without the Truth.”

      Really liked that.

      The commentators on this website have been broken and broken down by evil persons. They are shamed and put down and told they are worthless and can’t do anything right or they do everything wrong, etc.

      But I’m constantly blown away by their abilities to articulate and express themselves. There is so much talent and insight and clarity and undoubtedly a deep awareness of the Lord and a true relationship with Him. It shines through and comes through right past the screen.

      While we do need and look for strong, Biblical leadership in the church, sometimes I think it is people who are like these commentators who need to be front and center.

      Just those words ” Love is Anemic without the Truth” speaks volumes.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (26TH JULY 2019 – 7:56 PM) “The commentators on this website have been broken and broken down by evil persons. They are shamed and put down and told they are worthless and can’t do anything right or they do everything wrong, etc.”

        ^That.

        Anon61 commented (23RD JULY 2019 – 9:34 PM) “Why soften the blow for abusers? They NEED to feel shame to wake up to what they are doing!”

        ^That.

        Barb commented (23RD JULY 2019 – 1:51 PM) “It would be interesting to study how many times the Bible says abusers need to feel shame for what they have done.”

        ^That.

        Anon61 commented (26TH JULY 2019 – 12:23 AM) “…….They NEED to be given the truth about their lives if they don’t repent…….”

        ^That.

        Barb commented (26TH JULY 2019 – 6:31 AM) “…..illustrates how victims of domestic abuse have been in fire…the dragon-breath of the abusers…the fire that shrivels…the fire that desiccates, kills skin and leaves raw flesh…….”

        Unrepentant abusers will endure ^That after physical death.

      • Helovesme

        I really like your style of commenting and replying, Finding Answers.

        All of us likely know about the aftermath of WWII when attempts were made to track down and prosecute former Nazis for their crimes against humanity.

        From what I recall, it was nearly impossible to “convince” them that of the depths of their depravity, or get them to admit that they were fully responsible for their deeds.

        I have no idea how much physical evidence (if there was any) played into their cases (each case was likely unique).

        My strong hunch is that any strong evidence might have helped them be found guilty, but it did not necessarily precipitate an actual admission of guilt from them.

        What is worse is hearing how the survivors of the concentration camps were treated. I watched a short documentary about them, so this may only have applied to a certain portion of survivors.

        But they were not treated with the dignity and respect that we now unquestionably bestow on them. I recall implications that they were somehow to blame for their trials and trauma. I don’t even believe anyone wanted to hear their stories, much less honor their testimonies.

        I also recall signs being held that said “sorry for surviving.” (This may have been done in an attempt to be financially compensated, or they simply felt ignored).

        Bear with me because I do not recall WHO exactly treated them so shamefully. In the confusing and crazy aftermath of the war, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the survivors simply got forgotten about, or neglected.

        They should have been treated as a main priority, however. And honored right from the start. AND, they were owed an apology from the former Nazis, but as I indicated I do not believe they experienced any real shame for their participation in such evilness. And no one could “force” them to take responsibility for what they were convinced they had no need to apologize for.

        I believe that they were 100% hardened in their dehumanization of humanity. Completely desensitized to the pain of others. There is no amount of jail time that can fix that.

        One of the most heartbreaking documentaries I watched was about the descendants of some of these former Nazis. One of them, a young man, seemed to feel personally responsible for the crimes of his family, even though he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

        He spoke at a former concentration camp—I believe in an attempt to make amends for his family’s crimes. Or, offer some sort of apology on their behalf. I believe some of the persons there were descendants of survivors, and of course it was very emotional.

        One of the actual survivors came up to him and told him he was not to blame, and did not have to apologize. The young man broke down in tears. The brokenness caused by his family felt like a weight on his shoulders that he did not know what to do with, and did not know how to undo—-there was no way he could make it right.

        This young man (I believe) was the son of a Nazi guard. His father was by no means a kind and loving father. So I think he was traumatized by his own father’s treatment, and it mixed in with the extreme trauma that his father had inflicted on others.

        I adore chapter 16 in Ezekiel where the Lord makes it clear that your family history, whether it is wicked or not, does not determine your choices in life. If your family history is righteous, and you behave wickedly, you will be punished for your deeds. If your family history is wicked, and you behave righteously, you will not be punished for your family’s wickedness.

        Everyone is responsible for their own sins, not anyone else’s. You ask for forgiveness for what you have done, and you apologize to those you have sinned against.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (27TH JULY 2019 – 11:52 AM) “I really like your style of commenting and replying, Finding Answers.”

        Using the words of your comment, Helovesme (26TH JULY 2019 – 7:56 PM), “But I’m constantly blown away by their abilities to articulate and express themselves. There is so much talent and insight and clarity and undoubtedly a deep awareness of the Lord and a true relationship with Him. It shines through and comes through right past the screen.”

        I’ve been itching to find a way to use ^THAT part of your comment for what feels like EONS. 🙂 🙂

  7. Gany T.

    HeLovesMe – You bring up many good points and perspectives about Holocaust perpetrators and victims applicable to many domestic violence victims today. And which are a part of the experience of many victims of extreme abuse even today.

    You said
    “ …AND, they were owed an apology from the former Nazis, but as I indicated I do not believe they experienced any real shame for their participation in such evilness… I believe that they were 100% hardened in their dehumanization of humanity. Completely desensitized to the pain of others.”

    I read a well-documented account by an Australian survivor of extreme abuse whose ‘step’-grandparents were Nazis and horrifically abused her. They were Satanists. She states that the Satanism practiced by many Nazis was widely known about and many German citizens actually regularly saw Nazis performing devil worship rituals in public. So, when you mention Nazi war criminals’ astounding depths of evil and their complete lack of shame or admission of guilt, I think this sheds more light on it.

    I appreciate your final comments referencing Ezekiel 16, that God does indeed treat us as individuals, not as a type of ‘family glob.’ I’m grateful that He loves (AND judges) people as individuals.

    • Helovesme

      Wow Gany T. I had no idea about how the Nazis and their connections to devil worship. Thank you for sharing that.

      The show I watched about the descendants of Nazis (and how they dealt with their lineage) DID include a story that I truly found to be not only inspiring, but encouraging.

      This man was older in years, so he had stronger and more direct memories about his parents, who were staunch Nazis. I do apologize; I cannot recall their exact status or position, but they were eventually executed by hanging, I believe.

      As a grown man, he wrote a book about those memories and his parents, that as his daughter described—“really let them have it.”

      He would speak to classrooms about his book and noticed how shocked the students seemed when he said in no uncertain terms—-how much he despised his parents and how they had lived.

      If i recall correctly, he was not terribly upset at their deaths—meaning he seemed to understand that the punishment was just. I also seem to recall that he worked hard to pick up on any sense of compassion or regret or sorrow for their hate-filled lifestyle. And he truly did not find anything of the sort.

      His daughter told him that she always thought that evil is somehow, somewhat passed onto future generations. They will always be “touched” by evil, by virtue of genetics and little else!

      BUT, when she read her father’s book and “let them have it,” she felt a sense of peace at how thoroughly and definitively he had separated himself from his parents. He was very grateful for that and thanked her for those words.

      I do not blame his daughter for believing as she did—-we might try to claim that where we came from and who we are or aren’t descended from makes no difference in present day. That it true, and the Bible says it is true—-but it is a hard narrative to fully believe in, and live out.

      I am the only Christian in my family. It was and often still is a very hard process to choose as I have chosen—-it is a huge departure from how my family has lived for many, many years.

      I have often felt like “apologizing” for the pain it has caused them. PLEASE, do not assure me that I do not have to do anything of the sort. Christ must be chosen and followed at any cost. I get that. But I did not and STILL do not relish any pain that was caused.

      Even if you were raised in a genuine Christian home, or a so-called Christian home—the choice to follow Him must be yours. There is no such thing as a “collective” faith in Christ in which the beliefs of your loved ones speak for your own.

      Not only that, but if any of them are not sticking to the straight and narrow, you must decide for yourself if you want to emulate that example, or depart from that.

      This is a bit off the track concerning apologies. However, if your family has wronged someone, and you go along with them even if your conscience is unsettled or uneasy—-there is a problem. You do NOT need to follow in their footsteps, or use their footsteps to justify your own. You must live as a separate individual, ready to make your own decisions and make no apologies for them if they are Christ-centered ones.

      More than anything, people often get hurt when bystanders do or say nothing. I’m not in favor of always attempting to intervene or get involved! It needs to be the Lord directing your steps and directing exactly how He wants things to be done. I often wonder if anyone actually seeks Him in this, or if we are too scared to seek Him on this. Too afraid that He will ask us to do something risky, or might risk rocking the boat—- a boat you have already decided you have no interest and no intentions of rocking!

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