A Cry For Justice

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

Blindness exacerbated by individual choice – part 3 of series on blindness and deception

The choices a person makes can bring the person into even more blindness.

This is Part 3 of a series addressing the questions:

  • Are abusers spiritually blind? (Or psychologically blind, which is pretty much the same thing.)
  • Are abusers deceived?
  • If they are deceived, to what extent have they been deceived by others and to what extent have they deceived themselves?
  • Are some abusers brainwashed or controlled or enslaved by others? Are some of them so controlled by people higher up the pyramid of evildoers, that they could be said to be victims themselves?

Links for Part 1  and Part 2

Part 2 discussed blindness from original sin.  In this post I am talking about how the blindness from original sin is exacerbated by personal choice. In Part 4 I will talk about how blindness can be exacerbated by group choice and group-leader choice.

If you have suffered abuse, you might like to run the following questions through your mind as you read the scriptures I will give.

  • How does it apply to your abusers?
  • How does it apply to yourself?
  • How does it apply to your loved ones?

Blindness exacerbated by individual choice

We can’t blame God for the choices we make:

James 1:13-15
Let no one say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God. For God tempts not to evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but every person is tempted, drawn away, and enticed by his own fleshly nature and evil desire. Then when desire has conceived, she brings forth sin, and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

When people resist the pangs of their conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness:

Romans 1:18-23
For the wrath of God appears from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, seeing that what may be known of God is manifest among them. For God did show it unto them. For his invisible things – that is to say, his eternal power and Godhead – are understood and seen from the works of the creation of the world.

So they are without excuse, inasmuch as when they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, neither were thankful, but increased full of vain imaginations, and their foolish hearts were blinded. When they counted themselves wise, they became fools, and turned the glory of the immortal God into the similitude of the image of mortal man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and serpents.

Notes from Barb:
suppress the truth in unrighteousness. This speaks about the choice and intent to suppress the truth.
increased full of vain imaginations…they counted themselves wise, they became fools.This points to human choice: self-deception.

By their choice to keep on suppressing the truth, unbelievers can become so vain in their minds, so blinded in their understanding, that they are past repentance. Not all unbelievers go that far, but some do.

Ephesians 4:17-19
I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that henceforth you must not walk like other Gentiles walk, in vanity of their mind, blinded in their understanding, being alienated from the life that is in God, through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their hearts; who, being past repentance, have given themselves over to wantonness, to work all manner of uncleanness, even with greediness.

Past repentance = reprobate. Here are some reprobates in the Bible: Judas, Esau, Pharaoh, the priest Eli and his sons Hophni and Phineas. (link)

At Mt Sinai, the Israelites begged not to hear the voice of God.

Exodus 20:18-21
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

When Moses came down from the top of the mountain, his face shone with a supernatural light:

Ex 34:30
So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

The Israelites were afraid because the supernatural shine showed them how mighty and pure and powerful God is — and how sinful, impure and depraved they were compared to God’s perfection. Out of deference to their fear, Moses wore a veil over his face except when he was speaking with God or delivering God’s words to the Israelites. Why did Moses put a veil on his face? (and how Pharisees misinterpret it).

2 Corinthians 3:7-9, 12-18

If the ministration of death [God’s commandments given at Mt Sinai] through the letters figured in stones was so glorious that the children of Israel could not behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance (which glory nevertheless is done away with), why shall not the ministration of the Spirit be much more glorious?

For if the ministering of condemnation is glorious, much more does the ministration of righteousness [righteousness through faith in Christ] exceed in glory.

Seeing then that we have such confidence, we speak boldly, and do not do as Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not see the purpose served by that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded. For until this day, the same covering remains unremoved in the old testament when they read it, which in Christ is put away. But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil hangs before their hearts. Nevertheless, when they turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

The Lord no doubt is a Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And we all behold the glory of the Lord with his face revealed, and are changed into his likeness from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord.

In the next passage, Paul reminds believers how deceived they were in times past.

Titus 3:3
For we ourselves also were in times past unwise: disobedient, deceived; captive to desires, lusts, and diverse kinds of sensuality; living in maliciousness and envy, full of hate, hating one another.

Note from Barb. Paul is addressing believers, so “in times past” probably means “before you were given new life in Christ”. But by extension it could also be referring to the foolish and wrong things we do even after we have been born again.

Paul gives a litmus test for discerning who is still walking in darkness with blinded eyes:

1 John 2:11
He who hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and does not know where he goes, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

It is important to balance this ^ text against the texts that point to hatred being a righteous response to evildoing. Is it wrong to feel hatred and anger for my abuser?

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Psalm 97:10a
Oh ye that love the Lord, see that ye hate the thing which is evil

Psalm 139:19-24
Wilt thou not slay the wicked, oh God? / depart from me ye bloodthirsty men.
For they speak unrighteously against thee; / and thine enemies take thy Name in vain.
Do I not hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? / and am I not grieved with those that rise up against thee?
Yea, I hate them right sore; / even as though they were mine enemies.
Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart: / prove me and examine my thoughts.
Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me; / and lead me in the way everlasting.

Disciples of Christ are often somewhat blind. While they are saved from the penalty of sin through the blood of Christ, they are still blind to some things.

Having faith in Christ justifies, but it does not instantly remove all blindness in the individual. Jesus’ disciples were often blind – what Jesus was saying and doing took a long time to sink into their hearts.

Mark 6:52
For they did not remember about the loaves, because their hearts were blinded.

Mark 8:17
And when Jesus knew this, he said to them, Why are you troubled because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts still blinded?

Paul exhorts people not to deceive themselves with self-conceit:

Galatians 6:3
If any person seems to himself to be something, when indeed he is nothing, the same deceives himself in his imagination.

Some experiences and some choices seem to render a person more vulnerable to blindness and deception.

When a person suffers trauma, particularly sexual abuse, and especially when they suffer it in childhood, their natural responses (terror, numbing, anger, grief, confusion, etc), and the disbelieving or judgemental responses of bystanders, can sometimes open doors for demons to play havoc with the person’s life. Note well: The victim did not choose to be abused; it was the perpetrator who chose to be abusive.

Choices like practising sexual immorality, getting into the occult, New Age and pagan practices are very dangerous. Those practices give the devil a BIG foothold.

But consider also such choices as indulging in ambition, envy, rivalry, factious uprisings, gluttony, etc., all of which are included in the deeds of the flesh:

Galatians 5:19-21
The deeds of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, wantonness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, dissension, ambition, anger, rivalry, factious uprisings, sects, envying, murder, drunkenness, gluttony, and suchlike

The bondage to sinful habits can be hard to break. Self-examination is healthy for me to the degree that it prompts me to repent and resist the sins of the flesh. But self-examination and self-condemnation are not healthy when I become so engulfed in it that the devil takes over, knifes me, and then manacles me to his treadmill.

Kind of Anonymous describes that treadmill very well. She talks about the issue of the conscience and the difficulty of separating God’s definitions from those we have picked up in dysfunctional homes and churches and through abuse experiences. “Is God the one sending me these signals of displeasure, or is a malfunctioning conscience holding me to a standard or requirement God is not?”

This is where studying God’s word is so so important. Bring your bible to church to check up on the preacher! Weigh what others are teaching you against the whole counsel of God in his word.

Romans 6:19-23
I will speak plainly, because of the infirmity of your flesh. Just as you once gave your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity, from iniquity to iniquity, so now give your members* as servants to righteousness so that you may be sanctified. For when you were the servants of sin, you were not under righteousness. What fruit had you then, in those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now you are delivered from sin, and made the servants of God, and have as your fruit to be sanctified, and the end everlasting life. For the reward of sin is death, but eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

*Note in the New Matthew Bible: [Members: your limbs, minds, ears and eyes. Use all in righteousness. Keep from that which defiles or condemns. Guard the heart; from it come the issues of life. Prov 4:32]

I urge you to get your own copy of the NT of New Matthew Bible because the notes in it are spiritually uplifting and illuminating.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves to God. And resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

For an example of breaking a sinful habit, here is a story from a Christian woman. She was sexually abused as a small child, promiscuous during her teenage years, and got into porn after she was born again. She eventually entered a Christ-centered recovery program for her irresponsible behavior regarding pornography and has experienced sobriety for four years. Read her story here: When victims don’t look like victims: women burdened with sins and led astray by various passions

Now, dear readers, let me turn this over to you

What are your thoughts about all this? Do these scriptures bring up any questions or reflections or insights you’d like to share with us?

PS — I really appreciate it when people comment on my blog posts. If people submit comments (even if they just say a few words) I know that people are reading what I’ve written. Clicks and views don’t really count because a person can click to view but not stay to read the post.

***

Bible versions used in this series

New Testament: NMB (New Matthew Bible)
Psalms: Myles Coverdale’s translation as per the 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Old Testament other than Psalms: NKJ (New King James).

This is part 3 of a series. Other parts in this series:

Part 1: Are abusers blind? Are abusers deceived? What does the Bible say?

Part 2: Blindness from original sin

Part 4: Blindness exacerbated by group choice / group-leader choice

Part 5: Blindness as a result of being deceived by others

Part 6: Blindness as a judgment from God

28 Comments

  1. where2or3

    Although not the main point of post, this is to me a very thought-provoking and balanced treatment of how we as survivors, by our post-abuse choices, many unwitting, sometimes make things worse for ourselves due to the clouding of perception as to what is right or wrong, or the almost helpless feeling a target can have about moving towards moral good and away from sinful or self-harming decisions. Thank you.

    • Helovesme

      This is never a fun topic for me (or anyone else I’m sure!) but I always appreciate it when someone brings up “post-abuse choices” as Where2or3 brought up, as did Barb.

      Barb, you have once again done a wonderful job. I especially liked you diving into blindness in all its forms and degrees. It’s not a simple, straightforward concept.

      And YES! I beg, beg beg any and all believers, no matter what, to “test” the words of a sermon to the words of God. Which one do you think should have the first and final say?

      Post-abuse, this is especially dire. Depending on the trauma (as well as all sorts of circumstances), abuse tends to leave you frail and somewhat weak and drained. Think of it as the aftermath of a serious car accident or other catastrophe. You’re alive (yes!), but you’ve suffered immensely. There is a road ahead where you need the right treatment in order to heal properly.

      And bad doctrine or wicked counsel will only make you worse. I do NOT think it is inevitable that after the manipulation of abuse, more manipulation is in your future. But it is a real possibility. The “confusion” aspect Barb mentioned as an example fit me very well.

      Abuse is chaos. God brings order to chaos, not more chaos. So look for the truth that sets you free, and does not invite more chaos.

      No one likes hearing this, but this is 100% true: “Disciples of Christ are often somewhat blind.”

      You don’t have to be blind in the “beyond evil, beyond hope” ways that I believe abusers are. The differences are HUGE, but blindness is still blindness.

      If you feel a tugging at your heart in this area, ask the Lord if that is from Him. Ask Him to lead you in the Word to back it up, or to speak to you directly. Ask for confirmation.

      Don’t assume, but don’t ignore. Take your time and let Him work in His time. He is patient with you, so be patient with Him.

      The Word is 100% clear that He loves it when we seek Him in faith. In fact this is a commandment:

      “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.

      Sometimes I try to apply a human scenario to bring the Word to life, even though they are certainly not the same.

      I love fur babies. That is an understatement. When a fur baby runs to me for love (or food), I feel needed and joyous and significant that words can’t express. They know I will not hurt them. They know I will help them. They know I will show them love.

  2. Wondering

    This article was insightful to me in two ways: our former pastor has defenders who say, “oh, he just has a blindspot” when he’s being sinful in a certain area (i.e. being loving and gracious). He was harsh and abusive, selectively, with the elders and other men on his staff who were very shepherd like, kind, relational. Very much a bully~ So the fact that spiritual blindness is covered in both OT and NT as a serious problem is telling, not an excuse. Do we love our blindness? I have some very sweet friends that love Jesus but still abide by this former pastor most loyally as though to turn away from him would be to turn away from Christ! I, too, tried for some time to bear with him, but he sees no need for change.

    Also, one of our sons who is a freshman in college and facing a philosophy class that does not believe in original sin/evil, has been digging into the Word and we have had multiple conversations about the origin of evil. This article has some very helpful Scriptures that address this issue.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Wondering,

      For your safety, I changed your name to the screen name you used the last time you commented on the blog, as the name submitted with your comment appeared to be your real name.

      If you prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Wondering. I’m especially chuffed to hear that your son is being helped by this series. 🙂

    • Helovesme

      This was fascinating: ““oh, he just has a blindspot”

      I don’t know if I’ve heard that one, but I can see how that would be used in (likely) not accurate ways

      “Blind spot” was a phrase used (still used) when learning how to drive a car. You had to be aware that even with side and rear mirrors, you had to actually turn your head and look both ways and/or behind. Something might be blocking your vision

      This is something people often get lazy about. They are in a hurry, they are overconfident or they are just plain unconcerned so they think the mirrors are showing them everything they need to see.

      You MAY get away with not hurting anyone or anything with that attitude, but not always.

      If you are backing up and don’t actually turn your head AND make sure to drive slow, you may hurt a small child who is running (never mind that kids should watch out for cars). Or, a car may speed past you (never mind that other drivers should be careful).

      Yes, it’s a pain to turn your head to the left and right. Even there, since you can’t look both ways at once, you might miss something. That is why you back up SLOWLY.

      It’s not worth the risk. You have to tell yourself that shaving even a minute off of your “busy” life is NOT worth hurting someone or something.

      So, yes, we all have “blind spots.” That is why you turn around, your look around, you do not make excuses.

      The best drivers are not necessarily the most experienced ones. It’s the ones who understand that they share the road with many, many people—-strangers, most of them. They are very aware that blind spots exist and they take care to deal with them.

      Back to the comment: “He was harsh and abusive, selectively,”

      There are all sorts of cars out there: from huge to small. Old to new. High to low. Shiny new or beat up and beat down. They are all different, but they all have a human being behind the wheel.

      I get intimidated by the larger cars. They can do much damage. Sometimes, I think those drivers know that. They can be more aggressive because of that false (or real?) sense of power they have as they literally and figuratively look down at us in our diminutive vehicles. Judging us as people by what kind of steering wheel we sit behind.

      Well, you’re not a big man just because you sit behind a big car (or a big church or big pulpit). Such a man, selectively abusing those that look to be humble in heart, will not bend low to wash the feet of others. He uses his foot to kick those who dare to bend low to wash feet.

      It’s also interesting how easily we pick the “speck” out of the eyes of others but do not see the huge plank sticking out of ours! (Matthew 7:3)

      That can create a condition we might call “blind spot,” but according to the Word you can actually do something about it—-pray to see clearly!

  3. Finding Answers

    From the original post “The Israelites were afraid because the supernatural shine showed them how mighty and pure and powerful God is — and how sinful, impure and depraved they were compared to God’s perfection……”

    ^That.

    From the original post “Disciples of Christ are often somewhat blind. While they are saved from the penalty of sin through the blood of Christ, they are still blind to some things.”

    ^That.

    From the original post “Some experiences and some choices seem to render a person more vulnerable to blindness and deception.”

    ^That.

    As I read through the original post, I realized how much healing has taken place in me in the almost-two-years since my walls crumbled. I can read through the Scripture quoted and not be blinded or deceived by what I used to misread / misunderstand.

    From the original post “When a person suffers trauma, particularly sexual abuse, and especially when they suffer it in childhood, their natural responses (terror, numbing, anger, grief, confusion, etc),…..”

    In the almost-two-years since my walls crumbled, many of my natural responses to trauma have started to be somewhat less prominent.

    From the original post “Having faith in Christ justifies, but it does not instantly remove all blindness in the individual……”

    ^That.

    • Helovesme

      “From the original post “The Israelites were afraid because the supernatural shine showed them how mighty and pure and powerful God is — and how sinful, impure and depraved they were compared to God’s perfection……”

      The life and choices of the Israelites as described in the OT are a wonderful study. There is so much to learn, and so much to be warned about.

      The book of Jude is ONE chapter but it packs so much. I had the honor of reading it with a commentary and I picked up on so much I’d never seen.

      It speaks of ungodly persons who sneaked in and “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). Later it says that they are dark spots at your feasts (church potlucks)—-so they professed Christ but the description of them is quite damning (“shepherds who feed only themselves”) (Jude 1:12)

      It speaks of angels, who once sat in His glorious presence (up close and personal) and chose to rebel (Jude 1:6)

      Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t start out perverse. They were richly blessed at first, but ended up being destroyed (Jude 1: 7)

      The Israelites started out well—-crossing the Red Sea (that takes faith), enjoying His manna and drinking from the rock, but it did not end well with them (Jude 1:5)

      Let’s not forget the plagues inflicted upon Egypt, either. Nothing like that had ever been seen before, nor ever since. This was done for the Lord’s glory alone, but also on behalf of His cruel treatment of His people.

      (Side note: the Egpytians, though deserving of these plagues, were also made in God’s image and therefore loved by Him just as much as He loved His people. What was it like for Him to inflict even deserved pain on a group of people that He loved, on behalf of another group of people that He also loved.)

      So you can start out by seeing (even literally) the Lord’s miracles, up close and personal, but end up being spiritually blind to Him.

      This is likely why Jesus claimed that even IF they saw miracles or a sign from Heaven (as the people kept demanding for, before they would believe), it would make no difference.

      Without meaning to, sometimes I think we fall into the trap of being “snide” to the Israelites: boy, if I had been there I would have had faith. How could you doubt Him, with all He had shown and given them? They are SO blind. I am SO not like them.

      I speak for myself here: yes I am like them—-have been and still am in many ways. I can’t tell you how often I see His many kindnesses towards me, but I do not take them to heart. I do not allow them to strengthen my faith. I do not give Him glory.

      Barb pointed out: “disbelieving or judgemental responses of bystanders, can sometimes open doors for demons to play havoc with the person’s life.”

      The “thief of unbelief” is a real deal thing. You play into the devil’s hands as he encourages you to “never believe, even if you have seen.”

      But she went further—-describing how the unbelief of OTHERS around us can make it worse, and certainly not make it any better.

      There are beautiful verses commanding us to encourage one another, to strengthen and build up our faith. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:24-25)

      I found a link that gives 12 verses on building one another up. But there were links that give 25-30 verses! So it’s a very strong theme.

      When those around me have torn me down, I think of Jude 1:10: “Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand”

      How many of us have dealt with those that put down what they don’t understand, and don’t even try to? Abuse is one of those things for sure. So many don’t understand what it’s like, what it does and what to do about it.

      This, I think, can contribute to blindness in sincere believers as well as full on deceivers. But there is hope in the former to be humbled and be given wisdom. There is no interest in humility or wisdom for the latter, so they remain blind and worse yet, they can contribute to blinding others with their deceptions.

      Someone commented that oh, yes—deceivers know what they’re doing, they’re not blind to their actions. Agree. So when I say they are blind, I mean that their eyes are wide open to the darkness, but they are closed shut to His light. If that makes sense.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (9TH OCTOBER 2019 – 11:46 AM) “……IF they saw miracles or a sign from Heaven (as the people kept demanding for, before they would believe), it would make no difference.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “….I am like them—-have been and still am in many ways. I can’t tell you how often I see His many kindnesses towards me, but I do not take them to heart. I do not allow them to strengthen my faith…..”

        In ^That sense, I am blind like the Israelites.

        From the original post “When a person suffers trauma, particularly sexual abuse, and especially when they suffer it in childhood, their natural responses (terror, numbing, anger, grief, confusion, etc),…..”

        ^That, PLUS my spirit broken as a child, PLUS a lifetime of humans breaking promises to me can, as Helovesme commented “….contribute to blindness in sincere believers…..”

        The Holy Spirit is helping me see ^That.

      • I feel led to offer you ((hugs)) Finding Answers, if you want them. 🙂

  4. Hadassah's Legacy

    I am eagerly reading through and pondering each part, Barb. ☺ It is clarifying to differentiate between kinds of blindness, and kinds of hate, as Rebecca Davis has with different kinds of bitterness. For that matter, it has been/ is important to differentiate between different kinds of love. Agape for instance is unconditional, but phileo and eros are not.

    The ‘love’ that some dependent people have for others (including abusers, narcissists) is more accurately described as ‘cathecting’ than ‘loving’ as outlined by M. Scott Peck in “The Road Less Travelled”; that is, the kind of ‘love’ one has for an object for as long as it remains useful to us, perhaps. That can be helpful also, in clarifying what kind of love an abuser is expressing, when he seems to speak so sincerely of love, while demonstrating hate by his chosen actions. He/ she may have experienced several kinds of the blindness(es) you are differentiating between, and certainly blindness exacerbated by individual choice.

    (I’m perfectly happy for you to post this comment with my own name, thanks – and edit out this parenthetical comment first if you choose ☺ I’m actually logged in by the blog name, I see, which is okay too.)

    • Helovesme

      “when he seems to speak so sincerely of love, while demonstrating hate by his chosen actions”

      That insight was well put and well said. If it is true, it is an incredibly heart breaking truth to realize and absorb into your reality.

      I think we could go back and forth for a long time with Jesus’s simple words: “then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

      Think back, if possible, to when you became born again. I had no idea I was living in lies. I had no idea I was in bondage to sin.

      When I think about being set free, I think of being let out of prison. I’ve never been in prison, but that is how I see it! I am confined. I am caged. I am controlled.

      In order to be set free FROM the prison, you have to admit that you are IN there first. How can you be set free if you don’t admit there is something you need to be set free FROM?

      And who is happy to find out they are in prison? A horribly dark, evil, sin filled prison to boot. And you had no idea you were in that prison. You thought you were as free as air. You thought you were in control of your life.

      You’re not even the “warden” in your own prison! Your “sin nature” is in full control.

      (I’m oversimplifying on purpose, for the sake of length of comment. Our consciences are involved, as well as the individual choices we make and are responsible for. Sin nature is not to be blamed for being in the pilot seat (we have Adam to thank for that), but that does NOT mean we have no say in how and where it is trying to take us.)

      I remember the pain of realizing I was in prison and then the joy of knowing that the Truth can and does set me free.

      With abusers, they can talk a good game in professing love, but they are 100% lousy at putting that so-called love into action.

      Words are important. I don’t think it’s right to never say “I love you,” even if you do choose to demonstrate that love in your actions.

      But don’t say that you love someone if you have no interest in backing up those words. And if you demonstrate “hate” by your actions, you can say “I love you” a million times, and those words will mean nothing.

      In fact, they will hurt that person even more and more as time goes on. They know you’re lying, and they have plenty of proof to back that up, but you continue to try to fool them. You continue to make their bondage even more and more miserable.

  5. Aware

    “By their choice to keep on suppressing the truth, unbelievers can become so vain in their minds, so blinded in their understanding, that they are past repentance. Not all unbelievers go that far, but some do.”

    I agree Barb.

    “He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.”
    2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 – NLT

    God sends them a strong delusion lest they repent and be healed – God sends the delusion and stops them because of their choice to love and pursue evil.

    “Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
    John 12:39-40 ESV

    • Reaching Out

      For your safety, I changed your screen name to Aware, as it appeared you provided your real name when you submitted your comment several hour ago. My apologies for the delay in approving your comment. As occasionally happens and for some unknown reason, your comment was randomly sent to the Spam folder.

      If you would prefer a different screen name, please email me at reachingout.acfj@gmail.com.

    • Thank you, Aware 🙂 I will be talking about blindness as a judgement from God later in this series. But I appreciate you bringing up those scriptures here. 🙂

      Just out of interest, I looked up the New Matthew Bible version of the last two passages you quoted in your comment. Not that I’m saying you did wrong to quote from the NLT and the ESV, just that we can often get more insight when we compare versions.

      They perish because they would not receive the love of the truth, so that they might have been saved. And therefore God will send them strong delusion, so that they will believe lies; so that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12

      Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah says again: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they will not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts and be reformed, and I would heal them. John 12:39-40

      • Finding Answers

        Barb commented (9TH OCTOBER 2019 – 4:37 PM) ““…….we can often get more insight when we compare versions.”

        ^That.

        Laughing as I write: Sometimes I am SO slow on the uptake.

        A brief (re)explanation.

        I read an adult Bible completely through three times when I was five years old. I would probably have read it (that Bible) many more times, but it (that Bible) was taken away from me as it (that Bible) was not mine.

        I was raised in the Anglican church, so I learned to read the King James version of the Bible (NOT the New King James version of the Bible.)

        I have ALSO read parts of MANY other versions of the Bible, including the New Matthew Bible.

        I have Asperger’s and think in pictures. EVERYTHING I read creates a picture in my mind, so I have many pictures in my mind for parts of the Bible.

        When I read a new (to me) version of part of the Bible I have previously read in a different version of the Bible, I mentally compare what I read to the picture(s) in my mind.

        ^THAT process leaves me mentally tired, and sometimes even mentally exhausted, especially if I am comparing MANY different parts of the Bible from more than one Bible.

        I realize individuals who think in words probably (?) experience a similar feeling of mental fatigue in similar (though not necessarily Bible-comparison) circumstances.

        As I wrote earlier in my comment: Sometimes I am SO slow on the uptake.

        Feel free to laugh. I did. 🙂

      • Finding Answers, said:

        “When I read a new (to me) version of part of the Bible I have previously read in a different version of the Bible, I mentally compare what I read to the picture(s) in my mind.

        ^THAT process leaves me mentally tired, and sometimes even mentally exhausted, especially if I am comparing MANY different parts of the Bible from more than one Bible.”

        If I had to do that process it would leave me mentally tired/exhausted.
        Thank you for explaining the process you go through. It gives me a bit more insight into what it might be like to be like you / a bit more understanding and empathy for folks like you who think in pictures.

        I think in pictures but I also think in words. For me, the two modes (words and pictures) interface easily – for which I am very grateful. But it’s important for folks like me to have a better understanding of people who think primarily or only in pictures.

    • Helovesme

      Great verse for this discussion!

      “Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
      John 12:39-40 ESV

      I actually forgot about that one. I’ve been focused on the Romans verse where God gives them over to their unrighteousness. This one is a great one to mirror that.

  6. Finding Answers

    A tangent from the original post, a lamentation, but still on the subject of (self) blindness.

    Today grief overwhelmed me, brought to the surface by a series of recent experiences (Omitting details for my protection.), and to my attention by the Holy Spirit.

    The abusers in my life took away all my (known to me) God-given dreams, leaving me their (my abusers) “gift” of C-PTSD. (Omitting details for my protection.)

    I had to physically see something at a distance to see where I was non-physically blind.

    I wrote (9TH OCTOBER 2019 – 6:12 PM) “Sometimes I am SO slow on the uptake.”.

    ^That. Only this time I am not laughing.

    • Hi Finding Answers, you said:
      “The abusers in my life took away all my (known to me) God-given dreams”

      Do you mean dreams as in the dreams we can have when we are asleep? Or dreams as in aspirations?

      Whether you meant one of the other (or both) that is certainly something to lament!

      Maybe what the abusers took away from you will be restored to you, just like the ability to feel emotions and shed tears has been restored to you.

      • HeLovesMe

        Hi Finding Answers just wanted to let you know I saw your comment and I’m praying for you. There was real pain in your words and I’m so sorry…. you’re an amazing woman.

      • Finding Answers

        Barb asked (12TH OCTOBER 2019 – 11:02 PM) “Do you mean dreams as in the dreams we can have when we are asleep?……”

        Not ^That.

        In the same comment, Barb asked “…..Or dreams as in aspirations?”

        Not ^That.

        Some God-given dreams were already taking place in my life, no matter where or with whom I worked. (Omitting details for my protection.)

        Some God-given dreams were re-visiting (literally) the mountains / wilderness / parks / lakes / oceans / etc., past experiences tainted by the presence and abuse of my abusers. (Omitting details and triggers for my protection.)

        Some God-given dreams were for various forms of ministry. (Omitting details for my protection.)

        In the same comment, Barb commented, “Maybe what the abusers took away from you will be restored to you…..”

        Not ^That. The Holy Spirit tells me “no”, and He does not add any details.

        In the same comment, Barb commented, “……shed tears has been restored to you.”

        I can cry, but due to the way Asperger’s is expressed in me, I rarely shed physical tears. My heart will hurt and / or my eyes will hurt and / or my throat will hurt and / or I will double over in non-physical pain.

        HeLovesMe commented (12TH OCTOBER 2019 – 11:09 PM) “……just wanted to let you know I saw your comment and I’m praying for you. There was real pain in your words and I’m so sorry….”

        My profoundest gratitude for ^That.

      • Finding Answers I’m glad I asked for clarification as I had almost assumed you meant dreams as in sleep-dreams.

        The way your body feels and expresses grief— oh wow.

  7. Helovesme

    We’re moving onto part 4 (just read it!) but Barb’s insight about believers who can be or are also “somewhat blind” really got me thinking.

    I once listened to the daughter of a famous actress being interviewed. She was asked what was the hardest part about being born into such a family.

    She said: the assumptions.

    (note: after she said that, she said “it’s all right,” likely meaning that she had come to terms with it. I do not believe she meant that the assumptions were not hurtful and damaging.)

    The word itself “blind” brought much to my mind. Think of phrases like:
    love is blind
    faith is blind
    blind hope
    blinded by rage or jealousy or lust

    The word “blind” usually offers some sort of “assumption” that the person or persons simply weren’t thinking straight, or at all. Something “blinded” them, so they aren’t fully responsible.

    I think “blinded by assumptions” should become a common phrase. And I think they may be what professing Christians need to ponder—-why, when, where and how do I make assumptions? Do they line up with the Word? If they don’t, they are causing me to not see as the Lord tells me to see.

    I tend to believe that assumptions often lead to accusations. For example, if you already assume that women are either easily deceived, or deceptive themselves, you likely won’t take her victim’s testimony seriously. Before she even opens her mouth, you’ve already judged and labeled her. And frankly, you’ve already accused her of being a liar.

    Whether the assumption is positive or negative, if it doesn’t line up with the Word, it needs to tossed. A positive assumption might be: all pastors are anointed by God in a “special” way, and therefore their authority is rock solid. Trust their judgments.

    That’s a pretty “uplifting” assumption, right? Leaders are trustworthy.

    (Barb beautifully dives into this in part 4. The Bible is CLEAR on this—-this is a 100% false assumption. Please read it!)

    And imagine how this so-called positive assumption can lead to horrific negative consequences. If a pastor is accused of a crime, and it is found out to be a credible charge, and we say—he can’t be guilty because he is anointed. Or, if he IS guilty, he’s anointed so we will let him keep leading—-can you imagine the resulting carnage?

    Look at your own personal lives, how you were treated and how you treat others. Since my ethnicity comes from a part of the world that is “known” for not treating women kindly, my abuse testimonies were not taken as seriously. The assumption was easily made that it was a part of the cultural upbringing of my father, who abused me.

    So let me get this straight. An entire country, full of millions of people you will never meet, is assumed to be full of millions of male abusers. Every single one of those males, or at least the majority of them, will choose to abuse because you assume that is how they were raised.

    Does it ever occur to you that IF those males were raised that way, they did not HAVE to live that way? Or, could it be that not every male in that country is raised that way, and so they might choose to value women?

    OR, even if they were not raised to disrespect women, they might choose to do so anyway, regardless of how they were taught?

    The hardest part is that those who tend to assume, tend to believe their assumptions are accurate. They are not wrong. They are right.

    The resulting accusations are also there to stay. The accusations are somewhat leveled at me: You’re taking your abuse far too seriously, and far too offensively. Where you come from, isn’t that the norm?

    When I went to school, I went there to learn. You don’t go to school with all the answers figured out. You are taught. You aren’t blind so much as curious.

    A person who is curious admits that they don’t know things. They might go so far as to say that they ARE blind, but it’s not willful and deliberate—-they want to see. They want to open their eyes and absorb knowledge like a sponge.

    I’ll use a personal example. I always knew that marital rape was a reality. I MAY have assumed that it was rare reality. I likely thought that because it was too heinous to imagine otherwise. I had NO idea how rampant it really was and is, and within the church no less. So I was “somewhat blind,” but when I got a good glimpse of reality, I “rearranged” my faulty thinking.

    It’s not enough to realize that you made assumptions. You have to do something about them. You need to ask the Lord to change your thinking, because only He can do that. I can store knowledge in my brain, but the Bible says that’s not enough. Smart people are smart, but if you do not have faith, it profits you nothing (Hebrews 4:2) And knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

    2 Thessalonians 2:10 speaks of those who perish because they did not love the truth and so be saved. I now wonder if if those that do not love the truth, are more in love with their assumptions than anything else.

    Most assumptions, I think, are a form of false comfort. My former pastor suddenly retired a few years ago, and we found out later that it was because he was about to be exposed. He had been having an affair with a staff member.

    My first thoughts were ones of shock and denial. I tried to make assumptions that would give me a false sense of comfort. MAYBE this wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

    I did something similar when I caused a terrible rift in my family. I assumed it was all a big misunderstanding, because that gave me a false sense of comfort. MAYBE I could fix everything, because it wasn’t a misunderstanding, then things were really bad.

    It’s not always about false comfort. When Barb was treated so unfairly in the recent past, I believed that I knew her well enough that I could safely assume she was and is a person of sincere character, and therefore give her the benefit of the doubt.

    It was not easy to see others give her a very hard time, however. There was no comfort there. I was pretty shook up, but to assume that those persons were in the right (or had some good reason to behave as such) would not have been fair to Barb.

    More than that, it would have been unfair to the Lord Himself. God is a lover of truth, justice and righteousness—-no matter who it exposes or how painful those exposures are. To remain in the dark, somewhat blind or fully blind or whatever the case may be, means you are pushing away His Light that begs to overcome that darkness.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme commented (15TH OCTOBER 2019 – 11:51 AM) “…..the assumptions.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “The hardest part is that those who tend to assume, tend to believe their assumptions are accurate……”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “It’s not enough to realize that you made assumptions. You have to do something about them. You need to ask the Lord to change your thinking, because only He can do that……”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “I think “blinded by assumptions” should become a common phrase……”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “…..God is a lover of truth, justice and righteousness—-no matter who it exposes or how painful those exposures are…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented, “A person who is curious admits that they don’t know things. They might go so far as to say that they ARE blind, but it’s not willful and deliberate—-they want to see. They want to open their eyes and absorb knowledge like a sponge.”

      For me, one reason why I ask SO many questions (even of God) is I have been hurt WAY to many times in the past by making ANY kind of assumption. (Omitting details for my protection.)

      Unfortunately, ^That can also leave me (or anyone) feeling (potentially) hopeless.

      • Helovesme

        Finding Answers said:

        “For me, one reason why I ask SO many questions (even of God) is I have been hurt WAY to many times in the past by making ANY kind of assumption. (Omitting details for my protection.)

        Unfortunately, ^That can also leave me (or anyone) feeling (potentially) hopeless.”

        Yes! I tend to ask a lot of questions, too, because well—-how else are you going to find things out if you don’t ask? Even of the Lord Himself—-He honors those that seek Him. That may involve asking Him questions.

        It’s rare to find someone who seeks you out and starts telling you everything you need to know. That is not likely ever going to happen.

        Oh, goodness when it comes to the assumptions I’ve made, we could write many, many chapters. And yes, even when I assumed in a positive sense (not always assuming the worst!)—-it got me into lots of trouble.

        Your assumptions MAY be right, but usually they are not 100% accurate. This is where the Holy Spirit steps in. You go to Him with what you have, which is usually flimsy and incomplete and possibly false. He does the rest—-fills in the holes as He sees fit, turns you in the right direction and directs your steps.

        Back to giving Barb the benefit of the doubt—-I didn’t assume she was 100% in the right and her detractors were 100% in the wrong. Or vice versa. That would have been wrong on both sides.

        As I tried to listen to both sides, my accuracy DID adjust and shape itself. And of course, as I prayed through it, tried to pray through it—-it felt quite emotional at times and you have to work through that, too.

        I am currently in a state of hopelessness, and I do understand how you can ask and ask and try and try and pray and pray—-and you STILL feel bogged down in confusion.

        Patience is key. Waiting on Him is key. And I really hate waiting. I writhe in pain as I wait, but I aim to wait in hope.

        Those who hope in Him are never disappointed or put to shame. Psalm 25:3.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (15TH OCTOBER 2019 – 2:22 PM) “…….how else are you going to find things out if you don’t ask? Even of the Lord Himself—-He honors those that seek Him. That may involve asking Him questions.”

        ^That.

        For me, the final explanation from the Holy Spirit to some of my questions is The Battle Belongs To God.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “Patience is key. Waiting on Him is key. And I really hate waiting…..”

        ^That.

  8. Finding Answers

    Helovesme commented (15TH OCTOBER 2019 – 2:22 PM) “Your assumptions MAY be right, but usually they are not 100% accurate…….”

    ^That.

    I have always assumed the pictures in my mind of Jesus were memories of the actual pictures from the Bible I read when I was five years old, although the pictures in my mind vary in brightness.

    In the same comment, Helovesme commented “…… This is where the Holy Spirit steps in……”

    And He (the Holy Spirit) tells me the pictures in my mind of Jesus are actually memories of my visions of Jesus.

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