A Cry For Justice

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

Church discipline…abuse…divorce.

I have reworked my post Church discipline and church permission for divorce – how my mind has changed to make it easier to read.

I published that post in 2013.

I think (hope) my writing skills have improved since then.

The re-worked version puts the key points at the top of the post, making it more accessible to readers who are pressed for time.

I hope survivors of abuse who are stressed to the gills with trying to escape from the persecution of abusers and their allies will find my re-worked version easier to read and digest.

Read the re-worked version HERE.

 

Reassurance so you are not discombobulated

I’ve made a few changes to the way I’m doing things on the internet.  I’m giving you a heads up about the changes, so that you are not freaked out or thrown for a loop.

1. Pop-up message inviting you to type in your email to subscribe to new posts at this site.

If you are already receiving an email every time a post is published at this site, there is no need to subscribe via the pop-up message.

It took me ages to figure out how to set up this pop-up message using MailChimp. You would not believe how many months it had been on my to-do list. Ugh….Maybe I’m a klutz, or maybe the instructions I read at MailChimp and WordPress misled me, or maybe all of the above.  But the fact is, I am a chronic procrastinator when it comes to wrapping my head around new technology, and MailChimp has been one of the things I procrastinated about and gave myself endless grief about.

2. I am in the process of setting up a new website for my book. Check it out HERE.

When the site is fully set up it will have purchase options for the book, plus all the reviews of the book written by theologians, pastors, pastoral carers, counselors, secular professionals, survivors of abuse and supporters of survivors.

You can always buy my book at sites like Amazon, but you won’t be able to read the theologians’ and pastors’ reviews of the book at the mainstream bookseller websites.

3. I’ve tweaked the Facebook page of A Cry For Justice a bit, to make it more user friendly.

4. The next post in my Blindness and Deception series will be coming out soon.

If you are waiting for it, please forgive me for dragging the chain…

 

 

 

Blindness exacerbated by group choice and group-leader choice — part 4 of a series on blindness and deception

The choices a group / group leader makes can bring the group into even more blindness.

This is Part 4 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  Part 2  Part 3

A certain man in ancient Israel abused his female intimate partner. This man came from the tribe of Levi which meant he was a priest in ancient Israel by virtue of his genetic descent.

God had given solid instructions for how men from the tribe of Levi should behave to fulfill their duties rightly as priests for God’s people. What did this man do? He disregarded all God’s instructions and precepts.

He tracked down his female intimate partner after she had fled from him. He lied and manipulated to get her back into his clutches. Then he set her up to be gang raped by a mob of Israelite men who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. After that gang of men had ravaged her, the evil man cut her body up into pieces. Then he manipulated the other eleven tribes of Israel to make war against not only the rapists, but the whole tribe of Benjamin.

Longtime readers of this blog will be already familiar with this video I made about this story, but I’m putting it here for newer readers. Please note: I mention Stockholm Syndrome in the video because I made the video prior to finding out that the term Stockholm Syndrome was invented to silence an indignant young woman.

One clever, crafty, devious, evil man incited a civil war in the nation of Israel.

He had the status of ‘religious leader’ in ancient Israel. Single-handedly he created a civil war: tribe against tribe, brothers fighting brothers, thousands killed. No justice for the victim. No punishment for the evil man who had set up and manipulated the whole thing.

It’s a powerful story about how one evil leader can do so much damage because there are so many foolish, blind, wilfully blind, prideful, arrogant, unthinking people (sheep-people) who are easily led by an evil crafty, devious person.

Christians are called sheep for good reason

God is the good shepherd and seeks out the lost sheep. But sheep are also pretty dumb animals. They follow each other. They don’t analyse or assess danger very well. They prefer to go along with the mob, the flock.

A mob of sheep can be safely guided by a farmer and one or two good sheep dogs. But if the farmer or the dogs are malicious or foolish or lazy or sick, the mob will run into danger and be trapped, or destroyed by fierce predators.

Animal sheep can be trapped. Human sheep can be blinded and deceived…and trapped.

The demonised slave-girl whom Paul and Silas encountered in Acts 16 was owned by her masters. I imagine that not only was she blinded under influence of the demon, she was trapped by the man and woman who made money off of her. They would have done their best to hunt her down if she tried to escape.

Acts 16:16-21
And it happened as we went to prayer that a certain girl possessed with a spirit that prophesied met us, who brought her masters much income by prophesying. She followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, who show to us the way of salvation! And she did this many days. But Paul, not pleased, turned about and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out the same hour.

And when her master and mistress saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas and drew them into the marketplace to the authorities, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men are troubling our city. They are Jews, and preach customs that are not lawful for us to receive nor to observe, seeing we are Romans.

The girl was a slave: her master and mistress owned her. They had probably paid money to buy her. Or they might have been picked her up from the rubbish dump when she was a baby: many unwanted infants, especially girls, were dumped on rubbish dumps in those days. That man and woman were ‘higher up the pyramid of evildoers’ than the girl herself.

The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to that girl. But it’s possible that after the demon was cast out of her she sought out Lydia, Timothy and other believers – or the believers sought her out and explained the gospel to her. Maybe she was thus converted. We do not know, but it’s worth opening our minds to the possibility rather than just giving her no further thought because she disappears from the narrative in Acts.

Jesus warned his disciples to beware of the teaching of hypocritical religious leaders

The Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ day were wrongly interpreting scripture to invent laws that laid heavy burdens on the people of God. They were deceiving the people of God to oppress, mislead and intimidate them.

Matthew 16:6,12
Jesus said to them, Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Then they understood that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Luke 12:1
As there gathered together an innumerable multitude of people (insomuch that they trod on one another), he began and said to his disciples, First of all, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Paul prophesied about false leaders rising up in the church:

Acts 20:17-18; 25-31
from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the congregation. And when they had come to him, he said to them … I call you as witnesses this same day, that I am clear of the blood of all men. For I have kept nothing back, but have spoken to you all the counsel of God.

Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock whereof the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he has purchased with his blood.

For I am sure of this, that after my departing, grievous wolves will enter in among you, who will not spare the flock. Moreover, from among your own selves men will rise up speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them. Therefore awake, and remember that for the space of three years I did not cease to warn every one of you, both night and day, with tears.

I honestly don’t know why seasoned Christian victim-advocates keep expressing shock when church leaders mistreat victims of abuse. God warned us about arrogant and wolfish leaders becoming prevalent in the visible church: their prevalence is one of the main reasons why it’s so hard to get justice for abuse in the church. Yes, they often present as ‘angels of light’ – but God’s word gives us plenty of guidance about how to discern evildoers in the church. We are to be fruit-inspectors.

We must bear in mind that blind or partially blind sheep are the other side of that coin. Every blind sheep is who is of the age of accountability has individually made his or her choice to follow the leaders.

Paul told the Ephesian elders: “Awake!” Most professing Christians today need to wake up! The evildoers have infiltrated the flock, blinded most of the sheep, fleeced the flock and ravaged the most vulnerable.

Not for nothing did Jesus  say, “When the Son of man comes, do you suppose he will find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Peter warned about false leaders in the church and blind / blinded sheep following them:

2 Peter 2:1-3, 10-15
There were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will slyly bring in damnable sects, even denying the Lord who has bought them, and bring upon themselves swift damnation. And many will follow their damnable ways, by which the way of truth will be ill spoken of. And through covetousness they will with feigned words make merchandise of you. Their judgment is not far off, and their damnation sleeps not.

…[they] walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise authority. Presumptuous they are, and stubborn … like brute beasts by nature born to be captured and destroyed, [they] speak evil of that which they do not understand, and shall perish through their own destruction, and receive the reward of unrighteousness.

They count it pleasure to live deliciously for a season. Spots they are, and vileness, living at pleasure, and in deceptive ways feasting with you, having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease to sin, beguiling unstable souls. Hearts they have exercised with covetousness. They are cursed children, and have forsaken the right way, and have gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the reward of unrighteousness …

These are wells without water, and clouds carried about by a tempest, for whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. For when they have spoken the swelling words of vanity, they beguile with wantonness through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped, but now are wrapped in errors. They promise them liberty, and are themselves the bond-servants of corruption. For by whomever a person is overcome, to him he is in bondage.

For if, after they have escaped from the corruption of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and of the Saviour Jesus Christ, they are yet tangled again in it and overcome, then is the latter end worse with them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment given to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: The dog is turned to his vomit again, and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.

Notes from Barb:

they beguile unstable soulsthey beguile with wantonness through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped, but now are wrapped in errors.  Unstable believers. Those who are laden with sins and easily led astray. People who naively believe what church leaders tell them. Believers who are not diligent to weigh what they are hearing against the whole counsel of God’s word.

2 Tim 3:1-6
This understand: in the last days, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, cursed speakers, disobedient to father and mother, unthankful, unholy, unkind, truce breakers, stubborn, false accusers, dissolute, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, wilful, high-minded, greedy for pleasures more than lovers of God, having a similitude of godly living, but who have denied the power thereof – and from such, turn away.
[v 6] Of this sort are those who enter into houses and bring into bondage women laden with sin, which women are led by divers desires and lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

At the bottom of this post you can find three articles I’ve written about verse 6  — women led by divers desires and lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus made a man who was born blind able to see

(read the full story in John 9)

The people who had previously known the man as a blind man were divided in their opinions: was this the man who had been blind from birth, or was it another man? They brought the man to the Pharisees to decide the question. Big mistake!  Sheep asking the hypocritical oppressive religious leaders to make a judgement call!

The Pharisees interrogated the man. Not satisfied with his answers, they interrogated the father and mother of the man. The father and mother passed the ball back to the healed man: they  feared the Pharisees, they didn’t want to be excommunicated out of the synagogue.

Fear of fighting on the front line. Fear of being a proactive warrior for Christ by taking a public stand against the hypocritical leaders in the church. Fear of being cast out of the institutional church because it is tolerably comfortable (so long as the hypocritical leaders are not directly targeting you).

How many professing Christians have given in to that temptation? 

The Pharisees interrogated the man again, the man who had been born blind but had been healed by Jesus. They berated him. Then they cast him out. They excommunicated him.

John 9:35-41
Jesus heard that they had excommunicated the man, and as soon as he found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is it, Lord, so that I can believe on him? And Jesus said to him, You have seen him, and he it is who talks with you.

And he said, Lord, I believe! and worshipped him.

Jesus said, I have come for judgment into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and those who see, may be made blind.

And some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words and said to him, Are we then blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.

The Pharisees said “We see!” — But they did not see!

They were puffed up and arrogant. They were hypocrites. They were oppressing and misleading people. They were intentionally misleading people who wanted to love and follow God. They were self-serving covetous hypocrites. Psychopaths, narcissists — call them what you will. They were evil. They were in bondage to Satan. The god of this world had blinded them AND they had chosen to be blind by continually suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. They resisted the admonishments which Jesus gave them. They followed and were obedient to the doctrines of demons.

Jesus told them: “Your sin remains.”

They were under the wrath of God because they were resisting admonishment / rebuke / correction. They would suffer eternal conscious torment for following the broad way rather than the narrow way.

Eternal torment: where “the worm does not die and the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:41-48). Those are Jesus’ words, not mine. If you have objections, take it up with Jesus!

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack to fulfill his promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward us, and would have no one lost, but would receive all to repentance.

Jesus feels both angry and mournful about the blindness of people’s hearts

Mark 3:1-6
And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they watched him to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath day, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, Arise, and stand in the midst. And he said to them, Is it lawful to do a good deed on the Sabbath days, or an evil deed? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

And he looked round about on them angrily, mourning the blindness of their hearts, and said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored fully as whole as the other.

Then the Pharisees departed, and straightaway assembled a council with Herod’s men against him, so that they might destroy him.

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?

***

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).

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 3: Blindness exacerbated by individual choice

Part 4: is this post

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

Part 6: Blindness as a judgment from God

For further study on 2 Timothy 3:6

Why did Paul call abused women “little-women”?

“Little women” have been called “silly women” – which now contributes to misogyny in the church

God’s view of women who get targeted by abusive men

 

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

Blindness from Original Sin – part 2 of series on blindness and deception

We are all born spiritually dead because we all inherit the sin nature of Adam.

This is Part 2 of a series on Blindness and Deception. Read Part 1 here. Part 1 is an introduction and digest for the series: it will have links to all parts in this series as they are published. The series is addressing these 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?

The sin nature we are all born with

All of us, excepting the man Christ Jesus, inherit the sin nature from Adam.

We all come into this world with a bias to be selfish and to not love our neighbour as ourselves. With our sin nature we disregard God. We go our own way without recognising or respecting or honouring God our maker – whose loving kindness towards us is so vast that it cannot be expressed in human words or grasped with our human minds.

When rightly and justly reproved for selfishness or wrongdoing, the knee-jerk response of the wrongdoer (you, me, whoever) is rebellion, blame-shifting, hiding from the truth, fighting against truth. The sin nature not only runs for cover, it rears its head and hisses and spits. That is the nature of sin. That is the sin-nature we all are born with.

Genesis 8:21b
the imagination [intent or thought] of man’s heart is evil from his youth

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way

Romans 5 confirms that we inherit the sin nature from Adam. To make this point, I’ve select only parts of Romans 5:12-19.

Romans 5:12-19
sin entered into the world through one man, and death by means of sin; and in this way death went over all people, inasmuch as all people sinned. … death came through one sin of one man who sinned. For the sentence of condemnation came from one sin. … by the sin of one, death reigned by the means of one … by the sin of one, condemnation came on all men … by one man’s disobedience many became sinners…

What happens to the sin nature when someone becomes a Christian?

Let’s take a closer look at Romans 5 which I partially cited just above. I will show in bold the phrases that talk about the gift of grace: forgiveness by faith in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who took our sins upon Himself.

Romans 5:15-17
But the gift is not like the sin. For if through the sin of one, many are dead, much more lavish upon many was the grace of God and gift by grace, which grace was given by one man: Jesus Christ.

And the gift is not over only one sin, as death came through one sin of one man who sinned. For the sentence of condemnation came from one sin. But the gift came to justify from many sins.

For if by the sin of one, death reigned by the means of one, much more will those who receive of abundant grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life by the means of one; that is to say, Jesus Christ.

Note on Romans 5:16 in the New Matthew Bible:

Adam’s disobedience damned us all before we ourselves worked any evil, and Christ’s obedience saves us all before we ourselves work any good.

When a person is born again / regenerated / trusts in God’s promises / knows and follows Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, does that person still have a sin nature?

Putting this question another way:  Is it right to call a Christian a sinner?

God has given each of us a conscience. The conscience is inbuilt in our human nature: it tells us right from wrong. Those who have never heard of God’s law know the law in their hearts: in their conscience.

The culture we grow up in, and the teachings and examples we are exposed to, can deform and invert our conscience.

Here is an example that we are familiar with. Many churches teach that God says abuse is not grounds for divorce. Victims of abuse, in trying to obey this false teaching, suffer untold harm. Nobody benefits from this false teaching except the abusers.

Another example: Islamic suicide bombers have been taught that it is good to murder crowds of people and they will be rewarded by Allah for doing so.  Another example: Luciferian families teach their children from a very early age to believe that good is evil / and evil is good.

To whatever extent my conscience is recognising right and wrong the way God defines those things, I will be correctly pricked by my conscience when I do wrong or when I cultivate wrong thoughts, wrong desires.

In Romans chapter 7, the Apostle Paul described his own experience of this.

Romans 7:22-25
I delight in the law of God as far as the inner man is concerned, but I see another law in my members, rebelling against the law of my mind, and subduing me to the law of sin that is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, I myself in my mind serve the law of God, and in my flesh the law of sin.

The Apostle John confirmed that whether we are Christians or non-Christians it is wrong for us to say “we have no sin”.

If we say “we have no sin”, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:5-10
And this is the tidings that we have heard from him and declare to you: that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and yet walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in light, even as he is in light, then we have fellowship with him, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

What if my conscience has been somewhat mis-taught?  What if I have been trained to think that right is wrong and good is evil? Is my responsibility for doing wrong erased?  Not entirely… and especially not when I have reached the age of accountability. I don’t want to define when the age of accountability begins, but by adulthood it ought to apply. Other factors come in here too: how deep – how brainwashing – was the training that inverted my conscience? How much was I intimidated and coerced and terrified into obeying evil or complying with evil? How much was I entrapped by the leaders of the corrupt system that mis-taught me?

God is merciful. He calls all to come to him in repentance, and he offers complete forgiveness to those who repent and follow him.

John 10:1-10
Truly truly I say to you, He who does not enter into the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. He who goes in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep; to him the porter opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he has sent forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him. For they know not the voice of strangers.

This similitude Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand the things that he was saying to them.

Then Jesus spoke to them again: Truly truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All, even as many as came before me, are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be safe, and will go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

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Bible translations used in this post:
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)

I will make each post title below into a hyperlink when the post comes out.

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

Part 2: is this post

 

 

Are abusers blind? Are abusers deceived? What does the Bible say?

This is part 1 of a 6 part series on Spiritual Blindness and Deception.

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?

These questions about deception give rise to even more questions:

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?

The blind leading the blind and falling into the ditch.

These are important questions because many leaders and counselors in the visible church are teaching that abusers are blind. Or they are giving a more subtle and pernicious version of the idea: they are over-emphasising the abuser’s blindness and under-emphasising the abuser’s conscious intentionality to do evil .

These leaders and counselors often say the remedy is to educate the abusers, open their eyes, bring them to see the error of their ways. They usually say – or subtly imply –  that the onus for waking up the abusers falls on (i) the victims, the oppressed; and (ii) the paid professionals / pastors / counselors who are dealing with abusers. Run that agenda and there is money to be made.

The Bible talks about spiritual blindness in different ways

I have discerned four different ways the Bible refers to spiritual blindness. Please don’t think I’m saying these are discrete categories. I only offer them in case they are helpful.

  • Blindness from original sin
  • Blindness exacerbated by individual choice / group choice / group-leader choice
  • Blindness as a result of being deceived by others
  • Blindness as a judgment from God

In the other posts in this series I will be presenting scriptures that pertain to each of those categories and making a few comments or observations about the scriptures, to help us all think about the questions.

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?

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

I will make each post title below into a hyperlink when the post comes out.

Part 2: Blindness from original sin

Part 3: Blindness exacerbated by individual choice

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

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

Part 6: Blindness as a judgment from God