A Cry For Justice

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

What if the abuser is repentant?

If the abuser is authentically repentant he will be showing all the things in this Checklist for Repentance.

Most abusers feign repentance. They feign repentance in order to try to convince their victim and the church that they are reforming. It’s a tactic to pressure the victim to stay with them… or come back to them. Often the church buys into this charade and believes the abuser is changing. Churches are way too naive about the mentality and tactics of abusers!

So if your spouse appears to be repenting, read the checklist and see if he is meeting all the criteria. I mean all. Don’t think he is repenting if he is only showing a few of those signs. Almost all abusers can fake repentance and put on better conduct for a while. That’s how they charm their new victims.

Can abusers change?

First of all, we believe that a domestic abuser is not a Christian (see here).

The majority of non-regenerate people who choose to abuser their partners can change if they do the hard work necessary to change their beliefs, attitudes and behavior long-term. But the great majority don’t change. They don’t change but because they’ve figured out that they don’t really have to. 

We believe that unless an abuser is genuinely converted to Christ, unless he has come to saving faith by the power of God (only God can bringing a dead spirit to life) he will not truly change at the core. All he will be able to do is change by his own efforts, and his own efforts are rarely enough. In the vast vast majority of cases, the abuser gets tired of making the effort. His basic selfishness and his belief in his own entitlement to mistreat his partner will rise to the surface again.

And even if an abuser should truly be converted, to change abusive habits of thinking and behaviour still requires much hard work on the part of the abuser. God initiates conversion, but Christians are urged to renew their minds — and that requires diligent perseverance in mortifying the habitual sins.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

The reason why an abuser rarely sustains changed behavior is that the perks he derives from maintaining power and control over his victim are so rewarding (and are so little penalised by society and the church) that he will not want to go the whole distance that change requires. The perks of clinging to his privileges are great. And he experiences so few unpleasant consequences from his abusive behaviour. …As scripture says, the dog returns to his vomit.

Furthermore, the Bible teaches that there are some people who are reprobate. A reprobate is a person like Pharaoh, raised up for the very purpose of demonstrating the justice of God, a vessel appointed to destruction (Romans 9). See our TAG Reprobates for more posts on the reprobate.  (A complete list of our TAGS can be found on the top menu bar.)

Here are some posts which will help you understand these things more.

What does the process of change look like for an abuser? Can an abuser change? – Insights from Bancroft and Crippen

You Cannot Drive Abuse Out of the Abuser

A Good Description of Real Repentance

A Sign of False Repentance

Pretend repentance is worse than no repentance

The Abuser’s Ploy of “Confessing” His Past Abuse

Contriving a test to probe whether a hardened heart has repented

How to Recognize True (and false) Contrition — by Dr. George Simon, Jr.

Contrition, repentance & forgiveness — some articles by Dr George Simon Jr.

God only did one counseling session with Cain

Scriptures That Demonstrate an Abuser is Not a Christian

Are Abusers Christians? Faith and Repentance are Inseparable — taken from Brian Schwertley

Putting off and putting on — change as it respectively applies to abusers and victims

Saul — A Case Study in False Repentance

David — A Case Study in Real Repentance

How can I know if my abuser is changing?

Counterfeit Repentance — by Thomas Watson, 1668

Call abusers to repentance (advice for pastors Part 9, by Ps Jeff Crippen)

Quotes from Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance

Repentance and Abuse:  Real Repentance Bears Fruit

If the abuser shows signs of repentance, what should pastors do?  And what if there is no repentance?

Zacchaeus Knew What to do — And So Will a Truly Repentant Person

Don’t Fall for the Abuser’s “Repentance”  — Lessons from Zacchaeus

What does repentance look like

True Repentance

Does repentance ever come too late?

Sin Destroys Relationships – And Sometimes the Destruction is Total

The Abuser as Esau – A Sobering and Freeing Truth for Victims

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