The following is taken from the introduction to David F. Wells book Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover its Moral Vision [Eerdmans, 1998]. Wells is also the author of No Place for Truth and God in the Wasteland. I give your this excerpt here because it goes far in explaining why abuse victims (sexual, domestic, and spiritual) are being treated so cruelly today when they seek help from their churches. The fact is, they are a threat to the “success” of the corporate machine that calls itself the church (but is not):
In the account of the miraculous healing of Namaan the Syrian at the hands of Elisha at Samaria, we see an example of something that is all too common today in the churches. Elisha had a servant named Gehazi and this is what happened after Namaan was healed and after Elisha had declined to take payment from him:
2Ki 5:19-27 He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, (20) Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” (21) So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” (22) And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’”
(23) And Naaman said, “Be pleased to accept two talents.” And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi. (24) And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed.
(25) He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” (26) But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? (27) Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow.
You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6)
The sum of the Law of God is the two greatest commandments: love God, love your neighbor. Jesus said so. No doubt about it.
Now, this is a rather strange thing. This means then that when we give our entire being, heart, mind, and soul, to the Lord, we are enabled to do the same to our neighbor. Love God. Love others. It is strange, I say, because it would seem that logically if you give all of yourself to the Lord there will be nothing left to give to your neighbor. But it isn’t so. The more we love the God of the Bible, the living and true God, the more love flows from us to others.