How I Learned About Abuse Victims being Blamed Instead of the Abuser

1Ki 18:17-18  When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?”  (18)  And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.

When I arrived as a new pastor at Christ Reformation Church here in Tillamook (back then it was called Idaville Bible Church), I had a real mess confronting me. What had paraded as a fine, loving, Christian church when I came to candidate as a pastoral applicant, turned out to be anything but. There were a few genuine Christians in the mix, most of whom are still with us. But the majority were unregenerate people who had been assured in years past that they were surely saved and that, after all, Christians are just sinners who we have to be patient with no matter how ornery they might be. Yeah.

There was a lady in the congregation who was a skilled pianist and she had risen to the positions of pianist and choir director. The music minister if you like (though informally). This lady was impossible to work with and she made that plain right from the start. “I don’t go to committee meetings. The music is my area and I don’t need any help.” Boom. In other words, here was a person who was designing a significant part of the worship services but who refused to work together with anyone, including and perhaps especially the pastor.

It wasn’t long before I learned that she was a very nasty person and she had a reputation for that nastiness. Her own adult son took me aside once, trying to get me to “just be patient with her” because, as he said, “we all know that my mother is a bitter person.” It wouldn’t be long before he hated me as well.

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Counterfeit Repentance — by Thomas Watson, 1668

Here are some excellent truths about fake repentance. These words are from a pastor of old named Thomas Watson in England:

COUNTERFEITS of Repentance (from Thomas Watson’s The Doctrine of Repentance, Puritan Paperbacks series)

To discover what true repentance is, I shall first show what it is not. There are several counterfeits of repentance, which might occasion that saying of Augustine that “repentance damns many”. He meant a false repentance; a person may delude himself with counterfeit repentance:

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Idolatry Will Never Produce Love for Others

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.

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