Abuse Counseling: How Long is “Forbearing”?

Ephesians 4:2 ESV  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

As I read the stories told by Christians, most often women, who have been the victims of abuse, I am dismayed to hear over and over again how their pastors and churches told them that they must give their abuser opportunity to repent, to go to counseling, to try to reform himself, etc.  Many victims are even condemned by their fellow Christians if they want to initiate divorce proceedings.  They are told that they must be patient and forbearing, and verses such as that quoted above are recited to them.


In abuse cases this is nonsense, and it is dangerous.  Furthermore, such counsel most often totally ignores the context of the victim’s relationship with the abuser.  Simply put, typically the victim has been enduring the abuse for years – 20, 30 or more years!  And now she is told that she must “try” being patient, such patience being a mark of real faith and pleasing to God.  I really hope that our readers can quickly see that this is ignorant lunacy.

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Many Christians Do Not Seem to Know Whose Side they are on or Who the Enemy is

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

I have been a pastor now for nearly 36 years, but prior to this I was a police officer for 14 years. I have always missed those police days, and I want to tell you the chief reason why — we were all certain whose side we were on and who the enemy was.

When I became a pastor I found that certainty and the unity it produces to be largely non-existent in many if not most local churches. Christians do not seem to be on the same side. They do not recognize the enemy. They have foolishly allowed the enemy to infiltrate them. They are not united and lack a sense of “we all wear the same uniform here and have the same badge.” So when the enemy comes along he is not faced with a united team standing together but rather a bickering, doubting, confused group that is rather easy to conquer.

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Victim or Advocate? – Experiencing Evil’s Attacks is a Pre-requisite to Helping Victims

Mat 10:16-22  “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  (17)  Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,  (18)  and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.  (19)  When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.

(20)  For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  (21)  Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,  (22)  and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

In this ministry at Unholy Charade and Light for Dark Times, we often come across people who identify themselves as “advocates for victims of abuse.” Now that is a very good thing – to be an advocate, to be one who speaks for victims. But with a fair degree of regularity we hear from such people and are left to wonder – do they really grasp this evil? Have they personally experienced it?  In people who have not been the targets of this wickedness, or who are still oblivious to what it really is, there remains a blindness. A lack of experiential, Spirit-given wisdom about it. And as a result, they really are not qualified to be an advocate for abuse victims. At some point they will fail those they claim they want to help. They will give false counsel and they will excuse the abuser.

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