Are You Wounding the Wounded?

Galatians 5:13-15 ESV

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

I have had a recent experience with this type of thing which is hard to put into words. Have you ever been beaten down by someone only to have another person come along and defend the offending party while treating you with contempt? I have, more times than I know how to express. In a man’s world, women are often treated as less valuable and the man is often believed over the woman. It is just the way that it works, even within the church, and by those who are supposed to love and protect you.

So, there are many hurting women out there who are being subjected to abuse who have no one to defend them and no one to believe them. For if the abuse does not result in physical scars which can be seen with the eyes, they assume the abuse does not exist or they minimize it, or else they try to cast blame on the truly innocent. And I am not naïve here. I know that not everyone tells the truth and that not everyone is innocent, but there are innocent people out there who are telling the truth but not being believed.

And many of them are being treated as though they are the offending party and as though the abuser is the one being treated poorly. And that is because men will often take the side of the man and not the side of the woman who is being abused by the man. And this goes against what this passage of Scripture is teaching. For there are pastors who are biting and devouring their people, and even other Christians who are not part of their congregation, and they get away with it because they are “pastors.”

A Scenario

Let me give you a scenario here. A married couple have been married a long time, but the whole time they have been married the husband has been abusing his wife, not physically, but in other ways that can’t be seen and which can’t be proven unless the man confesses his sins. And in this case, the man has confessed his sins, even publicly, on numerous occasions, so there is a public record of such confessions, but he is also a compulsive liar and so he doesn’t always admit to the truth. He tells lies habitually.

So, enter in a pastor who was not invited into the situation, for good reasons, who knows nothing of the situation, only on a very surface level, but he takes it upon himself, because he is a pastor, to try to counsel this married couple. Although he will concede that the man has some sin issues which need to be resolved, he basically takes the side of the man and not the side of the woman. Her he drills, and he tries to force her into answering his questions with “Yes” and “No” answers. He is insistent upon it, in fact.

And then when the man lies to him with the same lies he has been telling for forever, he believes his lies, and he gives many “Yeses” to the man’s lies, in agreement with him. And if the wife tries to point out that these are lies that the man is telling, then he looks to the man and says, “How does that make you feel when your wife says that about you?” And then he turns to the wife and he says, “Do you care that this is how it makes your husband feel when you say such things about him?”

And then he tries to convince the man’s wife that if she would just do this or that that things would be better between them. But it doesn’t work that way. He is still the abuser and she has loved him a very long time, but her love for him has never changed his wicked ways. The pastor treated the couple as though they were each at fault, and in some cases that is the case, but not in all cases. Not every woman who is being abused by her husband is at fault for his abuse. But the pastor didn’t treat the couple equally.

He gave “high fives” basically to what the man was saying, but the wife he drilled and drilled, and he was oppressive, and he accused her falsely of sinning where she was not sinning, and he did this without any knowledge of the true situation. He came down really hard on the woman but the man he sympathized with and he was concerned about the man’s feelings. He wasn’t concerned about the woman’s feelings and he doubted her words and he went to the abuser for verification that what she was saying was the truth.

And this probably happens to women more times than we even know about, and that is because the man is often believed over the woman or the woman is treated shamefully when she tries to tell someone she is being abused. Do women sometimes lie? Yes! Do women sometimes accuse men falsely? Yes! But I would suspect that they are not in the majority and that many women who are being abused are being treated shamefully if they try to tell anyone about the abuse. They are treated as the enemy, in fact, in many cases.

And this is a very sad reality. But it is a reality. Yet are all abused women being treated shamefully by others? Surely not. But many are, and perhaps even the majority are, especially if the abuser is a man and the one making the accusations against the abused is also a man. But are all men like this? Hopefully not. But I have not met any yet who are sympathetic to the woman’s cause and who don’t side with the man and sometimes against the woman. And this should grieve us that such situations are taking place and that not many people are stepping forward in defense of the abused.

Love One Another

So, what does this passage teach? Well, first of all we are not to be those who take our freedom in Christ as opportunity for the flesh, but many do these days. In fact, the “gospel” message that is permeating today’s modern “churches” is a gospel which gives the “believer” in Jesus free license to continue in deliberate and habitual and often premeditated sin against God and against other humans, including against their spouses and children. And the sinners are being coddled in their sins.

But those being sinned against are not being given the same treatment in a lot of cases. They are not being comforted in their sorrow, at least from what I know. So, the abused often (or frequently or sometimes) don’t get the kind of treatment they should receive from the church and from pastors of churches. But they often get treated the opposite, and the abusers get pampered, instead. But I am certain there are places where this is not the case. But this is happening in the church today, especially now that the focus is on not offending sinners with the truth about their sin.

Yet, love for one another never coddles people in their sin, and it is not concerned about how the abusers feel when they are being accused rightfully of sinning against others. What is going on in the church today is the opposite of what we are instructed to do in the Scriptures with regard to those who are caught in sin and who are sinning habitually against others without genuine repentance (Ex: 1 Corinthians 5). True love confronts sin in sinful humans and calls them to repentance and to obedience to Christ.

And when we love others as we are supposed to love them, we will not deliberately and habitually and premeditatedly sin against them, and against God. But we will treat others as we want to be treated, as we should want to be treated if we are genuinely in love with Jesus. And it is absolutely loving to speak the truth in love to others, but we need to make certain that it is the truth that we are speaking and that our motivation is love and not hate. For many Christians are biting and devouring one another, sadly so.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 15:2; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 10:26-31; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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