Beware Wolves in Sheep Clothing: Accepting Blatant Abuse in View of God’s Mercy (4)

JONFLETCHrgb (2)By Nancy Virden (c) 2020

We are not supposed to show favoritism; at least that is what King Solomon wrote in his Book of Proverbs.

(24:23-24 NLT)  …It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment.  A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed …

Other biblical writers say the same thing. Paul tells us why.

(Romans 2:11 NLT)   “For God does not show favoritism.”

So why is favoritism often shown to abusers over their victims? It is disheartening when abusers are commended for their repentance.

How does God See Abusers?

Repentance is supposed to be humbling, yet often what we see is pride. Abusers in leadership roles in the church may refuse to leave their positions of power and admit they are unfit, unless for a short face-saving few weeks or months. An abuser who is not in leadership also has issues with accepting discipline. Offering cheap grace to these people is unhelpful to the church, the abuser’s victims, and does nothing to bring an abuser to real change.

We see this repeatedly in the Catholic Church crisis.  Catholics are not alone.  The “we believe you are truly sorry because you seem sorry” support abusers receive in any Christian church comes from gullible followers or bosses who believe that to forgive is to act as if harm was never done. That’s not how Jesus forgives us.

Consistently throughout scripture are God’s two promises: he will bless and honor those who honor him with their active love and faith; he will punish those who choose to rebel against him in unbelief and pursuit of wickedness. Let’s not soften the terms here. Abusive behavior is wicked.

A third promise is God’s unfailing love and mercy toward anyone who comes to him in true repentance. Yes. he forgives. Again, let’s not cheapen the terms. Repentance is a sorrowful recognition of the wrong one has done, the harm one has caused, and a willingness and desire to change. Repentance requires faith and a contrite heart. 

In other words, remorse, regret, pain, hurt feelings, indignation, tears, and words are not what God is looking for from one who claims to be sorry. 

(Psalm 33:13-15 NLT) “The Lord… observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.”

How could someone appear truly sorry if it is not true?

Abusers are master manipulators. They are generally narcissistic. All abuse is about power and control. Exercising that power and control over those who would offer cheap grace is easy.

Abusers cry when they lose their emotional or physical punching bag. They cry when their image is damaged. They cry in anger. Do not forget, if one has been in the church long, he or she knows the language. Anyone can speak repentance. Anyone.

Abusers may cry or express sorrow when they have fallen for their own lies. One can feel genuinely hurt when accused of a wrong that’s been rationalized for years. Consider this: if love is measured by persons with little capacity for love, they will feel as if they’ve given all when they love little.

Today’s Helpful Word

Job 34:3-5 (NLT)

 Job said, ‘The ear tests the words it hears
    just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.’
So let us discern for ourselves what is right;
    let us learn together what is good.


Beware of Wolves in Sheep Clothing:  part one   part two     part three

Nancy Virden Seminar, May-2016
Photo Joe Boyle Photography

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. 


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!



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