"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Internal Strength to Break Free of Spiritual Abuse

I have written in the past about church and religious leaders using their so-called spiritual authority to control people in their churches. Attempts to control others is the number one problem of leaders in religious organizations. It's called spiritual abuse.

Spiritual abuse isn't pretty. The abuse is done "in the name of the Lord,." This kind of abuse has subtle but enormous power. The religious abuser who controls and manipulates others for personal or institutional advantage proclaims his words and actions are "the will of God."

Spiritual abuse, regardless of the religion where it occurs, is a profound problem. So how does one break free? Whether you are the spiritual abuser or the spiritually abused, how do you stop it?

Imitate Jesus.

Jesus never pressured anyone to follow Him. His words, "Come, follow Me" (Mark 10:21) form a selfless invitation, not a strategic manipulation. Followers of Christ always benefit when they accept the invitation to follow, but Christ is unaffected and unchanged whether the call is received or not.

There is no need for Jesus to coerce, manipulate or control others to follow Him because Jesus doesn't need people to follow Him to feel worthy, significant and valued. Jesus is worthy, significant and valuable in Himself.

Our Lord knows and feels His worth and significance. He doesn't need others to follow Him to feel worthy. He doesn't He doesn't need to know that other people value His words to feel significant.

He does what He does for others, not Himself. 

That's why Jesus never manipulates or controls anyone. He is purely selfless because He is without internal need

Jesus wins us over by His love and inner strength. He finds fulfillment in who He is, not what others think of Him. Our rejection of Jesus' call to follow Him does not reduce His worth.  Jesus does not manipulate or coerce others because He has nothing to gain for Himself. 

We need that same kind of internal strength to break free of spiritual abuse. 

Christ can give us the internal strength needed to live life His way (John 10:10). He came to give us our value, our significance and our worth through a demonstration of His love for us and the depositing of real life within us.

When Jesus becomes our primary Source of life, we do not need alternative sources of life. When we are complete in Him, we don't need anything from others. 
When the love of Christ becomes my primary source of love, then my life is not threatened by the absence or withdrawal of another person's love.
When the significance I feel in life comes from knowing how much Christ values me, then I don't need to manipulate my circumstances or control my environment to ensure other people value me. 
When I begin to understand that what makes me honorable as a person is the honor I have in God coming and dying for me, then I don't worry too much whether or not people around me see me as honorable. 
When I begin to see that my reputation is all about what He thinks of me (and what He thinks of me must be pretty doggone good to do what He's done for me), then I don't care what others think of me.
When He is my Source, I don't panic at the lack of alternative sources.
So next time you find yourself being manipulated, controlled, or bullied, ask yourself, "What does that person need?"  Answer: The internal life and strength that only Christ can give. As long as the abuser, manipulator, or controller thinks I can do something to make him more fulfilled, then he will continue to squeeze the life he needs out of me. The most loving thing I can do for the abuser is to say no to his demands for his sake. 

Likewise, if I find myself getting angry with an unexpected response from others, or feeling worried about what others are doing, or fearful and depressed that people aren't responding properly, then I must ask myself: What am I needing? Answer: I wrongly believe I need something from someone else; something that God already has provided for me. "My God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches" (Philippians 4:19).

I can almost know hear the objections from Christian leaders: "But what I'm saying and doing is for the good of the people I am trying to help!"

 Are you sure? There's one way to know. You love other people whatever they decide to do.

Controllers and manipulators always need something. 

And, no matter how good and godly anybody tries to make it sound, controlling and manipulating other people to say, do, feel and behave a certain way is evidence that there is a great void in the inner life of the manipulator and controller.

That inner void can only be filled with the life and strength that comes from Jesus Christ.

For this reason, to give in to abusive behavior in a religious environment - even if the abuse is in the name of God - is to enable the manipulator to continue finding his life in secondary sources rather than Christ.

God needs nothing from me and neither should the preacher. 

To give in to the abuse or to give up over the abuse is the most unloving thing you could ever do for the abuser in your life.

Say "No way" to the spiritual abuser for the glory of God and the good of the abuser. 

______________

My friend Jeff VanVonderen once told me that his and David Johnson's book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse is by far the best-selling book of all the books they've written.  I highly encourage the reader to purchase this book. Also, it is our privilege at Emmanuel Enid to host both David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, November 11-14, 2018, for a conference entitled Too Good to Be True...But It Is. If you are anywhere near Enid, you will want to hear these two each evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm (2 sessions each night). 

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

And when it is your spouse? Constantly proving he is right according to the Word of God. Telling you to move on if you're not willing to submit, but then making your life Hell by justifying what he is doing because I won't submit. I think spiritual abuse is far more damaging in the home than even in church. Children walk away from the Lord, because 9f the hypocrisy and He just keeps letting the perpetrator get away with it all. Then Churches that reinforce this power is an entirely other issue.

Bob Cleveland said...

Terrific post, sir! And it certainly highlights the absolute necessity of being well-grounded in your faith. To know what you believe and why you believe it.

One of the foundational tenets of the SBC system of faith is the Priesthood of the Believer. That's a good place to start and an even better thing to feel!

Christiane said...

Loved this post, Wade. Seems to me that, in the great 'economy' of God, the Holy Spirit points us only to Christ, not to Himself. Taking a lesson from that, a pastor can learn to live in such a way as to point to Christ, to 'reflect' the light of Christ . . .

is this 'passive'? not exactly, no . . . . but such people's lives carry within them the 'peace' of Christ, a humility before God, and a way of calming the storms that make others so fearful . . .
far from passive, the pastor who 'lives out' his life in imitation of Our Lord will be able to create a 'listening' space for a troubled soul to come and be heard . . . this is one of the most grace-filled kinds of Christian ministry for someone who is suffering.

'Fear' and 'Control' have no place in such a ministry. And for a troubled soul, this is perhaps the most needed of all . . . that they who suffer have a chance to 'rest' in the presence of someone who loves Christ above all things and is himself at peace.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Thank you for an article of striking appropriateness and pertinence for these times!

Rex Ray said...

Bob,

I’m glad you believe in “the Priesthood of the Believer” that’s stated in the 1963 BMF. It’s a different ballgame in the 2000 BFM since that was changed to “the Priesthood of Believers”.

Strange how an “s” so small can make such a big difference, because the “s’ means the majority of believers RULE. DUH

Wade found that out when he was appointed on the International Mission Board.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

PHYSICAL abused people:

Deaths after JFK was Murdered
These deaths were part of WHY the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) got started.

In 1977, six top FBI officials scheduled to appear before the HSCA died. William C. Sullivan, for example, was out hunting, when he was shot by a man with a high-powered rifle who said he mistook Sullivan for a deer. This was not investigated by anyone.

CIA technicians told that cancer cells and heart attacks could be injected in a person. Ruby wrote notes and spoke to several people saying that JFK was killed by a conspiracy and that he had been maneuvered into killing Oswald who was a fall guy. He claimed to have been injected with cancer cells when treated with shots for a cold. He died just before he was to testify in Congress. He had told congressional investigators that he wanted to talk but he needed protection.

1. 11/63 Karlyn Kucinich TV host's daughter was murdered after hearing a plot to kill JFK’s prior to 11/22/63.
2. 12/63 Jack Zangretti expressed foreknowledge of Ruby shooting Oswald. He was a gunshot victim.
3. 2/64 Eddy Benavides saw policeman Tippit shot while trying to arrest a man that looked like Oswald, but the bullets in Tippit did not match Oswald’s gun. Benavides died from a gunshot to the head.
4. 2/64 Betty McDonald was a former Ruby employee. Her death by hanging was ruled a suicide.
5. 3/64 Hank Killam, husband of Ruby employee, had his throat cut.

Rex Ray said...

6. 4/64 Bill Hunter, a reporter, was in Ruby's apartment and was accidentally shot by a policeman.
7. 5/64 Gary Underhill was a CIA agent who claimed CIA was involved. His gunshot death was ruled a suicide.
8. 5/64 Hugh Ward was a private investigator on JFK’s murder. He died in a plane crash in Mexico.
9. 5/64 Delesseps, New Orleans mayor, died in Ward's plane.
10. 8/64 Teresa Norton, Ruby employee, was fatally shot.
11. 6/64 Guy Banister was ex-FBI agent who died of a heart attack. He was connected to Ferrier, CIA, Carlos Marcello, and Oswald.
12. 9/64 Jim Koethe, a reporter, was in Ruby's apartment when he died from a blow to his neck.
13. 10/64 Mary Pinchot, JFK mistress was murdered. Her diary was taken by CIA Chief James Angleton after her death.
14. 3/65 Tom Howard, Ruby's first lawyer, died of a heart attack while in Ruby's apartment on 11/24/63.
15. 5/65 Maurice Gatlin, pilot for Guy Banister, died from a fall.
16. 8/65 Mona Saenz, Texas employment clerk, interview Oswald. He was killed by a Dallas bus.
17. 9/65 Rose Charmaine knew of assassination in advance and told of riding to Dallas with Cubans. She was killed by a hit and run.
18. 11/65 Dorothy Kilgallen, a columnist interviewed Ruby. She pledged to “break JFK case” but died from a drug overdose.
19. 11/65 Mrs. Earl Smith, a close friend to Dorothy Kilgallen, may have kept notes, but died two days after Kilgallen did.
20. 12/65 William Whaley, taxi driver, drove Oswald to Oak Cliff. He was only taxi driver in Dallas to die from a collision while on duty.
21. 1966 Lynn Karen talked with Ruby before Oswald was shot. She was a gunshot victim.
22. 8/66 Lee Bowers witnessed a man behind picket fence. He was killed in a car wreck 3 months later.
23. 10/66 William Pitzer did JFK’s autopsy. He died from a gunshot that was ruled suicide.
24. 11/66 James Worrell saw a man run out the back door of the schoolbook depository. His mother could never get straight answers how he was killed in a motorcycle accident.
25. 1/67 Jack Ruby died of lung cancer before he was to testify to Congress. He told his family he was injected with cancer cells.
26. 2/67 Harold Russell saw the man escape who killed officer Tippit. He was killed by a cop in barroom brawl.
27.2/67 David Ferrie was an acquaintance of Oswald. He was killed by a blow to his neck which was ruled an accident.
28. In 1972, Hale Boggs was the house majority leader. He began to express doubts about the Warren Commission. J. Edgar Hoover did not release the coordinates where his plane was lost in Alaska.
29. 7/76 John Roselli, a mobster, testified to the Senate and was to appear again, but was found stabbed and in a metal drum.
30. 5/77 Lou Staples, a Dallas radio talk show host, told friends he would break the assassination case wide open, but his death by a gunshot was ruled suicide.
31. Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig saw a man run from the Grassy Knoll and jump into a station wagon, a few minutes after JFK was shot. He said the Warren Commission changed his testimony. He was fired. In 1967, a bullet grazed his head. In 1973, a car forced him off the road causing back injury. In 1975, he was injured when a car bomb exploded, and later that year after several radio talk shows, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

32. James T. Tague died of cancer in 2014 three months after his book, “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing” was published. He appeared on TV many times.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, Refusing to be abused by a spouse is important, for all the reasons you stated. The Bible calls for mutual love and submission between believers. It does not say "unless you are married". Setting boundaries is required, even if you have been taught that it is not allowed. Protect yourself and your children, even if that means divorce.

Bob Cleveland said...

Rex: Fear not. There are other things in the BF&M 2000 I disagree with, as well.

So I stick to the 1963.

RB Kuter said...


"There is no need for Jesus to coerce, manipulate or control others to follow Him because Jesus doesn't need people to follow Him to feel worthy, significant and valued."

Not only would church leaders benefit for assuming this Christ mindset but so would all of us when it comes to sharing the Gospel with others. We can become so obsessed and desperate to lead someone to make the decision to follow Christ that we use bullying tactics to corral them into the Kingdom.

Sometimes I find myself pursuing an opportunity to share Christ with a lost person and have to catch myself and rein in the intensity recognizing that my role is simply to invite them to follow Jesus and the rest is up to the Holy Spirit. I have seen some volunteers in foreign cultures so bent on acquiring some souls for their record while on a mission trip (and having a "photo-op" while baptizing) that they destroyed on-going ministries due to their insensitivity to the cultural elements involved. They pretty much left burnt ruins behind when they went home.

Sometimes such desperation might be due to a genuine burden for the lost and desire to see them saved but there are those others who seem to be motivated by having their own personal needs gratified.

It's often a tough call for a Pastor, or leader, to discern just how far to push the envelope when seeking to lead his congregation to become more devoted to Christ. Likewise, it's very difficult to maintain a sense of discernment regarding a lost person's receptiveness to hearing more or less from you and to recognize our true motivation for pushing that envelope.

Wade Burleson said...

RB,

Well stated, sir.

Christiane said...

"... my role is simply to invite them to follow Jesus and the rest is up to the Holy Spirit "

rarely do we see this kind of humility before the Lord so clearly expressed by people who seek to minister to others who are in need of Christ

. . . I agree with Wade that this is well stated indeed

Tamara Nichols said...

Thank you first of all for writing this. I was diagnosed with Lupus and MS and over the last 7 years I have had a hard time keeping a job and I have no insurance and therefore I turned to a few people I knew that could help me with my pain. This turned into legal troubles and a blatant rebellion of God's plan for my life. I went into remission for a few years and didn't need medication. Then I started having issues again. And I had no money. And I don't know how I met this man, but he would always talk to me about Jesus and have a christian channel on his TV, but he would always take my money and drain me just so I could get some relief. About 5 years ago I took a vow of celibacy, I have not had any interest in having any sexual relationships with any man. About a year ago when my disease got bad and I was in pain all the time, this man said, "I will help you if you help me" I had never done anything like this and I became spiritually poor. He put himself on a pedestal and preached to me about God yet would take advantage of me. Well this week I was praying and I knew when I came off the medication I would be sick, and I told Jesus, I trust you, you will get me through this. I break ties with all of these people. This was hurting me spiritually. I would go into hiding for days. Well I was hurting today but trusting GOd and getting thru it, I put on the full armor, and I got a call from this man. i have to admit I took the medication he gave me, but then I was convicted and he tried to coerce me to "f" him. I sat there quietly praying for God to give me strength and He did, I got up sat on a couch by the door ready to run and confronted him. (after I had prayed over him, The Holy Spirit poured out of me for him to open his heart up to God and the love that God has for him, I prayed for at least 15 minutes and afterwards, I asked him what are you thinking about now and he said, "kiss me" -I didn't)I told him that he was hurting me and I was convicted and could never do this again. He tried to throw scripture at me and "PRAISE GOD" because the scriptures I threw back at him didn't come from me. I said, I would rather hurt physically than continue to hurt my soul, spirit and my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have a posted note I can look at right now right above my desk that says "I suffer in the flesh rather than fail to please God" . I know God is pleased with me for aligning my will, and actions to His will for my life. I wasn't going to read this post, but I felt The Holy Spirit tap me on the shoulder and whisper "read my child". Thank you for this and helping have confirmation that I did the right thing.

Wade Burleson said...

Tamara,

Thank you for your transparency and humility. You said more in one paragraph than I did in my entire article. I know you will touch many with your testimony of overcoming abuse.

Rex Ray said...

Tamara,

Are your troubles worth having the Holy Spirit tap you on your shoulder and talk to you?

RB Kuter said...

Tamara: I wonder if your name could be related to "Tamar"? As I was reading "Tamar's" story in Genesis 38, I was amazed at the similarities between her life-experiences and yours. The man, Judah, in this story, seems to me to have acted in a hypocritical, superior, condescending manner in the way he behaved and particularly in the way in which he treated his daughter-in-law, Tamar.

Yet God was there with Tamar all along the way. God gave her a wisdom and sense of discernment that blows me away. God manipulated circumstances in a way that lifted Tamar up as being a heroine in God's plan. Her actions ultimately led to her father-in-law, Judah confessing, " 'She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.' And he did not have relations with her again."

Tamar was blessed in being used by God as a key player in the genealogy of Jesus and included in that honored list in Matthew 1:3.

I don't care if it was intentionally meant for "Tamara" to be a name that relates to "Tamar" or not; your life and circumstances certainly do portray so much of that story to me.

Rex Ray said...

Kuter,

You’re quick to notice how close the name, Tamara, is to Tamar in the Bible, but Judah DID NOT act even close to the man in the story that Tamara tells.

Judah followed the law in giving Tamar to his second son after God killed his first son for being evil. Then God killed Judah’s second son for doing evil, and Juda sent Tamar to live with her parents until his third son got old enough to marry.

The only evil that Judah did was not following his promise of giving his third son to Tamar because he was afraid God would kill him also. In desperation to have a child, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and tricked Judah to have sex with her on the promise he would give her a goat.

She kept his identification seal etc. for security. She went back home. Three months later Judah was told his daughter-in-law was pregnant. He demanded she be burned to death, but changed his mind when he knew he was the father.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray;

Judah fixed things so that Er, Judah's eldest son, had Tamar as his wife. The Word depicts this as Judah, "taking Tamar to be the wife of Er." Who knows how that happened, but chances are she was part of some deal that Judah made with Tamar's Dad or manipulated circumstances so that she was Er's wife. Er "was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life". Can you imagine the kind of "husband" he was? Must not have been much given that Tamar never had a child with Er. He was no prize.

Judah, says to his next born son, Onan, "You go into your brother's widow, have sex with her and make me another grandchild! It's your duty! Onan makes some feeble attempt to display compliance with his Dad's command. He gives a performance, probably with his Dad watching, otherwise, why would he bother to give the appearance of having sex with Tamar, that he is having sex with the widow of his lousy brother but instead of actually copulating with her, he discards his semen on the ground!

What a stand up guy this Judah is!

But is God gracious or what?! He is always looking out for the "little widows". God is so infuriated at second son, Onan, that God kills him for his crime too!

What was Onan's crime? Was it because that Onan did not carry through and have a child with Tamar so as to carry on the lineage of Judah? No, God has never been a stickler for doing things the way that the Jewish custom dictated, i.e., the oldest child being the one to inherit the first fruits, have the senior status, carry on the lineage of the Messiah's genealogy; i.e. Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, etc.

What made God so angry with Onan that God took him out like his older brother, Er? Onan was as disgusting as his older brother, Er, because of the way he treated Tamar. Onan had a rotten heart. He, like Er and Judah, treated a vulnerable, helpless woman like Tamar as though she was garbage.

Judah has a third son, Shelah, who apparently is a bit young to put with the older Tamar at this stage. So Judah lies and tells Tamar that she is just going to have to wait at "her" father's house until Shelah grew old enough to take her as his woman to conceive and have a descendant for Judah. Judah displays his lack of integrity by:
1. Not even keeping Tamar, his daughter-in-law at his house! Tamar didn't "choose" to go to her Dad's house, Judah drove her there in shame, as a reject and unworthy to have any man or any sort of life.
2. Judah NEVER EVEN INTENDED TO BRING HER BACK! was afraid if he put his third son, Shelah, with Tamar, Shelah WOULD DIE TOO!
And why?
3. Because Judah had all three sons with a Canaanite wife!

Now after some years, Shelah grows old enough to have children with Tamar but Judah displays the lies and malfeasance of his plan to never bring Tamar back to his family. Judah's Canaanite wife dies and leaves Judah without a woman so he is now always ready and receptive to gratifying himself with any harlot that comes along.

In all that time poor Tamar has been living as a "widow", honorably wearing the "widow's" apparel but that became a joke because Shelah, the one promised to her as her husband, gets older and older and everyone knows it and she becomes a laughingstock.

Finally, Tamar takes off her widow's garb and "covers her face", interpreted by Judah, as her being a harlot. In reality, she was not, but she positions herself to become Judah's prey and gets pregnant by him! Tamar NEVER functioned as a harlot because she immediately went back to her widow's garments following her session with Judah and did not function as a harlot prior to that occasion. Following that, God blessed "Tamar", I believe, not Judah, by giving her twins, one for each of the scoundrel sons of Judah!

I hold to my original position of Tamara and Tamar's positions being similar. Both exploited by mean men.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

“A man convinced against his will is the same opinion still.” Humm

If Judah was as evil as you picture him, why did he convince his brothers NOT to kill their younger brother, Joseph? God chose his linage to have Jesus.

You wrote, “Judah, says to the next born son, Onan, “You go into your brother’s widow, have sex with her and make me another grandchild! It’s your duty!”

What translation did you find that, or did you make it up? You didn’t use the NLT that states: “Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and marry Tamar, as our law requires of the brother of a man who has died. You must produce an heir for your brother.” (Genesis 38:8)

“But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir…This prevented her from having a child who would belong to his brother.” (verse 9 NLT)

Kuter, why would you say ?: “He gives a performance, PROBABLY WITH HIS DAD WATCHING…WHAT A STAND-UP GUY THIS JUDAH IS!”

Looks like you falsely paint a picture of Judah being evil. You even wrote, “Onan had a rotten heart. He, like Er and Judah, treated a vulnerable helpless woman like Tamar as though she was garbage.”

Kuter, if you were Tamar, would your rather live with your parents or stay in a home where your father-in-law would be grieving over the death of two sons? But you make up a story that Judah “drove her there in shame as a reject and unworthy to have any man or any sort of life.”

I could go on, but I grow weary. Back to Tamara’s comment on Wade’s blog:

What do you think was the “medication” for pain she got from the bad man?

She wrote: “This week I was praying…I told Jesus…break ties with all of these people. I would go into hiding for days…I got a call from this man. I have to admit I took the medication he gave me…he tried to coerce me to “f” him.”

It sounds like to me this link could be her problem.

http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction/sexual-exploitation-and-substance-abuse/

RB Kuter said...

"“A man convinced against his will is the same opinion still.” Rex, is that in reference to me not be convinced by your proposition on this story? You know, if it is, you are pretty much "right on". I find myself being more opinionated these days as I get older. Maybe it's because I have struggled through a lot of issues and reached conclusions after already hearing most sides of the story. Or, maybe I'm just "opinionated"!

At any rate, it was actually the eldest of the brothers, Reuben, who originated the idea of "rescuing" Joseph by throwing him in the well instead of killing him outright, probably with the idea of coming along and helping him get out later in secret. Good ol' Judah came up with the idea of selling Joseph to get some money instead of letting him stay in the pit but it is not portrayed as being because Judah had any compassion or mercy. So I don't really buy that as an indication of Judah's virtue.

Similarly, God used all kinds of people whose character was less than stellar to bring about His purpose of introducing the Messiah. Even Abraham showed traits of being cowardly, Jacob definitely showed his tendencies to be a deceiver and scam artist. So I wouldn't say that God's using Judah as an ancestor in the lineage of the Messiah as being a testiment as to his righteous behavior toward Tamar.

Rex, you are absolutely correct in pointing out my quotes as not being in sync with the Scripture passage. I apologize but figured it would be obvious that I was including a lot of my own perception of how things "might" have been but not recorded. I do that a lot, but always try to either make it obvious that I am not "quoting" Scripture when doing so or make it so obvious that a reader/listener would know I am pondering about how things might have been. Scripture uses a lot of brevity with so many stories, like the "thief on the cross who was given a pass into heaven" and I often like to consider what his life must have been like. So forgive me for that and know that I certainly did not try to replace the truth of Scripture. I don't have a clue if Judah was watching when Onan was having sex with Tamar. But the question arises, why would he even bring himself to having self-gratification with her if he was not attempting to perform as though he was having sex to get her pregnant? That was just a consideration, not meant to be a proposal for what actually took place.

Of course, I cannot propose the details of Tamara's experiences. It is obvious that she has made some unwise decisions that have led to so much of her misery and I don't think she would deny that. At the same time, it seems from the description of the man involved is that he might be a hypocritical "minister" of some sort who uses the authority of the position to intimidate or manipulate his prey; someone who is weak and vulnerable.

I think you and I are on the same page in terms of the facts. We just come to different conclusions regarding them.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

Of the 12 brothers, you’re right that Reuben was the most noble in trying to save Joseph’s life. If Judah had know his plan, I’m sure he wouldn’t have interfered.

I don’t believe Judah lied to Tamar about waiting until his third son got old enough to marry her. He planned to keep his word, but when the time came, fear of him dying overcame his promise. It took an honest man for him to say, “She is more righteous than me.”

I wonder how much Tamara’s story influenced you to make Judah the bad guy.

Back to her story. All the bad events did not happen where she lived, but she went to him. Why? I believe she was getting drugs for pain. When she ran out of money, there was another way for payment as he said, “I will help you if you help me.”

“I prayed for at least 15 minutes and afterwards, I asked him what are you thinking about now and he said, “Kiss me” – I didn’t. I told him that he was hurting me and I was convicted and could never do THIS again.”

Kuter, do you think they had sex? Please don’t tell me we’re not to judge; Jesus said, by their fruits you will know them. I remember Wade helping a prostitute in Dallas when she told him the truth. I believe her comment should not be under “Spiritual Abuse”, but under “True Confessions”.

Rex Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

The opposite of Spiritual Abuse is Physical Abuse.
34 Deaths after JFK was Murdered
29 killed while LBJ was President 11-23-63 to 1-2-69
Some of these deaths were part of why the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) got started.
In 1977, six top FBI officials scheduled to appear before the HSCA died. William C. Sullivan, for example, was hunting, when he was shot by a man who said he mistook Sullivan for a deer. This was not investigated by anyone.
CIA technicians told cancer cells and heart attacks could be injected in a person. Ruby spoke to several people saying JFK was killed by a conspiracy and he had been maneuvered into killing Oswald who was a fall guy. He claimed to have been injected with cancer cells when treated with shots for a cold. He died just before he was to testify in Congress. He had told congressional investigators that he wanted to talk but he needed protection.
1. 11/63 Lea Harvey Oswald was killed one day after JFK was killed.
2. 11/63 Karlyn Kucinich TV host's daughter was murdered after hearing a plot to kill JFK.
3. 12/63 Jack Zangretti expressed foreknowledge of Ruby shooting Oswald. He was a gunshot victim.
4. 2/64 Eddy Benavides saw policeman Tippit shot while trying to arrest a man that looked like Oswald, but the bullets in Tippit did not match Oswald’s gun. Benavides died from a gunshot to the head.
5. 2/64 Betty McDonald was a former Ruby employee. Her death by hanging was ruled a suicide.
6. 3/64 Hank Killam, husband of Ruby employee, had his throat cut.
7. 4/64 Bill Hunter, a reporter, was in Ruby's apartment and was accidentally shot by a policeman.
8. 5/64 Gary Underhill was a CIA agent who claimed CIA was involved. His gunshot death was ruled a suicide.
9. 5/64 Hugh Ward was a private investigator on JFK’s murder. He died in a plane crash in Mexico.
10. 5/64 Delesseps, New Orleans mayor, died in Ward's plane.
11. 8/64 Teresa Norton, Ruby employee, was fatally shot.
12. 6/64 Guy Banister was ex-FBI agent who died of a heart attack. He was connected to Ferrier, CIA, Carlos Marcello, and Oswald.
13. 9/64 Jim Koethe, a reporter, was in Ruby's apartment when he died from a blow to his neck.
14. 10/64 Mary Pinchot, JFK mistress was murdered. Her diary was taken by CIA Chief James Angleton after her death.
15. 3/65 Tom Howard, Ruby's first lawyer, died of a heart attack while in Ruby's apartment on 11/24/63.
16. 5/65 Maurice Gatlin, pilot for Guy Banister, died from a fall.
17. 8/65 Mona Saenz, Texas employment clerk, interview Oswald. He was killed by a Dallas bus.
18. 9/65 Rose Charmaine knew of assassination in advance and told of riding to Dallas with Cubans. She was killed by a hit and run.
19. 11/65 Dorothy Kilgallen, a columnist interviewed Ruby. She pledged to “break JFK case” but died from a drug overdose.

20. 11/65 Mrs. Earl Smith, close friend to Dorothy Kilgallen, may have kept notes, but died from undetermined causes two days after Kilgallen death.

Rex Ray said...

21. 12/65 William Whaley, taxi driver, drove Oswald to Oak Cliff. He was only taxi driver in Dallas to die from a collision while on duty.

22. 1966 Lynn Karen talked with Ruby before Oswald was shot. She was a gunshot victim.

23. 8/66 Lee Bowers witnessed a man behind picket fence. He was killed in a car wreck 3 months later.
24. 10/66 William Pitzer did JFK’s autopsy. He died from a gunshot that was ruled suicide.
26. 11/66 James Worrell saw a man run out the back door of the schoolbook depository. His mother could never get straight answers how he was killed in a motorcycle accident.
26. 1/67 Jack Ruby died of lung cancer before he was to testify to Congress. He told his family he was injected with cancer cells.
27. 2/67 Harold Russell saw the man escape who killed officer Tippit. He was killed by a cop in barroom brawl.
28. 2/67 David Ferrie was an acquaintance of Oswald. He was killed by a blow to his neck which was ruled an accident.
29. 5/68. Robert Kennedy assassinated. Someone had Sirhan hypnotized. Different type of bullets was in people, but substitute bullets that looked the same were at his trial. Autopsy withheld at trial that revealed Robert was shot from behind by powder burns in his cloths and behind his ear. Thane Eugene Cesar was his bodyguard. His gun, found in a pool, matched the bullets in Robert. Cesar went to the Philippines and has never been found.
30. 1972 Hale Boggs was the house majority leader. He began to express doubts about the Warren Commission. J. Edgar Hoover did not release coordinates where his plane crashed in Alaska.
31. 5/75 Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig saw a man run from the Grassy Knoll and jump into a station wagon, a few minutes after JFK was shot. He said the Warren Commission changed his testimony. He was fired. In 1967, a bullet grazed his head. In 1973, a car forced him off the road causing back injury. In 1975, he was injured when a car bomb exploded, and later that year after several radio talk shows, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
32. 7/76 John Roselli, a mobster, testified to the Senate and was to appear again, but was found stabbed and in a metal drum.
33. 5/77 Lou Staples, a Dallas radio talk show host, told friends he would break the assassination case wide open, but his death by a gunshot was ruled suicide.
34. 2/2014 James T. Tague died of cancer three months after his book, “LBJ and the Kennedy Killing” was published. He appeared on TV many times. I (Rex Ray) was one of 16 people who attended his funeral.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, of course, you are right in my being influenced by Tamara's story to portray Judah's story in a manner that positions Judah as one who used his power and authority to take advantage of a woman who was vulnerable. But I really don't think that Judah was any worse than so many others that God uses in His providential plan for Kingdom purposes. There are so many characters throughout Biblical history that disqualified themselves through the sinful lifestyles that contradicted them as being people of God. That's so encouraging to me. I figure if God will use a guy like Samson, He might even use me!

I, like you, know the Word of God to be alive and eternally applicable in our lives. We use it and events portrayed in it to compare with our life and circumstances to get an idea of God's perspective on ourselves and this contemporary world in which we live. I see a lot of similarities between Tamar and Tamara's circumstances, so I proposed the story of Tamar for comparison's sake.

If I was Tamara and looked at the account of Tamar and her history with men, I believe I would find encouragement in seeing how God's hand continued to be involved on her behalf even when the hour seemed the darkest. I would probably also receive instruction as to how to persevere and not give up hope of things getting better. I would probably see how God showed mercy and grace to Tamar, how He worked in circumstances to bring about His purpose and even might include me in it.

So that's why I introduced the Judah family story.

Back to Tamara's circumstances, I do not feel comfortable in commenting on things like whether or not she had sex with the guy or making conjectures as to why she acted or didn't act in certain ways that she did not clarify. Tamara's testimony seemed more to me to be that of someone who is hurting and it took a lot of trust for her to even put it in this blog comments section. As I mentioned, no doubt there are some circumstances which resulted from her making unwise decisions and some of her circumstances are no doubt due to other people who saw her as vulnerable prey. They attacked to use her for their own selfish and mean purposes. So what do we do when we encounter people who come to us in such desperate circumstances?

I think that you and I tend to relate to them as we would our own daughter or granddaughter. We know they are sinful creatures, like us, that they fall and get skinned up and cry out in pain. We pick them up, treat their boo-boos, repair their bicycles, then we give them advice on how to avoid getting into that situation again to avoid getting injured, maybe even more severely. We don't tell them that they are no good, that they can't do better, that they are stupid for having gone so fast when they were just beginning to ride the bicycle without training wheels.

We have our individual ways of trying to minister to them in love and this reference to Tamar's story was mine. I pray that Tamara will recognize that the guy she is dealing with is a scoundrel and totally and utterly reject any future association with him and all of his kind. I pray that God will give her wisdom to get more involved in a serious fellowship of Jesus followers who can teach her, influence her, encourage her and help rebuild her self-esteem which must really be on the rocks by this time.

I pray that Tamara will surrender to God's will and the leadership of His Holy Spirit and begin making decisions based upon what she knows God would have her do instead of listening to the lying, deceitful, destructive voice of Satan which is obviously at work to destroy her testimony, steal the joy of her knowing Christ, and lay ruin to her life. Satan has really been having a "hay-day" in her life, but that can change and I pray it will.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

I’m really impressed by your comment. I don’t believe Wade could have replied any better. I pray Tamara seeks the wisdom in it.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, you know I used to use another picture and the post name, "RRR", didn't you? I just thought I would come out of the closet.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

You old rascal. :) RRR was one of my favorite people, and not just because my initials are RRR. You look pretty good out of the closet.

Christiane said...

Prayers are being said for Tamara.

Rex Ray said...

Hey! RB or RRR,

You got my dandruff up when you said, “I figure if God will use a guy like Samson, He might even use me!”

Samson is one of my biggest heroes in the Old Testament because: (Bible reference is Judges)

1.Angel said, “…Your son will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from the moment of his birth until the day of his death.” (13:7)

2.He asked his parents to get a foreign woman to marry over their objections. “His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to works against the Philistines…” (14:4)

3.He had amazing strength when “The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him…killed 30 men…” (14:19)

4.“…he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them…” (15:8)

5.“…killed 1,000 Philistines…” (15:15)

6.“…3,000 men and women the roof…”Let me die with the Philistines”. And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.” (16:30)

7.“Sampson judged Israel twenty years. (15:20)

8.God answered his every prayer.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, I think I get more respect since I changed my post name from "RRR" and I changed the picture from that "toothless" man picture to one with my wife and I in it. I think it's because my wife's face being in the picture causes people to be nicer to me so they won't offend her!

I LOVE Samson and the account of his life too. But his lifestyle wasn't one I would suggest my son to follow. Samson loved partying, that's for sure. He seemed to choose the worst of friends and was drawn to socialize with pagans that God used him to destroy. Still, God did not give up on him.

Maybe Samson is one of my favorites because my life has been so similar to Samson's, in terms of the bad part. There were years when I ventured far from God's fellowship even when I knew He was my Father and wanted me to come closer to Him. I knew I needed to be closer and I missed having a lot of blessings from God due to the consequences of making poor decisions and walking distant from Him. But, like Samson, God was extremely patient and gracious with me and constantly was urging me to move back closer to Him, which I ultimately did. Thank God for that!

That's what I meant about The Word being alive and applicable to our lives today, thousands of years following the events and characters portrayed in its unfolding.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

Yea, that RRR picture looked like a toothless monkey! My picture also improved when my wife’s picture was added. :)

I still think you ‘don’t get it’ about Sampson’s sorry sex life. God led him in that direction. If God was for it, is he also condemn?

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray wrote: "I still think you ‘don’t get it’ about Sampson’s sorry sex life. God led him in that direction. If God was for it, is he also condemn?"

I sure enjoy these conversations, RR. You force responses to very difficult questions and call us out for apparent discrepancies in our positions. But again, I find myself at some odds with your conclusions on this matter.

Samson was a sinner. He was an ordained leader, protector, avenger, of the nation of Israel. He was ordained for that position even prior to his being born. But like so many people that God used to accomplish His purpose, he was fallible and a sinner.

Like others to whom I made reference to earlier, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, and on and on, Samson was used in spite of those moral fallacies and shortcomings. David practiced adultery in forcing Bathsheba to his bed, got her pregnant, improvised all sorts of devious ways to coverup his sin, and ended up murdering her husband Uriah, all for the selfish motives of having her as an additional woman in his harem of hundreds. God certainly did not lead David to follow that path and judged him harshly (like He did Samson) for having done it. YET God used that sordid affair with this woman, Bathsheba, as a means for the birth of Solomon! Go figure! God knew in advance that this would take place but it was not His will that David behaved in such a manner.

For Samson to sacrifice the moral integrity of his being an Israeli and God-called position of being a "judge" of Israel to behave in such a promiscuous, prideful, arrogant, and reckless, manner, was sin.

I do not believe God led Him to sin, approved of Samson's sin, or meant for him to achieve his commission by sinning. That just does not come down to portraying the character, righteousness, and holiness of God. But as often is the case, God works within the failures of people to accomplish His purpose anyway.

As you say, Judges reads in 14:4 "However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines." Given who God is, I personally interpret this as saying, "The parents did not realize that the sin of their son Samson was going to be used by God to destroy their enemies." But perhaps you are right and I am wrong. It's a matter of perception on how God works and who He is and also a matter of God being so far above me that I am sure I often fail to interpret His ways correctly.

But I see it like a situation where a man and woman divorce: sin. Then they find someone else and marries them, which could arguably be sin as well. As a new couple, they fully surrender in their relationship with God and He uses them to accomplish Kingdom treasures to God's glory that they never did in their original marriages. Still, I don't believe it was God's will for them to sin, but He used them in spite of it and He knew they would be used by Him. If God did not use sinners, He would have to abandon His strategy for accomplishing His Kingdom's plan through His creation; people. But that's my perception of things.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

The story of Sampson starts before his mother became pregnant by an angel telling his mother what he would be and what he would accomplish. Some try to add ‘IF Sampson followed God’s laws.’

This is the angel’s prophesy: “…he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will BEGAN to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” (Judges 13:5 NLT)

God did not tell him to kill all the Philistines he could. He used Sampson’s anger to get revenge. “…Sampson replied, I only did to them what they did to me.” (Judges 15:11)

To do that God put him in the middle of Israel’s enemies by causing a desire in him to marry a Philistine over the objections of his parents because it was against God’s laws.

“His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this.” (Judges 14:4)

The marriage didn’t last long because God did many things:

A lion attacked Sampson. God gave him strength to rip the lion’s jaws apart.
God made bees to make honey in the lion’s mouth which Sampson ate.

I believe God knew Sampson would make a riddle from this.

At a seven day party Sampson made a bet with 30 Philistines if they solved his riddle, he would give them 30 nice clothes to wear, but if they couldn’t they would give him 30. They agreed. His riddle was:

“Out of one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet.”

On the fourth day the men told his bride to be that they would kill her if she did not tell them the answer. She cried three days for Samson to tell her and he did, but he killed 30 Philistines to pay the bet. He was angry and went home; came back and his wife was marred to his best man; he burned their crops; they kill his wife, he kills many; later he kills 1,000. God used Delilah to set in motion for more Philistines to die with Sampson than he had killed in his lifetime.

RB, we know the story, we just disagree on WHY. I believe God wanted to show the world what one man with God’s strength could do against God’s enemies. “Samson was dedicated to God from his birth to his death.”

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray: not to beleaguer the point (I think people always say that just before they "beleaguer the point"), but it's your concept that "To do that God put him in the middle of Israel’s enemies by causing a desire in him to marry a Philistine over the objections of his parents because it was against God’s laws." that is the core of our contention.

I don't believe God gave Samson a desire to sin, but that God continued to use and work with Samson in spite of his weakness and sinfulness.

I tend to compare it with the tsunami that hit Thailand. We had been working in the southern provinces of Thailand for decades with virtually no response or new Kingdom growth. Then along came the tsunami, wreaking death and destruction on that particular section of the country which had virtually "zero" believers.

Southern Baptists gave millions of dollars for tsunami relief and we were able to go into fishing villages and offer Muslims and Buddhists help to rebuild and repair boats, their destroyed fish growing cages, feed victims in survivor camps for months while they waited to rebuild their homes, all the while, explaining the love and hope of Christ. We had a lot of people come to Christ, grow in that relationship and churches planted as a result of that crisis.

Some would say that God "caused the tsunami to drive the hard-hearted people to Him". Maybe, only God knows, but I lean toward thinking that a sinful world caused the death and destruction and devastation to the lives of the people and that made it more conducive for them to consider God as their only hope for the first time. Then God sent His messengers to minister to their needs all the while portraying and proclaiming the Gospel message to them.

I believe God's preferred method would have been for Samson to live as a Godly man and engage the pagans with means other than his sinning. Samson was living in an environment surrounded by the enemy. They were easily accessible. Why was it necessary for him to live promiscuously with multiple pagan women in disobedience to his Godly parents and God? He probably could have accomplished more if he had not.

There was nothing that he accomplished that required him living in his sinful lifestyle. Maybe he could have been an even greater leader for the Israelis, had a greater impact on diminishing their enemies, lived longer to accomplish more if he had lived a purer Nazarite life. 3,000 in a temple collapse would have been multiplied by tens of thousands destroyed if he had remained true to God's character. I think that would have been God's preference, but He still used the rebellious, headstrong, arrogant, Samson and gleaned what He could from him that would be useful in God's plan.

Again, I LOVE this story because I relate to Samson's fallibilities and shortcomings and God's patience and grace that are displayed. So I am not judging Samson to be any worse than me; just not giving him a pass for being a playboy.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

I like your style of thinking. This story in a way compares to the tsunami that helped to spread the Gospel.

I was named after my uncle, Rex Ray, who was a missionary to China. He went to a village to preach. He was told to help a woman that was dying. She’d been moved to the front yard because if she died inside, the house would be burned to remove evil spirits. He said he wasn’t a doctor.

“If you don’t come, you might as well go home because no one will listen to your preaching.”

He had stomach problems and carried Tums. He gave her some and prayed. Within 30 minutes she was cooking for her family. Many were saved.

One more story that relates to Samson on the importance of marrying within his tribe.

My son, missionary to Israel, was in a town 15 miles from Beersheba. Three years before he got there, this happened:

All Muslims went to the same school. It was reported to a man that after school, his daughter was seen talking to a boy on the street that was not in her tribe. When she came home, he locked her in a small shed and burned it. That restored ‘honor’ to his family.

So RB, if God was in favor of Samson marrying his enemy (Judges 14:4) might he be in favor of Delilah also?

I think instead of asking God to die, if he had asked for his sight to be restored, he may have seen his enemies die.

Rex Ray said...

JB,

If people are on a roof, how are they killed by something “crashing down” on them. And how could they see Sampson under the roof?

The Living Bible Translation explains what really happened:

“By then the temple was completely filled with people. The five Philistine leaders were there as well as 3,000 people in the BALCONIES who were watching Samson and making fun of him.” “And the temple crashed down upon the Philistine leaders and all the people. So those he killed at the moment of his death were more than those he had killed during his entire lifetime. (Judges 16:27-30)

If a balcony holds about ¼ of the temple. That would mean 15,000 were killed.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, I love the China story. You have many, many good stories and experiences. Hard to imagine one man having so much excitement in his life!

We'll continue to have a lot of questions about how God works in the lives of people like Samson. As mentioned, I don't think God was in favor of Samson marrying the enemy or Delilah, He just used it. He used Babylon, even Pharoah in spite of their wickedness. God does that all the time to accomplish His plan.

Really sad about the Muslim girl.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

Another sad story in that same town (different family): A couple married that were not in the same tribe, and fled to America. Ten years later the wife returned to visit her mother and her brother killed her with a knife.

Near Beersheba, My daughter-in-law became angry because the neighbor kids threw rocks at her young sons. She walked to their house to talk to their mother about it. But halfway there, she turned around and came back because she saw the mother throwing rocks at her sons.

Back to the subject. (I’ll admit I’m a little stubborn.) The killing of a lion and bear by David gave him (and King Saul) the faith that he could kill Goliath

Likewise, Samson realized God gave him EXTRA strength when he killed a lion, and he had faith God would always continue to do so as long as his hair was long.

I would agree with you if it wasn’t for one verse: “…His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this…” (Judges 14:4 NLT)

JB, does God ever want someone to sin? Let’s suppose as a kid, your parents told you not to swim in freezing water, but you jumped in. Disobeying your parents would be a sin; right?

But you find someone under water that’s unconscious, and you save them. I believe that’s why God wanted Samson to marry a Philistine woman.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, another great story about your daughter-in-law and the rock throwing-mother!

One thing that makes everything confusing and confounding is knowing that God knows EVERYTHING and that God is involved in EVERYTHING. Trying to figure out where He stands on things is a challenge but I think we can come close most of the times if we maintain those positions that we know to be true to the character of God.We still are limited and can pervert things.

Assume that a drunk driver crosses the centerline and crashes head-on into another car driven by a teenager who has heard about Jesus but has never surrendered to Him. The teen is seriously injured and paralyzed for life but in the midst of the pain and desperation surrenders her life to Christ and is saved for eternity. The drunk driver goes to prison and inside meets a chaplain who shares the Gospel and he is saved too.

Did God lead that man to get drunk and drive his car?

Rex Ray said...

RB,

I don’t believe God made us robots, but sometimes…
Once a pastor told me SOMETIMES God intervenes.

I’d asked him to explain my story that I couldn’t get over. This was the story I told him:

I had the habit if a car wanted to pass, I’d drive on the shoulder and let him by. This aggravated my wife and told me I was breaking the law.

One dark night she was following me in another car. The lights of cars coming toward us made it hard to see. We were driving 60 miles/hour. She drove on the shoulder and let a car pass. I did the same.

As he passed I did something I’d never done before or since. I played like a race-car driver and whipped behind him. I missed him by two feet. I had jerked the wheel so fast my car rocked back and forth.

In a split second two things hit my mind. I thought: He’ll be angry and I saw the back of a boy in the middle of the shoulder. My wife thought I’d seen the boy.

I was so shook up, I went back and told this high-school kid how close he came to being killed and to always walk facing the traffic. He was about a mile from home and was getting some exercise.

RB Kuter said...

God certainly does intervene and sometimes it's by sending His angels.

Rex Ray said...

RB,
Speaking of Angles, how about this story?

Were Angles Watching?
By Rex Ray

In 2006, my cousin, from Bonham, Texas; Gary Hicks, and his grown son, Jared, went on a mission trip to Colorado with a large group. They did a lot of mountain climbing.

On the way back, Gary felt they should return to their ‘meeting town’ a shorter way, but it was a small mountain road with no guardrails. Everyone else went back the long way.

Going up a steep hill, they saw a shaft of ‘smoke’ shoot up in the sky and disappear. The ‘smoke’ was steam that lasted for a few seconds.

Curious; they stopped at the top and walked to the edge of an 80-foot cliff. They saw a van upside down in a river.

They got their ropes and repelled down the cliff. A family of four was trapped by seatbelts and trying to breathe in a foot of airspace.

The father who had gone to sleep driving was hurt. Two young boys were in the back seat.

They got them out and to the road. The first car by was a paramedic on vacation. The next car was a patrol car who called a helicopter that took them to a hospital.

Gary and Jared were eating pizza when the others drove into town!

Scott Shaver said...

I was kinda fond of the toothless pic.