Saul's blame-shifting tactics are typical of abusers When we consider the theme of non-apologies in the Bible, Saul's blame-shifting tactics stand out. But one of the amazing things we see in his story is the difference between him and his son, Jonathan. Jonathan is...
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
Jesus talked about the difference between good and bad people with directness and clarity we don’t often hear repeated. He certainly never claimed we could be perfect. He died, willingly, knowing that was the depth of our need for God’s help. But at the same time, Jesus was very clear about standards of behaviour that we could follow, despite our imperfect ethics. He continually reinforced how critical it was for us to follow those standards, for the sake of others.
We have been looking at some of the ways we can sift the lies from the truth despite the mess created by abuse, and the story of Elijah gives us some clues. Much of what God did with Elijah was simply care for and affirm him. But God also helped Elijah refine his understanding of what was happening around him.
It’s possible Elijah was experiencing some degree of hypervigilance. There was certainly cause for that. Elijah was on the run for his life.
What does it mean to cherish someone? It’s a word that is often used in wedding vows, but it is relevant in all our relationships.
When Paul and Timothy wrote to the Colossians, they praised them for the love they held for all people, and that sense of holding love is like cherishing.
One of the harshest punishments we ever see in the Old Testament is towards Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas. What did they do that was so wrong?
1 and 2 Samuel are full of stories and examples about abuse. That makes sense. Sin plays a heavy role in the way these stories progress, and what we now call “abuse” is a grouping of different harmful or toxic behaviours: different sins.
In the last few posts, we have been looking at an important question that comes up for many victims of abuse: “Am I losing my faith?” We’ve had a brief look at some of the impact of depression and anxiety. These conditions can express themselves in a huge variety of...
What is the value of true friends? Dedicated abusers can be really good at turning up the heat. One part of the cycle of abuse, in fact, is to apply more and more pressure until their victim does something apparently worthy of complaint. For example, an abuser might...
As we slow down and be present with Hannah in her trauma, it is difficult to avoid deep respect for her. It’s really fascinating to see Eli’s response to her. His brief encounter, based on what he observed, led him to think she was...
Are abusers aware of what they are doing? Overlapping with the question of whether abusers are deliberate is: are they aware? Aware of what they are doing? Aware of the harm it causes? Knowing the answer to those questions might make a profound difference in what a...
How can I be a friend to someone in need? The psalmist wrote:
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
One of the most difficult challenges for a victim of abuse is to be believed. Even by their friends. Abusers play on it and often use tactics to perpetrate further abuse through other people. These third parties are colloquially known as “flying monkeys”, reminiscent of the servants of the Wicked Witch of the West. Some might be only too glad to join in on hurting someone, but many will be innocent and unaware of the way they are being used.