When abusers are nice to you does that mean they aren't abusing others? In our last article, we looked at Jonathan's grave error in thinking he could just talk to Saul and that would make David safe. Instead, all he achieved was to put David at greater risk by...
Category: Types of Abuse
Will an abuser stop if you ask them to? That was the solution Jonathan tried, a little over 3000 years ago, when Saul ordered him to kill David. He only made things worse. Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill...
As we saw with Saul in our last article, abusers might employ a barrage of emotional abuse tactics that can make it very difficult to know how to spot a non-apology. Those tactics can make conversations about harm and responsibility very confusing. To cut through that...
As part of his armoury of abusive tactics, we can see Saul’s skill at non-apologies. If we understand his tactics, that can help us spot non-apologies in our own situations.
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...
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water”
Psalm 1 carries such a beautiful picture of the relationship between our ethics and our health and wellbeing. The poet calls us to avoid harmful behaviour but also calls us in a positive sense. Since we are created in God’s image, there is a part of all of us that loves to treat people well. When we spend time reflecting on our own behaviour, and how we can best care for those around us, I suggest that’s us nurturing the image of God in ourselves. It’s just like caring for a garden and can be as beautiful, or as much hard work.
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.
How can we hear God’s voice more clearly when there is so much noise? Even though Elijah was well-practised in listening to God, he had great difficulty hearing God clearly when he was in the midst of trauma.
If even Elijah struggled to hear clearly, we can take comfort when we struggle. Perhaps that’s one of the no doubt many reasons why we have been gifted with his story. I am confident at least that while it was happening God was already conscious of our current situations. Way back then, he knew.
Listening through the mess created by abuse is difficult for most.
In the previous post, we touched on some of the ways abusers disrupt our capacity to hear clearly. Those tactics can create significant, even overwhelming, internal noise and confusion.