Should you try to change a Predator/Abuser?

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There are many in this world who have a compassionate heart and as such are driven to make a difference, to make a change.  After all, as Christians we are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Does this mean that we should try to change people, that we should try to change a person who is clearly showing the dangerous traits of an abuser, predator and a manipulator?  Should we go into a relationship thinking we can change a person by being a light to them and salt to them…a flavor?

Personally, I have learned the hard way that a person cannot be changed by another person…only God can do that.  If a person does not want to be changed they will not change, they will only devour your flavor that you give to the world and you will be left flavorless…salt-less, light-less–extinguished, and only the grace of Jesus will revive you (and the grace of Jesus is great because the Bible DOES say nothing can separate you from His love, so don’t let satan blind you from the cross).  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (NASB) In a relationship, you are not to be bound together with someone who doesn’t believe in Christ as you do because of the fact that YOU cannot change them and there is no guarantee that they will ever come to Christ and you will suffer for this because either you will be pulled away from the light that is in your heart, or worse the abuser, manipulator/predator will do far worse (remember you cannot change a person).

This being said, there are ministries in church that DO minister to people that are disturbed, that have mental problems and you CAN partner with such groups to reach out to such people if that is your desire and if that is where your heart is.  There are churches and local ministries in your areas (I can almost guarantee you) that minister to prisons, to shelters, to all sorts of groups that are in need of hearts such as yours.  My recommendation is to PARTNER with such groups and never go alone.  You CAN do something, you CAN be a light in the darkness and the HOLY SPIRIT can reach out to a lost soul through you, but don’t go alone.  Be smart.

As always, I stress, don’t become a victim.  Christ never intended that.

Matthew 10:16-20  “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.  But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given to you in that hour what you are to say.  For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of the Father who speaks in you.  (NASB Bold added by me)

See, Jesus never intended for us to be blind victims, He wants us to be wise in our walk, and when we are to speak out and let His light burst forth…UNDERSTAND that it is the Spirit of the Father speaking…and ultimately dear one THAT IS WHAT WILL CHANGE A PERSON, because it is the power of the Gospel that is life changing.

That is what I will leave you with:

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (NASB)

Tell them about Jesus and let HIM clean them

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In church yesterday was discussed a topic that is very close and sometimes controversial for Christians: leading people to Christ.  In a world that is extremely liberal, where right is called wrong and wrong is called right, I had said, it is hard to speak about Christianity.  We have become less bold and seemingly more ashamed of what it is to be a Christian…we tend to go with anything goes.

The Pastor answered very beautifully to my concern, he said:  “You just tell them about Jesus and let Jesus clean them.”  In other words, as Christians we are quick to tell those who are not Christian about what is right or wrong according to the Bible, almost as if we expect to change them before they even know Christ.  This is simply not possible.

I came to Christ when I was 16 years old.  I grew up with my Christian parents who loved God and yet as a teenager I was very rebellious and I was headed down a road that would have been destructive had my parents not decided to move from Michigan.  We had lived in a neighborhood that was starting to go bad (more drugs, etc).  I had started surrounding myself with people who were into those things and naturally I started gravitating toward that life style.  No I didn’t do drugs but I started to smoke here and there and became very selfish and concerned with popularity (so much so that I didn’t care who I walked over).  I think my parents saw the beginning of my decline no mater how I tried to hide it from them.  Anyway, we moved to Arizona where we began going to a Romanian (since we are from Romania) church.  I wore very revealing clothes, short skirts etc.  One day a woman walked up to me and tugged on my skirt and said:  “What, did this shrink in the wash?”  I was very offended, she didn’t even know me.  She didn’t know my heart, mind or soul.  This might be the reaction other people who are not Christian have to us when we try to condemn them of immoral behavior and tell them something is wrong, evil, before we even know them.  We tend to think that a person has to change before they come to Christ in stead of letting Christ do that miraculous transformation.  Still, what happened that day was still a tool that made me think.  I felt guilty because I had good parents, I felt like my parents didn’t know me…nor did I want them to know me because they would be ashamed of me.  I felt stained by my past.  Then one Sunday, for reasons unknown to me, I actually LISTENED to the preaching and what my ears (and heart) heard completely shocked me–because until that day I never really understood what Jesus did for me, I never understood why in the world an innocent man had to be crucified for me (in fact it enraged me).  I’m sure that others had told me before, including my parents, but it didn’t click until that day.  The pastor said that when we come to Jesus and accept Him and His sacrifice, he COMPLETELY erases our past in His eyes, it is FORGIVEN, it DOESN’T EXIST in God’s eyes, we are made into a NEW CREATION, the OLD IS GONE AND THE NEW HAS COME.   That is the day I decided I wanted to follow Jesus…but let me make it clear: I DIDN’T CHANGE OVERNIGHT!  Jesus worked and molded my stubborn heart little at a time (He is still perfecting me and as the old saying goes: He is not finished with me yet).

I give you a part of my testimony because I want you to understand that it is not YOUR job to change a person.  Are you telling an adulterer about Christ?  Don’t worry about his/her sin, tell him/her about Christ, lead them to the cross and let that innocent perfect blood of Christ cover them and atone for their sin, let HIM begin the change in them…OR maybe we don’t trust Christ to do what He came into the world to do?  In the end, remember, you are a sinner too (I know I am, I struggle with many things that are wrong, like using words that are fowl, anger thoughts etc), remember God is still changing you too, do not interfere with God.

That being said, once a person does become Christian, we do need to walk beside our new family member and show them the way, but not with condemnation and holier than thou attitude, rather with love and patience and endurance and perseverance.

Those Brokenhearted and Crushed in Spirit

Looking at the world today, I cannot help but see and hate all the pain and injustice I see. Fellow human beings killing other fellow human beings. The rich taking advantage of the less fortunate or those who have lost much. Loss after loss, storm after storm.
What is worse is seeing those who gain the ‘world’ by stepping on others prosper. One cannot help but think: Why God? Why do those who do wrong prosper? Why do those who hurt others rise so high? Don’t you see? Don’t you hear the cries of those who are brokenhearted, those who’s spirit is crushed beneath the weight of injustice?
The situation in Iraq and Syria and Israel are grave. Innocents killed by those who have guns, and hate, and power, and so-called religion on theirs side. Where are you God?
It is my prayer that God will intervene there and quickly and that He hears their cry.
It is my prayer that those who walk over those who are completely broken will face God’s justice and fairness.
What does someone who is crushed in spirit look like?
It is someone who encounters loss after loss, storm after storm (and the storms still don’t stop). It is someone who has lost a loved one, then lost possessions, then barely makes it, and cries for mercy, yet finds none. I know my family and I have fallen into that category. It is someone who on top of the storms receives mockery from those who should be there for them. It is someone who in those hardships, they receive thoughtless advice that is hollow because it shows carelessness instead of love. It is those who have suffered abuse. It is those who work so hard and are so tired but they push on because after all so many depend upon them.
Who are the brokenhearted?
It is those who have given love a chance and time after time love turned out to be only a word thrown into the wind. It is those who have given all of themselves but received nothing of the same in return.

There is a Psalm that talks about those who fall into the above categories, and it describes what happens when they cry out to God (the Father).

Psalm 34: 17-22
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him. (NIV)

Read that again if you have to. It says the righteous have MANY troubles. It doesn’t say that troubles, calamities, hardships, heartbreaks do not come on those who trust in God. But still, even so, God steps in when we cry out to him.

In the past few weeks, or rather years we have gone through such troubles…and still going through them. The heart grows faint, the spirit is crushed. By crushed I mean faith is almost non-existent. I know some of you are encountering the same thing. You are in that place where you question God as a result of the lost hope. You wonder if those who have done wrong to you will always prosper while you always work, work, work, toil, toil, toil, cry, cry, cry. Words of ‘encouragement’ from friends become void of meaning. It becomes like Job and those ‘well-meaning’ friends (that in the end God told them to ask Job to pray for them) who kept admonishing him for his doubts and kept trying to show him how he was wrong to be angry with God or doubt him. But you see, those friends had not lost everything, had not lost everyone…they were in all likelihood prosperous friends, who had not lost anything…maybe even happy that Job was no longer rich like he had been (that he had lost EVERYTHING), maybe they were happy that now, in the position and station of life they were ABOVE him. It was easy for them to admonish and give advice from their higher position. But read to the end and see what God told them. Understand dear one, that your suffering might go on for years before you have a time of rest (we are still going through it), but the end does come.

Please understand that one day, after the patience of God has been used up (for he is patient and merciful and gives chance after chance for the evil to change their ways), there will come a day when he will come in like a raging storm. He will be just and fair and He WILL come to your defense in just that moment when you cry out to him that you CAN’T anymore. In that day you will testify that Proverbs 21:15 is true.

Proverbs 21:15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Understand also that when you pour out your heart to your friends, if they have not walked where you have walked, they will most likely not understand. In fact they may hurt you further. Some might do that intentionally, some unintentionally. Put your faith in God, cry to Him. Still, there will be those along the way that come into your life that will hold you and let you cry, and not say a word…just simply wipe your tears and let you rant. Some will help you in ways you don’t expect.

Why do I write this? For many reasons. A bit from personal pain at seeing those who at one time we helped turn their back on you when they are needed most. It is like Job. When he was wealthy those friends who admonished him probably were close to him (maybe hoping to gain from his prosperity). He might have helped them get to where they got. But in the days of his suffering they condemned him. Also I write because I know my family and I are not alone in what we are going through. There are so many who have lost all strength and hope that things will change. There are those who week after week, even day after day encounter more and more hardship. To those I want to remind you of Job’s ending. Yes in the beginning he lost absolutely everything (children, workers, possessions, friends), but in the END he was given DOUBLE what he lost. Those who condemned him, were humbled by God Himself. Did that erase the previous hurt and loss? I don’t think so. But healing began when God stepped in and interrupted his doubts and interrupted his ‘friend’s’ rants and simply put said: ENOUGH.
That time will come for us, I have faith that God is not blind. That time will come for those who are persecuted in Iraq, Syria, Israel and other places. He hears the cry of their very blood given for their faith and love. That time will come for you, He will gather you in His arms. Please don’t give up. I know it’s hard. I know it seems like it won’t ever end. I know it seems like all who are left are those who laugh or mock or make your pain seem irrelevant. Please know that to HIM what you feel is everything, he loves you, and He will rescue you, He will be your shelter and defender. Those who mock you now will one day face God the Father’s fairness and justice…and perhaps that might mean vengeance. Vengeance is the Lord’s. That is hard to accept, that is hard to trust. But know, that His vengeance is better than yours.
One last thing, and this is hard…when that day comes, when He steps in and says enough, yes, he will admonish and convict your enemies…but He may also ask you to pray for them.