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)

Not more adult than God

 

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Why do we fall into destructive behavior?  Why do we fall into traps and go for people that harm us?  Are we weak?  These questions are asked by those on the outside who perhaps have never known a day of sorrow, a day of loneliness, a day of yearning…a day of longing…and yet there are grains of truth in those questions that can’t quite be denied, they nag at me.  They are offensive, sure, but truth often scratches at us, doesn’t it?  We bristle uncomfortably at it, we draw back in fear from it.

In our darkest times, we are weaker, that’s the truth.  There is a danger to this as well, because a predator, a person with ill intent grasps at this and holds on and latches on and uses every weakness, every loneliness, every insecurity, every piece that hurts to draw us to them as your anchor…because when we are weak, trying to stay afloat in a storm we seek an anchor.

As a Christian we know the truth.  The Holy Spirit tells us that truth.  He tells us WHO that anchor is.  He tells us WHO that ROCK is.  He tells us who will never fail us.  He tells us who can carry that heavy burden, He tells us who can heal the broken heart…but we push Him away.  We push the true Lover of our hearts and souls away, because in all honesty we say HE IS NOT ENOUGH.  Lets be real.

But why is He not enough?

Jeremiah 17:5-10 says:

Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.  For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.  The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?  I the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.

A loaded verse.

In my experience, time and time again I have put my trust in people and time and time again I have come away broken.  Some people have intentionally, maliciously hurt me.  Some people have hurt me unintentionally, and yet have hurt me all the same.  Friends, family, a spouse…people.  People who were supposed to be there in times of need and loneliness and yet when needed were not there to carry heavy, heavy burdens…because THEY COULDN’T.  I expected them to care for my hurt like the LORD cares, to wipe my tears like the LORD does, but you see, they can’t see the deepest parts of me, nor can they fully care even though their words may convey such care.  ONLY ONE CAN TRULY DO THAT.  And yet again I let my HEART get ahead of me…this deceitful thing beating inside and I let this heart feel and I let the feelings dictate that trust should be placed on another person who is just as flawed as I am, who perhaps is just as hurting as I am.

Do you see?

Have you done this?

Well, let me tell you a predator preys on this.  And if you don’t have Jesus as your armor, you will fall.

In previous blogs I’ve talked about how to protect yourself from online predators, I’ve talked about human trafficking, about domestic abuse…and all of this in some way perhaps can be brought back to who you trust.  No, not all things can be avoided.  You can’t help if someone kidnaps you.  But being LURED away as an adult can be helped.  You CAN protect your heart if your heart is in the hands of Jesus.

He is not an imaginary friend.  He is not a fictional character.  He is the God who became man.  He is the one who came from Heaven and died on the Cross for all your sins, all your flaws, for that deceiving heart that constantly is selfish, that constantly fails, that constantly mocks you, that constantly tells you that you are not good enough.  He is the Son of God who is here to tell you that you are his Bride and you are made SPOTLESS in Him and He has chosen you, and He DOES love you, AND THAT MATTERS!  In the end, if you do meet a man worthy of you, He must honor Him and in honoring Him HE WILL HONOR YOU, he will not defile you.  He will cherish you, he will point you to the Cross when you are weak because he will realize that a man is not strong enough to carry a burden by himself, he will take you back to your Groom.

Ephesians 6:10-12

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

The verse goes on to list (read on your own), the armor you are to put on: truth, righteousness, Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).  This is the armor you must have in your daily life, whether it is in dating, work, church, family, etc.  You must have it on EVERY DAY, because you don’t go to war without armor and satan constantly attacks you, if you are unarmored, you will fall and then you will ask God why…well, you were not prepared.

We often think because we are adults we can make decisions and we know better than God…but lets not forget…we are not more adult than God, and He knows better what can protect us.  If He whispers, or shouts to your soul: NO!  Or stay away, this person is bad…LISTEN!  Stay under His protective wings and seek His heart above all else, He is your/my beloved and He loves us well.

 

Signs, Tactics of an Abuser

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She won’t leave.  Why won’t she leave?  Or in some cases he.  He is clearly a psychopath and an abuser, EVERYONE sees it.  The signs are there.

We all ask that.  We make the victim of abuse sound stupid, pitiful, like they have a very clear choice.  How wrong we are.

Abuse comes in so many forms.  Some never suffer the pain of a fist, but do suffer the constant verbal slams that through them into such a dark abyss that they can’t get up, they can’t breathe, they can’t see their worth.  They can’t get up.

First I want to address the signs of an abuser.  If anyone sees these, perhaps it’s one step closer to helping the person being abused and taking power away from the coward that is the abuser.

Of course no one begins dating an abuser.  No one in their right mind would.  First comes the charm, the ‘smarts’ the pouring out of compliments, and he lifts you up, he makes you feel like he is your soul mate and there is absolutely no one else in this world that would ever make you feel the way he does.  He is the Cowboy Casanova as some would say.  He makes you feel like he can actually protect you from the world that maybe in some ways has hurt you.  And here’s the thing, an abuser knows how to pick his targets, the ones who have been broken a bit and because when you are broken you seek to depend on someone he knows he can be that crutch…and he will be that for a little bit.  He will rescue you and then the manipulation starts.

You see, now he will convince you of all the things you need to be rescued from.  Number one thing that needs to go is anyone that can see him as a threat.  Who might that be?  If you have family, that has got to go, so he will ‘rescue’ you from that.  Friends?  Yup, your friends are bad, they are stupid, they are too stuck up, their morals are to uptight, they ‘wouldn’t understand our love’.  He sets up an ‘us against the world’ mentality.  He sets up a fiction world where he is the only hero in the victim’s world.  If possible he will move the victim as far from those the victim knows as possible.  If a friend has plans, he has more important plans, or he is sick and needs your care.  SOMETHING will happen where you will NOT be allowed to see your friends and if you do it will be with a tainted mentality that he has already planted in your mind.

Also according to About the Issue “Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. The abuse can be established over time and in most cases, it begins subtly with insults, a shove or by alienating the survivor from family and friends. With time, the abusive behavior can be more frequent and severe.” 

The key thing, there is always an excuse that excuses the abuser’s behavior.  Often, the victim is the problem.  “If you understood me better, if you did this better, you know I have this issue! Etc.”  An abuser rarely if ever takes ownership.  An apology will be offered but it is usually followed with “But maybe next time you shouldn’t, or should be careful not to provoke me….”

Feelings of course are central here too.  They always are.  Because the victim LOVES the abuser, that is the whole part of the ENTIRE manipulation, the feeling game and the abuser will play on that until the victim sees it for what it is and gets the courage to either reach out for help and walk away.  But it is not that easy depending on how violent he/she is.  This is why I write this.  If you are seeing these signs in anyone, or if you are in the beginning of such a relationship, walk away while you still can, because believe me, an abuser only escalates.  He might be only verbally abusive today, maybe for years, but soon he/she WILL escalate.  It’s only a matter of when.

You may think you can change him…like in the movies.  That you are the Beauty and he is the Beast that can be tamed.  Please understand that you do not have such power.  I firmly believe only God can change a person.  Such people need deep professional help, and you are not it.

You might be convinced he is the underdog you have to save that everyone else has cast aside.  While believe me, I am a firm believer in second chances, and I seek out the forgotten and lonely…understand that an abuser only plays on these sentiment for what he/she can gain.

What are they seeking to gain?

It is different in each situation.  In some, it is money.  In some it is power.  In some it is affection at the cost of beating you and not allowing you to give that affection to ANYONE ELSE (but notice that he is allowed to give affection to anyone he pleases).  There is always a double standard with an abuser.

You might leave your family and friends, and maybe for a while he might too…but he won’t leave them forever.  He/she will NEVER do that because the goal was to get YOU away from your family and friends…not the other way around.

To those who see these sighs of abuse (in a neighbor, co-worker, friend), don’t let them withdraw.  If you know where they live, constantly visit, make the abuser know that you are watching and that the victim is not alone.  Don’t confront the abuser, but be there for the victim until the victim is willing to reach out to you.  When that happens, seek out law enforcement.  Do not be silent.  Do not be a shadow.  Learn to survive.