Duplicity – Living a Double Life
By: Susan Deborah Schiller
My husband, a church leader also, was a pathological liar. But what was I? I was lying every day, every time I smiled. Every time I taught in church. I lied every time I assured people I loved my husband and my husband loved me.
I was calling evil good, and good evil. That's not real love.
What was our reality? My husband and I would walk hand-in-hand down the street to the park. All our neighbors must have thought, "What a nice couple!" In a cool and calm voice, my husband would say to me as he pointed to an object lying alongside the road, "See that big rock? I want to bash your head in right now. But don't worry, I've got it under control."
The topic of our conversation was not confrontational. I was never allowed to talk about anything that hinted at controversy. There was nothing either of us had said that smelled of murder. But there it was. So I smiled and walked on.
I had been conditioned to do so, over many years. Whenever I tried to speak up I was warned, "The husband is the leader. Even if he's wrong, you need to submit." They silenced the abused and covered up the crime.
In front of our children and others he would smile and speak lovingly, but behind closed doors he would paint the goriest scenarios of how I would suffer and die at his hands.
I played the victim's role. He played the tormentor's role. Eventually I learned to play the martyr, beause I was good at longsuffering and dying inside. I did this while fasting and praying, rising at 3 am to pray. I did this while forsaking television and doing everything I could to live a clean life.
But how did I allow this into my life? I needed to understand how a good Christian girl could end up losing her soul!
I had something in me that marked me. It was hypocrisy. I played the role of a happy wife. I played the "everything's okay" part that was expected of me. I called it being submissive, obedient, and honoring my husband. I called evil good, and good evil.
My soul ripped in half. There was always a part of me that knew there had to be a better way. I yearned to be free. And yes, I did escape. I did repent. I did find freedom. But first I had to go back – way back.
I learned to play that role as a little girl. Something terrible happened to me at a young age – too young for me to understand. My parents didn't believe me. So I pretended it didn't happen. I smiled and played the happy girl role. But inside I was dying. And so I got quieter and quieter. The happy girl turned inward. No one noticed. I wasn't a "problem child".
I was the shy girl, the quiet girl, the nice girl, the hardworker. I'd do anything for anyone. I loved the hurting ones. I wanted to do something with my life to bring hope, love, and joy to others. But I was empty inside. I gave my heart to Christ, said the prayer to be born again… but to no avail. I somehow had to hide my failure… but there was no failure, really… I just wasn't yet real.
Until I faced the shadowland of my own heart and recognized my duplicity as sin, I remained empty within, God doesn't want perfect kids… he just wants us to be real. It's his job to be perfect and to make us like him.
I took off my mask and began to walk naked and unashamed. Some people say holiness is being comfortable in your own skin.
Yes, I was a victim of sociopathic abuse and there's nothing more challenging than living with someone who constantly degrades you, puts you down, threatens you, and worse. Psychological torture, it is. I was called "the most abused wife" my counselors had met.
To be happy in my own skin meant I needed to love my dark side, and that meant exposing it, too. I broke my silence, after years of pent up silence. And my story came out messy, with all of the emotions I had long repressed. Thankfully, my true friends were grace-ful and offered me a safe place.
I've continued sharing my story, and each story published is like a sword thrust into my false self. Naked and unashamed is the only way to be holy, for it's the path of walking in truth.
Being true to myself is the opposite of duplicity.
My repentance required action. God was asking me to lose everything, to give up my whole life, to lay it down on the altar and let it burn. I had to be willing to lose my reputation, my ministry, my friends and family, my job, and more. When you have lived in duplicity – the life of the double-minded person – it takes a radical effort to get on the right track.
It takes amats. We're in war. There is no neutral ground. If you don't realize this you might have already slipped into the trap of duplicity.
I know the video by Eric Ludy at the top is over an hour long, but he shares this message of duplicty and how our church leaders are often the first ones to live this double life. I believe it's a message we all need to understand, even to memorize. The whole church worldwide is infected with duplicity.
Until some of us stand up and tell our stories, it's awfully hard to be real in church today. And if we're not real, we become the enemy.. the enemy of our own souls and others.
So I will be one who stands naked and unashamed. I will break my silence and I will help others do the same, until we all are able to stand, naked and unashamed. Let's RUN TO THE BATTLE!
To become a warrior I've had to learn to rest, to live naked and unashamed, and to be okay with being a nobody – misunderstood, ridiculed, and worse. I think we all want a cause bigger than ourselves and a tribe where everyone is valued. There's room for all of us to shine, to use our talents, and to be the best we can be!
I think I do know what to call myself today: Human. Fully alive, fully free, and fully me.
With all my love,
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