Evil’s Silent Accomplice

Evil's Silent Accomplice

By: Deborah White Dove

"In my hands I have a piece of piano wire and I'm going to slice off your breasts with it… Next, I'm going to put a bullet in the back of your head and watch your body drop into the rock quarry," threatened my husband, as he emphasized the depth of the deep, murky river.

It was just an ordinary walk in the park. If you had seen us on the busy sidewalk circling a large soccer field and baseball diamond, you might have made the observation that we looked like a nice couple walking hand-in-hand along a tree-lined path.

We had been married for nearly two decades. We both graduated from a Christian college and were leaders in our local church. I was in full-time ministry and my husband was a business man being trained as a house church pastor. We were respected and admired both in church and in our neighborhood.

No one ever guessed our secret, because I was the silent accomplice to his verbal threats.

What brought us to the boiling point of a rage that threatened to spill over into murder? Simply, it was ignorance of evil. Most Christians today know very little of the depth of evil in our world today. In this ignorance, we unwittingly call evil good, and good evil. Evil of the most powerful kind is cloaked in the guise of good. More often than not, the body it inhabits has the face of "pastor," "counselor," "doctor," or "teacher."

These people look like your next door neighbor and they comprise 4% of the population. That's 1 in 25 people! Their typical career path is church-related. That's why I'm writing this story. Because I was silent for too long. Because there are souls that need to be saved, sitting in the pew next to you. It might be your pastor's wife, your sister, or your friend, and if you're not armed with this information, you might miss the chance to save her. If you're a Christian, chances are you already know one of these couples. But unless you know what I know, you'll never see behind the clever disguise.

Why didn't I talk to someone – a counselor, a pastor, a friend?

In short, I tried. Each time I spoke up, the abuse escalated. I shared our whole story with two different pastors, within three years, beginning six years before our eventual divorce. Like most Christian leaders today, their response abused the victim and the torment escalated both at church and at home. One of them immediately began grooming me for more abuse. This set the stage at home for increased abuse, because the lack of discernment, correction, and guidance empowered the abuser. He knew I had no one to help me escape.

Yet there were so many days when he would apologize, repent, and was sorry for what he was doing! I had no clue, at the time, that this was simply a typical abuse cycle and was not genuine contrition. I'd come home from a church meeting to a head-on verbal attack, and a few minutes later he would knock on the bedroom door where I had escaped to cry, and say: "Sue, you haven't done anything wrong. There's just something inside me that wants to hurt you." Those words are seared into my heart, I heard them so many times!

After many years of asking for help from church leaders, reading dozens of marriage books, attending marriage conferences, opening up my entire life to counselors, and praying, alone, for hours a day, I made the decision to leave my marriage of nearly 20-years. Unfortunately, I was still largely ignorant of evil, and like most women, I jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire… but that's another story for later.

Still, I was changing. I was no longer a woman bound by the traditions of men who told her it was her biblical mandate to submit to her husband, even if he was in the wrong. Instead, spouses are called to confront what is evil, in the hope that the abuser will "wake up" and change.

Often the oppressor goes along unaware of the evil involved in his oppression so long as the oppressed accepts it. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

It is not true grace to silently endure abuse. There is a lot of "false grace" teaching in the church today.  I am grateful to serve a God of grace and mercy, who loves us unconditionally and who does not see our sin, because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

But consider this: If I had continued to suffer in silence, offering my husband the kind of grace the church expected would anything have changed? I offered "grace" for nearly 20-years. I offered "grace" as a result of my pastor's counseling and teaching.

The truth is, abuse will run its course unless it's confronted and the abuser demonstrates "true contrition".

Something about evil we must never forget, namely, that evil is recalcitrant and determined, and never voluntarily relinquishes its hold short of a persistent, almost fanatical resistance. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

A book I highly recommend is "In Sheep's Clothing," by Dr. George Simon, Jr. At A Cry for Justice, Dr. George Simon, Jr writes:

A person’s character deficiencies inevitably spawn a host of irresponsible behavior patterns – bad habits that can become easily ingrained and, once rooted, extremely hard to break.  Often, these dysfunctional patterns involve forms of mental, emotional, and even physical abuse within relationships.  And while many of the character-impaired individuals I’ve worked with experienced periods of profound unhappiness and even a degree of regret over their actions, only a handful made truly significant changes in their once destructive behaviors. But those who truly did address their behaviors and succeeded in changing their lives for the better displayed a rare quality that seemed to make all the difference: genuine contrition.  By definition, personality patterns are deeply ingrained and hard to modify.  But that doesn’t mean a person can’t change.  People can and do change every day.  That is, genuinely contrite people do.

The word "contrite" means "crushed to pieces" and it refers to the process of reaching rock hard bottom, with no options except to look up for God's help. We come to the end of our rope. We don't just regret what has happened to us, but we accept responsibility for our part in the dysfunction.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

It means we must be "born again". The old life dies like a seed sowed into fertile ground and a new life is born. If God is involved in it, then the new life is born of the Spirit of God and the person is recreated in God's image.

Saying a "sinner's prayer" may be a beginning, but the process of sanctification is an intentional journey that only a few, rare people ever truly embark on. It's the narrow road that leads to real life.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. ~ Matthew 7:14

Only 4% of people with the characteristics demonstrated by my husband's behavior will experience true contrition and change. I have since received several year's worth of good marriage counseling, and what I've discovered is that divorce is the best option for spouses who refuse true contrition. Divorce for the purpose of redemption and restoration, that is. It's the abuser's best hope of "waking up".

Dr. George Simon, Jr goes on to explain the prerequisite to true contrition:

Remorse precedes contrition, and there are some personality disorders, such as NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) that cannot feel remorse, and therefore, there will NEVER be any lasting change. These people can experience regret, yes, but not remorse, because they cannot empathize with their victim's pain. They cannot feel what other people feel. They can play the game, pretending they have emotions. They are capable of crying, but it never goes beyond regret.

How do we know when a person has passed through the phases of regret and remorse and is genuinely contrite? You can't mistake the change. The contrite person is heart-broken. They will not stop at simple remorse. They want to make things right.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. ~ Psalm 51:17

Church leaders needs to know this inside and out. An abuser, when confronted by his victim, may take on a remorseful posture. They may apologize continually and do a few nice things. There may even be a "honeymoon" phase, as I experienced on previous occasions when I made the decision to leave. But, more than likely, it's only a phase. It's not real. It's a trap to control you.

Many church pastors and counselors make the same mistake. They listen to the abuser's words but overlook the glaring behavior or lack of real and lasting change.

Most therapy is based on "talk" and many abusers are charismatic people who can put on a good talk show.

I will never forget the evening of our first marriage counseling session that my husband and I attended together. My husband selected the counselor and set up the appointment. In all the previous years when I had begged for couple's counseling, he had furiously declined.

Now I was completely DONE with the marriage and that is the "make it or break it" time for an abuser.

At this point, they are eager to get counseling because often the abused spouse is so messed up and broken from the prolonged abuse that the abuser feels they are going to certainly be validated by the counselor and that the abused spouse will be reprimanded or corrected.

Our counselor was a professional psychologist and family counselor and he listened to my story first, and then to my husband's story.

I didn't care what anyone thought of me.  I squeezed my story out with the gushing, hot tears of nearly 20-years of pent up emotion. I was a total mess. My husband was relaxed in his chair, slightly slumped, and with his arms crossed over his chest.  He then took his turn, describing in detail my deficiencies and how, in contrast, he was very much wanting to work on our marriage. He was cool, confident, and poised.

When all was said, the counselor looked at my husband and said words I'll never, ever forget: "Your marriage has been dead for a long time. You showed absolutely no emotion, even when your wife's heart was bleeding in pain. I cannot give you marriage counseling, but I would like to see you for private counseling once a week."

My husband denied the counselor ever said those words, but they are forever engraved on my heart. No one had ever spoken in my defense before! No one had ever validated my feelings.

By the way, I've since discovered that not many counselors know how to discern what is really happening when a couple like my husband and I shares their story. Remember, one of the ideal career paths for an abuser is "counselor".

Abusers protect abusers. If you need a good counselor, David Clark wrote and article called, "Bring Your Marriage Back from the Dead" and I highly recommend it! He will show you what to look for and which questions to ask, of your counselor.

In contrast, my pastor (who knew every detail about our marriage, including my husband's infidelity, the threats to kill me, etc) replied, "I'm ashamed of you! Why can't you be more like K__?" Like many church leaders he responded to my husband's regrets and remorse but did not understand that a "broken and contrite spirit" is the only prerequisite to genuine transformation. Abusers are aided and abetted by church leaders who unknowingly (and knowingly) become accomplices to evil.

The marriage counselor was the first person in almost 20-years to validate my heart. He spoke the Truth and it set me free. My church leaders used fear and shame to attempt to control me… to get me to "keep up appearances" and it led to bondage.

The word "religion" comes from two words in Latin: re ligare. Re means "return" and ligare means "to bind". To become free, I had to first "unbuckle my Christianity" and set aside the traditional teachings of church leadership, who were all men, by the way.

As Christians we wear spiritual armor and Truth is the belt that holds all the armor in place. (Ephesians 6) If that "truth" is actually a tradition of men and not God's Truth we are biblically commanded to forsake the tradition (or lie) and embrace the Truth.

That's what I call "unbuckling your Christianity"… it's a process of using God's Truth to replace the lies we have been taught through twisted sermons and teaching that don't work. To ignore this process and call it "grace" is cheap grace and a false gospel. It creates a class of enablers who, themselves, are also accomplices to evil.

To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

We are to rise up and take authority and call evil what it is. Jesus demonstrated this when he openly called the church leaders of his time "snakes" and "white-washed tombstones".

As Christians, we must become wise, and that is my reason for sharing my own life story here. Love must be real or it's not love at all.

As Christians, we often neglect the flip side of the grace coin: to hate evil.

I believe in grace. I love mercy. In the name of my email account is "mercyngrace". But the other side of the same coin is: hate evil.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. ~ Romans 12:9

You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. ~ Psalm 97:10

All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. ~ Proverbs 8:13

Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. ~ Amos 5:15

In my diary I record this question: "Papa, your Word says you hate divorce. So why do I sense that You want me to leave my husband?" I sensed Papa say to me, "Yes, I hate divorce. But I hate how my children are being mistreated and abused even more."

Love and hate require action. It's not enough to know something, to learn something… we must take action.

Love what is good. Hate evil. Just as love is an action, so is hate.  For me, to hate evil means speaking up, writing this blog, and not remaining silent.

Writing Prompt: How about you? Is there any part of your story that you have kept silent? Do you need a safe place to tell your story? Are you afraid it will gush out uncontrollably? Don't know where to begin? It's not easy, but I hope as you read more stories here on this site that you will have the courage to begin writing your story, because that's where the healing begins!

Contact me     Kind Words from Readers     What I Believe   My Story

With all my love,

Sue

Hi, I'm Deborah White Dove. Yes, it's my pen name, and it was given to me by a blind man who shyly whispered it to me in a Divine encounter. Yes, it's my real picture… just an ordinary selfie in my backyard. 

I live with my family in the mountains, surrounded by ancient forests, pure streams, and mighty rivers. I work at a local grocery store to earn my living. My earthly needs are simple as I try to let my inner child lead me, instead of me trying to be what the world says I should be and do.

My kingdom of God career is a Heart Scribe. I love to write from God's heart and have been recording His living Word for the past three decades. It's brought me so much beauty, joy, peace, and happiness! 

I love to inspire trauma survivors to write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into the future. We dip our pens in blood and write the pain away… as God has shown me how to do, in the company of supportive friends and family. We are writing ourselves into a better world and it's the most exciting place to be!

Copyright © 2017 Heart Scribes, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact me. 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anewanon February 9, 2015 at 9:57 am

> For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

True that.  BUt then why are the patholigicals so smooth?

Reply

Susan Schiller February 10, 2015 at 6:58 am

Hello Anewanon,

I believe they are so smooth because they have had thousands of years of practice and they know what we want to hear. The truly wicked person, I believe, is controlled by demons. They are oh so smooth and have no conscience. The more contact I had with them the more I realized they have lost their humanity and have given themselves over to evil… evil disguised as good.

I am sorry if you have found yourself in this situation. It’s truly an up is down and down is up sort of thing and very confusing, at first!

Reply

Anewanon February 9, 2015 at 9:55 am

thank you Susan for posting this!  I love this part that opened your eyes, they open mine too!

"Your marriage has been dead for a long time. You showed absolutely no emotion, even when your wife's heart was bleeding in pain. I cannot give you marriage counseling, but I would like to see you for private counseling once a week."

NOt only me, but also for my daughter who has also poured her heart out in TEARS to her Father … I must shre this letter.  THANK YOU!

Reply

Susan Schiller February 10, 2015 at 7:02 am

Anewanon, 

Those words from the counselor made me feel God’s heart. The church world had for so long twisted God’s heart by putting all the responsibility on ME to fix the marriage. But it takes two people, and one continually injects poison into the other, is it not reasonable to expect the dying one to seek aid?

I really hate that there are always more than one victim in this type of abuse, and children will carry these wounds into their marriages, if they don’t seek counsel and healing. I can’t begin to imagine what the state of family and marriage will be if we don’t end the abuse cycles in our own families right now.

I ask God to give you grace and favor, healing and mercy… love unending. You deserve to be loved! 

May God fill you and give you your daily portion of love and mercy today and every day!

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Emfw November 29, 2014 at 11:43 am

i am trying to help someone who has gone through something similar. There was different types of physical abuse. The person has children that are in the custody of the abuser. The abuser has painted my friend as a liar and crazy person. There is documented proof of abuse but somehow the court never saw it. My friend is trying to rescue the children that are caught in the middle. The abuser has started to abuse the children once the abuser moved to a new state. One child had the courage to speak to the police but then recanted because he/she was separated from the family for two months. Child was under 12. Parent is trying to get case reopened in old state but there continues to be obstacles. Abuser is now engaged to a new person who could be the next victim. This person needs to be stopped. Abuser is a white collar worker. Very intelligent. It's like this had been all planned out from the beginning. There are thousands of pages of documents that have been gathered to show people at the highest levels of government. People are afraid of lawsuits instead of focusing on the children. Are there any people or resources out there that want to help people like this?

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Susan Schiller November 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm

It’s the most heartbreaking reality, when evil rips a family to pieces, and the children become not only witnesses but pawns in the violence. I’m sorry I don’t know how to direct you to legal justice, especially not knowing your area… 

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Susan Schiller March 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm
"Do not look for evil. Look for the goodness of God all around you. As you look for signs of His Presence, many more opportunities will occur for you to bless people and share God's true nature." ~ Graham Cooke

I love Graham Cooke's teachings. He is a man who knows the pain of divorce and he and Heather, his ex-wife, are fortunate to continue being friends.

http://web.archive.org/web/20050717003728/http://www.grahamcooke.com/newsletters/New%20Statement.htm

I appreciate that he openly expresses love for Heather and concern for her, even though she is the one who initiated divorce. He does not speak ill of her or drag her down to the sewer. He did not start a smear campaign to discredit her. At least, not from what we can see in public view. There is no evidence he tried to harm Heather in any way, or vice versa.

Bad things can happen to good people. God promises to use all of it to make something good.

In the news recently, Benny and Suzanne Hinn, international ministers, renewed their wedding vows after many years of separation and divorce.

The human experience is full of ups and downs, and although we always want to focus on what God is doing and how he's mercifully causing good to come out of evil, we cannot overlook and be silent when evil takes control.

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Susan Schiller March 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

I love the speech Hector makes in the movie, "Troy," before calling his men to defend Troy against the invading Greek army:

'All my life I've lived by a code and the code is simple: honor the gods, love your woman and defend your country. Troy is mother to us all. Fight for her!"

I love the simplicity of living, in Truth and in reality, by such a code and I modify it just a bit, as I encourage men, the leaders of our homes: "Love God, love your wife, fight for your marriages and families."

The family is the backbone of society. This simple code of ethics would help us to grow a backbone and to get our lives back.

Reply

Susan Schiller March 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

From my email inbox today, prophetic words from Bill and Marsha Burns:

THE TRUMPET by BILL BURNS:

Rise up now, My people, come and walk with Me. No longer cling to your religious exercise, but I say, come unto Me. Come now with renewed hope. For, faith is the substance of the things that you hope for. Begin again to walk with Me. And, in that I mean you're not walking trying to find Me, you're not walking to search Me out. But, you have taken hold of My hand and you are walking with Me into the perfect presence of reality and truth–a present truth that will guide you; truth that cries out from your inner most being. It is truth that puts aside those things that were not in faith and believes. If you will do these things they will serve you well. And, you will find yourself out of the dilemma that your are in and the kingdom of your God will become a reality to you in a more specific way, in a more personal way and in a more present way, says the Lord.   

 

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS:

Beloved, I am doing an internal work in you to show you the way of walking in the Spirit.  There is a place of certainty already established in you where you can express spiritual reality in power.  But, you must do it internally before you can manifest it externally, says the Lord.  Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

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