Hi Friends,

I’m in Los Angeles visiting my daughter’s family and spending time with my granddaughters, ages, 3, 2 and 1. There is no greater joy than to have a little hand tucked into yours with total trust. I’m so grateful that three little girls believe their Nana and Papa will take good care of them.

I’ve been asking you all to pray for me to gain more balance and someone recently suggested that I invite guest bloggers. This morning, one of my colleagues, Barbara Roberts who wrote the book Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion, sent me a video of her teaching on how the abuser gets people to side with him and against the victim using the story of the Levite and his Concubine in Judges 19. I thought it was valuable information and wanted to share it with you: .

Let me know what you think.

 

69 Comments

  1. Brenda on November 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I saw this last week. It was an amazing amount of information and not what I ever heard in my home church, but made more sense than anything I have ever heard before.

    Leslie, Have fun with those grand babies. I would be happy to borrow one, two or all sometime. My only grandbaby passed from SIDS 19 years ago and no hope for more. Enjoy them for me and you.

  2. Amy on November 4, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Ironically, I heard a sermon on this same passage last Sunday. The pastor did not speak exclusively on abuse, but abuse was discussed.

    Barbara’s video is excellent. It took me almost 3 hours to listen to it because I kept pausing it to take notes. I hope many people will hear it and have their eyes opened about abuse.

  3. Sally on November 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Very powerful teaching that unravels the mind of an abuser. I saw this pattern lived out in my marriage. Thanks to God that I’m out of that destructive relationship and able to help all those that God puts in my path.

  4. Beth on November 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Cleared up my own confusion about what I’ve lived with for 15 years. It’s almost a script of what has transpired….especially when she explains an abusers behaviors and the victims shame and feelings. Having a difficult day. Prayers appreciated as I try to make my way out of this situation with a clear head.

    • Brenda on November 5, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Beth, I am praying for you. I have had a couple of difficult days myself. I have been separated for 5 months and X was suppose to seek counseling and try to make changes. Well he got counseling alright. From his X wife who during their marriage was a drunk, cheated on him and stabbed him. From what I now understand, he was no better. They have been frequently seeing each other (she is also married)and last week I found out they are sending love cards via email to each other to the effect of we’ll be together soon and it will be forever. I want to be sick when I think of the whole thing. Once I confronted him he demanded a divorce. Well baby, You got it. He has told me several times a year since we’ve been married that we should just get a divorce. Within a few days I should never have to hear those words again.

      Sorry for the long explanation, but I wanted you to know that we cry together and we will be praying together.

    • Elizabeth on November 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Beth. I will pray for you. I too am working my way through the recent discovery that I am in an emotionally abusive marriage. It is a difficult awakening that came at a painful price. Lean on God he will walk you through it. He wouldn’t have shown you your truth if he thought you were not ready for it. Honor Him and learn what he is trying to teach you. He loves you very very much and will hold you protectively in the palm of His hand. God will provide you with the strength that you need.

      • Marycar on November 29, 2013 at 1:11 am

        Elizabeth, I too recently discovered I have been in an emotionally and spiritually abusive marriage. I would love to hear how you’re doing?

        • Elizabeth on December 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm

          Hi Marycar. Honestly everyday is different for me. The last 4 months have been a very challenging emotional roller coaster. I feel myself getting stronger and the fog is clearing a bit with the help of this Blog community as well as another one. I have been reading some books Leslie’s on Destructive Marriages is included in that pile 🙂 It seems that the more I understand the nature of my husbands abuse and the toll it has taken on me over the past 20 years the easier it is for me to start to heal.

          That being said, I have lost 21 lbs. I am officially clinically underweight, my health both physically and mentally have been challenged greatly these past months. My husband is moving out this week. I tried doing an in home separation but it simply is not working for me. I just can’t function well and process my emotions well while he is in the house. I feel like I am literally chocking on them.

          My faith and love for God has grown in leaps and bounds. That is absolutely the best part of all of this. I have learned to surrender my heart to him and lean on him in ways I never thought possible. At first I felt unworthy of God’s love because I want out of my marriage. I have since learned from Leslie that we tend to see God the way we see our abusers so of course I thought God was going to hate me, be angry with me, punish me etc for standing up for myself. But thankfully God did not let go of my hand and I pushed through that attack. From there my faith just took off and God has made himself so present in my life and my struggle in some truly beautiful ways.

          Marycar, how are you doing? I pray that you are able to find time with Him. It helps so very very much.

          God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds <3

          • Beth on December 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm

            So, what is an in home separation? I’ve probably been trying that without even knowing I am doing that. There’s so much healing that needs to take place in me. My husband has hurt me deeply time and time again. I’ve tried to explain it to him as kind of like PTSD….where one thing he says that may not be that bad is said in a certain tone or attitude that opens a floodgate of memories from our past where he has so deeply hurt me. He says that was the past and he was just immature and I need to let go of it….but the images of his face and where we were and looking over at my toddler who was hearing my husband say these things haunts me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be who I was when he married me with all of my innocence and naivete and open heart and willingness to love a person no matter what. I hope that I can get me back, but not sure.

            Anyway, please let me know if there is an actual method to an in-home separation.

            Thanks so much.



          • Marycar on December 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

            So good to hear the Lord is helping you hear his voice and feel his prescence. Thanks for asking about me 🙂 I am in this weird confusing place where my husband says he is changing and going to counseling and talking to others. I see him trying at home most of the time but sometimes I hear things, mainly when we have a long conversations, that make me wonder if it’s real… if it’s a change of thinking for him or him just checking off a checklist of things he needs to do to keep his family. It feels like a roller coaster too, just like you said. Noone else can understand the weirdness that goes on at home. It is so covert. My counselor thinks separation is needed but I’m not convinced that’s the best thing yet. We have 3 kids, middle and elementary school age. It is so complicated and scary. I have a great counselor but I would really like to find a support group where I could talk to women who are going through similar situations. I go to a Bible study and need to do my study tonight but feel so unmotivated. Thanks for writing.



          • Elizabeth on December 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm

            Beth and Marycar

            I apologize for the delayed response. It has been a busy and distracting week with my husband’s move. I am happy to report that he is out of the house and I am feeling much better. I kept waiting for the sadness to set in but so far I am feeling pretty good. My kids are doing surprisingly well. I think that living with our stress was harder for them than I realized. They seem to be doing much better now that my husband and I are apart. There is much less stress and frustration for them. I do understand that they could fall apart still. But so far so good.

            Beth.

            An in home separation was recommended by our lead pastor. My husband still lived in the house but in a different room. That was the extent of it. No time lines or other parameters were set.

            I understand what you are saying with your reference to PTSD. We are often expected to forgive then forget. We can forgive but the forgetting doesn’t happen. The nature of the relationship is effected. The way we see our husband is effected. Our sense of safety is effected. A truly repentant husband would be understanding that his actions will have lasting effects on you and your relationship. I was often accused of being unforgiving because I “put up walls” to protect myself from my husbands behavior. Behavior that never stayed changed long enough for me to feel safe. I had to put emotional distance between us to preserver. I am learning that numbed myself emotionally.

            Our children witnessing our abuse or watching our children become the targets of the abuser is very haunting. I will have to work very hard to forgive myself for standing by and allowing my husband to verbally abuse and threaten my children with physical violence. If I stood up for the kids or asked him to calm down he would REALLY EXPLODE. I learned the painful lesson that it is better for everyone if I just let him have his fit. My older children learned to numb themselves just like I have. Like I said. It is haunting. It doesn’t leave you.

            We all lose our innocence but with God’s love, mercy, and grace we can replace it with wisdom.

            Marycar.

            I hope for you that your husband is truly changing. I do understand your hesitation. For someone to truly change it takes time. For you to trust that change could take even longer. I too feel like my husband is checking off a list and I would add that mine is putting on an act. I think of it like the difference between salvation by acts alone versus true heart felt faith. I feel like my husband is “acting” the way he thinks he needs to to get what he wants but his heart has not changed. There are cracks in his behavior and his entitled nature shines through on a regular basis. I am not fooled but sadly many other people are. He is a very good manipulator. He is a pro at getting people to feel sorry for him. I may have to leave my church because of this. He is recruiting others to guilt and pressure me on his behalf. And for me the biggest problem is that IF he really wanted to protect and care for me as he is claiming then he would respect my need for privacy and stop telling everyone his version of what is going on in our marriage. I understand his need for friends to lean on during this time but he is telling sooo many people. It is just wrong and a huge red flag to me that this is still about him and how he feels and how he wants to be perceived. Not me or my needs.

            Like you said it is covert. No one else understands the weirdness that goes on at home. They have very different personalities in public.

            I too have 3 children. I think they are doing better with us apart. But, let me retype that because caps are warranted :-)) BUT it is early for us. The kids could start to struggle in the future. Honestly, so far they are doing much better than I expected. I wish I had gone for the full separation sooner. But that is just me you need to do what works for you and your family. A very kind friend told me that there is no timeline for this and every person’s experience is different.

            I hope that you are finding some clarity and support from Leslie’s blog. You really are not alone in this. I know it feels that way sometimes. I have been there and still feel like that sometimes. But we are never alone. God is always with us. Spend quiet time with Him. It really does help. He will lead you where you are meant to be.

            God Bless <3



          • Brenda on December 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

            Elizabeth,
            I didn’t feel sad after leaving my husband for several months and one day it hit me and I cried for several days straight. It didn’t make me want him back. I just finally let it go. After 6 months now I am starting to be truly happy. I hope all goes well for you and your children. Brenda



          • marycar on April 12, 2014 at 1:10 am

            Hi Elizabeth. How are things with you these days? How is the separation going?



  5. Anna on November 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks so much for this, Leslie. It’s a game changer. Some of her suppositions push the limits, I think, but aren’t beyond possibility. The main message, though — powerful and so right on! Thank you, and enjoy your visit to LA!

  6. Linda Stoll on November 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Hey Leslie ~

    I’m sure I don’t understand the endless pressure an author is under to produce, to market, to make yourself available when a new book has just come out on the market. But it’s ok, really, to take a break from blogging. We’ll all be here when you return.

    As a sister counselor, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2013/11/later-my-friend.html

    I’m trying to practice what I preach. And I don’t even have a book in sight!

    Hugs!

    ;-}

  7. Barbara Roberts on November 5, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Thanks for sharing the video, Leslie. I know how hard it is in this work. The more you do, the more people seek your help. The needs are immense, but God is doing a great work of shining light on the issue of abuse in the church and I guess if you are like me you are often amazed and in awe of the way he is opening doors and opportunities.
    Praying for you.

    • Leslie Vernick on November 5, 2013 at 11:37 am

      God is doing some amazing things – open the eyes of victims and church leaders. Hopefully we can share the platform someday helping others to understand this terrible problem.

      • Brenda on November 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        I want to be there for that!!

      • Barbara Roberts on November 6, 2013 at 4:05 am

        I would love that, Leslie. Trying to keep breathing having just read your comment. I find it hard to take good news on board, … apart from my ‘family’ at A Cry For Justice where I blog, I’m so used to being ignored or dismissed in this work. So you offer is amazing, and most welcome. 🙂

        • Leslie Vernick on November 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

          We are on other sides of the world but God can make it happen.

          • Brenda on November 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

            Amen. All things are possible with God.



          • Barbara Roberts on November 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm

            Yes. Praying. What I’d really like is to get a Visa that would enable me to stay longterm. At the moment I only come on a three month tourist visa.



        • Brenda on November 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

          Barb,

          Famous artists are only famous after they are gone from this world. Your work is not going unnoticed. It is being read by those in the blog and the books are being passed on to others. My counselor is now using it in her practice as a resource. You may not see it, but you are being noticed.

          Again, to both you and Leslie. When you get this together. I want to be there.

  8. Vivian on November 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I grew up in church, have heard thousands of messages! I went to Sunday morning, evening, Wednesday night church and then two week revivals. In high school had chapel every morning. NEVER EVER have I heard this scripture explained like this! It is about time, that thoughtful presentation be given to the issue of abuse from a Biblical standpoint. This has wonderful awesome unmistakable points and it is such a shame we are so ignorant to the Word of God! Thank you Leslie and Barbara for helping the abused families!

    • Brenda on November 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      I can second that Vivian. I think that whole section of scripture was passed right over.

  9. Elizabeth on November 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Leslie and Barbra

    All I can say is thank you. From the bottom of my heart and depths of my soul, thank you.

    <3 <3 <3

  10. Kathy on November 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Great video. I agree the speaker pushed some things to the limit, but the patterns of the Levite are classic abuser, undeniably. These chapters will forever POP the truth every time I read them. I am grateful for women like her and Leslie that take the time to research and advocate for many women.

  11. Vicki on November 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    This is an amazing presentation. This story always confused me and I had not found an explanation until I read it in your book, Leslie. This story was put in the Bible for us and now it has touched me deeply. I feel strengthened to continue to face the truth and no longer live in non-reality. Thank you. And thank Barbara for me, please.

    • Barbara Roberts on November 6, 2013 at 4:07 am

      You’re welcome, Vicki, I’m following this thread too. 🙂

      • Vivian on November 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

        Thanks Barbara, in depth analysis I can’t quit thinking about all these wonderful points you made! Love your accent!

        • Barbara Roberts on November 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm

          I’ve discovered that the best thing about having an Aussie accent is that I can say almost anything in America and still be liked, just ’cause of my accent. 🙂

          • Brenda on November 8, 2013 at 7:11 am

            Does that work for us American’s in Australia? lol I doubt it.



          • Barbara Roberts on November 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

            Sadly, no. We Aussie’s don’t melt over the American accent. We melt over a nice Irish or Welsh brogue, or a rural English accent so long as it isn’t too upper class.



  12. Shirley on November 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    An excellent description of the abuser and victim. Definitely one of the best ‘in depth’ Bible studies on this I have ever heard. Having lived with an abusive husband for 26 years, they truly do connive and plot to the extreme. Thank you Leslie for posting this and being on the frontline. It has to be very draining and unfortunately you don’t see the results which are many.
    I for one have received so much healing and growth from your one on one counseling and books.
    May you be blessed many times over for your sacrifices.

  13. Stephanie Weldy on November 6, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Explained what the abusers do, even the non-violent ones, accurately. The video was hard to hear, but confirmed why women cannot stay in abusive situations, reminds us that reconciliation can be a trap when there is no real repentance or real change, and that women dealing with an abusive spouse need safety AND longterm support.

    • Brenda on November 6, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Amen. The X has tried to sweet talk me into coming back and when I don’t he turns to the man I really know. If I went back again, I would probably be locked in the basement this time. I tried to leave 4 years ago, he cried for 3 weeks while I tried to find an apartment repeated over and over again how sorry he was and I caved. Worst mistake. There is no way that I would ever reconcile with that man. He has tried claiming he “found God”, but he has no idea what that means. There has been no change or heart and after only 4 months or separation or maybe less, he has a woman. Now I add adultery to the list and have no remorse for divorce whatsoever.

      • Vivian on November 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

        Brenda,

        Leave well and get well. Don’t go back. I did not go back and had two little kids. They are grown now and I am so very glad I did not go back. I think I would have died bodily possibly and most certain mentally and spiritually!

        • Brenda on November 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

          Vivian,

          I’m trying to figure out what leaving well looks like. I boxed things up weeks in advance as I gave other things away to charity by the truck load. I put kitchen items that I wanted to take in a specific drawer so it wouldn’t be noticed. I had tried to leave once before. I told him but had no place to go. After 3 weeks of him begging and crying I caved and stayed. I could have had 3 years of healing in, because nothing changed.

          I had a truck scheduled for an hour after he went to work and left as fast as I could. Before noon someone tipped him off and he had changed the locks. My attorney had to tell him that I could legally break in if I needed to. Four days later, he changed the locks back and I got the rest of my stuff.

          So I am not sure if I left well, but I did it the only way I knew how. I feel I was fare in splitting things. Actually, he got to keep far more possessions. He sleeps in a 5 bedroom house, I have a 1 bedroom apartment, which I am incredibly happy with.

          I will not go back. I am only looking forward.

  14. Jennifer on November 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    This is such an important story that needs to be shared. Churches and society as a whole need to understand what is happening in so many households. Thank you so much for helping to get the information out there!

    • Barbara Roberts on November 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Jennifer, I’d love the video to be shared widely. If you visit it on YouTube there are all sorts of options for sharing it.
      blessings
      Barb Roberts

  15. Andrea on November 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    This was SOOO helpful! I have been using some of the same words that she used to describe my 8 years of marriage. I kept hearing that I was wrong/stupid/crazy/sinful/bitter/unforgiving for thinking/feeling the way I did. Not wanting to be sinful, I would continually examine myself and let him go on his way to do the same things over again. I have seen the abuse cycle before, but the way Barbara describes it really clicked! I cannot BELIEVE that I allowed him to manipulate me like that for so long!!! This week, I met with a counselor for the first time and will try to determine the best way forward. Prayers for wisdom–especially where the children are concerned–will be very much appreciated. Thank, you Barbara! And, thank you, Leslie, for making all of these resources available! God bless!

    • Brenda on November 8, 2013 at 7:02 am

      Praying for you Andrea. Make sure your counselor is praying too. Mine was excellent. She is a Godly praying woman and guided me to Biblical truths about marriage, divorce, the true meaning of abandonment and much more. I pray God’s best for you and your children.

  16. Tami on November 8, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I was at my lawyers today, couldn’t bring myself to sign the divorce papers. I came home and prayed that God would continue to make it crystal clear of what I needed to do. I watched the whole thing and was amazed at the similarities in an abused persons (normal) responses! This was so eye opening and confirming of what I have to do even though it is not what I want to do! I wanted to be married my whole life and never get divorced! But I can not control what he does – only my behavior and I can not change him. I give him to God! And I put myself into God’s hands! I know that I have to sign the papers and move forward and God will hold my heart! Thank you for you website Leslie and for posting this video!

    • Brenda on November 8, 2013 at 7:07 am

      You spoke truth here Tami. None of us signed up for temporary marriage. We vowed for life, but we cannot change another person. God has a better path for you even though their may be rocks and thorns along the way, it will be better. I too, give him up to God. There is nothing that I can do.

  17. Alene on November 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I was caught by the list on the poster where it mentions pulling the kids around him, getting them to side with him. I had just approached my husband with specifics of the pattern I’m pointing out and I missed that one…then he did it that week and used them to minimize my words. The Lord kept me strong and he did commit to an anger course which is a huge step. I learned the hard way that I need to be specific not just on the pattern but the timing of what I am asking for; when I asked if he’d started he said he’ll start in a month after a major work related situation rather than right away.
    I’m reminded of one of my points about minimizing my words and the importance of them.
    I do want to walk this well; it is hard and lonely. I have been building up outside support and strength.
    He asked me for a biblical basis for my change of approach. I told him that it is important to be a peacemaker not a peacekeeper, that the Hebrew word for ‘virtuous’ in Proverbs 31 is chayil which means warrior, and that none of the women in Jesus geneology got there by being wimps. 🙂
    It is very tricky to walk this road well and not slip into bitterness or answering inappropriately or knowing when to turn the other cheek and when to speak up.

  18. Elizabeth on November 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Barbara,
    Thank you so much for the work you have done and are doing. Your book “Not under bondage” has been an incredible help to me as I have battled the question of whether or not divorce from my abusive husband is biblical. You wrote that book in such an easy to read and easy to understand way, and despite the in depth concepts you dealt with I found it easy to understand what scripture is really saying. So thank you! I’m sure your work can be very discouraging at times, but there are women like me who are stronger in the Lord and stronger as a person because of what you have written.

  19. Betty on November 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing that talk by Barbara Roberts. I have been bewildered and so hurt by the lack of care and concern from my elders in my church since hearing of abuse in my home. They avoid me and do not want to know. It was good to hear that ”neutrality is not being neutral” and ”silence means approval.”

  20. Nancy on November 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Just chilling. So true and so scary how everyone seems to be reaping the consequences of the abuser’s behavior except the abuser himself! I’m at the point right now where I may have to seperate from my husband. it is not physical, but the pattern is the same. I really thought he was gonna change this time. I had never seen him so repentant. usually he seems to not even care enough to admit fault- but this time he admitted it to everyone around us… until 2 months later, after we lost our house because of his negligence and we have roof over our heads. Now he is back to his old tactics. It’s way past old. but I still feel guilt over asking him to leave us. now its close to Christmas…

    • Brenda on November 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      They give you just enough to get hope going again and then wham–right back to the same old thing. Don’t feel guilty. There are important dates all through the year. Christmas is set aside to celebrate our Savior’s birth. If consequences aren’t painful enough, they won’t help. There are no guarantees, but perhaps being without his family at Christmas is just what it will take. No matter what, you enjoy, celebrate and rejoice in our Lord.

  21. wondering on December 15, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Barbara, Why would God advise them on the battle and not rebuke them with the real truth? Forgive me for saying, but it reads as though God was also colluding with them? I don’t want to think this because I want to see him a fair God. Please address this area. Thank you!!

    • Leslie Vernick on December 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Wondering – thanks for your question. I also contacted Barbara so hopefully she can respond.

    • Barbara Roberts on December 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Wow, what a good question, Wondering! I shall try to compose a response, but it may take me a bit of time so I thought I’d let you know that I’m working on it. Blessings to you. And thanks for your question. 🙂

    • Barbara Roberts on December 22, 2013 at 1:38 am

      The Sovereignty of God is a big topic but I’ll try to address the particulars of your question, Wondering.

      God is Sovereign and does what he wills; he is not limited but he will not act outside the constraints of his own character.

      I think I understand why you might want God to be fair, but consider this: God is not ‘fair’ in what (to us) is the most important thing of all, our freedom from the penalty of sin. If God were always and only fair, every mortal would be consigned to Hell. But God in his mercy and love, calls and chooses those whom he regenerates — he brings us alive to saving faith and translates us into the kingdom of his dear Son.

      We can only speculate about why, when the Israelites consulted God about their battle plans, God did not instruct them to desist from battle and go back and judge the Levite correctly. So bear in mind that what I am suggesting is only speculation: scripture does not reveal God’s reasoning in Judges 20-21, so we cannot only guess using Biblically informed common sense. Here is my guess:

      God may have chosen to answer the Israelites’ questions about their battle plans on each of the three days because he wanted to hand them over to their own sin, to suffer the consequences of their foolish choice to believe the Levite’s story and go off and punish the tribe of Benjamin. This would be in keeping with the principle of sowing and reaping. Also with the Proverb “do not answer a fool according to his folly” (Prov. 26:4).

      God often gives people up to their sins. We see this is Romans 1:24, 26, 28-32 —
      “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts . . . God gave them up to dishonorable passions. . . . And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

      The Israelites in Judges 19-21 fitted this description in Romans 1 very well. They gave approval to the Levite. They were full of strife in coming, fully-armed, to the assembly. They were haughty with male pride and their insistence on their self-righteousness about keeping their own silly oaths. They were foolish in believing the Levite’s lies; faithless in not following the correct judicial procedures when investigating the concubine’s death; heartless in their attitude to women; ruthless in their attitude to the Benjamites and the fathers of the girls who were later kidnapped; insolent in the way they asked God to tell them who should occupy the front line on the first day of battle but did not ask Him “Should we be making battle in the first place?”. And they were inventors of evil in the convoluted way they justified the kidnapping and marital rape of those 600 virgins from Jabesh Gilead.

      I think that’s quite enough examples to make my point, but readers might think of more. 🙂

      So I suggest that we should interpret God’s answering the Israelite’s questions in the way he did, not as a sign that he was colluding with them, but rather, as a sign that he was giving them over to their sins and letting them reap what they wanted to sow.

      God often arranges matters so that those who are persisting in sin will experience the consequences of their defiant and self-righteous attitudes. The flood in which only Noah and his family were saved. The way God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 10:20,27; 11:10). Also Deut. 2:30 where God hardened the King of Heshbon’s heart. God put a lying spirit in the mouths of all the prophets in 1 Kings 22:23. God’s eyes are on the haughty to bring them down (2 Sam. 22:28).

      If you want to read more about the sovereignty of God, I suggest the book of that title by A. W. Pink.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm

        Thanks Barbara for struggling through that tough question. Our ways are not God’s ways and sometimes it’s hard to figure out the “why” of things he allows.

  22. wondering on December 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you Leslie and Barbara! I so appreciate you taking the time on this. After being kicked out of the house by my narcissistic ex while I was 3 months pregnant and newly married and then bullied and financially deprived until the divorce 2 years later I so relate to this scripture….mainly because we had just married after he “won me back” after many breakups. I, like the concubine, forgave again and went back only to find out that he had the most evil intentions all along that would surpass all other evils he had done. So, I’m sure you can understand the desire I have to understand where God stands in all of this and why we don’t see outright rebuking by God in the lives of these narcissistic abusers and their allies (not that they would listen unless, possibly, God comes down himself if a ball of fire and stands before them!). I wonder how many of us victims wish that our abusers would have a Damascus Road experience. I know I still pray for it! Thanks again.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      I too, am looking forward to Barbara’s response.

  23. wondering on December 21, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Sorry, my post should have said “IN a ball of fire”. 😉

  24. wondering on December 21, 2013 at 12:50 am

    By the way, Leslie…I LOVE what you said in your video to counselors!! Oh how I wish all therapists had the knowledge you do. I relate to the pain of sitting there hearing “It takes two to tango.” UGH. I hate that saying! As a ballroom dancer it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me to hear that misquoted. Both people have to know their steps for the dance to look good but ONLY ONE person can screw up the dance by not practicing the steps enough or refusing to move their feet! (Or even worse, purposely trying to trip you!) Don’t even get me started on how the man is supposed to lovingly and firmly lead!! (And, yes, the woman should gracefully follow but she can only do so if she trusts that the man is not going to dance her right into a brick wall.) One of the reasons I love ballroom dance is because, to me, it is symbolic of the way God created a marriage to be when it is healthy. Anyhow, so good to find your site and know that I’m not the only one who thinks this way. I wish ALL therapists could see your video!

    • Barbara Roberts on December 22, 2013 at 1:55 am

      Wondering, what you wrote there about the tango and ballroom dancing: it’s so brilliant!
      I’m going to put it on our Gems page at our blog A Cry For Justice. Hope that’s all right with you and Leslie.
      You can see our Gems page here: http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/gems-great-quotes-we-have-found/.
      I also shared it on the A Cry For Justice Facebook page.

      • wondering on December 23, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        Barbara, THANK YOU, and thanks again to Leslie and Brenda, for validating my analogy. I am fine with you posting it if Leslie is? I don’t know how this sort of website etiquette works. 😉 I’m just very happy that you all truly “get” it. My ex and even some therapists have scoffed and rolled their eyes at this analogy because they are so convinced it is always both people at fault! My ex’s favorite saying was “It takes two.” Of course, abusers love this saying even if it makes no logical sense. And then they are backed by people like Dr. Phil who says there are no victims, yet on his own webpage he calls the recipients of verbal abuse the ‘victims’! So, again, a BIG thank you to all of you for understanding what I am saying because for the longest time I felt I was crazy when I would give this analogy and it was not received and was then further twisted as me just trying to not ‘take responsibility for my half’. UGH. I’m glad to say that I am now with a therapist who gets it! He also had the ‘pleasure’ of being mocked and taunted by my ex, so he knows what I am recovering from…and he knows that it only took one and that the one was my ex. His way of describing him is “mean, cruel, severe, and unreachable.” That about sums it up. 😉

        Thank you, also, Barbara for the time and effort you took in answering my tough question! That now makes sense to me, so I appreciate it. Grrr…sometimes I hate free will, LOL! I want God to just be the judge that steps in and disciplines the bad guy!! I don’t just say this for myself, either, but for the children who are the victims of divorce from these bad relationships. I wish God could get through to these abusers and somehow MAKE them have empathy and stop their bad behavior and choose to be the domino that moves itself out from the row so that the sin will not be passed down through the generations. This is the domino I am trying to be…as I believe anyone coming to this site is also trying to be. May God bless the rebellious dominoes. 😉 Thanks again to all…and Merry Christmas. 🙂 We are all survivors so we have so much to be grateful for during the holidays and always. 🙂

  25. Brenda on December 21, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Wondering, I have always wanted to learn ballroom dancing and what a wonderful way of describing the movement. It takes two to make a marriage or a dance work.

    A few months ago my pastor gave a sermon and spoke on how the man was to lead. A dear older friend of mine went up to him after the service and said, “Pastor I was married for 53 years and you can’t follow a parked car.”

    I believe this would be the case in ballroom dancing as well.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 21, 2013 at 11:49 am

      I too loved the ballroom dancing analogy. You can’t dance well if one person doesn’t learn their steps. But the parked car picture is perfect for those men who refuse to dance at all. How do you do “marriage” alone. Or “relationship” alone?

      • wondering on December 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

        So true, Leslie and Brenda. Glad you like the ballroom analogy. I use this whenever therapists or my ex or any Dr. Phil converts try telling me there are no victims or that both people are always to blame. Or, as a friend of mine once said, “If you are innocently walking down the street and I come up to you and hit you upside the head with a salmon…it’s not your fault…and it’s not the salmon’s fault, either!” LOL…I always laugh at the simplicity of that. Regarding following, with my first husband I recall often saying to him, “I have hitched my wagon to your train but I’m hurting because now you say you have no destination or desire to go anywhere but you don’t want me to take over leading either. What do we do?!!” He was a musician/dreamer who just wanted to play guitar. It was painful. Unfortunately, I did not do a good job picking husbands. The first one was passive aggressive, next one physically abusive, last one was very narcissistic/verbally/emotionally/mentally abusive. I’m healing myself now and taking the lead in my own life. I have learned healthy cynicism finally and to trust my instincets! If and when a man worthy of following comes into mine and my children’s lives then I will thank God for that. I know now I don’t NEED it. It’s easier to be alone while being alone than being married and being alone…there is at least hope in the former…but only a hopeless trapped feeling in the latter. Thanks again for your site, Lezlie. I’m going through your videos one by one. 🙂

        • Brenda on December 29, 2013 at 7:55 am

          Wondering, I too have been through this mess 3 times. Four if I count my abusive stepfather. The first one, whom I had 2 children with, cheated with anyone who could wear a skirt, was abusive towards our son who was 2, raped me in front of him at a year old etc… the 2nd one was just plain mean. On our wedding night he told me that as long as I did what I was told we would get along just fine–and he meant it. We had one child. After I left him I was forced to allow him visitation. One time I had to have a police escort to get her back. Both of those so-called marriages lasted 6 years each. The final mistake lasted 22 years. It took me several years to realize just how messed up this marriage was. He was emotionally, verbally, spiritually abusive and hit things and threw things at me instead of communicating or that was his ccommunication. Fortunately, I had had my tubes tied by that time so no more kids to mess up.
          I love being in my apartment with Buffy Kitty. All the kids are grown. My son age 38, is verbally abusive towards his girlfriend and my mother. He hasn’t spoken to me in 2 years because I told him his behavior needed to stop. I had already revoked any privilege of living in my home because of his behavior towards me. My oldest daughter seems to be on track and is marrying a good, caring man in October. My youngest daughter, age 26, never wants to be married or have children. If I thought she was happy the way she is, I would also be happy. What I really think is there is a lot of pain that needs to be brought out and dealt with.
          I am glad you found this site and it is helping you. It certainly has helped me.

  26. Brenda on December 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Leslie, It took a long time to figure out, but you can’t. You are nothing more than a servant, an object to be used. It took my dear older friend 53 years to find it out and she didn’t discover that truth until after he had passed on. She now feels she wasted her life. I may be alone in this apartment, but I was alone in that big house with a husband too.

  27. wondering on December 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Sorry for misspelling your name wrong at the end there, Leslie! Was thinking of a best friend of mine who uses the ‘z’ instead of ‘s’. 😉

  28. wondering on December 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    LOL…then I said “misspelling your name wrong”…figure that one out! LOL…ugh…old age is getting to me! 😉

  29. Danna on December 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Not 1 man has commented. Only women have. That, in itself, is telling.

  30. Marianne on January 9, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    This was very validating. I would not be surprised if the concubine’s father set her up from the beginning to be with the Levite and then was aware of the plans the Levite had for the concubine. Unfortunately, this is similar to my own story.

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