Morning friends,

I am in Florida taking a much needed break. The weather has been lovely. Feels good to feel that sunshine again. We have visited with old friends and it’s been great.

I want to let you know that I have just opened registration for 2016 Empowered To Change, my six-month group-coaching program that starts in January. It’s a great opportunity for you to get some personal coaching in a group setting. If you want more information about this program, click here.

Question: You talk about putting consequences in place so as to not enable one's spouse. You teach about not repaying evil for evil. I try very hard to not respond in a negative way when I am wronged.

Also, I examine myself to see if I am becoming bitter, which I don't think I am. But I find myself wanting God to judge my spouse for what he does. Is this Biblically wrong? In a number of Psalms we see the psalmist praying for justice and punishment.

Answer: This is a tricky question because I think you struggle with what we all struggle with when we are wronged. I am so glad that you are aware that you are tempted to respond with more evil but you don’t want to. And you are also examining yourself for roots of bitterness, which you know give the devil a foothold.

So let’s really focus on the whole idea of judging because I think that’s the lynchpin of what you are asking.

God is the only true judge because he knows everyone’s heart and we do not (tweet that).

Therefore I see nothing unbiblical about praying for God’s justice, punishment or even just judgment on someone.

The tricky part comes in when we act as if we are the judge. That’s where I think we get into unbiblical territory. In some ways, we are called to judge a believer by his or her fruit. We are not to simply believe someone’s words if his or her actions are inconsistent with those words, but I would use the term discernment more than judge in these cases.

Let me share a personal example. A few years back I was heading to the grocery store after a huge snowstorm. I needed food (as did everyone else) and the parking spots in the parking lot in the grocery store were not all accessible because of the huge snow mounds. People were waiting in line for parking spots to open up. As I was waiting for someone to pull out, another car whipped around the corner and pulled into the spot I was waiting for.

In my anger I yelled, “Jerk”. Thankfully he could not hear me, but in that moment I judged him as a jerk. I judged him as an inconsiderate, selfish person. The Holy Spirit convicted me that my judgment was sinful. It was a condemning statement, not a statement about the truth. The truth was he took the spot I had been waiting for. I don’t know why he did that. I didn’t need to whitewash the truth of those facts. But the problem was I condemned his motives and actions as if I knew why he did it or as if I had never been guilty of selfish, inconsiderate acts myself. I acted like I was the righteous one judging the sinner. I think that’s what God warns us against. That is not our place. We are not qualified to be the judge or condemner of another.

Therefore, I think you can discern someone’s behaviors as sinful. I think you can implement consequences for destructive behaviors where appropriate or set boundaries for yourself to be less injured by those behaviors. But I don’t think we are qualified to judge someone’s motives or condemn them as if we are not guilty of sin, even if they are different sins.

The prodigal son was guilty of lascivious living, but his older brother was also guilty of self-righteousness and hard heartedness. But it was the older brother who judged the younger because he acted as if the younger brothers sins were bad and that he wasn’t guilty of sin himself. That was not true, but in our self-righteousness, we can feel like that’s true. Only God has the right to judge.

Friend, how do you handle the difference between naming sin for what it is, both in your life or in someone else’s life without being superior or judgmental?  

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106 Comments

  1. Mimi on December 9, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Thank you for this post. My husband (separated for a year) called me his personal Holy Spirit whenever I confronted him with a problem in our marriage but it came across as judgment. We were told in marriage counseling to bring up an issue (example: a financial lie) two times only and not to bring it up again even if there was no resolve. I wanted to be a peacemaker when he wanted a peacekeeper. Ultimately I pushed him away. I’m looking forward to reading the comments from others.

  2. Carolee on December 9, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Leslie how many of us would not have called such a rude person who would jump ahead into a parking place like that a “jerk”! I have to ask what would be the godly response? We don’t know why someone would do that. I have to think that after the initial anger I would pray for the rude person and check my attitude to be sure I would be kind. I am so used to mistreatment that it is hard not to feel like it would be just another man taking unfair advantage and being a bully tho. I can’t drive 2miles with my h and not hear what an idiot is in the car ahead of us (driving too slow or pulling out in front of him etc etc). It’s hard to live with negative comments all the time. Bless you and thank you.

  3. Jennifer on December 9, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I am always impressed at God’s timing. Just last night in my bible study we were discussing sin and cultures way of calling it mistakes. What I’ve learned is that sin is intentional and mistakes are accidental. If someone has offended or wronged you that person has sinned (broken the relationship) by causing a wedge. As far as the car scenario, we don’t know the heart or intentions of that person, could be sin of pride thinking their time etc. is more important. Only God knows the heart and what is truly going on. It would probably seem silly to confront the person in the parking lot and saying-Hey you’ve sinned against me!

    • janet on December 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      i disagree. the actions are pretty clear. whatever type of sin it was (their time is more important=entitlement, they just don’t care and cut=selfishness, they were angry they had to wait=unjustified anger), is really not important or to be judged. however, the action was still clear. that person that took her spot sinned. that person treated another person badly and the definition of that behavior is JERK. I do not believe that leslie sinned for identifying a sinful behavior. whether it was intentional or no, leslie didn’t do anything wrong.

  4. Aleea on December 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    “Friend, how do you handle the difference between naming sin for what it is, both in your life or in someone else’s life without being superior or judgmental?”

    . . . .I have no real, usable idea. We live our lives supposing things are as they appear or someone we trust says to be true when that is almost never the case. Oh, my, my. . . .just start really, seriously fact checking and you will see what is “true”. . . . . More than that, it is really hard for me to recognize the fact that every individual is a treasury of hidden and unsuspected qualities when they are wholeheartedly kicking the back of my airplane seat from So. CA to NY. . . .So, I guess it is often that we cannot see the real qualities of people. . . . Sometimes, I am able to close my eyes, open my ears and heart to remain wide open to people and God and that always seems to work best. I guess we never, ever truly know another person. They have a whole hidden life, years and years of memories and experiences. I cannot ever know what they have felt in situations, what has happened to them, what made them who they are. So, I assume I cannot judge a person ever, not unless I somehow manage to learn their real life. Only God is in a position to judge someone. . . . But still, we have to name sin (. . . So, I really don’t see the difference), and yet, when we do name sin it gets messy fast. Keeping families intact is connected to the economic interest and identity of the church. . . . One of the key problems with that is that there are many churches that are emotionally abusive (spiritual abuse), so recognizing signs of such abuse in the relationships of their members is all the more difficult. So, faith can be used to cope and to find the strength and resolve to leave an abusive relationship but unfortunately, and too often, church leaders use spirituality to reinforce staying in abusive relationships. . . . . Where is the line between being biblically discerning versus being overly critical? If I confront a women in sin or error and she says, “You’re being judgmental,” how would you respond? How can you know when God wants you to talk to someone about sin or error, or when you should wait and pray? How can someone who is overly critical battle this sin? . . . . . .Anyways, I have trust issues and only need to look in the mirror to meet the one person that will betray me the most. No sooner do I conquer a bad habit than I become the biggest critic of anyone who still does what I just stopped doing. So for me, I would say, when I judge others I tell more about who I am, than who I judge.

  5. Connie on December 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I’m just not sure that we have the correct interpretation of the term, ‘judging’. Does that not mean to cast sentence? Isaiah 54:17 …16″Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin. 17″No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

    This passage seems to show a partnership between us and God. We both have a part in our vindication.

    The word ‘helper’ in reference to a wife is actually used for God and the Holy Spirit as well, so I don’t think we are wrong to bring to attention to our husbands when they are truly wrong. And when we see something sinful, that is not judging. We aren’t sentencing them, we’re just saying it’s wrong. We all need to be accountable, or we start making little and bigger compromises in life. The west was wild because there weren’t women. There have been times in history where women took over and that went horrible too. An abuser like to use the judgement card against us when we are only pointing out sin. That’s one reason why ‘it is not good for a man to be alone’.

    • sunflower on December 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      I am really pondering this discussion too. I don’t really care who sins or who doesn’t sin. I completely trust that God an see the heart and will be fair and just. I care about not falling into bad company or being mistreated by someone. I trust everyone until they give me reason to change my mind because of their behavior. Actions speak louder than words. I know non Christians do not like hypocrites and they watch our actions closely. When we tear one another apart, the world is watching. As people in destructive relationships, we need discernment without guilt. Our safety often depends on it.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        Absolutely. Discernment is crucial. NO guilt for that. It is wise.

  6. Mary2 on December 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I prefer to use the word “assess” rather than “judge”. Everyone has to assess situations in order to live life and make decisions. This is not ‘judgement’ of a person (as seeing ourselves seated on the Great White Throne). I know that some cannot tell the difference and do try to do this by their force of opinion which they hope will get them what they want or feel entitled to. I have my mother-in-law to thank for teaching me this – (assessing the situation here, not judging the person, although I agree it’s a fine line!) I think this is how God develops discernment in His children and also, it leaves room for showing Grace to the person – we can assess the situation and then make our choices, in the understanding that God can empower us to give Grace and to lower our expectations of others when necessary.

    • April on December 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Very well said, Mary.

  7. Ruth on December 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    i can relate to the struggle the lady expresses in her question. On extreme occasions, I’ve wished my husband would die. Sadly, my 13 yr old son has felt like this many times also. But I always ask the Lord to help to take that hatred away from me and from my son. Although not as hateful as a death wish, I’ve begged God to at least open my husband’s eyes to his sin. He’s so proudful; he can’t see his sin and the self-righteous double standard he holds everyone else to.
    I don’t pray for God to judge him persay bc I figure judgment via financial distress will hurt me and the kids. If God were to ‘afflict’ him physically, then I’d be punished as the nurse for the big baby.
    However, if you were to ask him if it’s ok to pray judgment on an evildoer, he’d give a resounding YES! I’ve been the recipient of his judgment decrees several times.
    About 6 months ago, we were going thru a super rough patch. (Probably bc I didn’t ‘put enough effort into sex) that’s his most common complaint. Perhaps I stood up for myself a bit or contradicted him, I can’t remember but he said essentially “everything is good between me and God, so if you come against me then you’re coming against God. That’s puts you in dangerous territory. I’d be careful, if I were you”!
    Shortly after that I had a tooth to abscess. It was the first time I’ve ever taken prescription pain killers. Absolutely terrible! And it got worse, I was taking decongestants bc initially my dentist said, that’s not your tooth- it’s your sinuses. So between the decongestants and the narcotics, I got a severe case of constipation. I had internal hemorrhoids from my first pregnancy. That was 13 yrs ago but this constipation caused them to tear and every BM was excruciating. (Sorry for the novel) During that time, I really wondered if he was right. Was God judging me?
    I thought about God judging the philistines with hemorrhoids when they stole the Ark of the Covenant.

    • Connie on December 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Ruth, what if you said the same thing to him? It sounds to me like he is judging you, but you are only bringing his sin to light, which scripture says to do. Eph. 5:11

      Having hemorrhoids is not God’s judgement, it shows how he has you guilt-tripped badly, and I’m so sorry for that. I know from experience how hard it is to come out of a place of constant condemnation……..which is not of God.

      • Ruth on December 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

        Today we had a stressful moment. It literally involved removing a speck from an eye. the timing of our ‘episode’ and today’s blog is curious.
        My husband looked up into a ceiling air vent. It needed adjusting. Then he said something from the vent fell into his eye. He asked me to find the foreign object. I couldn’t see anything. He was harsh and condescending “what do you mean you can’t see anything? I KNOW there’s something in my eye!” He also got in a huff bc I stopped to wash my hands before digging around in his eye. Classic! LOL.

        • sunflower on December 10, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          Although, I get the pun about the speck in one’s eye,this scenario did not make me laugh, but rather cry. Ophthalmologists, invert the eyelid and flush and swipe with cotton applicators to remove debris. Imagine your husband had sought medical treatment from a care provider. The provider would most likely have dismissed him from the exam room for his poor behavior. Why is it ok for him to talk to his precious bride in such a manner. Ruth, he should not speak to you like that for any reason.

    • Samella on December 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Ruth, There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. No. God was not judging you. Our sins have been paid for IN FULL by our Savior. We suffer the consequences of our sins but judgement has been satisfied by Christ.

    • caroline on December 9, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Ruth, I’m so sorry you have to live with a man who twists scripture on you.

      Truthfully we all deserve hell, so any bad things that happen to us here can’t possibly be God’s judgement on us for our sin, because they aren’t strong enough!.

      Mostly others pay for my sin here on earth, I sin and others are hurt by it. There are such things as consequences for sure, but those usually come from someone else holding me to what is right, and not God’s judgement at all.

      Side effects from taking medicine are just that, side effects.

      BTW note: Some scholars think it was chronic impotence and not hemorrhoids that plagued the philistines.

    • Aleea on December 9, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Ruth,
      I am praying for you and your family and you get a gold star in my book for keeping it real (RE: C – Committed to honesty – no pretending.) Leslie admits to calling some person a “Jerk” BUT you admit to wishing your husband would die, et. al. Now, that is serious, serious honesty. Thank you Ruth, that is keeping it REAL!!! Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It’ll scare away every fake person in your life and it will inspire others to finally let go of that mirage, which will open the doors to the most important relationships we can ever be a part of.

    • Debby on December 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

      I, too, would listen to the “judge” tell me I was “being judgemental” whenever I would let him know how he was hurting me. I wished him dead (not proud of it) wished him GONE moslty. I didnt call it abuse or even sin at the time. I really just wanted it to stop. After 28 years, I finally separated for a year. Yes, it was hard financially! But the peace and the healing and the learning about abuse and the control tricks they abuser uses, have completely changed my life. In my case, my h made a LOT of changes and no longer is abusive and takes accountability on those rare occasions when he responds in a ugly way (went from DAILY to maybe one every 2 weeks and getting more rare so I know he is working on it, AND I dont tolerate it any more. I leave the room. If he follows me, which used to be a BIG issue, I get in my car with the kids and leave so he knows he will get nowhere acting like that.) This is NOT something you have to just take! Learn as much as you can from those who are knowledgable about abuse (Im not talking Christian marriage books! Those can be helpful for those who have a real marrriag in which both parties are truly working toward bettering their marriage and unity. That is NOT what happens in an abusvie realtionship. It is very one-sided, which is not a relationship at all. Abuse is not a marriage problem, it is a control problem.) I learned SO much about the abuse cycle and what the tricks are they pull and now I can see it almost before he speaks and call it what it is and it has NO effect on me. How freeing! Not every person will get the message or WANT to make the changes necessary and in those cases, separation can be a game-changer. I pray for answers for you Ruth. Leslie has some GREAT information. I also learned a LOT from hurtbylove.com, cryingoutforjustice.com and Lundy Bancroft website and book. God bless you on your difficult journey to peace.

  8. caroline on December 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    First I think this huge emphasis on “judge not” is just a sign of how weak Christianity has become, both culturally and individually.

    We are actually called to judge, both behaviors and character,or the “fruit” as Leslie calls it.

    Paul judged all over the place and taught us how to judge as well, there are whole long passages explaining how to judge a mans character to see if he ought to be in leadership.So…where does this leave the “judge not” folks?

    We were distinctly told we must judge ourselves first (the log and the splinter in the eye…) so that we will be able to see in order to help another. Judgement is a good thing. A helpful thing when done in humility.

    However, we are not to try to measure others with a ruler we have not held up for ourselves yet and here is the stickiness.

    I don’t really want my sin exposed or addressed so I ignore both mine and yours! If anyone does get brave enough to rebuke either of us us and address our sin, together we yell “JUDGE NOT!” as we judge their judgement as being too judgemental!

    We are never going to be in a position to judge the soul of another, God has reserve this right, so this really is about looking at the actual choices a person is making.

    Last year I was called be on a jury and some idiot (just judging here) started saying she cant judge another…I guess this seemed like a good way out of jury duty so it became a popular refrain through out the court room, people stating and restating it as if it was a law.

    The judge and prosecution nearly pulled their hair out trying to prove that YES indeed we ARE to judge and only a totally mentally unbalanced person doesn’t do this automatically as they judge for themselves what is true and what is false. We ARE to judge the things that ought, and ought not to be done as we go through this life.

    So, if their is a trick. its to judge ourselves first, humble ourselves knowing our own weakness, and then leave discovering motives for the Holy Spirit.

    • Sandra on December 22, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Wow. Major food for thought. What do you have to say to this, Leslie? I’m intrigued.

      Also, I have heard that a judgment is thinking that someone IS something (like forever) vs. they DID something (which is an isolated thing). Like they ARE a jerk vs. they acted like a her just now. ….

      • Sandra on December 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm

        Her = jerk

      • janet on December 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

        a jerk is a person who treats another badly. Jesus is the son of god. both are truths. if someone hits you in the face and you call him a jerk. that is true it matches the definition. you are not judging that persons actions. god has already done that for you. you are agreeing with god and you have stated a truth based on gods judgment. (now whether or not you want to say that person is a jerk out loud is another matter because that could potentially put you in more harms way by making the person madder and attacking you more) but calling a cat a cat , or a jerk a jerk, is not judging. god made the situation clear. to treat someone badly is a sin. is it judging someone if they are a violent criminal and you call them a violent criminal?

    • janet on December 23, 2015 at 10:04 am

      agreeing with what god says is good and evil is not judging. it is simply agreeing with god and following his way. god is the only capable being of judging anything. we are not to judge anything. agreeing with god is not judging. our judgment is based off of what god has already judged, which again, is simply agreeing with what god has already judged.

  9. Maria on December 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Leslie, thanks again for a very good article.

  10. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I agree with you. Leslie, that “By their fruits you shall know them.”–i.e., If a person’s actions don’t match up with their self-righteousness. That was the case with my ex-husband, and I also felt some guilt for judging him, as well as anger regarding his extreme verbal abuse (no matter how much I asked the Lord to help me overcome it). Praise God I don’t have to live him any longer, and can now live in peace.

    • Sandra Lee Anderson on December 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      I meant I don’t have to live with him any longer, as he’s the one who finally left me, after I had to set boundaries that he couldn’t accept.

  11. Maria on December 9, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    The Bible tells us not to judge. The Bible is very clear about certain behaviors being sinful- adultery, stealing etc. Calling such behaviors sinful, therefore is not judging. Judging someone’s motive and drawing a conclusion without knowing the entire situation (and usually we don’t) is probably the wrong kind of judging. This I a great story about judging someone without knowing all the facts:

    A man boarded a bus with his kids. His kids were very unruly, talking loudly and making a lot of noise. The passengers on the bus began to make remarks about the kids wondered why the father was doing nothing to discipline them. When the father heard this, he said,”I’m sorry I was so distracted, we just came back from their mother’s funeral.”

    When we draw conclusions, sometimes we don’t know all the facts. In Leslie’s example maybe the guy who took her parking spot was just absent minded and didn’t see her and was in no way being inconsiderate.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Maria, I tell that same story in my first book How to Live Right when Your LIfe Goes Wrong and it shows how we can all too quickly “misjudge” a situation without knowing at all what’s going on in someone’s heart. Yes I have no idea why that man took “my” spot – as if I owned the spot in the parking lot. Perhaps he had a sick child and needed to grab a prescription or whatever, but I think on the other hand when we see someone engage in the same behaviors again and again and again, and we speak to them about how that behavior hurts us or affects us and they continue to do it, good discernment is important so that we don’t continue to be “victims”.

  12. Belle on December 10, 2015 at 6:51 am

    So, here is what I am tucking away from this article and comments.

    1. I am commanded to make judgments about another’s character, but I am not the Judge.

    2. However, first, I must judge myself.

    3. I must be careful to have all the truth and facts (like the people had not done who had judged the father as being incompetent and not realized his wife had just died)

    4. Not only do we not know all the facts, we cannot truly see into another’s heart.

    This is a help as I have often been told by my spouse that I am self righteous when I have talked about something negative in his life. Now I know… That statement doesn’t need to bother me if I have judged myself.

    • roxanne on December 10, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      I don’t think judging myself first is required before being smart and using skills of discernment and intellectual prowess. Judgement is for God, plain and simple. Observation of behaviors and assigning motive is necessary to survive in the world. One does not need to assume being wise or street smart means superiority over another, but rather the insight is practical knowledge suitable for functioning in a fallen world.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        I think you hit the nail on the head when judgement turns into a superior stance over another rather than describing a behavior or attitude that the Bible already describes as sinful and harmful.

  13. roxanne on December 10, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    So many women fantasize that their husbands would please, please, just die. It is a clean escape for Christians because divorce is not an option in so many of our hearts. Widowhood fits the bill neatly and keeps the conscious clean.

    • Aleea on December 11, 2015 at 6:23 am

      . . . .yes, and that is truly crazy, isn’t it? (re: pretzel logic + text twisting + cherry picking = _________)

    • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Yes, either their husband’s would die or sometimes they wish they would die so that they didn’t have to live like this anymore. Please, if any of you are feeling that, you don’t have to live this way anymore. Many women on this blog have changed their situations entirely once they realized that they had more control and power over how their lives went than they were told they did or believed they did.

      • Aleea on December 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm

        . . . . so maybe it is not this way in other churches and maybe I am wrong (I very often am) but in my church people have the idea that they have to be perfect and they got that from the Word of God. Centuries and centuries of Christians got that from the Bible. All the many τέλειοι and variant (be ye perfect) verses. In Christian history, you have lots of texts with that as a title. They don’t get that from Leslie Vernick but they got that from the Bible. . . . Many today are post-modern Christians so they don’t say those things. They understand human behavioral analysis theories and psychology and the damage that condemning and damning oneself constantly does. . . . From Defeating Depression by Leslie Vernick page 100: “. . . Christian culture has some unspoken expectations for women as well; for example, we should always be nice and never hurt anyone’s feelings. We should always put other people’s needs and wants ahead of our own, and we must never get loud or be pushy or bossy, even if we feel angry. We should keep a beautiful and orderly home, raise successful and godly children, achieve a meaningful career or ministry, have great girlfriends, and make our husband really happy.” . . . . page 101. . . The following statements are some typical things that I hear depressed women tell themselves: I’m a horrible mother/wife/sister/daughter/friend/Christian; I’m fat and ugly; I’m a loser; I’m not worth anything; I’m stupid; I can’t do anything right; I’m a failure; I’m a fraud.” . . . .My pastor stands in front of the congregation and calls himself a “worm” et. al. I have talked to him before, asked him why, he got that from the Bible and he did a darn good job of defending it. I thanked a women in my small group for helping out on a Saturday a number of months ago. I told her she had a good heart was kind and honest. She told me: “. . . no, my heart is black and untrustworthy too.” I didn’t even know what to say. . . . The point is that they are getting these ridiculous attitudes from the church and people interpreting the Word of God, not from thin air. See the book The Meaning of “Be Ye Perfect” by Gene Edwin Witzky and The Law of Perfection, by C. J. Wood and Who Says You Can’t Be Perfect? by L. R. Ambridge. . . . page 83 “And when Jesus said, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect’, he was saying that you can be perfect, and he don’t care what anybody else say, and we should believe he meant what he said, and said what he meant. Sometimes it looks like we are ready to believe everybody else except Jesus himself.” . . . .Historically, it is very, very easy to see where these attitudes came from and why people hold them and constantly feel guilty inside.

      • Debby on December 22, 2015 at 8:21 am

        I am one of those women! 28 years of verbal and emotional abuse, controlled in every way. My life AND my husband are completely different now becuase I LEARNED about abuse (Leslie Vernick was one of the first TRULY helpful resources!) and took very “radical” steps to stop the abuse, finally separating for a year. In my case, my h got the message and has made huge changes. But also, I had to make huge changes to even get to the point where I was brave enough to confront and leave. The “changes” arent about “getting better at living with abuse!” which is what I had been trying to do for decades and was always told before (that I could “be better” and somehow that would STOP the abuse. But that advice came from people who have no knowledge, personally or clinically or professionally with abuse (even though they were COUNSELLLORS!) so their advice never worked and they assumed it was “my fault” since their advice didnt work. Crazy, right?! Learn all you can about the abuse cycle and what makes abusers tick (not so you can dance around on eggshells trying to keep the tiger happy but rather so you know what they are doing and why. “Know thy enemy.” Sad that many marriages have an enemy in them but it is the truth. I also stopped calling my marriage, a marriage. It wasnt. It was an abusvie relationship. My h wanted all the rights and privileges of MY commitment to love honor and cherish (and cook, clean, raise kids, hold a full-time job and have sex) without any love honor and cherish on his part. That is abuse. I now have a “real marriage” and in my case, its with my husband. It does not always work that way and you should not feel pressure or guilt if you h wont make any changes. That is on him, not you.

      • sheila on December 27, 2015 at 8:42 pm

        thankyou Leslie for saying what you did. I know I feel this totally ie: hoping one of us gets taken soon. It is a terrible way to live for sure. But what is more concerning is my relationship with my daughter which is also abusive. I care more about my relationships with my children than my husband bc it is a lost cause in my mind. Just don’t have the courage to do anything about in terms of leaving

        • Leslie Vernick on December 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

          God has something for you to learn/grow in while you are still here. So take what’s happening “to you” and let it FORM you and not DEFORM you. That’s the choice we have as Christians. That God can take the ugly things Satan and wicked others throw at us to destroy us, and God can use it to form courage, strength, compassion, forgiveness, honesty truth telling, etc that will help us grow to be more like him.

  14. Ruth on December 10, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    (sorry for side-tracking this thread) but I can’t take credit for being real. I’m not brave enough to be real with my husband. I can be sincere sometimes but there are many times when I wouldn’t be emotionally safe to do so. I’m sad to say but Pretending is a defense strategy in marriage. Example- He says ‘do you want to have sex?’ I do not want to. He’s so obtuse that he’ll ask me that on days when he’s been rude to me. Sorry, but my romantic fire is dead from your hateful talk. However, I know if I’m real and explain my feelings then it could very well escalate into something far worse (not physical abuse: he throws punches with words) So, I pretend. I’d like to get off this train of insincerity but at this point that’s a really lofty goal.

    • Aleea on December 11, 2015 at 6:25 am

      . . . .You are keeping it real and being humble about it!!! . . . . So, last night I was at Bible Study and saw in the children’s nursery this old book called “Judge Not Lest Ye be Judged”. Kid’s books, obviously . . . .they make vast assertions without dealing with all the Bible’s passages (being systematic). Different authors of different books in the Bible have different points of view, period. . . . . So, . . . page 134 “. . . . God speaks out against judging others. He says you shouldn’t ever judge anyone at all but should only love others. Judging others will get us in trouble with the Holy Spirit. For one thing, it isn’t fair to form an opinion of someone when you don’t have all the information about them. For another thing (and much more serious) judging is disobedient to God’s Word. You may miss making some really good friends because of the opinion you formed. You definitely lose the chance to show God’s love to the person you pushed away by your judgment. Today l Will. . . Slow down. I’ll slow down and ask the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and opinions. I will look for ways to show love to others rather than forming opinions about others . . . . et.al.” —No footnotes, no modifiers, no disclaimers . . . .but I just love the “slow down and ask the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and opinions” part. . . . So, what I can control is my attitude and thoughts about the things in my life. I have no real idea what I am doing but I just beg the Holy Spirit to help me with my inner self, my attitudes. . . . —Somehow, I think that is what I should be concerned about. So, I admonish the sinner (Aleea). Counsel the totally doubtful (Aleea). Instruct the ignorant (Aleea). All of these require some degree of judgment, with love (truth and grace) but because God desperately loves us (—and how cool is that! —oh no, here it comes, “I sure hope that is true” —the past is never far!) . . . . but because God desperately loves us, we should be able to love ourselves and others (—love, not necessarily stay with). . . . —And I will tell you something that is true for me: praying for people really helps me love them and softens my heart toward them (—I have never prayed for someone’s death —yet; so I don’t know if that would help me love them. —I don’t think so. . . . But if I felt that way toward them, I would be telling God about it, often and in detail so He could guide me, hopefully.)

    • Belle on December 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      I could have written that myself, Ruth. I am exactly the same. And I don’t know how to be real in those situations either.

    • Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Islandgirl – I hear you totally, I used to be in this position – all I can say as to why I am no longer is that God did hear and answer my prayers – sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it’s real – but I give the glory to God totally for what He has done in changing the heart of my h. It truly has been worth all the pain – (well, maybe not as sure about that exactly), I guess all will be revealed one day in eternity perhaps but there again maybe not and there I don’t suppose it will matter very much. All I can say is that hearts can be changed and God knows how much we can stand and won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what he knows our ability is to bear it – and the way out which comes at the end of this verse is no doubt an individual deliverance for the hurting heart concerned. I encourage you to stand on this promise (1 Cor. 10 v.13 which is very powerful in the Amplified version’s way of putting it). Also, reading ‘His Needs Her Needs’ by William J. Harley was a very helpful resource 🙂 Blessings and strength Ig

    • Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Aleea – the most helpful teaching I’ve ever heard on that verse which has the power to condemn is that when you are a sincere follower of Jesus, you will be perfected – being perfected by Him and not our own flesh which starts in our old ways of thinking. This way the glory goes to Whom it belongs – as Paul said to the Galatians – having begun in the Spirit are you now trying to continue/be perfect by the flesh? Such a human tendency to want to be in charge – God help us to rely on You and not our flesh, please give us discernment as to what all this means as we seek to obey You. Thank you that your Truth still sets free, and we can submit to Your truth and not other peoples’ versions of it which may be tainted. Thank you Father that you speak to our hearts to heal, restore and strengthen and help us always to look to you first for our guidance.

      • Aleea on December 14, 2015 at 8:11 pm

        Thanks Mary2. One thing I am totally, utterly convinced of is that if God does not do it, I got nothing, period. I can never be more than what He makes me. What God does in my life He will get every bit of the glory for because no one would believe I had anything to do with it. Lord, here I am, I have nothing to offer You but chaos.

    • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 6:28 am

      Ruth, I think you are being as real as you need to be. Your safety matters. A counselor once told me I don’t have to tell anyone anything that I don’t want to tell anyone. I would say, that being real in your head doesn’t mean that it has to come out of your mouth. Be safe, be wise.

    • Debby on December 22, 2015 at 8:32 am

      This is TOTALLY my experience. For 28 years. I started learning about abuse (studied it for a year and I started saying exaclty what you WANTED to say but didnt. I also learned that I did not have to stand there (or stay in the house) when, after I told him the truth (“I cannot feel close to you when you are cruel and ugly to me”) he would lash back verbally. I learned to REMOVE myself. I was always so afraid of him! But even though words CAN hurt, I got to the point where I recognized they were all lies. I was believing his lies about me (you cant do anything right, why do you always…never…blah blah balh) and THAT is what had control and power over me. Once I stopped believeing the lies, it held not power at all. The yelling, I would remove myslef. I finally separated for ayear because as long as i was with him, he jsut want “getting it” the whole, “you are NOT going to abuse me any longer.” I remember one day, I was in our bedroom and he was trying to intimidate me and I yelled at him “I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU ANYMORE.” and he jsut looked at me and it was like a light went on. He realized he had no power over me. He tried lots of other abuser tricks (guilt, blame-shifting, etc) but I was on to him because I had become educated. He is acompletely different person now, so another benefit (IF they get a clue and a lot of abusers wont) is that he is a much better person for it as well. We think we are showing “unconditional love” by allowing others to treat us so badly, but really, in my case, I was just too afraid and THAT is not love, that is fear. Perfect love casts out fear. I used to think if I just “took” it that somehow that was love and so I wouldnt be afraid anymore. I came to understand that love means having respect for myself and demanding (soemtimes verbally but mostly by my actions) that my spouse treat me in a reasonably healthy way. I encourage you to get educated. You will find help adn strength to come out of the fog and your steps to healthy will be clear to you. God bless you as you travel this difficult but well worth it road to healing and discernment and peace!

  15. Mary2 on December 11, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Dear Ruth, this is only a suggestion and I hope won’t cause offence, please disregard if not useful but it might be – next time that occurs say – “you know what really turns a woman on, is when a man enters his wife’s head before entering her body – the second part would be more enriching for us both if that could happen”. You wouldn’t need to pretend because that is the truth and marriage is a 2-way partnership of mutual need-meeting – he doesn’t seem to be meeting any of yours with dumb questions like that, so no wonder you have to employ pretence to keep the union. He needs to become aware of this for (at least) his own future good. Men seem to operate here with the default mis-belief that sex is the ‘cure-all’ that will mend anything – it doesn’t and was never intended to be used for that purpose. Once he unwelds himself from the wrong thinking everything will have a chance to recover 🙂 It’s your body Ruth, you have the legitimate right to the kind of ‘foreplay’ that is part of the deal. I know it’s hard to speak up to him about this, I’m not there either (where I would like to be) because over the years patterns develop. I pray for strength and courage for us both to tackle it. The above suggestion comes from the counsellor who saved my sanity.

    • Mary2 on December 11, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Somehow this has got totally into the wrong thread. Please could it be moved somehow into the Hope for a Narcissist one – sorry, I can’t think how it happened.

      • roxanne on December 11, 2015 at 8:41 pm

        Thank you for your caring response. i have never heard of this approach. I do know that when I lie to myself I can only do it for so long. The pretending feels like betrayal to my body and rebells physically. I become ill, weak or depressed. The immune system is disturbed, hormones run amuck and eventually we age prematurely. How I feel for Ruth. I hope your suggestion about reasoning my have some influence upon her selfish and dangerous husband.

        • Mary2 on December 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm

          The brilliant one-liner taught by my counsellor (given to him by an uncle): “The truth is, there are no frigid women…..only clumsy men”.
          The reason being that a lot of men don’t seem to be wired to know how women’s brains work – whereas the strength that women have with their intuition (when directed aright), allows them to see warning signs and to want to put matters right – I believe God has equipped us for this purpose as we are the primary nurturers. If we don’t know what to do we are generally more open to learning – and this is so precious to God who will bless it as He has promised (Galatians 6 v.7-10) as it must be God’s will for the marriage union to function without any pretence, in order to avoid such as you’ve described. There has to be a way to heal dysfunction, and if it boils down to finding constructive ways to help a clumsy man, understanding his ‘respect’ need, then it’s a ministry we have the privilege of undertaking with God at the helm of our ship to stop it from sinking. I know “my flesh” wishes it were otherwise, believe me (as the daughter of a card-carrying women’s libber) – but coming to see it as a God-appointed opportunity put a different light on it, and I thank God for the resources I needed to prevent shipwreck. Being able to talk about it being one of them 🙂 Blessings and strength, Roxanne and Ruth

          • Lonelywife07 on December 14, 2015 at 10:50 am

            Mary2 Forgive me, but I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying?
            It seems to me that you’re saying that abusive men CAN change, as long as the wife, “the nurturer” helps our “clumsy” husbands feel respected?

            My husband CHOOSES to act the way he acts at home, judgmental and harsh, just as he CHOOSES to act a different way at church and in public, kind, attentive, loving…There is nothing I can do to help him at this point, except pray that he will open his heart to God.
            I’ve offered to help him find a counselor…again…he’s seen four and has quit every time, I’ve apologized for MY verbal abuse, after discovering his emotional affair, he NEVER apologized for his emotional abuse, just makes excuses saying, “this is the way I am, deal with it!”
            We are now living as “friends” have been for 1 1/2 yrs. He says he wants a “real” marriage, but he doesn’t want to work at it.
            I would LOVE to feel loved, protected and treasured by my husband….but I’ve had to let that dream go…He wants sex, I want a relationship.
            Ruth…I hope you see this…but honey, your husband isn’t being obtuse!! He KNOWS exactly what he’s doing, when he wants sex after he’s been abusive to you!!
            This is his way of controlling you, nothing more!
            My husband did the same, and I dreaded intimacy and faked it many times, but finally, in June 2014 I said Enough! I was sooo tried of feeling like a prostitute in my own bedroom…and it’s been the most freeing thing I’ve done yet!
            A lot of my self condemnation is gone, and I feel more positive…I never realized what an emotional toll having sex with my abuser was having on me!
            Ruth, there comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself….you will know when it’s time, and God will give you the courage to do it! I will be praying for you!



  16. Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    So true. We need more real around us so we don’t feel pressured to be what we are not – perfect.

    • Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      … the prayer of relinquishment is the safest place, absolutely. I forgot to add something important to the “You will be perfected” teaching – and it’s that this promise is related to our understanding – our spiritual understanding. So putting it together – as we sincerely follow Christ, He will see to it that by and in His power our spiritual understanding will be perfected. And that, imo, is the truth of the universe 🙂

      • Aleea on December 15, 2015 at 6:21 am

        . . . . sincere belief in wrong things can result in spiritual death. I can’t sincerely follow Jesus and disregard Bible truth by text twisting (—or worse, torturing texts until they say what I want them to say), harmonizing really difficult, totally conflicting passages; deconstructing stuff we don’t like; demythologizing this part but remythologying that part, cherry picking what is and is not really what Jesus meant (which is usually time and culturally dependent re: context-free thinking), et.al. —If you can put the Bible through the meat grinder of your own Theology you don’t even need a Bible (—an authority). What is really tragic is when a person sincerely believes that something is true and right, but such sincerity does not absolve that person from terrible consequences (re: every religion but Christianity and even inside Christinaity false christs masquerade as “servants of righteousness,” as sincere angels of light.) . . . .Mary2, I say we do the good that we know to do which is right in front of us (God-focused, that is the sincere part) and hopefully Christ will then give us more light. I believe that if we are sincerely trying to follow Christ, He will sincerely forgive us. I don’t *know* that however, because by faith you can believe so many different things and the Bible says so much everyone can find their text support (—that is totally, completely maddening) a whole world of, as you say, “IMO”. Also, you can’t have like-minded peers evaluate your conclusions, that is simply group-think, confirmation bias. It is easy to follow a chirst but following Christ, no wonder we are told to pursue with all our heart, it will take just that.

  17. Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Lonelywife – “Mary2 Forgive me, but I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying?
    It seems to me that you’re saying that abusive men CAN change, as long as the wife, “the nurturer” helps our “clumsy” husbands feel respected?”

    A hard one, I admit….. however, looking back at the resources God provided for me – (as the Psalmist says: “when I was hard pressed) – this has been the way He “expanded my tent” (Isaiah 54) – I am sorry for the biblical language here, it is the only way I can begin to explain it though. My husband’s abuse was as a result (almost totally unconscious and ignorant on his part) of his upbringing by a mother who survived by domination, intimidation and control (witchcraft, in fact). I fell in love with a lovely young man, as we all do, I’m sure…… but when the rocks started to show through – I knew something deeper would need to happen if the marriage was going to survive. It has been a journey that is impossible to explain in a box here, and I know that trying to condense it (you made a good job of it btw) can only be superficial – the real treasure lies in the ocean depths. Because of the future I can see now I understand that God and truth often come to us in disguises, as much as we would want it to be otherwise…. He knows each heart and what it takes for each heart to change and heal. My own heart has been healing through it all by coming to trust God, and what I’ve come to know of His ways, implicitly in everything and not by trying so hard to work matters out for myself (leaning not on my own understanding – that verse in Proverbs) – coming to an end of my own strength as it were, which of course, is a scary place unless it is the only place left. Doesn’t mean we don’t use our capacity to understand, just that we don’t need to lean on it as the only way. As the song from that verse says: “He will make your paths straight”. Please, please don’t conclude from this attempt at explanation that it is a one-way recipe for becoming a totally trampled doormat – I wish I could explain your “condensation” in greater depth and detail, but it’s difficult here. If you read ‘His Needs Her Needs’ by William J. Harley – this is what kicked off our journey and can explain it much better than I can 🙂 Blessings and strength LW p.s. but in a nutshell, he isn’t clumsy any longer (well, not so much, anyway!)

    • Lonelywife07 on December 14, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      I’m Happy for you Mary2, that your H is working to change his ways, but unfortunately for most of us, it doesn’t work that way, even after years and years of praying that God will help our husband see how much pain and hurt they are inflicting on their families, how much damage they are doing!
      I’ve prayed for my spouse for 30 yrs now, especially the last 5, since the affair exposed what he really is, a proud, deceitful man who could live a fake life, while attending church, agreeing to serve as deacon, and serving in several other ministries, all while being unfaithful to me!
      I’ve prayed and prayed that he would become a TRUE, not fake, man of God…and nothing has happened.
      I then became angry at God, because it was obvious, I wasn’t GOOD enough for God to hear my prayers! That’s what I’d been taught all of my life, that if I pray long enough and hard enough, God WILL answer my prayers!
      I mean, seriously, I read The Power of a Praying Wife and Love and Respect, I even went to two of their conferences, I was willing to do practically ANYTHING to help this man of mine learn to love God and become a Godly leader in our home!
      It was only after reading Leslie’s book that my eyes were opened, and I realized, thankfully, that God does love me, and that I can’t change my husband, only HE can make the decision to change…that I need to work on ME and my relationship with God…So I have. 🙂
      BTW, I have read His Needs, Her Needs. In fact, before I bought it, I asked my husband if we could read it together, I’d read a chapter, he’d read the same chapter, and then we’d discuss it before moving on to the next chapter. He agreed. So I bought the book, read my chapter, them gave him the book…my husband is NOT a reader, he reads MAYBE one book a year, whereas I read 1-2 books a week!
      Anyway, I waited a couple of weeks, knowing he’s not a reader, and I asked him if he’d read chapter 1 yet, so we could discuss it….he said, “Yes, I’m on chapter 5!”
      I them asked him why didn’t he let me know, because we were going to talk about each chapter, remember?
      He told me that the book was sooooo good, he couldn’t put it down! All of this with a BIG smile on his face….because he was lying, he knew I knew he was lying, but what could I do? I couldn’t PROVE he hadn’t read this book that was “soooo good”…but the fact that he stopped reading the book after I asked him about it was very telling!
      I finished reading the book, I thought it was really good, but when you’re married to a man who doesn’t want to change, it does no good.

      • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 6:37 am

        Do you think he read the book during his affair? Maybe he was trying to be a better lover for her? Oh, what a horrible thing to consider. Thank you for the helpful and insightful discussion between you and Mary.

        • Lonelywife07 on December 15, 2015 at 9:45 am

          Hi Roxanne, My H had an emotional affair with a former GF who lived 700 miles away, so the affair wasn’t physical, and NO, reading a book would be the last thing my husband would do!
          He craves attention and constant affirmation, based on his childhood where he was pretty much ignored…so that’s why he fell for the OW (other woman) and her poisonous words…it truly reminds me of the scripture in Proverbs 5:3 “For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil”

  18. Maria on December 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Mary2, My husband and I studied “His Needs, Her Needs” with some other couples in church very early on in our marriage. The author talks about how each spouse should work really hard to meet certain needs that he explains in his book. This may work when both spouses love each other and want what’s best for the other. But in abuse situations, one spouse is a taker and if the abused spouse keeps giving and giving, it can create a huge imbalance. Ignoring the other spouse’s sin and giving more is not the answer. In fact that just enables the abusive spouse and their behavior usually gets worse.

    • Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Yes Maria, I agree….. the vital ingredient being when both spouses love each other and want what’s best for the other. If that is missing, it has to be faced up to, by both in order not to run on pretence and victimhood.

    • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 6:38 am

      I have never thought that marital counseling books help in destructive relationships. The abuser uses the information to find more areas of weakness to control his victim.

      • Lonelywife07 on December 15, 2015 at 9:46 am

        Very, very true!!

  19. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 14, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Lonelywife07: I well relate to your what you shared regarding your longing for a loving relationship with your husband. My ex-husband acted the way yours does. He always expected sex after he had verbally abused me, and I felt just as you did, so I finally set the boundary that I’d no longer share his bed until the abuse stopped. He was unable to change or accept that boundary, so finally left me.
    I would also loved to have had a husband who protected and treasured me, but I now know Jesus is my true husband, who loves me unconditionally, now and forever, and will never leave me (just as He does you and all our dear “Sisters” on this lovely blog). With love & prayers

  20. Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    then let consequences do the talking LW….. God does not expect us to turn ourselves into doormats, and I understand you could not respect yourself staying in a situation like this. Every act of God’s deliverance has to be personal for the person involved – I guess the only reason it happened the way it did for me was that, honestly, I simply could not leave. My deliverance had to happen some other way because divorce could never have been an option. Downright lies like that, and not even caring, treating it all as some kind of joke – despicable! Sorry 🙁

    • Lonelywife07 on December 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Mary2, I’m still here. Like you, I can not leave. Married 30 yrs, stay at home, homeschool mom, with an autistic son who BEGS me to not get a divorce, no means to support myself.
      I did talk to an attorney a few months ago, she basically told me to stay in the marriage if I can, that financially I would be the one hurt.
      My life isn’t miserable…I’ve gone from an emotionally abusive marriage to a VERY disappointing marriage.
      My husband wasn’t really emotionally abusive until the affair started, and the 5 yrs afterward.
      Yes, I can remember instances in the past that were emotionally abusive, but like many women, I didn’t understand what was happening at the time…and I was busy raising my children, so I just pushed it aside.
      I’ve now moved on, I take care of myself and my youngest son, I have a few close friends who know my story, and they have their own stories, plus a couple of ministries at my church that I’m involved in that make me happy.

      As long as I don’t bring up the past, we do OK…my H lives in the present, he NEVER looks at what he’s done in the past, we don’t talk about it, we don’t examine it, we bury it….and while that works very well for him, it doesn’t work for me. But what can I do?
      I speak truth to him, but he either ignores me or turns things around to blame me, or tells me that he’s working to change whatever it is that I bring up, but he never changes a thing.
      When I look at my future I see my happiness being defined by being surrounded by my children and grandchildren, going on mission trips and helping serve the poor in my community.
      I just want to add that YES, I truly believe that Jesus is now my true husband….He has shown me this last year that He is by my side, so I take comfort in that. Right now I’m planning to take a mission trip to South America this summer with my son…..I’m very excited! 😀

  21. Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    God bless you in your testimony LW, the Amplified Bible has a very confirmatory note of what you write concerning Isaiah 54 – I took great comfort from it, could hardly even believe it could be in a Bible (sorry if that sounds cynical): “Although this chapter is primarily intended to express Zion’s joy over redemption, it has also a very personal, long-neglected, and often overlooked message for women – the lonely, the disappointed, the childless, the widow. It has all the glorious confidence and assurance, the incentive and understanding, for which feminine hearts have longed throughout the ages! Every woman who will read it every week for a year with receptive heart and mind will find herself not only spiritually prepared for her own childlessness or widowhood, should it come, but also supplied with rich treasure with which to address the similar needs of countless other aching hearts to whom the Holy Spirit is here speaking.
    🙂 Blessings and strength and a wonderful vision 🙂

    • Lonelywife07 on December 15, 2015 at 9:49 am

      TY Mary2, that is a beautiful reminder!! My counselor has been very helpful in my being able to see how God has taken care of me, especially this last year, and now this scripture also shows me how much My Father loves me!
      Again, thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  22. Jennifer on December 15, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I have been on this blog for maybe a year after I have read the emotionally destructive marriage. I did something bold last night and did tell him to leave. I feel bad because this came on the heals of his ex not by marriage but by creating a child together died. Seeing him in mourning triggered such an emotional rage inside of me, that why and how can he shed tears for the dead when he treats the living my family, myself and my children so horribly? I had a complete and utter emotional breakdown last night and he only left because I had the support of my sister here. He again was trying to blame me for yes I did say horrible things about this dead woman, it was not excusable, it was misplaced anger and years of pent up rage. I cried so hard and felt so much pain being released, I was safe for a moment is my twin sister’s arms. I know in my heart I cannot take him back and I need to trust God will take care of me and my family. I feel a burden lifted. I also feel so confused and guilty. I wanted to just share this.

    • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      Pended up emotions can only stay repressed for so long. If your H had be a kind, loving and supportive person you never would have acted in such a manner. His behavior has resulted in your responses. Stay strong and keep him out of your life stay the course and make an action plan before your change your mind or get manipulated by his pleas. Remember that the relationship is only as good as the worst of days. He is 100% responsible for his thoughts, feelings and actions not you.

    • Lonelywife07 on December 15, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Jennifer….Hurting people hurt people. Don’t be so hard on yourself…stay strong, seek God and do what is best for YOU and your children!

  23. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Jennifer, my heart aches for you, and I’m praying for you. I also would explode in anger at times when my ex-husband’s abuse became more than I could bear (like a tea kettle releasing built-up steam). I’d soon feel guilty and pray, asking God for forgiveness. However, my ex seemed to enjoy my “explosions,” and say, “I wish the people at church could see you now!” It was a vicious cycle that continued until the day he finally left me (Praise God!).

  24. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I must admit here that I get a little tired of others saying their husbands act the way they do because of an unhappy childhood, i.e., abuse, neglect, etc. My ex-husband also had that kind of childhood; however, that doesn’t excuse him for his verbal abuse of me and my children, nor has adultery. I believe a person chooses how he treats others, because often a man will treat those outside the home with much more love and respect.

  25. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 15, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Aleea: We all know “None is perfect, except Jesus.” However, there are some churches that seem to teach Christian Perfection, which can lead people to feel hopelessly guilty because it’s not obtainable in this life. I believe, however, it’s something to strive for (PURSUE), as we trust and obey God’s Word. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 ( Sanctification simply means to be “set apart.”)

    • Aleea on December 15, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Sandra Lee Anderson,

      Thank you so much for that. I so love the “pursue peace & sanctification” part. . . . . and, yes. . . “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Exactly. Almighty Father, help me to be thankful for your blessings not moaning about Bible problems. I (we) hunger and thirst to experience Christ and the peace of mind and positivity holiness brings. Lord, all the things in our hearts for so, so long need to fall in the sea of forever gone. . . .help us enter that rest.

  26. Mary2 on December 16, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Sandra Lee A, I am truly sorry that this was your experience. Of course, there are no excuses. But there is the phenomenon:
    I read somewhere that when 2 people marry there are at least 4 people marrying, if not 6. The actual couple meet and fall in love with each other, but that is not the end of the story as we find out later (and is evident here). Each of these 2 were raised by (we hope and which used to be usual) 2 others, from whom they learned about life and family living – and in which context most likely received some emotional bruising – which, when we’re young we are not so conscious of as it tends to give us our worldview which we accept as part of our identity.
    Added to this is the fact that people (men especially) are well capable of living out of 2 different mind-sets, labelled “work” and “home”. It is common to operate from the rational, immediate hands-on mind to get the job done. At home other factors come into play, because the environment tends to be navigated using a different set of beliefs. And mostly they remain (or choose to be) ignorant of this switch.
    I’m not saying this is how it should be, it just is a real factor. When Jesus was dying with the weight of the sin of the world separating Him from the Father, under stress he reverted to his childhood tongue to say “Eli, Eli,….. (etc. – My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” dying of a broken heart. This is what family ‘dysfunction’ (or things which do not pan out as expected) can do to the part of us which holds our emotional aspirations, needs, desires, plans – especially when we realise we are navigating not just one relationship but one that has “wings” attached from the “other people” who come to the altar.
    This is why so many become sources of suffering. Psalm 129 v.4 has been a vital ingredient for my own marriage. We now pray every morning, Father, thank you for having severed us from the cords of the wicked. ‘Wicked’ meaning in the context of Holy Matrimony, if it is entered as a covenant commitment and not a contract – anything or anyone that might prove a wedge or seek to separate. We just didn’t go far enough (either because it wasn’t the right time, or we lacked the maturity) to include “attitude” in our thinking on that one. So busy are we in our younger years getting established with the rational, hands-on mind-set, that the “attitude-governed” mind-set can take a back seat; attitudes which are learned in childhood as to how families function and which we assume, are normal. If our parents have not modelled to us dependency upon God for the healing of our bruises (and none of ours had), these attitudes can carry on unless deliberate steps are taken to bring them to the Cross.
    There is no excuse, of course, for vile behaviour at home…. But it helps to explain it if we can understand some of the reasons – which must not be used as let-offs or with Scripture to further emotionally batter the spouse. If a spouse is unwilling to accept this phenomenon and their responsibility for their participation in it, it can no longer be considered a real marriage as the one God intended, (and how in the beginning we had assumed and expected things would just ‘be’). The only place where ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary, after all, and sometimes the required work just ain’t gonna happen.

  27. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you, Mary A. I agree that a dysfunctional childhood does help to mold adult character. However, it’s no excuse for abusing a spouse and children. I also believe that marriage needs to be a triangle (God, husband, wife) to work. Unfortunately, my ex-husband was agnostic, while I received Jesus as Savior during the seventh year of our marriage, and ironically it only caused a wider riff in our relationship.
    Was it you, Mary, who recommended reading Isaiah 54:4-6? I am so thrilled with this wonderful promise, and praise the Lord from the bottom of my heart and soul.

    • Mary2 on December 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Yes that can happen when one partner receives the Lord – (it happened to my own parents apparently although my dad did get baptised but that’s a long story what happened there). They both certainly had no idea of the concept of emotional healing that’s for sure. I don’t know if it was me who recommended those verses, but I did write the note from the Amplified Bible about them (and vs. 1-3) in my reply to another sister. Like you say it does take 3 to make a marriage – zing with the supernatural undergirding the 2 human hearts that are so differently programmed. Abusive spouses need to understand just exactly what it is they are doing and how destructive it is for everyone including themselves. It’s getting to the root of their misbeliefs (which justify their behaviour to themselves) which is the problem because they can appear to us like impervious brick walls.

  28. Jennifer on December 18, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Thank you Roxanne, I know it is important to stay strong. I need to focus on the Lord, I have been so focused these past 7 years on how to keep the peace, how to talk and behave so as not to upset anyone, how to control my daughter so he doesn’t get angry at her. How to keep everyone from fighting so I am not blamed. No one can take that pressure. He has left for now but again, it is all on me, my hurt, my anger, my unforgiveness, my unlovingness. How is this all about me? He is again playing the victim by having to be uprooted from his family. He doesn’t see this is the consequences of his behavior.

    • sunflower on December 21, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Does it matter what he thinks? You are only responsible for you. His thought and his accusations belong to him. They are techniques to control you.

  29. Jennifer on December 18, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Sandra Lee, exactly he seems to enjoy provoking others to anger and when they explode will then accuse them of being Ungodly and how can you call yourself a Christian? How can you be so unforgiving? That was all I heard, if only I would just forgive our marriage would work.

  30. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 18, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Yes, dear Jennifer, but in my case my ex-husband could never forgive me for seeing a former childhood sweetheart while we were dating. However, he expected me to forgive him for his adultery during our marriage. He said he would never trust me again, nor could I him, and how can any marriage survive without trust?

  31. janet on December 22, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Somehow something does not seem right to me in this discussion. You can read from the definition below what a jerk means. (calling a cat a cat is correct and not a judement) Can you read Matt 12:34 and let me know why it was ok for Jesus to call the Pharisees a brood of vipers? Personally Ms Leslie I don’t think you did anything wrong. You assessed and discerned. You did not judge. How is that example any different than if a husband calls his wife a name to intimidate her. He is behaving like a jerk. Am I judging that or discerning that? I can also say he is behaving in a destructive manner. I still don’t see the correlation to judgment you are making with your example. I disagree with you. You were wronged ms Leslie. I also believe that approaching a stranger to say that would be unwise because you don’t know how the person would react and that could be dangerous. I believe getting back at that person would be a sin in this situation. I believe evaluating your wrong and asking god for justice and judgment in this situation is needed. I believe you experienced justified anger and you chose not to retaliate. Amen to that. Standing up for yourself and identifying wrong behavior to yourself the way you described is not judgment to me. his intent was clear, to take the spot you had been waiting for. he was a jerk, you became justifiably angry and you did not take matters into your own hands with retaliation (returning evil for evil).
    discern play verb dis•cern \di-ˈsərn, -ˈzərn\
    Definition of discern
    dis•cerneddis•cern•ing
    : to see, recognize, or understand something

    jerk play noun \ˈjərk\
    Simple Definition of jerk
    : a stupid person or a person who is not well-liked or who treats other people badly

    judge
    verb \ˈjəj\
    Simple Definition of judge
    Popularity: Top 20% of words
    • : to form an opinion about (something or someone) after careful thought
    • : to regard (someone) as either good or bad
    • law : to make an official decision about (a legal case)

    opinion
    noun opin•ion \ə-ˈpin-yən\
    Simple Definition of opinion
    Popularity: Top 20% of words
    • : a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something : what someone thinks about a particular thing
    • : advice from someone with special knowledge : advice from an expert
    • : a formal statement by a judge, court, etc., explaining the reasons a decision was made according to laws or rules

    matt 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

    • janet on December 22, 2015 at 8:42 am

      in addition to these statements… agreeing with what god agrees with and judges IS NOT JUDGMENT. if god says it is sin to kill someone ( in our hearts and physically) that is god’s judgment. agreeing with his judgment is not judging. we wouldn’t be able to use our court system them.

  32. Kelly on December 22, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I know the feeling. My husband (soon to be ex) judges everyone. He claims he has the right to judge them especially if they “claim” to be Christian. It is everyone that comes across my path. Every girlfriend, eventually every couple we met. He says that of course it’s everyone because I have a divisive, rebellious spirit and those same kind are attracted to me. He’s told me not to be surprised when something bad happens to me or one of my kids (he adopted my 2 older boys and we have 2 together). Then when one of my oldest got sick, in and out of the hospital for several months; his reply was ‘well, when you live like the devil… God’s gonna get your attention one way or another.’ I am very blessed these past two years to have a very supportive pastor and church family. I hear how rare that is in our circumstances. Because of their support he now says I belong to a cult. It has been very difficult for the last 10 years or so(that I actually began realizing something was wrong) to hold all that condemnation, guilt, and shame he’d place on me and still tries. I continue to pray for God to reveal my heart and make me clean. Although, I’m in a better place I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever fully recover. Ever really trust again.

    • roxanne on December 23, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Have you heard of spiritual abuse? It is when someone perverts the scriptures to get you to obey them so they have power and control over your life. You have been fed lies by your husband. His plan is working pretty good isn’t it? He has you confused and doubting yourself isn’t he? Use that fabulous brain God gave you and run to your “cult” for fellowship and a consultation with an abuse shelter. No loving husband ever talks to his wife in such a manner, never.

      • Kelly on December 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

        Thanks Roxanne. He has gotten to me but I’m working very hard to ‘undo’ it.

  33. Shari on December 22, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I think it is important to note here that in this persons question she states that she finds herself wanting God to judge him…meaning she desires fire and brimstone to reign from heaven on him. I have been in this position myself with an alcoholic husband 8 years ago. I came to see that it was important for MY heart to desire forgiveness and freedom for my husband. The ONLY way I could do that was to put up boundaries and offer consequences when my husbands actions were sinful. I could not judge his heart, but I could judge his actions. But, I really needed to stand in a place of desiring that God would break the bondage in my husbands life. When Jesus hung on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they do.” I think this is a very important question because we act from our hearts. We act not from a place of offense but from a place of forgiveness. As Leslie states so often, this does not necessarily mean reconciliation.

    • janet on December 23, 2015 at 9:58 am

      yes we ask the father to forgive us and all
      and jesus did act offensively also. we act offensively when we call the police when we are in danger for example.
      god does not require us to be victims to love.

      matt 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

  34. Shelly on December 23, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I find it a bit hard to wrap my brain around the subtleties of the gray areas that exist in life. In your response I can relate. I feel kind of stuck with how to not judge. Or to correctly judge fruit. There are a couple things that come o mind, there is a verse which says to those who think it is a sin then I is. So I conclude from that statement that sin is often individually different. We all sin in man ways as the bible says. I am guilty of thinking my sin is not as bad as…say m ex. ( Comparison) and condemnation. Go has exposed that in my heart. I can admit that to God and trusted friends but if I was to have a conversation. With him, I would have my guard up and not be able to admit to much, because of fear of his judgement. So maybe this books down to our perspectives on our reputations, and our expectations of others….how we view how people see us and how that affects our outward truth. How big is their opinion compared to Gods. Is our view of man’s thoughts of us bigger and more scary that what God thinks of us knowing our hidden thoughts in every way? Davis says in the Psalms let God judge me, because man can be much harsher. Regarding the parking space example I would have said the person was a jerk too. I would have to wonder how many times m children see my words and actions such as this as justified. Not an example of kindness for sure. But I would feel without saying it and to say o well who knows why that happened some of us would feel slighted, taken advantage of, and just plain wronged. Perhaps this just shows us that no matter how good we desire to be and how much effort we put forth, we are still sinners sinning every day. Lord give us wisdom. Help us to be the light ad you are the light. To look different than the world, to b transformed. To be gracious, and ultimately to care about your assessments of us and let our pride go. It is a lifelong process, Lord may we be open to your work in our hearts. …Jesus thank you for taking our sins away, may we walk in forgiveness of others as we have been forgiven. Amen

  35. janet on December 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

    we always forgive, yes.
    jesus acted offensively which you can see in the scripture below. we act offensively when we call the police when we are in danger.

    matt 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

  36. Charity on December 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you ladies for your insight and truthfulness. It wasn’t until after 6 months after my husband left me that I began to realize what bondage I had been under and believe that God intervened for me. I was set to endure until death do us part–like many of you. But what I found out about myself is that I lost so much of myself that I feel like I am still recovering and it has been a year and a half out. But hey, my plan is to finish my book–now that my emotional energy is returning and my spiritual person has been revived. With the help of family, friends, all of you, and most of all the Lord Jesus, I move forward.

  37. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    God bless you dear Charity! My ex-h also left me, after 57 years of a miserable marriage. I also would have stayed to the end, had he not been the one to leave. However, I believe the Lord knew I needed some peace and freedom to serve Him for the last few years of my life. I’ve now met a dear, godly man at my church, and a romance has developed! He’s 75 and I’m 76.
    Delight yourself in the Lord, and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

    My love and prayers for you and all our “Sisters” on this lovely blog, and of course our dear Leslie.
    Sandra

  38. sheila on December 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you so much Leslie. You have literally saved my day. I was contemplating suicide, disappearing, starving to death or leaving my husband which I may still do as it is long overdue. I just need help in doing that & knowing I can survive on my own financially. My son & daughter-in-law do not want to hear any more “negative things” about my daughter to which I have said very little. I have unintentionally shared with them some of my pain that I have experienced due to my daughter’s behaviour & how she treats her children, & had already sought counselling so as not to burden them. I have no support from my husband as his behaviour is much the same so consequently feel very alone in my own family.
    So my daughter does not want any more contact with me & it all started by putting the turkey & the dressing in her fridge which she knew was going to happen. The 1st time I have ever gone into her fridge for fear of her reaction. And I asked how I could get some hot water. My intentions were to help her out as she was hosting Christmas in her new house with our whole family invited for 2 nights. She has 4 children under the age of 6 so she barely has time to breathe. I pretty much cooked the whole dinner & others were asked to contribute but they didn’t, brought tons of gifts for the grand kids, did clean up & that is what I get in return. She decided she did not want any more contact with me after I had told her I would have appreciated it if she would have asked me to move my stuff out of my room where I stayed instead of her taking all my personal belongings that I had out & tossed them all in the hall way prescription meds on top of it all where the little ones could have easily gotten into. She was swearing at me & in a full out rage & also said I would not be able to see her children any more. I have tried very hard to do all |I can to help her in terms of being a good grandparent to her children, babysitting tons, bringing meals to help her out when we go there, canning her produce from her garden etc. etc. aside from having a relationship with her which she does not want. The only time I get treated with respect is when she wants something from me. I could go on & on but as you said take this as something that can help me grow which I have from past experiences with her but I did not see this one coming (for the most part)& it was on Christmas day which basically brought me to my knees. Where to go from here…..? If I can’t see her again I can live with that cuz frankly I have had enough but I can’t bear not to see my grandchildren which are a huge light in my life. Thankyou tons Leslie for replying to my post as I desperately needed someone’s support or take on this situation. Thankyou again from the bottom of my heart.

    • roxanne on January 1, 2016 at 5:11 am

      It is really painful when our adult children show signs of the chaotic environment that they grew up in having the terrible outcome we never wanted for them . It is a painful read, yet many of the mothers of younger children on this blog need to take heed and hear your cries. This too, can happen to their children, when they stay in an abusive environment.

      I hope you can find the boundaries you need with your emotionally abusive daughter. Have you read Dr. Cloud’s book, “Safe People?” I fear that if you don’t stay away from these unsafe people you will continue to have self destructive thoughts. The grandchildren are a loss, yet they are not your children. They were given by God to your daughter and her husband and they will have to give an account to God for what they did with his gift, not you.

      It is likely that as your grow stronger and set boundaries your daughter, and everyone else, will increase their respect for you. At this point you are easy to walk all over. What are you doing to build your own self esteem and see yourself as God sees you? We know that the bible teaches us that you are a child of God , deeply loved and uniquely designed by the loving father’s hand.

      Happy 2016.

  39. sheila on December 28, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Just wondering if I can change my name on my post?

  40. Sandra Lee Anderson on December 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    My heart aches for you, dear Sheila. It sounds like your daughter has been emotionally damaged by living as a child in a verbally abusive environment, as all of us were who did as well. My younger daughter also seems to relate to her father more than to me to some extent, even though he was verbally abusive toward me and especially her older sister. Just keep praying for your daughter, as I do mine, and hopefully she’ll eventually realize her error and turn back to you as the devoted mother you are. With my love & prayers, Sandra

  41. sheila on December 30, 2015 at 12:49 am

    thx much Leslie. I so appreciate your quick reply. thx so much for the encouraging words. That is all one needs to hear in difficult times to get through. Encouraging words speak volumes. thx again

    • Leslie Vernick on December 30, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      I wasn’t me but they were good words.

  42. LA on December 30, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I just finished reading most of this thread, lots of lively posts! I haven’t read them all as I had to stopped halfway through. Just want to interject the name of a really good book that helped me see clearly God’s intention for marriage and what a truly loving and supportive relationship looks like. The book is titled, ” Discovering the Mind of a Woman” by Ken Nair. I found this book very affirming and cried through some of it as I read it! I asked my Narc to read it and he claims to have read it twice! He said he thought it made men look stupid! This is so far from the truth! Ken Nair teaches men in this book how to love their wives and what a healthy loving relationship in God ought to look like! I sincerely hope this helps!

  43. sheila on December 30, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Sandra,
    I have to apologize. I had addressed u as Leslie. Guess I didn’t look close enough. Sorry & thx again for your reply.

  44. sheila on January 1, 2016 at 12:01 am

    yes, I realized that later. Happy New Year.

  45. sheila on January 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

    sounds as though this would be a good read. thx for sharing.

  46. sheila on January 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

    thankyou Roxanne. Your comment was very helpful. And yes, if I can help anyone else out there I would be glad to do so. That is why it is so hard to think of the possibility of not seeing my daughter’s children cuz I want to be a positive influence in their life & also a model for my daughter to which I vaguely Icommunicated to her quite awhile back & of course was defensive. I didn’t know how to talk to her about her parenting & didn’t think it through well enough. I’m just glad I didn’t go further. Her abusive behaviour is a result of the kind of enviroment she grew up in. A child that brings you to shame in other words. Also, her father says very little to her about it. If anything he will sympathize with her but doesn’t give me the time of day which had been going on for a long while even when she was still living at home. I feel that his lack of caring on my part just gives her more ammunition. Not sure if I am correct in thinking this or not. I would love to know what others think of that. ie: husband supporting daughter more than wife. After this latest incident with the abusive calls she made & the email I sent her the day after Xmas he could see it was wrong on her part to have that kind of reaction but never really confronted our daughter.

    • Debby on January 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Sheila, you are in a difficult place right now, but God will see you through to the other side. I know right now it seems that it will ALWAYS be like this, and that it will NEVER be any better or different but those are lies. The hard part is waiting for God to reveal each step. In the meantime, you being healed and whole is the place to start. Only in being healed and whole yourself, can you really see truth and be objective about the behaviors they are showing. I also wanted to suggest that the h is not “supporting” daughter (which would show care and concern for another person outside of himself, even if its not you) but rather a self-serving USING of his daughter to control you, another form of manipulation and only you can choose whether it will “work” or not, by seeing it for what it is, even if daughter cannot right now. Seeing truth for what it is was my first step in taking different and healthy steps to get healed and whole and THEN, when God showed truths to me, I have been able to make decisions that have brought reconciliation in several family relationships, but not in all of them. Some toxic people are just not safe (mentally, spiritually, emotionally and / or physically) to be around, and so choosing to NOT be around them IS an action step! God bless you as you continue to come out of the fog of abuse and take it step by step. Knowledge (about abuse, about what God’s Word has to say about angry, manipulative people, etc) is so important. “The truth shall set you free.”

  47. sheila on February 7, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    thx Debby for your encouraging words & Godly advice. It has been awhile since I have gotten back onto this site as u can see. So yes, I recognize that I need healing because I have changed since dec. 24th, 2015 & an interesting thing that you said about my h controlling me by supporting our daughter or just not addressing (at least I think that’s what I understood)her behaviour is a way to control me. I hadn’t exactly seen it this way before & there has been many instances over a period of 33 yrs. that this has happened before but I did recognize in the last 5 yrs.or more but more clearly that he does not support me & not to expect it but I was really hoping he would this past Christmas as it was quite devastating & the worst possible time for it all to happen.

  48. Christine on February 13, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    We judge constantly. We have to in order to live with wisdom. As we grow closer to God we learn more about Holiness. We start to easily identify what is and what isn’t holy by judging ourselves and others. Judging is a gift but we should not use it to bring our brother down or to inflate our own image. In the parable of The Prodigal Son, we are reminded that no matter what kind of sinner we are, one of us has no more right to salvation than the other. It was cruel of the younger brother to take his inheritance early. That was like wishing his father dead! It was cruel of the older brother to blindly accuse his younger brother of immorality. That could have got him killed. We need to be very careful when judging, not to carelessly accuse in our anger. Yet, we need to be able to identify sin in ourselves and others in order to make wise choices. We should despise evil behavior and it’s okay to feel angry. God does. But we also need to remember this does not lesson the love God has for the doer. They are not less worthy of salvation. In the parable of the sons mentioned above, the father goes out to both of them in their sin. The younger son accepted the father but we are left not know the older son’s response. Relational consequences should be given that are appropriate to the behavior with the intent of being productive, not hateful. Cry out to God about how you’ve been wronged. Tell him everything you think. Be real but also remember the truths of the Word and the self-controlled way to respond to your doer. Take good care of yourself so you can be ready and equipped. And don’t beat yourself up over past mistakes.

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