I am on a two week speaking gig to New Orleans, then North Carolina, and then Florida and I’d appreciate your prayers. Instead of answering a question this week, I thought I’d share an observation from Elisha’s interaction with Naaman from 2 Kings Chapter 5.
Naaman was a mighty warrior and commander in the army of King Aram. However, he suffered leprosy. Through a series of events, Naaman’s wife heard there was a prophet in Israel that could heal Naaman’s leprosy.
King Aram was in favor of Naaman seeking help and he sent him to the King of Israel with a letter of introduction with a caravan of silver, gold, and clothing as gifts. The King was speechless. He had no power to heal Naaman and felt anxious and threatened by Naaman.
But Elisha, the man of God heard about this and told the King to send Naaman to him. When Naaman went to see Elisha, Elisha never even answered his door. Instead, he sent messengers out to tell Naaman to wash himself in the Jordan River (7) times and he’d be healed.
But Naaman didn’t like Elisha’s treatment plan. He became angry and stomped away. Naaman expected Elisha to come out to personally greet him. He expected him to have some magic prayer that would instantly heal him. And after all, wasn’t the water in Damascus better than the rivers of Israel? Why should he do what Elisha had recommended? He walked away in a rage.
This reminds me of so many abusers. They say they want help but really don’t want to do what’s required. They expect it to be on their terms, but Elisha was not intimidated nor did he compromise the treatment plan just because of Naaman’s rage.
Eventually, Naaman’s officers reasoned with him and encouraged him to submit to Elisha’s treatment plan and this time he listened. To me, this reminds me of the importance of other healthy men who can come alongside an abuser to help him to humble himself to get the help he needs.
(7) Necessary changes for a destructive person: Seven Tips of Healing from 2 Kings Chapter 5
- An abuser needs to learn how to submit to others instead of always demanding his/her own way. This involves giving up control, putting him/herself under another’s authority ─ a group, the church, the counselor, the law.
- An abuser needs new skills in problem-solving. He has used power and control, manipulation and/ or deceit as the way to solve problems. Now he must learn new ways of making decisions like compromise, sharing power, cooperation and mutual submission.
- An abuser needs to learn how to appropriately express feelings without abuse, intimidation, or manipulation.
- An abuser needs to learn to allow his partner to be separate and say no, disagree and differ with him without labeling it disrespectful, getting enraged, or feeling terrified of abandonment.
- An abuser needs to learn how to speak directly about what he needs and to trust that others are around him that care.
- An abuser must learn how to handle the hurt and disappointment that inherently comes when people who care for us fail and let us down. He must learn to rest in God’s love because human love is never enough.
- An abuser needs to trust God to meet his needs as well as learn to take the initiative and responsibility to meet his own needs rather than demanding that another person always do so.
Friends, have there been other men in your husband’s life who have spoken sense (truth) to him when he refused to listen to you? If so, did he listen?
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