Do I Have An Evil Heart?

Morning friends,

I can’t believe that August is almost over and we have survived our first Arizona summer. It’s been over 100 degrees for more days than not, but it feels different when it isn’t as humid. It’s like walking into an oven, but not a sauna. Hot, but not sweaty. August has also been birthday month. My son and daughter both have August birthdays, as do I. It has been at least ten years since we all celebrated birthdays together. My granddaughters are very excited to be at so many parties. The good news is that it’s been great to be together. The bad news is that I’m eating way too much cake.

Thank you again for all your prayers. This is important work and I sense more openness but also more spiritual darkness hovering over me and my ministry like never before. Please continue your prayers that God’s light will shine through.  


Last week I posted a link to an older blog post, Five Indicators of an Evil Heart. One of our blog readers got scared. Here is her question:

Question: I just read your 2015 post on the Five Indicators of an Evil Heart. It's eerie how it's possible to find myself in some of these points. While I try not to, I know I avoid responsibility, withhold information, sometimes reject feedback and accountability, don't want to give mercy and sometimes have no idea I've caused pain, and even sometimes (in my thoughts) entertain evil for evil.

Does that mean I too have an evil heart and not just my ex? It's a definite pause for thought…

I’m freaked at the possible reality.

Answer: Your question reminds me of a woman who approached me during one of my live seminars a few years back. She was highly distraught that she might be a narcissist. When I asked her what made her think she was a narcissist, she said, “I’m selfish, I don’t want to always babysit my grandkids when my daughter asks and I like to have some time to myself.”

Fearful, she believed she might be beyond hope – since most Internet articles she read indicated narcissists don’t change.

But as far as I could tell in our short discussion she wasn’t a narcissist. Narcissists never worry that they might be too selfish nor do they feel guilty or conflicted about wanting time for their own selves. Neurotics do. Her anxiety over her selfishness was a telling sign that she was not narcissistic.

In a similar vein, even though you identify with some elements of the five signs of an evil heart, I don’t think you have one.

Those who have evil hearts never self-identify as such or self-reflect on their motives or actions. Instead, they usually disguise themselves as angels of light or like good people. That’s why those with evil hearts are so hard to detect. Click To Tweet

It’s true that when we get honest with ourselves, we might all recognize personal struggles with some of the five signs I stated in the original article, Five Indicators of an Evil Heart. However, the following are some key differences between an ordinary sinner and someone with an evil heart:  

A person with an evil heart has:

  1. An absence of guilt or shame over what he or she has done. He might display some emotion if he is caught red handed, but it’s an act. His goal is to reestablish control and maintain his image as an acceptable/ virtuous person. He knows the right things to say or do for damage control but he won’t actually do them for any sustained period of time.
  2. A blatant disregard for the truth. There is no higher authority than his or her own self-reference. Satan knows more truth about God than you or I would ever know, but he does not submit himself to it. The evil heart is his or her own god.
  3. An attitude of entitlement and superiority. She is right, she is better or knows better than anyone else.
  4. No regard for other people’s feelings, needs, or hurts. Other people don’t matter unless they directly serve a purpose. People are seen as pawns, property, and peons to be used, manipulated, and controlled for one’s own purposes.
  5. A stubborn refusal to submit to a collective conscious–in other words, the “Rules of society” don't apply to a person with an evil heart.  He or she is special. He refuses to yield yet still expects all the perks of a normal life.
  6. A desire to win, to control, and to dominate others. When another person resists, that person will be punished. Speaking honestly to an evil heart does not produce any self-reflection or any change. A person with an evil heart responds to confrontation or resistance by punishing, escalating control, or getting more clever in his or her disguise in order to manipulate and win.

In contrast, King David is a good example for us to look at because although he did evil things, he did not have an evil heart. David was guilty of many sins including sexual abuse and murder (2 Samuel 11). And, for a season he seemed blind to all he had done.  

Yet God describes him as a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). How can this be when he committed such horrible sins and hurt people?

We see that David was teachable and open to correction. He listened to Nathan the prophet when Nathan told him a story about someone who took something that did not belong to him. When David became outraged, Nathan told him, “You are the man!”(2 Samuel 12). When David saw his sin, he didn’t kill the messenger, as someone with an evil heart would want to do. Rather, he felt shame and brokenhearted at what he had done. Read Psalm 51 to get a sense of what David’s repentance looked like. David sought God’s forgiveness and he also willingly yielded to God’s consequences for his sin.   

Yes, we are all capable of sins, even horrible ones. But most of us do not feel good about them but rather guilty and ashamed. In contrast, people with an evil heart are proud of their sin and delight in their evil ways (see for example Proverbs 2:14; or 2 Thessalonians 2:12).

Obviously, the pangs of your own conscience were stirred reading the original article. That may give you some indications that you have some things to look at and self-correct, but the fact that you felt those pricks of the Holy Spirit and asked for feedback indicates that you are open to correction from God and others and not a person with an evil heart.

Friend, Hebrews 5:14 tells us “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” How have you trained yourself to discern the difference?


  1. ~ Pam on August 30, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Leslie Vernick’s description of the evil heart on pages 106-109 of ‘The Emotionally Destructive Relationship’ was one of the initial “ah-ha!” moments of my wake-up call. Although I was shocked at how closely the evil heart attitude described what I was up against, I didn’t want to believe it, it scared me. But then one of her quotes got me into Dan Allender’s ‘Bold Love’ and some pod-casts discussing it.

    “One awful, abusive, event does not make a person evil, but when it represents a repetitive pattern of excessive disregard for others (mockery) and a wanton, vicious refusal to look at the damage done (arrogance), then one can ascertain a significant inclination to evil.” ~ quoted by Leslie in TEDM p 108 from Dan Allender, Bold Love, p 238.

    Then my counselor recommended M. Scott Peck’s ‘People of the Lie’ (whoa!) which not only confirmed what I thought I was hearing but clarified it, then went deeper (painfully so) until I could see the evil at work within my part, the way I’d chosen to enable the cycle of abuse in my marriage & family for 35 years. After hearing the same thing from three different perspectives (and many pauses to wail & gnash my teeth) I could no longer deny what God had prepared for me to do.

    “On the testimony [by the mouth of, in the mouth of, by the words of, by the evidence of] two or three witnesses every word shall stand.”

    “On the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed [established, settled, proved, verified, clarified, sustained, made certain, upheld].” ~ Deuteronomy 19:15b, Matthew 18:6b, 2 Corinthians 13:1

    Paradigm shift: Once I dared put a name to what I was up against, there was no going back. Like suddenly seeing the faces on either side of the crucible in an optical illusion for the first time? I couldn’t ‘un-see’ it. First God used chronic illness to ‘hedge up my way with thorns and built a wall against me’ (Hosea 2:6) so I could no longer do what I had been doing, then He used Leslie Vernick, Dan Allender and M. Scott Peck to bring me face to face–not only with the evil at work on both sides of the cycle of abuse, but with evil’s only remedy:

    “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good… Only God is good…” ~ Romans 12: 21; Mark 12:32

    • GL on August 30, 2017 at 9:31 am

      in my counseling I’m aware of my defenses and guarded heart. It as all our sins need to be replaced with Gispel truth. I need not defend because the Lord will do that for me. Using his word as a sword and belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness, this concept also in Leslie book Distructive Relationships . I had a hard time leaving my husb. because I also saw similar behaviors as I disliked in him. He took it to a new level and wasn’t repentive. I was always sorry which made him believe he had no fault . Eventually he refused to forgive me. Leaving me to carry his sins to me and my own sins.

      • Liz on August 30, 2017 at 11:58 am

        GL. If you have asked for forgiveness and you have asked God for forgiveness you have confessed your part of the sins God has forgiven you. If your husband refuses to forgive you, that’s on him. Don’t take that sin on you any longer Christ already paid that price don’t do that to yourself God has forgiven you. You have no control over what your husband feels or does that’s on him please know that.

        • Donna on August 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm

          Liz, Thanks I needed to hear that.

  2. Rebecca Davis on August 30, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Thank you, Leslie. I’m thankful that you continue to draw the clear contrast for those with sensitive consciences who want to be aware of their sin and turn from it–as opposed to those with hardened consciences who delight in their evil.

    • GL on August 30, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Yes I agree.

    • Aly on August 30, 2017 at 9:48 am


      Thanks for posting that statement! I think it is so clear.
      Still hard to understand they ‘delight’ in it, since I struggle thinking that way.

      Rebecca, someone posted a website blog link…
      The peaceful wife.
      It reminded me of one of your guest posts here on Leslie’s blog not that long ago.

      Her material causes me to feel sadness and concern because she doesn’t ‘define abuse’ overall.
      My plan is to reach out to her based on some of what I have read and the overall tone she shares with her readers~ one big red flag is maybe how she might ‘define pornography’ as not infidelity or serious abuse/marital issues.

      I’m enjoying your book and working my way through it~
      Thank you again for your advocacy and love in these tough situations.

      • Rebecca Davis on August 30, 2017 at 10:56 am

        Thank you for your encouragement, Aly! I’ve known several “peaceful” wives who have tried to submit to abuse at the hands of evil two-faced spouses, because they believed it was what God wanted from them. Maybe you’re remembering my post about hypocrisy because wives can sometimes end up “pretending” that their husbands are wonderful when in reality they have evil hearts as Leslie has so clearly pointed out here.

        I’m glad the book has been helpful to you. I also regularly blog about untwisting Scriptures as I see ways Scriptures have been used to keep people in bondage.

        • Aly on August 30, 2017 at 11:25 am

          Rebecca, & Leslie;)

          Leslie I’m praying for you and what you described today on the blog. I’m sorry for this but not alarmed.. I’m praying the God will be the ‘one to dismantle’ that spiritual battle and that we can all pray here on this blog for you, your strength, courage and your purpose of Him. Hugs 🌈

          Thank you Rebecca, yes you are correct about the title and your blog post here.

          You wrote:
          “There is a hypocritical dynamic permeating many churches and parachurch organizations.

          But I’ll add, it’s a dynamic that newcomers are often unable to readily perceive. In fact, I believe there’s a fifth group that I can’t give a “P” name to—the Unaware, who haven’t discerned this destructive power dynamic going on in the churches and parachurch organizations. If and when they’re made aware of it, though (as I talked about in this blog post), they must make a decision.”

          This is my angst.. and my ‘unsettling’ as I have read over the blog I referenced. A farely new Christian (as she claims) encouraging other wives to be counseled along some blurred lines about abuse in my opinion.
          Yes she makes ~ disclaimers over extreme abuse situations and those that are in severe situations but she is deciding what constitutes severe from her baseline.
          I fear for the vulnerable women who might feel they can ‘posture respect so much that it changes the behavior of the abuser and the whole outcome of the marriage ‘ when in reality sometimes those things just go underground.

          Thanks for listening and your work!

          • Rebecca Davis on August 30, 2017 at 4:56 pm

            Aly, would you be willing to either post here or email me the blog in which the woman makes these recommendations? You can reach me at Thank you!

          • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2017 at 11:06 am

            Thanks Aly.

  3. ~ Pam on August 30, 2017 at 9:13 am

    “The truest reflection of your character, or your spiritual life, the truest expression of your walk with God isn’t phenomenal displays of spiritual gifting—anointed teaching, or prophetic words, the power to bring physical healing… Scripture says that the heart of the matter, the truest reflection of your character is the quality of the relationship you offer and the motives behind it.” ~ Craig McConnell quoting Dan Allender from ‘Bold Love’. From the Ransomed Heart podcast:

    John Eldridge: “We are commanded to live a life of love. It’s a supernatural life, loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, resisting, fighting and separating ourselves from evil—we can’t mimic or counterfeit this life. This life is the supernatural work of God

    Definition of an evil person: An evil person delights in the destruction of another. This delight trumps conscience, trumps common morality, it trumps empathy…. This is a destroyer. We’re all capable of doing evil. Evil establishes itself beyond conscience and care and beyond doubt.

    This is someone who does repeated harm, and they’re furious and vengeful when confronted. They retaliate verbally, physically, sexually, financially… They sabotage church and family systems, and exploit them…

    This is a person who’s given themselves over to sabotage and destruction, destruction that is carried out with forethought. Our response: confront it wisely, setting clear boundaries.”

    More? [24:21] Relationships: Loving An Evil Person/ John Eldridge & Craig McConnell:

    • Liz on August 30, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      I just listened to this Pam.. it is so good!!! I’m trying so hard to know what love looks like in loving an evil person. I have always felt so guilty that I cannot affectionately love my h.. felt that was what God wanted me to do. I’ve learned so much in the last two yrs.. wish I would have learned it so long ago. I would not be living with this evil person if I would have. The ransom heart thing you posted made it so clear to me, along with all the other things I have been learning. I’m finally starting to get it although it’s hard to apply not being able to leave. Thank you for that link.

      • JoAnn on August 31, 2017 at 1:17 pm

        Liz, With God, all things are possible. If He calls you to leave, trust that he will make a way. He always makes a way for us to follow Him.

      • ~ Pam on August 31, 2017 at 6:48 pm

        “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:10

        I highly recommend Dan Allender’s book “Bold Love” for a more thorough treatment of what God’s love looks like in these situations. Your local library probable has it or:

        The ‘E’ in Leslie’s CORE requires me to learn to walk out the three-strand-chord of Micah 6:8: Doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with God.

        Doing justly: Recognizing the wrong and being willing to face it. Not making any more excuses for the perpetrator or myself. Separating his part from my part and owning my part in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Loving mercy: Forgiving & being forgiven; viewing his part in light of my own. Walking in the humility of Christ means making truth and reality my reality. Having the courage to walk out the gospel in the aftermath of our situation and then to keep on doing so.

        Forgiveness may or may not mean reconciliation but Micah 6:8 frees me to stop pretending. The fact that God is God and I’m not frees me. I no longer feel compelled to over function. I no longer feel I have to keep telling myself it’s ‘losing my life for Christ’s sake’ when it’s actually ‘slow-death-by-abuse-cycle’ instead.

  4. Cynthia on August 30, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Hello Leslie,
    When I read the Evil Heart I noticed my Aspberger husband in all of the traits! That’s exactly how he is! He can’t change and he can’t apologize and he can’t notice his hurtful damaging character traits because of his brain dysfunction.
    The affects of his “PERSONALITY or CHARACTER” are damaging to me and the family, but I can’t leave him because he is sick and he can’t help he was born like that. I feel guilty for wanting to leave him because he’s damaged and now damaged his family..
    Please help me focus on WHY I should get away from my husband when he is sick through no fault of his own?!
    Thank you Leslie

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2017 at 11:12 am

      You ask a complicated question with no easy answers but I would challenge you that not all those diagnosed with Aspergers fit all five characteristics of an evil heart. So I would suggest that you ask your husband to enter into some therapy with an expert in Aspergers in relationships. He CAN learn how to do things better relationally and you CAN learn how to communicate so that an Aspergers person will be able to hear you better. (not normal- but better)
      However, his pride and stubbornness are not Aspergers, they are human sinful traits. I’d encourage you to read, Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Aspergers by Dr. Eva Mendez. That book will help you see that your husband is capable of better than he’s doing if he’s characterized by those 5 evil traits – unless there is more than Aspergers going on and he also has an evil heart. Aspergers doesn’t exclude other sin problems too.

      • Aly on August 31, 2017 at 11:37 am

        Leslie, Cynthia,

        Leslie you answered so truthfully to this and yes I agree it’s complicated. I’m so glad you answered Cynthia here, my heart goes out to her!
        Trained professionals are a must in this area.

        I know I posted some of my journey before, I thought my h also had Aspbergers based on the traits. Thank the Lord, it’s a spectrum. I felt completely helpless thinking that he couldn’t do things better~ which was far from the truth. Plus I think I was getting to the point of the abusive cycle that I was convinced he had every disorder out there! Patterns helps big time for me and yes wouldn’t you know it Pride and Stubbornness kept surfacing as well as I’m pretty sure he never heard the ‘word No’ or any form of boundaries growing up! Seriously I’m not kidding here, most of his upbringing was silent unspoken rules. No communication~ little affection. All surface operations, attachment issues across the board.

        I read and read, got help from my counselor to help me better navigate the issues we were having….which began a pattern.
        My h can now can see that his narc traits and attachments issues in abandonment and bonding (look very much like asp) and he has in the past even wanted to he be diagnosed or make me think that… to escape accountability for himself.. too bad I’m well informed of the power of those narc traits. It’s gets shut down pretty quick.
        Goodness I sound like a drill sergeant? I’m not.. just loving myself and him well. 💜

      • Cynthia on August 31, 2017 at 11:43 am

        Oh thank you so much Leslie! I did not totally feel my husbands character traits were lining up as a Christian man regardless of his Dx. He is highly functional! This sheds more light onto the matter. I can set boundaries and I am ready for health and healing!
        Thank you for sharing and God Bless!

        • Connie on August 31, 2017 at 3:52 pm

          Cynthia, I agree with Leslie and Aly. The man who runs Elijah House counseling is also diagnosed Asperger’s, and he has had challenges, but he acts like a Christian, he does definitely not have an evil heart. One thing he has learned he needed to do was to partner with and listen to his wife even more than most husbands do, which takes humility.

          I have one question for you, Cynthia: did he act this way when he courted you, or did he manage to be kind then?

      • Hope on August 31, 2017 at 4:27 pm

        Leslie, thank you! You and your ministry have been lifesavers as I’ve tried to find clarity in my 28-year marriage to an Asperger’s husband. His lack of connection and empathy is breathtaking, heartbreaking and now I know, emotionally abusive (though maybe unintentional at times on his part). I’ve been trying to combine your wonderful biblical counsel with specialized counseling on AS. Your insights on how to leave well or stay well are priceless. He won’t listen, go to counseling and has said he will NOT change. If I try to talk about “us”, he goes into a meltdown (scary) to shut me up. I’m part of CORE and grateful! I’m praying for you; you and your ministry are in my heart!

        • Kate on August 31, 2017 at 6:33 pm

          I’m in the same situation…he will not go for counseling. I have found Leslie’s counsel very helpful also. I have started seeing the truth and saying the truth.

  5. Linda on August 30, 2017 at 11:35 am

    This is soooo helpful, thank you!!!!

  6. Aleea on August 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    “. . . Friend, Hebrews 5:14 tells us “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” How have you trained yourself to discern the difference?”

    . . . .The world is just *full* of suffering. We all suffer and we all suffer —a lot. Evil is unnecessary suffering. Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering end, —right here, right now. . . . .Evil is the production of suffering for suffering’s sake, i.e. people fearing made-up hells for their entire lives, women being told this is *absolutely* God’s will and plan for their lives when it really isn’t. I see no real way to stop unnecessary suffering except by telling the Truth and walking in Reality (as best we know how, as best we can), at all times. . . .And it is so hard to walk in reality and tell the truth about everything. No one knows anywhere near even a majority of the truth (THE TRUTH is a mind-boggling vast ocean and the surface is not the depths of it). . . . *but* people surely know when they are pretending to know things that they *really* do not know in any factual sense. When they are making factual claims about the nature of reality with no peer-reviewed evidence and facts. . . .or as we say in court: “Objection, your Honor. . . . .Please, these statements assume facts *not* in evidence!” . . . .And no wonder people don’t walk in reality, it is a really hard road and often a very sad road too. . . .Wonder, open-mindedness, a skeptical and scientific-minded attitude, and the genuine desire to know what’s true—even if it makes me sadder . . . .Not claiming to know something I don’t *really* know isn’t a character flaw, it is a virtue. Doubt is our intellectual conscience pleading with us to be honest with ourselves. We (I) fear clear, honest, blunt dialogue, but what we ought to fear are dangerous ideas that keep women in their abuse. . . . .Faith claims are knowledge claims. Faith claims are statements of absolute fact about the world. —Lord Jesus, help us to be deeply honest, even if it means deconstructing some of the assertions about the Bible. . . .As I say, I want God, not my or somebody else’s ideas about God. . . .So, unfortunately, there is no denying that there is evil in this world and in all of us (The best women are not consistent in their good—the worst women are not consistent in their evil) . . . .but telling the truth (as best we know how and working hard to know what we know) is the only way I see that even has a chance at conquering the darkness. Conquering the darkness. . . not choosing the lessor of the evils because that is still evil. . . .Remorse shows the difference between a cruel person and one that is not. . . . .And if we have done things we aren’t proud of, GOOD. It means we have a conscience. . . .I hope that real love and real truth are stronger in the end than any evil in the world. . . .Oh, and being against evil doesn’t make you good. I have been so against it before that I was evil myself. I could feel it coming in just like a tide. . . .I just wanted to destroy those terrorists. But when you start feeling that way, you are awfully close to the very thing you’re fighting against. We have to rest in the historically verifiable knowledge that no matter how hard Evil tries, it can never quite match up to the power of Good, because Evil is ultimately self-destructive (—for example terrorists). . . .And our laws don’t correct evil —they only increase it. There is probably but one way to end evil —by rendering good for evil to all.

  7. Nancy on August 30, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    My first reaction – from the Title – was immediately, ‘No, because you are asking the question’.

    Good for you to be able to look in the mirror, and ask for help 🙂

  8. Sunny on August 30, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    My H clearly has 5 of the 6 traits of an evil heart. We’ve been married for 12 years, and the patterns are consistant. He has never shown remorse over his abuse, only anger that I’ve tried to call it out a few times and get help. He quickly puts on a good face for others to see, pretending that everything is ok and I’m exaggerating. He will say that I’m the one with issues. Of course, I’m not perfect and do indeed make mistakes. However, I really do feel bad about mistakes and am generally very quick to apologize. I’ve never heard him apologize in 12 years. This is really hard to bear because I have three children under age 10, and I don’t know what to do. Once you know that a person has an evil heart, how do you love them anyway?

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2017 at 11:04 am

      I’d encourage you to read Dan Allender’s book Bold Love which tells how to love an evil person Biblically.

      • Content on August 31, 2017 at 8:01 pm

        That’s my question right now…what does love look like in this situation? Definitely checking this book out.

        • M. on September 1, 2017 at 8:44 am

          I agree I also need to read this book as my H also has many of these traits.
          The family is suffering Bc of it , our marriage is broken, I’m suffering with c-ptsd symptoms , can’t get close to him Bc of negative associations I’ve made with his anger outbursts and no genuine remorse or repentance . he gets angry Bc he needs touch and sex and I can’t get close Bc I feel so guarded . I clench my teeth at night when I lay next to him, I’m waking up at 4am each night , he doesn’t want any type of connection to my heart
          Or reveal anything in his

          But how do I touch him then? And meet his sexual needs?
          I cried and broke down a few times when I tried ,
          And I feel like I can only lay there and be used.
          Perform my duty . I avoid his eyes when I’m with him Bc of the fact that I know he doesn’t want a connection with me he’s told me that as well as past counselors
          Also he views porn

          I’m scared to leave him Bc of the kids. We have 4.
          I’m also afraid to leave him Bc of his anger and rage ..
          He believes I’m part of the marriage problems so I can’t leave Bc that means I’m saying I have nothing to work on. I’m not saying that .. I want to work on things once of which is talking .. which he won’t do.
          He stonewalls
          He wants control and his needs

          And says I argue and I don’t listen

          We have no trust but he won’t begin by simply talking with me to begin to seek understanding/
          Acknowledge the hurts and begin to work together-/ he wants independence and sex and admiration

          He does very well financially and told me that he won’t divorce Bc he will have no money left ..

          I’m trying..
          but my trying is resulting in me becoming numb to him, coping mechanisms, and not being able to meet his needs or be close to him.

          I can’t reward his behavior of control and manipulation as well as the covert nature of how he is deceitful .

          I DO need to learn how to live / love in this marriage.
          Hoping this book helps..

          • Sunny on September 1, 2017 at 6:17 pm

            You have described my situation in more detail! I feel your pain. I can relate to the angry outbursts, becoming numb to husband, H’s control and manipulation, no remorse, and the financial consequences. I also have C-PTSD, and have been abused much of my life. The only major thing that’s different in my situation is that my H won’t even have sex with me. He has tossed me to the curb physically. That is so painful, because he is the only one whom I’m willingly sharing myself with, and yet he the one who doesn’t want me sexually… AT ALL. I just don’t get it. I just feel done. with it all.

          • Autumn on September 1, 2017 at 8:29 pm

            What would happen Content, is you stopped listening to any of his opinions about you. His distortions seem to have invaded your thinking patterns. Do you realize he is in there?

            I was told and I believe this, the abusive spouse is never an accurate judge of your character. Content. I give you permission to ignore everything his says about you. Every comment is a twisting of the truth or an out and out fabrication designed to control you.

            I would also like to suggest that some of the things you imagine would happen if you leave will not happen. Fear is a powerful force. Now, who owns fear? Satan right, not God. It is vey likely that your children are delighted to be out of an abusive home. It is very likely that the things they are exposed to every indirectly have already hurt their proper growth and development. It would be impossible that such a situation could foster health of any kind.

            So, this is tough talk, Yet we are to live in truth right? There is nothing you can do to change this man or learn to live with him. You will suffer, your children will suffer and eventually bigger and bigger problems develop.

          • Autumn on September 1, 2017 at 8:32 pm

            Sorry, my comment was for M, not Content.

          • Sunshine on September 1, 2017 at 8:41 pm

            M, I would like to ask if you have read Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He Do That? I would read that before Dan’s book.

            If is my opinion that you are actively being abused. There is nothing you can do to make it stop, short of asking him to leave. If he will not leave, you will need to do so. Don’t listen to his threats about money, the law is on your side.

            Also, you comments about sexuality reflect perfectly normal behavior for someone who lives in the horrible situation in which you live. None of this is your fault, not one teeny, tiny bit of it.

          • Maria on September 2, 2017 at 8:13 am

            I think one of the misconceptions that a lot of women have is that husbands and wives are entitled to sex. Many churches preach this. When one of the spouses cannot even bear to be touched by the other because of the abuse of the one demanding it, how can this be what God wants? God doesn’t want us to pretend and fake peace and just give in. M, it is not healthy for you to just give in to your husband. Also, it not for your husband’s good that you give in. You are taking away his consequences when you give in.
            Another thing, we are responsible for our health- emotional, physical etc. Our bodies are temples of God, and we need to treat them that way. Allowing others to trample on us is not taking care of the precious gift we have been given. And if there are children in the picture, I believe we need to take care of ourselves even more so that we can take care of them.
            I have seen that some churches expect us to throw common sense out the window and just believe. This is not right. They preach that blind belief without questioning is faith. I see women who arent Christians recover from abuse faster because they don’t have these beliefs.

  9. Lisa on August 31, 2017 at 3:33 am

    I read Leslie’s “Five Indicators of an Evil Heart” about a year ago and I’m certain that my husband fits the mold. I’m just so distraught and heartbroken at the thought of divorce. Not so much for me, but for my 11 year old daughter. I know she will be devastated. Throughout our 20 year marriage his offenses have been reserved for me alone. To our daughter, as well as to others, he has done a fantastic job of what Leslie calls, “disguise themselves as angels of light or like good people.” Even I fell for it all those years ago (and other times since). Now I just feel too broken to take a step.

    • Content on August 31, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      Praying for you, Lisa. God will give you the strength you need for each step. Yes, it is heartbreaking for the children. I totally understand what you’re saying as my kids, too, have only seen the fun dad (although very emotionally disconnected and focused on himself).

      For myself, I knew I needed to separate so that I wouldn’t emotionally shut down (and therefore, not me a whole person). When we separated, I was surprised to see how quickly it felt like spiritual oppression left and also how I was able to be *me*, no filters trying to tiptoe around my husband. I was free to be who I was in Christ for the first time. So even though, yes, it’s been painful for all of us, I think these two things outweigh the pain. They get a mom who is free to relate to them in the fullness of her relationship with Christ.

      I encourage you to at least be free to be who you are in Christ either way right now. Whether you stay now or choose to separate/divorce. Be strong in who you are as a child of God. If you do this, you might quickly see what the next step is.

      • Nancy on September 1, 2017 at 11:43 am


        “They get a mom who is free to relate to them in the fullness of her relationship with Christ.”

        This is what actively guarding our heart for The Lord, is!
        Protecting that relationship…above all others ❤️

        And Content, your h might be the ‘nice guy’ to them, but kids are just as (maybe more) intuitive as (than) adults. They know that mom is growing in grace and strength and they also know that when the chips are down, that’s what counts ( even though they may never tell you this).

        Make no mistake, they are first hand witnesses to the transforming work of Jesus Christ, in your heart.

        In your pursuit of The Lord above all else, you have given them a gift beyond measure.

        • JoAnn on September 1, 2017 at 11:45 am

          Amen! Well said.

        • M. on September 1, 2017 at 4:21 pm

          Amen! Love this ! Praying for you ..

  10. ~ Pam on August 31, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    ‘Bold love’ comment: “We’ve come to view love as being “nice,” yet the kind of love modeled by Jesus Christ has nothing to do with manners or unconditional acceptance. Rather, it is disruptive, courageous, and socially unacceptable. In Bold Love, Dr. Dan Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III draw out the aggressive, unrelenting, passionate power of genuine love. Far from helping you “get along” with others, Bold Love introduces the outlandish possibility of making a significant, life-changing impact on family, friends, coworkers—even your enemies. Learn more about forgiveness, maturity, and seeing others through Jesus’ eyes.”

    • Aly on August 31, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      This is excellent;) thank you for posting!

      • ~ Pam on September 2, 2017 at 7:57 am

        This is from a comment posted online describing Dan Allender’s book: ‘Bold Love’. If you aren’t able to get into a book and take away what you need, there are some wonderful online podcast discussion/applications of Allender’s book at Ransomed Heart Ministries with John Eldridge & Craig McConnell.

        I posted their discussion of the evil heart above. Foolishness is different from evil:

        “An evil person consciously, intentionally does repeated harm and is furious and vengeful when confronted. A fool is different. A fool rejects discipline and exposure but is blundering through life, unconsciously doing harm.” ~ Ransomed Heart

        More? Here’s the link to the podcast discussing fools: Relationships: Loving A Fool: John Eldridge & Craig McConnell

        • Aly on September 2, 2017 at 9:18 am


          Thanks! I’m pretty familiar with ransomed heart ministries;) and a bit of Dan Alllender.
          I will look into the link you posted! Thank you;)

          I can agree that there is a difference when describing a fool and evil intented person but the impact of harm & trauma to me is similar, regardless how the offender is described.
          There is an older book out there called; Fool-proofing your life’ that I also think has some great examples of this.

          When speaking in terms of someone causing harm or ‘a fool’ doing things unconsciously, I can understand this but it doesn’t dismiss the harm or impact done.

          This is similar to seeing the harm of someone suffering from ‘narc victim syndrome’ or symptoms… the damage is there, regardless if the person causing the harm is in fact a true narcissistic. Very few truly are in my opinion, but many have these harming traits that are continuous and yes they might be described as foolish, but that’s where safe boundaries come into place and loving the fool from a distance~ especially if they can’t take any perspective or desire to be aware of how their behavior impacts another.

          Are you in a situation of loving a ‘fool’?

          • ~ Pam on September 2, 2017 at 10:07 am

            It’s helpful to note that harm done is harm done, but what helps determine my response is an honest assessment of the pattern of behavior.

            What I told myself was foolishness was evil instead. I learned the hard way that evil shouldn’t be confronted alone and that although God alone truly knows the motivations of the human heart, the litmus test between a foolish person and a committed fool (an evil heart beset w/insolent pride) is their response to confrontation. Their response indicates the intention behind the repeated harm.

            From the Ransomed Heart Podcast:

            “An evil person delights in the destruction of another. This delight trumps conscience, trumps common morality, it trumps empathy…. We’re all capable of doing evil… This is someone who’s does repeated harm, and they’re furious and vengeful when confronted. They retaliate verbally, physically, sexually, financially… They sabotage church and family systems, and exploit them… This is a person who’s given themselves over to sabotage and destruction that is carried out with forethought. This is a destroyer.”

            After I committed to several years of recovery, after I was strong enough to take my marriage to my church, after I’d moved out and established a separate living space from which to do battle, I was told my ex-h had been lying to me for years. He’d told me he’d stepped down because of a matter of conscience when in reality he’d been confronted by his ministry, removed from leadership, put on probation, and held accountable by an expert psychologist and given years of opportunity to change his behavior.

            The difference between evil and foolishness is intentionality. When my ex-h intentionally chose not to change again and again I had to understand what God had prepared for me to do.

            From the Podcast:

            “God commands us to love our enemies. Our response: Confront evil wisely, setting clear boundaries.

            Evil originates in the pit of hell. The enemy is the heart of evil. Loving an evil person does not mean being nice. Jesus Who is Love itself called evil religious leaders, “Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” He accused them of being “sons of hell who made those under their influence twice as fit for hell as they were themselves.” (Matthew 23:33,15).”

            With God anything’s possible, but as I understand it? With evil there’s less possibility of change and repentance. My part was to transfer my hope from what was or wasn’t happening in my situation– to God. Once my hope was making it’s nest in the right tree? No matter how the storms raged, my heart was secure in Christ and this is important because when evil is confronted all hell (literally) breaks out:

            “Do not hope for the evil persons to change. It could happen and it does happen, but it does not happen by giving in to them, reasoning with them, or giving them another chance to hurt you. It happens when they finally are subject to limits that force them to change.” ~ Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings, p.144

            An evil heart has no intention of changing because it perceives everything as: Not. My. Fault.

            “…it is necessary that we first draw the distinction between evil and ordinary sin. It is not their sins, per se that characterize evil people, rather it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.” ~ M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie

            Blame shifting:

            ‘When a person guilty of a terrible or repetitive sin keeps pressuring his or her partner to forgive and forget, pay attention. They are doing so because they are unwilling to do the hard work to learn from their mistakes. They are unwilling to be empathetic to the pain they’ve caused. Rather, he wants to be free from the pain he feels and put it all behind him. In addition, he is unwilling to be held accountable by his spouse and wise others, who know what’s going on, to call him into awareness when he is getting close to the edge of repeat destructive behavior.

            Forgiveness does not mean or require forgetting.” ~ Leslie Vernick on forgiving but not forgetting

          • Aly on September 2, 2017 at 10:57 am

            I could not agree more.
            I’m so sorry for what you went through and I hope that you are free with Life to the Fullest💕

          • ~ Pam on September 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

            Bless you. Years in Christ centered community are restoring my joy. Living joyfully is to live fully.

          • Maria on September 2, 2017 at 11:47 am


            Thanks for your post on evil & foolishness.

          • Nancy on September 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            Thank you Pam. These are critical distinctions. The most important that stands out to me is that evil should not be confronted alone. Bone chilling, really.

    • Nancy on September 1, 2017 at 7:12 am

      I LOVE this!

      Yes, Jesus is far from ‘nice’.

  11. Renee on September 1, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I have been here reading and absorbing but can’t seem to do it fast enough. I don’t want to make any more mistakes with my abusive marriage.

    My heart is no longer cracked but rather torn apart. I don’t want to give my spouse any additional chances because I had grieved my loss and had a made up mind of no more.

    However, I need major support and guidance because husband is begging for another chance. Counselor asked me the other day what had I decided. I pretty much just said I am afraid to open my hurt again.

    My husband and I have always had problems. We’ve been married for 18 years with two teens. Teens under counseling now because daughter was really struggling.

    Since **14 things have gotten uncomfortable. What happened in that year? I started a job working out of town doing pca work for my parents.

    With that brought on anger and yelling, conflicts about everything it seems, accusations of flirting and cheating, a needing to know of my every move and contact throughout the day, intimidation, aggressiveness, silent treatment after the anger, trying to dictate what I wear makeup wise and clothing wise, name calling (although not street names as he calls it).

    But the thing is, I never labeled my marriage as abusive until my counselor in **15 said a new life required divorce after individual counseling with me and also couples counseling with my spouse and his counselor. Yes I denied the books read in **14. Fast forward to **16 I was willing to keep trying and found us an online counselor. They suggested we go to work together to give him some comfort but then finally told me I needed to separate until the anger was gone. In 20** I was no longer in denial but could not afford to be on my own. Can’t live with parents because that is a condition of the job.

    Three months ago I had enough and called police out for a couple situations (none physical which he loves telling everyone). It has been quiet for a month. However, the other day I noticed on his computer he was making notes to himself saying that I was the one getting physical in the relationship. I guess if I decided to pursue the order of protection. The officer must have given him the heads up.

    I don’t see next year being different because of all the things mentioned in Mrs. Leslie’s book, this website, and when others try to coach him he blames me and says I provoke him.

    However, my spouse is begging for a chance saying he never understood before even though I was speaking up. No, i do not believe that for one bit.

    He wants to go out this weekend for a drink and was calling it a date. Again, I don’t want to give him the impression that everything is ok. I don’t want either of us to have a setback.

    Right now we are doing an in-house separation.

    So my question, would this meetup result in a setback for either of us? Things are still not right in his mind and my heart.

    I’m open for your support please.

    I hope it is ok to post here for guidance.

  12. Aleea on September 2, 2017 at 5:52 am

    . . . More thoughts . . . .re: Evil is the production of suffering for its own sake and that easily happens when people are pretending to know things they don’t know in any objective, fact-based sense. . . . .I pray to God every single day for wisdom, James One-style: “. . . .if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask of You, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given. . . .” . . .But, the price that I pay for any wisdom I get is radical disillusionment and the confrontation with evil. I think that is because what we need most is to be found where we least want to look. . . . .When I ask why terrible, evil things happen in the world, the answer is quite simple: The answer is because I’m not good enough. And, that’s because I don’t always tell the truth as clearly as I know how, even though I really try. Why? I don’t want all that harsh blow-back and shunning. —And I know it. . . . .To tell the truth does not mean I claim that I am correct. It only is to claim that I am going to try to communicate the way things look to me as clearly as possible, not holding back, not walking on eggshells, and with an attitude that I’m always open to correction. . . . .The Truth, . . . .The Truth even if it brings everything down around me. The Truth, is the way to meaning and meaning is the antidote to suffering. If meaning is pursued properly, fact-based and truthfully, then maybe we do not get corrupted by our suffering, and that actually diminishes the net total of suffering. A lot of us have tried to avoid hell by not facing it, but the path to paradise is straight through hell… and if we don’t go there voluntarily, we will go there by accident. People know when they are saying things they have no evidence for. There’s something shameful and demeaning about that and we know that it hurts people, and I think well, why do we, why do I, do it? . . . .Partly because it’s easy. Deep research and thinking deeply is so hard and so easily leads to radical disillusionment and the confrontation with evil. You can bring forth something akin to paradise by speaking the truth, and you can start in your own life and you can start in the life of your own families and these are the people, in principle, that you love! And it could be that for brief moments, when we really love, we operate beyond good and evil, like God. . . . .So why would you do anything but speak the truth to them? To protect them? From reality? . . . .For examples, I have often wondered what would have happened if Paul and Matthew had been locked up in a room together and told they could not come out until they had hammered out a consensus statement on how followers of Jesus were to deal with the Jewish law. I don’t think they would have ever emerged, they would still be there, two skeletons locked in a death grip. . . . Jesus taught that the age he lived in was controlled by forces of evil but that God would soon intervene to destroy everything and everyone opposed to Him. God would then bring in a good, utopian kingdom on earth, where there would be no more pain and suffering. Jesus himself would be the ruler of this kingdom, with his twelve disciples serving under him. And all this was to happen very, very soon —within his own generation. . . . .There’s no protecting anyone from reality. Reality just is. I have to interact with Reality on its terms and we do that by facing it forthrightly.

  13. ~ Pam on September 2, 2017 at 10:12 am

    “Evil deeds do not an evil person make. Otherwise we should all be evil, because we all do evil things….If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have “crossed over the line” [into evil] are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness.” ~ M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie

  14. Anne on September 5, 2017 at 7:50 pm


    I think this is a great post.

    I’d like to say a slightly contrary point of view. But a disclaimer: NONE of what I say below should be used to justify not having solid boundaries for protecting and loving oneself. Nor believing the lies of our partners. Safety Always First!

    Holding fast to God, and not what my partner said about me (imagine here daily subversive passive-aggressive character assassinations to protect a sex addiction), I realized I do have an evil heart, it’s not its permanent state, but without turning to God’s care and love, and authentically doing it, my heart too will grow evil and I will worship my own evil heart, I do it daily in small ways really.

    I thought I was turning to God to help me in my situation and in some ways I was but over a few short years, I had slowly traded my God’s principles, for my new god’s: my husband. My heart did become evil or grow eviler (not as an end state, but as a tendency and it did display characteristics as indicated by Leslie’s original article) as I submitted to evil in my life thru my husband’s values that he used to hide his addiction and avoid the true picture of his own heart. I took my husbands values of secrecy, and hiding, and minimizing the impacts of his actions.

    Have you read the story of Dorian Grey? It was like I became the picture of Dorian Gray in his attic, I took on the dark consequences of his sin. For instance, I looked crazy, I was sick and unable to work, I was plagued daily with guilt and tormented with a terrible sense of low or no self worth (things got way worse which woke me up more and more). I was like a receptacle for his dislike of himself, which was valid for the behaviors he was doing, but he alone was in control of ultimately changing them by turning to God. I inadvertently was taking responsibility for things that were not mine, or giving away rights or giving in regarding my rights, as my spouse did not believe I had them. I called this sacrifice, and sacrificial love, when in fact it was enabling evil.

    I wanted to share this, because of the hope of the reality that I think having an evil heart is a continuum, and we can turn and ask God to take the crap that isn’t ours and help us deal with what is. And I may fall into a delusional trap if I don’t accept that my heart can fall into evil as dark as any darkness is out there, without God.

    I wanted to share this too because I don’t think any evil heart is beyond hope and there are ways that evil is confronted in the bible that we just don’t do today or do effectively and I have deep sorrow for the loss of my husband to his delusions. (Read Matthew 18, and confrontations at the level of the church community, ie Ephesians 5 (Exposing evil), for a bible reference. Also Ezekiel 3:18, if we see it, we should say it (if SAFE, if you know it’s not you’ve likely already said something), else it’s on us. And this not happening effectively is why I think we are in the mess we are in corporately with men and women clinging to evil. Note this only works for evil inside the church, but if we can’t clean up our own house, how can we go to someone else’s and say we have solutions!

    It has broken my heart to see the lostness of men I love, most particularly my husband, be lost to an evil delusion, because we don’t confront in the church or our communities, with the truth spoken in love, feeling love and in tune with the Spirit of Love, the Holy Spirit. If we don’t think we have evil hearts too, I think it’s too easy to take an “us and them” perspective and give up hope. Because really the line for us to become evil, was at the fall, and we cross back to repentance daily in relationship with Jesus, not, I don’t think that first time we prayed to Jesus. There is so little Hope out there for someone to change, but maybe we just aren’t doing our full part.

    In conclusion (sorry this is so long), I think my heart is evil, it’s just a matter of how much evil is in there! And daily when I turn to God, He helps put the light on it to get it out of there. I need to clean my house regularly and my heart is no different. I don’t think it’s helpful to say that because someone has a lot more dirt and mold than I do, that I don’t have dirt and mold in my place.

    Thanks for being a safe place to say this. If you disagree and read this far, I’d like to hear, as I may be deluded and will need your help! 🙂

    Much Love.

    • Aly on September 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm


      I’m so very sorry and sad for your pain that you have highlighted here.😥
      I have more to write later~ But have to run.

      You wrote;
      “Holding fast to God, and not what my partner said about me (imagine here daily subversive passive-aggressive character assassinations to protect a sex addiction), I realized I do have an evil heart, it’s not its permanent state, but without turning to God’s care and love, and authentically doing it, my heart too will grow evil and I will worship my own evil heart, I do it daily in small ways really.”

      You said,’daily passive-aggressive character assassinations to protect a sex addiction’
      He did this to damage your own healthy conscious because his was very destructive and disturbed (maybe even dead).
      Just a thought and please note I said healthy conscious meaning ~ not perfect but willing to look at oneself’s behavior and impact on others outside.
      An unhealthy one would attack and do anything to misplace accountability that they do not want to feel.

      Are you still married or in relationship with this man?

    • Connie on September 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Anne, I agree with most of what you said, but I do have a question about you saying you have an evil heart. I don’t see in the Bible where it indicated that someone who is a believer keeps their evil heart. I don’t see anywhere where the popular church phrase “we are all sinners” can be validated. We may do wrong and have to repent, yes, but that is the difference between the saint and the sinner, that we are willing to quickly repent. I don’t think a true believer willingly does evil, and our hearts are made new. Christ lives in there and there is no room for evil.

      • JoAnn on September 6, 2017 at 6:51 pm

        Yes, Connie, you are right. The Bible tells us that we have died to sin, (Rom 6:1-11), but we still have the capacity to serve sin by putting our bodies at sin’s disposal. It is up to us to choose whether we are going to let our bodies be used for sin or for righteousness, and Satan will take advantage of anyone who tries to remain neutral or indecisive. We are no longer “sinners” as a definition, though we might sin from time to time. No, we are now a “new creation” in Christ, sanctified by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 5:17), and therefore called saints, and partakers of the divine nature. (2 Pet 1:4). We can stand on this truth.

      • ~ Pam on September 6, 2017 at 7:08 pm

        When they asked Him, Jesus taught His disciples to pray “lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil” because here in the valley of the Shadow of Death, evil is always a possibility ~ Matthew 6:13. Our hope is that God’s goodness overcomes it.

        “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good… Only God is good…” ~ Romans 12: 21; Mark 12:32

        After his salvation Paul wrote: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners– and I am the worst of them all!” (present tense!)

        And yet God had a reason for this! (Sinners like us!) That by displaying Himself in sinner-Paul’s life, we too might dare to believe Him too: “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:15-16 NLT

        Judas betrayed Jesus once. Peter betrayed Him three times. Both disciples were overcome with regret and remorse but while Judas killed himself, Peter jumped overboard and swam to where the resurrected Jesus waited with breakfast. The difference between Judas and Peter was Jesus.

        The only difference between the demons and us is the Person of Jesus Christ.

        “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” ~ James 2:19 NLT

        Because of Jesus Christ, we tremble differently than the demons do: “Work out your own salvation with reverential awe, trembling with joy because GOD Himself is at work in you! Both willing & doing His good pleasure!” ~ from Philippians 2:12b-13 multiple versions

        Saint? Sinner? I like this take on our identity: “You Are A Saint, Sinner, Sufferer” ~ Josh Squires/Desiring God:

        • GL on September 7, 2017 at 10:10 pm

          I have heard Josh quoted before. Being a Saint Sinner and Suffere puts it together for me. As I was sinned agsinst (I suffered) and still do. I also am a Saint saved by his blood and righteousness. Sinner also although I have to sort what I was accused of and what is true. I’m working through seeing myself as Christ does. Not even sure if I know who I am according to my counselor. Praying for each of us as we walk in various stages of distructive relationships.
          We’ve been separated for 15 months. We are in separate counseling sessions same one. H left church and counseling.

          • JoAnn on September 7, 2017 at 11:50 pm

            GL, please stay with the counseling, if you believe you are getting the help you need. (If not, find another therapist, please.) For your h to quit the church and counseling does not bode well for recovery for him. You, however, must go on! Develop a close and intimate relationship with your Savior, and give Him room in your heart to heal all the wounds. He wants to do that, and He can heal the broken heart, but first you have to give Him all the pieces.

          • ~ Pam on September 8, 2017 at 8:57 am

            Bless you GL. As Leslie encouraged our group, awareness is huge. It’s also hard. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes despair can be a gift.

            One of the many earth-shaking questions Leslie asked E2C in 2014 was, “What do you want?” Not knowing what I felt, what I thought, what I should do, much less what I wanted was one of the things that brought me to my senses, but along with that awareness came despair. I’d been rationalizing, minimizing, justifying, and spiritualizing the truth for decades. Like frostbitten feet in a pan of warm water, the thaw was painful.

            At first, with Leslie’s support groups and at my local DV shelter, my focus was on my h: What he was & wasn’t doing, and my marriage: What was or wasn’t happening. But as time went on and I met one older woman after another at the shelter (my age) whose destructive relationships defined them? Healthy fear helped me hear what Leslie was saying more clearly: If the only person I could change was myself, why was I so focused on everyone & everything else? But [Augh!] every time I attempted to look at the truth about myself I got no where. The self-centric gospel I’d learned to tell myself produced a terrible confusion.

            “What you believe to be true (whether or not it actually is true), forms an interpretative lens over what we perceive about ourselves, our lives, God and what happens to us. Belief defines reality for us… Lies often feel more powerful and true than God’s Word does.” ~ Leslie Vernick, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship p.126 & 127

            I’d made my bed in hell, but was so afraid of facing the monsters lurking beneath it that I spent a whole lot of time with the covers pulled up over my head. (Denial was my default setting.) My contribution to my recovery was a lot like Jonah’s: When the Word of God came–I ran (Jonah 1:1-2). A lot like Saul/Paul’s: ‘Breathing out threats and murder’ as my awareness increased (Acts 9:1). Like Thomas after the crucifixion, the more clarity I got, the more my wounded places hurt, the tighter I squeezed my eyes shut, jammed my fingers in my ears and thought: “I will NEVER believe!” (John 20:25).

            Jesus is the Truth. The lies I’d learned to tell myself about the Gospel didn’t stand a chance. His love never fails.

            Hope: “If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths of hell, You are there. Even in the uttermost, in the deepest, darkest places of the unknown, far past the point of no-return– EVEN THERE! Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” ~ Psalm 139:8-10 multiple translations

            The right hand of God has provided a Hope that will not be disappointed: His name is Jesus. Jesus stands at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. When we are weak [powerless utterly helpless] Christ died for us sinners and He never stops being our Savior ~ Romans 5:5ff.

            “True humility requires inner strength to face the truth about ourselves and to receive undeserved favor from a loving God who longs to reconcile people to himself and help them grow.” ~ Leslie Vernick, How to Find Selfless Joy in a Me-First World

            Hope: The bottom line is God, not us.

            “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases…“Whatever the Lord pleases, He does! In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places…” ~ Psalm 115:3; 135:6

            “In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also.” ~ Psalm 95:4

            “Deep calls to deep…” ~ Psalm 42:7

            “By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life…” ~From Psalm 42:7-8

            Above & below & behind & all through everything that’s happening–(more real than any ‘self-talk’ I could ever tell myself!)–there’s another sound! The Zephaniah 3:17 battle hymn of the God Who gives songs in the darkness. Even the darkness we’re too afraid to face…

            “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” ~ Numbers 23:19 ESV

            “Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy. “Aslan a man!?” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the Wood and the Son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion.”

            “Ooh,” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

            “That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

            “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

            “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.” ~ C.S. Lewis/The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

          • JoAnn on September 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

            Very insightful, Pam. Thanks for sharing.

  15. ~ Pam on September 6, 2017 at 7:20 am

    When asked for a definition: “Evil is ‘l-i-v-e’ spelled backward,” said M. Scott Peck’s 8-year-old son.

    “Evil is in opposition to life. It is that which opposes the life force. It has, in short, to do with killing. Specifically, it has to do with murder- namely, unnecessary killing; killing that is not required for biological survival… Evil is also that which kills spirit.”

    “There are essential attributes of life- particularly human life- such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, and will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. Thus we may “break” a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head.”

    [The ‘Vampire Factor’] “Erich Fromm [writing out of his Nazi death-camp experiences] was acutely sensitive to this fact when he broadened the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others—to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredictability and originality, to keep them in line. Distinguishing it from a ‘biophilic’ person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a ‘necrophilic character type,’ whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity.”

    “Evil then, for the moment, is that force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its’ opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.” ~ M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie, p. 42-43

    • ~ Pam on September 6, 2017 at 7:24 am

      “In [God] was LIFE, and that LIFE was the light of men.” ~ John 1:4

      “For as the Father has LIFE in himself, so he has granted the Son to have LIFE in himself.” ~ John 5:26

      “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus says. “I came that they may have LIFE and have it abundantly.” ~ John 10:10

  16. ~ Pam on September 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Technologically challenged Idiot factor: Sorry guys. I don’t mean to step on any toes. What I write tends to pop up looking like a direct response to what someone else has written (for some reason) when I couldn’t see all the posts.

    I push buttons. = : z Things happen. Don’t know exactly why…

  17. Sheila Osbourn-davis on January 3, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    I think my sister has an evil heart how can I help reach her thru Gods word

    • JoAnn on January 4, 2021 at 4:24 pm

      Sheila, as you continue to read in these blogs, you will become aware of certain principles being expressed over and over again: (1) you cannot change another person, but you can pray for God to touch her heart. Even then, it is not up to you whether or not she responds to His efforts. Pray for the Holy Spirit to touch her heart, but other than that, it can even be dangerous for you to try to say or do something to change her. (2) You must guard your own heart. (2 Tim. 1:14) If she truly does have an evil heart, then probably you are, at times, the target of her negativity. For this, you need to learn how to set and maintain boundaries with her so that you don’t get hurt by her. Read Leslie’s book “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship.” Also, “Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud.
      You asked about helping her through God’s word. I have enjoyed praying for others with the apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians (3:14-21), and other places in the word. Those prayers are also good to pray for yourself. As you spend time daily in the word, pray it into yourself, and that will become a shield for you as well as empowerment.

  18. shem on April 19, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    Hi, I have been having a rough time since last year, and feel like my heart isn’t open to God. I feel little or no empathy most of the times and scoff at God sometimes.I am fighting but it doesn’t feel genuine anymore and I can see all five points affecting me some way.
    I try reading the Bible but what used to make so much sense before, now I feel like I’m treating it as a joke. Even Jesus’ sacrifice. I can’t live like this, i want to love my family again. I don’t want an evil heart. Please pray that God helps me in some way.

    No more fake or half baked tears, no more appeasing people and fake Christianity, no more questioning who God is or if He’s there. I want to have real life. It’s either I change and love God or I give up cause I’d rather be evil and real than a snake that hides and hurts others. So again, please pray that God opens my eyes to His love and goodness again and for true repentance.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 20, 2021 at 11:23 am

      I will pray for you and please seek out some counseling from a wise, godly person. The fact that you don’t want to have an evil heart and your conscience is bothering you is a sign that the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and wanting you to come back to God.

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