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  • SAVE THE DATE: I am doing a free training on December 3rd called “3 ways to move past victim mindset” you can save your spot at leslievernick.com/joinwebinar

It Was An Accident

by Leslie Vernick

I witnessed an awful accident yesterday. An elderly man driving a golf cart was pulling into a parking lot. The driver behind him rear-ended his cart as he was making the turn. The old man flew out of his golf cart, landing face down on the road.

Ambulances and police were called and the driver behind him got out of her car shaken. She said, “It was an accident. I didn’t see him”.

I’m sure she was telling the truth. Accidents happen. Sometimes we do things, not intending to cause harm. We may say or do something careless or without thinking of the consequences towards others. But when that happens our response is critical.

Just because she didn’t intend to cause harm doesn’t mean she didn’t cause harm. Intent does not negate the impact.

Sometimes I see this same line used with personal relationships. For example, “I didn’t intend to hurt your feelings, you’re just too sensitive.” Or “I didn’t intend to be disrespectful or dismissive of your point of view. I just think I know more about this subject than you do. It’s your problem if you get offended.”

Really? Because you did not intend to cause harm, if I was harmed, it’s not your fault or your problem? You shouldn’t have to make amends or repairs or deal with consequences because you didn’t intend for harm to happen?

Let’s reverse this logic. If I accidentally back my car into your car in the parking lot at church because I was texting my kids, you’d be fine with me saying, “Oh brother (or sister in Christ). I’m so glad it’s you. It was not my intent to harm you or your car. And remember, the Bible says, love keeps no record of wrongs. Thanks for your understanding. Be well and I’ll see you next week.” Meanwhile, your head is bleeding, your headlight is smashed, and I have shown no concern or taken any responsibility for the harm my actions caused you.

No one, Christian or secular would think this response is appropriate. Sadly, all too often this is exactly what a person faces when dealing with interpersonal harm. You’re not allowed to express your pain or talk about the damage that was caused because that “hurts their feelings because they didn’t mean it.” You’re not allowed to require restitution for damages or amends to be made because then “you have no mercy and hold a grudge.” You’re not allowed to set boundaries on future contact because “you are labeled unforgiving, hard-hearted, and holding a record of wrongs.”

If you are a counselor, pastor, or well-meaning people helper, please do not enable this insanity by assuming intent negates impact. That is not true. And if you’ve been harmed by someone, even if there was no conscious intent to do you harm, don’t allow yourself to get guilted, shamed or bullied when you ask for amends, reparation and repentance from the person who caused you harm. There is nothing unbiblical about those expectations. Mercy does not negate the reality of the damage done. (Read Leviticus 4,5,6 for example, to learn God’s heart for maintaining safety in the community when you harm someone unintentionally or intentionally).

Lastly, if you are reading this and have hurt or harmed someone, intentionally or unintentionally, take responsibility. Show care for the pain you’ve caused by listening to the other’s pain and making amends and restitution for that pain so that hopefully, the relationship can be restored.


Is It Abuse?

by Darby Strickland

For years, biblical counselor Darby Strickland has served women in oppressive marriages. Now she writes to anyone who wants to help, regardless of their level of experience. You will learn how to identify the toxic entitlement that drives abusive behavior and to better understand its impact on victims — including children who are raised in a home with domestic abuse. Ultimately, you will become equipped to provide wise and Christ-centered counsel and to empower and advocate for victims while navigating the complex dynamics of oppression in a marriage.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter! (Giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick are Diana S. and Merrie W.



Want to have Leslie speak at your event?
Click here to find out more information.

Lighthouse Christian Church
April 30th, 2021
Rosemount, Minnesota

Center for Christian Counseling
May 2021
Madison, WI

Call to Peace Ministry Retreat
May 13 – 16th. 2021
Asheville, NC

The Village Church
December 3rd
Flowermound, TX

How Do I Do The E Step In CORE And Still Have Boundaries?

Question: I am stuck on the last step of your CORE Strength model. My husband is emotionally abusive. Does not allow me to be sick or help me get through it by going to get medicine when I am vomiting from a reaction to a new medicine.

We are farmers. My body has been broken a few times while working on the farm but it is harvest time and he will not listen to my doctors telling me not to be part of the harvest. He is demanding I help.

How do I be empathic and not allow him to continue to abuse me? When I am empathic, I understand he needs help and has none and thus I allow him to abuse. Can you give me some help?

Answer: The E step of CORE states, “I will be Empathic and Compassionate without ENABLING destructive behavior to continue.” This is one of the hardest concepts both to grasp and to implement for kind and caring Christian women.

These are the three biggest mistakes I see victims in destructive relationships make.

What People Are Saying About Leslie’s Empowered To Change Group

I was skeptical that a program could really change things for me, as well as not sure I would be able stick to the program and follow through. Boy was I wrong! This program really changed things for me personally, and I am living a more authentic life-based in truth. I did make a commitment to focus on this program as one of my two top priorities for the 6 months. That was a wise and beneficial commitment. It was well worth the cost! To any who is on the fence, I would tell them this – it is highly unlikely that in the next 6 months you will have real, lasting change…unless you take this class! Make this program a top priority for just 6 months. Invest in yourself. You will not regret it!

~ E2C Participant


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States