“Christians are so gullible! It might look like [my abuser] wants to be surrounded and supported, but he uses this community to his advantage because this is an easily swayed community.”
“The wife wants to be a Jesus follower. She wants to be obedient to the Lord. They’re in this community where marriage is forever. It’s complementarian. This community is essential. He needs to sway the community in order for the community to sway her. It would not behoove him to act like a jerk or talk anything but this way because he knows the leadership is going to continue to support her. It’s most beneficial for him to keep the wife.”
“And so I’m boxed in a corner. All he has to do is drop the words, ‘forgiveness’ and ‘reconciliation’ and I have no way out.”
Need I say more? Here are the definitions:
Grooming: By definition, grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with someone so they can manipulate, exploit and/or abuse them.*
Gullible definition: easily duped or cheated; easily persuaded to believe something; credulous. (Merriam-Webster, Google dictionary)
Some men are predators. Some men intentionally look for Jesus-loving, kind, gracious, submissive women to marry as a means of controlling them and micromanaging their personal life. Some men use the church as a cover for sinful behavior. It worked in Corinth. The young man who chose to sleep with his father’s wife got away with it–and the church didn’t do a thing! They didn’t call him out. They avoided conflict and passed it off as proof of how gracious they were. Paul said, “What?! What are you thinking?”
You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let’s celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or a greedy person, or an idolater, or is verbally abusive, or habitually drunk, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a person. For what business of mine is it to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the evil person from among yourselves.
Wake up! Wake up! This is not ok. This is not “normal.” This should not be happening in our churches. Sorting it out takes time. You must be willing to listen to and hear reality, not fantasy, not wishful thinking, not apologies. Reality. What is really, truly happening? What is life like in that home under the control and influence of that man? Who do you believe? How do you know?
And how will you respond? What will you do? How far will you go to see God’s purposes and righteousness revealed? Whom do you love more–Jesus or yourself? God or your own reputation? Are you caring for Jesus’ church or your own?
Love is hard work. Love exposes sin and promotes righteousness (not the appearance of righteousness).
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
See that no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5)
*I chose this definition because it’s not “charged,” it’s pretty straight forward and applies to many different types of imbalanced relationships. https://speakfully.com/blog/signs-of-grooming-in-the-workplace