Why Pastors Won’t Stand Against Abuse

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

Why pastors won’t stand against abuse, and my experience of betrayal and abandonment by my pastors over the years:

I was surprised to find that my pastors would not stand against the abuse in my marriage, even when they knew I was telling the truth about it.  The first time I left Gary, my pastors (SBC church) were shocked at my accusation of abuse.  They did not believe me. 

I later learned that apparently a huge percentage of women who leave their husbands claim abuse as the reason.  Abuse is a nice hot-button word that, at one time perhaps, engendered automatic horror and sympathy.  Now (and perhaps always, I don’t know) there is so much concern that accusations might be false pastors “err on the side of caution” and are more likely to disbelieve an accusation of abuse than to take it seriously.

The church provided counseling from an elder who was also a professional certified counselor.  In our first session, which was when I told Gary I was leaving him (he didn’t know before then because I was afraid of him) the counselor got to see his anger. 

However, Gary’s facade never completely cracked in public in 20 years of marriage.  Only one time did he ever reveal his rage to someone outside his own family (wife and children) and that was to his sister.  But to her it was a one-off anomaly.  For us it was a way of life.  When I tried to tell counselors about his anger they discounted it, thinking I meant “anger” in the way we all sometimes get angry.  By anger I meant uncontrolled rage.  But if I used the word “rage” with counselors they just heard “anger” and discounted it.

 That first counselor did see the anger and agreed we needed to have separate counseling.  He also was the first to ever tell me that physical violence in the home, even if it was directed at objects instead of people, was considered abuse, domestic violence and child abuse.  While there was physical violence against the kids, there was also a lot of throwing furniture, punching holes in walls, slamming things, etc.  (About the 3rd or 4th time he hit me I looked him straight in the face and told him if he ever did it again I’d call the police.  For some reason he believed me and never hit me again.  I can only guess he would never quit with the kids because he always excused it as “discipline.”) 

This counselor knew these things were happening in our home; I told him everything.  He said he believed me.  In hindsight though, as a licensed counselor, he either did not believe me or he deliberately chose to violate the law because he did not report it to the authorities.  I didn’t know then that he was legally required to report abuse if he was told about it. 

But his attitude was the same as I found from every other Christian counselor (except the one who did report my husband).  Saving the marriage was their only consideration.  This first church counselor told me that I had no grounds for a divorce, period.  I started proceedings toward divorce because, while he was crying on everyone’s shoulders in public, in private Gary was threatening to charge me with child abuse, to take the children and run out of state, to cut me off financially, etc.  I consulted with several professionals and they told me my only protection was to get a divorce. 

 However, I told the counselor and my pastors that I would stop the divorce if Gary gave any indication of repentance.  The pastors and counselor promised they would keep that qualification a secret.  After winning me back with an amazing repentance performance (that I didn’t realize until years later was all private – he never acknowedged publically that he had done anything wrong) Gary slipped and told me one of the pastors had told him I would drop the divorce if he repented.  Still later, he denied it.  But how would he have even come up with such a statement in the first place if the pastor hadn’t told him?

In this first separation, the church denied the reality of the abuse in my home, failed to report the abuse allegations to the authorities, and betrayed my confidence to Gary, enabling him to manipulate me back into the marriage with their support and blessing.

The second time I separated from Gary the pastors of my church (the same church) did believe me.  I had started telling them things were slipping back into old patterns within a couple years of our previous separation.  By “old patterns” I was talking about the physical violence.  It wasn’t until about the time I left him for the final time that I acknowledged the verbal abuse was just as serious a problem. 

Four years after our first separation, I took our oldest son, J, to a Christian counselor recommended by a pastor friend (who later became our pastor).  My goal was for us to learn how not to push Gary’s buttons and cause his anger and violence – I still didn’t understand that Gary was responsible for his own anger and rage choices. 

When I told the counselor what was happening, culminating in Gary punching J in the stomach in front of neighbor children when I was away from home, she told me she would talk to J to see what he said, but if he said the same thing I had, she was required by law to report Gary to the authorities.  And she did.

Even though my pastors believed me the second time, I was clearly told they would do nothing.  Well, to be specific, the senior pastor called me into his office for a meeting.  He told me that he believed it could be that I had no choice but to get a divorce (which I was not pursuing at that time) if Gary did not repent of his abuse.  But at the same time he told me not to tell anyone he had said so – which I correctly interpreted to mean he wasn’t going to say so in public or make any move to stand up for us. 

Gary did not want us to have anything to do with the counselor who reported him to the authorities, telling me our former counselor discredited her (I never heard it directly from the source but I believed him at the time).  I didn’t trust the counselor from our church that we had previously, based on what had come out of that experience. 

A close friend and mentor offered to provide counseling.  She was not a Baptist (which was a positive factor to me by that time) and I had seen God use her, so I trusted her.  She was not a professional counselor but had majored in counseling in some capacity in school. 

However, she did not believe I should have separated from Gary.  In her theology that was never acceptable since it was “putting asunder” what God had joined.  This was lack of godly submission on my part.  In our 4-5 sessions she focused on me during all but one.  She never believed me about the abuse or violence.  And after just a few sessions she told me “God said” it was time for us to get back together. 

Nothing had been addressed.  Gary never had to acknowledge what he had done and he definitely came out of that separation believing he had been vindicated.  My heart shattered in a million pieces.  But I obeyed her because that’s what I’d always been taught to do. 

Gary convinced the social worker that I had taught J to be rebellious.  He convinced the social worker and everyone else who would listen that J was so violent and rebellious that he (Gary) was only defending himself and standing up for his honor when he hit his son on a very regular basis.  No one would listen to me when I tried to tell them J was responding back to his father in exactly the same tone of voice, profanity, and attitude that his father used toward him.  The people in Gary’s required anger management course told him if their son back-talked them they’d hit him, too.

For the remainder of our marriage, Gary believed it was his right to hit back “in self defense, to stand up for himself as a man”, physically or verbally, every time he could egg one of the boys into a fight. And he was usually the one doing the “egging” – he just didn’t swing first, so he could say he never “started it.”

This incident cemented J’s hardness toward God because the church and the system that was supposed to protect him, blamed him.  He knew from then on, his father would always be believed and he would be the “bad guy.”  It happened over and over.  My health broke down due to the stress at this point.

I wanted to believe that this time the reconciliation would be different.  I desperately wanted it to be OK.  If more submission was the problem then that’s what I wanted to do.  But I couldn’t understand why his abuse and violence were always excuseable.  Why was his anger always excuseable but no one else was allowed to have any emotions other than delight in his every thought or expression – even the nastiest ones?

After our second separation, we ended up changing churches for reasons unrelated to our marital issues.  We went back to a church we had attended the first couple years of our marriage.  Through one thing and another the pastors of this church were aware of our marital situation through the intervening years. 

It didn’t take long before they began to see problems with Gary themselves.  This was surprising to me because no other pastor had ever bothered to pay attention enough to see problems.  They proved for themselves that he was a liar, manipulative and controlling; this had nothing to do with our marriage or family issues. 

When Gary’s anger, rage and literal expressions of hatred toward me increased while I was sick after chemo I realized it was never going to end.  This time I didn’t attempt counseling.  I knew what would happen; it had all happened before.  I also felt that God was very specifically leading me to get a divorce – an assertion that has gotten me a lot of flack.  But I’ve been listening to that voice for a long time; I know what it sounds like.  I had also told Gary after the second separation that if he escalated again I would get a divorce.  And that’s what I did.

However, when I told my pastors I was getting a divorce I was surprised to find they were not supportive – even though they knew I was telling the truth.  But one pastor said, while I might need to get a divorce for the safety of myself and my children, I could never remarry since there was no known sexual adultery.  I have no idea whether Gary’s subsequent remarriage would change his opinion about this.  The other pastor said I had no grounds for divorce since there was no known sexual adultery – regardless of the abuse going on in our home. The logic which would allow him to kill me but not have sex with someone else escapes me.

I was very hurt by this, even though I understood why they said the things they did and they weren’t ugly or mean about it.  What pastors (speaking in general of all the pastors I had) don’t realize is that when they don’t stand up for abuse victims, by default they stand up for the abuser.  The victim needs the protection of the church leadership at least standing up to say, “this person is getting a divorce with cause.  We know about it, we know the details, and we agree the cause is valid.” 

Even if they don’t give details, taking a stand for abuse victims when asked keeps the abuser from poisoning people against the victim — which will happen, guaranteed.  It happened with me and really hurt that Gary went around telling people a variety of lies about me and muddied the water.  I still do not feel completely comfortable in that church because I know there are people there who see me the way Gary painted me, even without realizing it.

So why will pastors not take a stand for the abused within their churches? 

One, they don’t want to make a mistake in taking sides.  If an abuser denies the allegation of abuse, they are afraid not to believe him (or her).  However, from the first separation I begged my pastors to follow the Mt. 18 pattern for church discipline.  But they wouldn’t do it and follow through to the final step of withdrawing fellowship.  The problem with this is, when pastors will not “take sides” they are taking sides.  They are taking the side of evil and leaving the abused abandoned in their abuse.  The hurt of this is overwhelming!

Pastors are also afraid of creating division in the church.  This is the ostrich approach to the issue, I suppose.  Unfortunately, the Bible says that those who sin are to be rebuked publicly so others will see and fear.  The silence of the church on the issue of abuse is contributing to its continued growth because abusers are affirmed in their behavior.  So by saying nothing pastors are “calling evil good” and enabling evil to continue.

The big one though is that pastors don’t want to be guilty of “putting asunder” what God has put together.  They take one statement by God (repeated two or three times in the Bible) out of the context of the whole and elevate it above every other consideration.  As I outlined in my article on the theology of an abusive marriage, the Bible has more to say about the issue of abuse.  Besides the little bit in that article, there is even more Scripture has to say about marriage and abuse as well.  But seminaries and Bible colleges don’t teach the rest of the Word on the subject of marriage.

I suspect when pastors fail to take a stand against abuse in marriages, they are afraid of either making a mistake that would earn them God’s wrath or they are afraid of gaining the disapproval of church members who have the power to ruin their careers.   

Until something changes, abuse will abound in Christian marriages.  The Bible does have an answer for the issue of abuse and that answer isn’t silence and denial.

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93 Responses

  1. I could be wrong, since i’m not a female married to an abusive sinner.

    I am speaking from someone who’s had to deal with women who’ve been abused while being in Security and also while I was studying to be an EMT. Also from what I have seen over and over again in the courtroom.
    Many times I’ve seen abusers rail at the wind after being accused (similar to the husband in sleeping with the enemy)

    and like the real mother in the tale of the king and two mothers claiming one baby, the real mother says no let her have her so he’s not harmed.

    I would hope if I was wrongfully accused, I would hope that I would fall to my knees and say just take care of her and my son, we can work out the kinks just take care of her and tell her how much I loved her, I wouldn’t care what happened to me as long as my wife and son were ok, and things would straighten out.

    I don’t think my wife would ever wrongfully acuse me and anyone that knows me knows what a teddy bear I am but I hope I would act that way.

    • I think, too, you’ve probably touched on one of the reasons “Christian” abusers are able to remain under the radar. When an abuser hasn’t had a lifetime of Christian training (training in conforming to the “rules” of “what a Christian does and says”) they will often do exactly like you describe. And that is the stereotype that pastors expect to see. But the good “Christian” abuser — and also frequently mid-and upper-class non-“Christian” abusers; I call them white-collar abusers — will opt for the more effective route of manipulation and deceit to save face and remain in control. And it works. Social workers fall for it and the legal system falls for it. This is how abusers are able to gain custody of the children they have abused — even in the face of physical, documented evidence of their abuse.

      — Danni

  2. I think it’s sweet that even to this day Dani tries to give her ex the benefit of being a Christian.
    I would have to truly wonder though if the darkness of abuse is in this man’s soul, how can the light of Jesus be inside him? Eph 5:11

    • Actually, I don’t believe he is truly a Christian – because the fruit of his life indicates no evidence of the Holy Spirit whatsoever. However, the church calls him a Christian and any Christian he meets will think he is one. He believes he is one and his life is centered around the church. He looks exactly like a strong Christian from the outside.

      The Word tells us to exercise discernment, judge the spirits, examine fruit and base reality on these, not on all the externals. But today’s Christianity doesn’t do that. So there are a lot of good “Christian” abusers that the church will not judge or believe are abusers — because their outside looks exactly like the church expects a good Christian to look like.

      — Danni

      • Danni said, regarding the one who abused her:

        “Actually, I don’t believe he is truly a Christian – because the fruit of his life indicates no evidence of the Holy Spirit whatsoever. However, the church calls him a Christian and any Christian he meets will think he is one. He believes he is one and his life is centered around the church. He looks exactly like a strong Christian from the outside.”

        Wow, it never ceases to amaze me at how many other women there are out there who have dealt with what sounds like the exact same person as abused me.

        And then on the other end of the spectrum, I hear about people like Brad and think I’m hearing about the gentleman who is now my husband.

        There really is nothing new under the sun, is there.

  3. anyway my sole purpose was to try and say that what dani went through or anyone who ever has to go through that …. it’s indefensible and you aren’t the wrong one.

    I hope I didn’t unintentionally harm or offend anyone through any of my words. If I did I apologize.
    In Christ,
    Brad

    • No, you were fine! Your comments were right on target and it is SOOOO refreshing to hear a husband communicate these things!!

      — Danni

  4. I was not offended in any way by what you wrote, I just wanted to point out the chameleon-like (as Christine said) qualities of the abuser. Two men may be accused of abusing their wife–one innocent and one guilty. These same two men may fall to their knees in horror that they were accused. Their ‘repentance’ may look exactly the same on the outside–but God (and their wives) knows which one is sincere and which one is a liar.

  5. Brad, I’m thrilled with what you’ve said about your marriage. I think it’s has many of us insight into how a good husband should treat a wife who has had an abusive childhood
    .
    Thanks so much for sharing and being transparent, esp about the throwing the stool incident (Aug 2nd). I like you expression ‘replacement abuse’.

    You are right: taking anger out on an inanimate object (or yelling at the object) when a loved one is present is often very scary for the loved one, especially if the loved one has been abused by others in the past.
    The fact that it took your wife three, nearly four years to trust you, and you didn’t take that personally but persevered and gave her time to trust at her own pace, is wonderful. I wish more men did that. And I love your way of diverting your eyes from a skimpily clad woman who might pass in front of you!

    The others on this post have adequately replied to your speculations about how men might react if wrongly accused, or if rightly accused. I’ll just add one thing: if you even want to read more about that, I suggest Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He DO That?”. Lundy has done heaps of work with abusive men and knows the territory.

    With repentance, churches could do a whole lot better at testing and discerning whether an man accused of abuse is making genuine repentance or false repentance. In my next book I’m going to have three chapters about how Joseph tested his brother’s repentance before reconciling with them.

  6. Sisters and Brothers in Jesus,
    At first I must admit to a modicum of pride being encouraged by the ladies in this blog who have been encouraged by my words. I would imagine most men would be.

    I got to thinking though after a moment of puffyness, and rather than being proud, arrogant etc…
    Rather than being proud of the way I have been lauded by you ladies, I am instead sad, moved to tears, any other way you can describe an incredibly sad man.

    Why am I so sad? It is because from every lady that has so graciously expressed their appreciation is so surprised by my comments. So amazed. So moved that a man would believe what I believe, and practice what I practice.

    I’ve been to numerous Promise Keeper events, where I’ve seen thousands of men, tears streaming down their cheeks and nail their statements of faith and desires to serve their families to the wall with the huge picture of Jesus on the Cross with blood dripping from his brow.

    I like others, have read books like Tender Warrior by Stu Webber, The Hidden Value of a Man by John Trent and Gary Smalley. I have read books by Les and Leslie Parrott. They all say the same thing that Paul and Jesus himself wrote to men over two thousand years ago.

    What brings tears to my eyes is that I am considered an abnormal Christian male who should be lauded for the way he stands for his bride and for his child. Oh how my heart growns for the men of America.

    I have at times thought about writing yet another Christian book for men. I haven’t because I didn’t want to be puffed up or grow arrogant because my name was on a book. I have felt a calling for years to write a book, but I didn’t want to do it without knowing for sure that it was the right thing.

    I am nothing special, I am NOT anything that is not described in the Bible. These are not my words. These are the words of Jesus Christ himself.

    Lest any man wonder, I am 5′ 11” (used to be 6′ until my back had an injury and my arches dropped 🙂
    I am roughly 250-260 lbs. I can play football with the best of them, I can rip a can apart in my hands and crush it with my hands or feet. I can hit a baseball 300 yards and I can drive a golfball with a 3 iron 250yards.

    But I was touched as a child to see a man named Rosie Greer, who was a giant physically and spiritually since he became a born again believer, come on National Tv and look his audience in the eye during a commercial and say… My momma taught me how to knit and crochet and I still do to this day, You got something to say about that?

    When I was 10 years old we went to the Oakland Raiders training camp in Santa Rosa California. They stayed at the same hotel we always stayed in. I had the pleasure of meeting several of them, I grew up with the two sons of a former Oakland Raider Coach, but what struck me the most was when a man named Ben Davidson 7’1 380 linebacker for the Oakland raiders stood his hulk up from his Lounge chair at the pull and put his hand on my shoulder gently and asked me if I would like his autograph.

    Every day I look my son in the eye and tell him a million times that I love him. Do I get frustrated with him to the point of insanity at times? He turned 5 yrs old two days ago, I’ll let you be the judge of that. But he knows, and has told me so since he was 2 and a half years old that I love him and I would give my life for him and that I would do the same for his mother in an instant. My father was the exact same way. He worked a lot of hours working for the Navy and driving 25 miles to work every day and back again. But every time I had a little league game or wanted to play catch, he was there. One of the fondest memories I have of my father, was going with him to every home game of the 1974 World Series. Father and son, two men alone, together, united in love and the fact that their team had just won the world series.

    Unfortunately for me and my son, my father has been home with his best friend and savior Jesus Christ for four years now. He never got to know my son because he suffered with Alzhiemer’s for the last 13 years of his life. But my son, reveres his Pappa because he knows, if it wasn’t for the way Pappa raised me, he might not be so lucky.

    Women on this website who’s husbands have just now started turning violent and you haven’t left them yet, there is hope. I would recommend that you get the movie Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. It’s about a man with a violent temper who lost respect for himself and his wife. He found a relationship with Jesus Christ, through the patience, love and witnessing of his father. If more men saw this movie and could see what they are truly doing to their wives and or children… What a revival we could have sweeping this country of men falling to their knees.

    In him,
    Brad Blosser

    • Unfortunately, many abusers have been encouraged by what they learned from Promise Keepers and most of the authors you mentioned. And Fireproof is used by both churches and abusers as tools of abuse (see my article about Fireproof and the comments on it).

      I think what makes a difference is the heart of the person who is reading/watching. If that person has a heart tuned toward God, they will get positive things from them – because the positive things are there. But if a person has a heart hard toward God, even though devoutly, religiously “Christian,” they will find religious tools to use in their abuse.

      — Danni

  7. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, If any man beats his wife and or children. He is in no way a true man of God if he continues.

    There is sin, sin conquered through the atonig blood of Jesus Christ, and sin continued.

    Have I sinned since I accepted Christ as my saviour at the age of 12? Pffft of course I have, but each time I do I think of Christ on the cross (especially as an adult since the release of the movie Passion for Christ) and how each time I sin, I nail Jesus to the Cross over and over and over again. As I grow older (Paul says in 1 Cor 13 … when I was a child I spake as a child and acted as a child,.. Paul tells us, no commands us as Christians to leave behind our baby food and press on to eat meat, be spiritually hungry for the word. The older I get the more I fall to my knees humbly praying for my family and that God would forgive me of my sins because as I get older I realize how weak and feable I am and how it breaks my saviours heart every time I sin and put the nails into his hands and feet over and over.

    I agree wholeheartedly in your impression of your exhusbands salvation unfortunately. If you are in Christ Jesus and you are studying the word, and living for Christ and your family, how could you do such an abominable act as abusing your spouse or your child.,

    Any man that walks away from Promise keepers feeling sanctified and authorized to continue or worse to start abusing his family, may have been there in physical form, but was never there in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

    I can also assure you that if any man walked away from Kirk Cameron’s presence in that movie thinking it’s ok to abuse your spouse then they either are not a Christian at all, or they left their brain in San Francisco.

    It is not possible, Based on what Jesus himself says about wo unto him who causes one of “MY” little ones to stumble, it would be better that he had a millstone tied to his neck and dropped into the sea than to cause one of my little ones to stumble. What is a father doing that beats his wife up in front of his son?

    Paul told us that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church? How can a true desciple of Christ walk away from a bible study of Ephesians and still say that he is authorized in Christ to beat his wife and or children? How can any man truly walking in Christ continue to look at Pornography (or worse yet force his wife to watch it) and tear down and degrade his beloved brides self esteem day by day all the while stealing love from her heart.

    I was a virgin for 36 years before I fell to sin. Out of that sin I lost two children to miscarriage. God knew how much I wanted to have children since an early age. God witheld a wife from me and I was angry so I took matters upon myself. I started looking at pornography and oh how that caused me to stumble and look at women in such a wrong way. It is stronger than any Narcotic and like repentant Alchoholics I can’t go into a plaid pantry or 7-11 or your typical corner store to this day because the salivary glands at the back of my throat start calling me. I have to avoid certain technical websites to this day because they always have scantily clad women. I have to avoid small auto shops because they have men who don’t understand what they are doing to themselves or others by displaying degrading pictures of women on their toolboxes.

    I am so glad that Jesus finally rescued me from my pride and stupidity in that matter. All along I heard Jesus still quiet voice calling me to repent and time after time I tried to follow what I knew to be right, but there were so many convenient excuses.

    I got married for the first time at 36, my wife had a miscarriage and it broke both of our hearts. (it was the first of three for me) My wife proceeded to start sleeping with anothe rman behind my back and left me after 9 months of marriage. I was broken and devastated. I started sleeping around and violating every spiritual law I knew existed in regards to sex outside of marriage. I was angry and bitter. I wanted to hurt God for allowing this to happen after I held myself pure for 36 years. It wasn’t until about six years later that God worked on me and worked on me that I realized, are you kidding? held yourself pure to God? Yes you didn’t have physical sex with a woman but how any women have you seen naked over the last 20 years since you turned 16? If you lust after a woman with your heart and eyes, You have committed adultery Jesus says.

    I flung myself to my knees and cried and cried telling God finally that I had had enough of that wicked evil thing called woman (don’t leave it’s about to get good) I cried out in my repentence asking God to forgive me and that if it meant being so seperate from him, as I had felt since my divorce six years before, I didn’t want another woman in my life ever again and that I wanted to live for Christ.

    God gave me the strength I never had on my own to stay out of strip bars, stay out of corner stores that sold “men’s” magazines and to say away from certain parts of the internet that a self professing Christian man had no place to be. Did I sin all those years? You bet but all along I knew, I knew I was wrong and I turned to Jesus and finally completed turned from that particular sin. I thank God that he reached down and smacked me around for a few months and got me to see what a fool I was. Within in a year of saying that prayer I found myself sitting in the front row of a wonderful church, very large about 2500 people twice on Sunday and once on Saturday night. I found myself sitting in the front row center before the pastor of the church and behind me I heard a beautiful cheerful laugh. I turned around and saw the woman who six years earlier during the heigth of my sinful depravity told myself if I was smart would turn from the sinful women that I was having my flings with and approach her.
    When I saw her smiling at me, I began writing her notes. We wrote notes back and forth in front of the pastor for a solid hour and a half and then through a complete miracle we found ourselves literally walking into each other at the local Christian cafe just a few hours later, we sat and talked and 5 hours later as we got up and I invited her back to church with me, I knew that night that the Lord had released me from a life of singleness and had brought the most wonderful woman ever imanginable into my life and I knew that day I wanted to marry her. That was March 02, 2003.
    We were married November 20th 2003.(I am smarter than most men, I married my bride on the day after my birthday, I’ll never forget our anniversary until I’m old and have Alzheimer’s and by then she’ll forgive me 🙂
    On December 27 2003 we discovered that we were expecting a child. Oh you never knew a man who spent so much time on his knees praying his child would live till birth. He was born 8 months later, had a concave sternum and his lungs weren’t fully dialated. I almost lost my son three times within the first six weeks of his life. My wife was also in the hospital for a week as she had contracted gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and her blood pressure was so high that her little feet were larger than mine and I wear a size 13 man’s shoe. I was also going to school full time for the first time in my life, while going back and forth to two different hospitals.

    The first month of my sons life he spent in the NICU. When he came home he developed Collic. I averaged 2 hours of sleep for six months. I had a full load at school and worked part time. One night I couldn’t take the screaming any more and picked my son up and looked him in the eye and screamed at him to shut up and came within a hairs breadth of shaking him. I immediately put him in his crib and went to my bathroom and fell to the floor in a sobbing crying heap. so close, so close.
    I got up the next day and sought a Christian Counselor for anger management. You ladies probably realize how hard it was to find a wise Christian counselor. My wife was ready to leave me and I was scared to death.
    There was no way my wife was going to stay and allow me to do to her son what her father had done to her.
    I turned to Jesus and I asked for forgiveness and I told God with all my heart that I wanted to repent and be a father like my father was to me.

    Now that we have all been healed, my wife and I have our moments. She is from Venus and I am from Mars after all 🙂 But that one night of almost… that one night after waiting 44 years for a precious child. I’m not a hurtful man. I’d rather be ran over by a truck than ever hurt a woman. I didn’t even hurt my first wife when she left me for another man less than a year after our marriage and less than 9 months after we lost our chlid to miscarriage.

    After two years of counseling from a unbelieving jew who was a practicing atheist but a very wise man, I realized my anger even though it wasn’t ever aimed at anyone was bad. My anger that night aimed at my son wasn’t even aimed at my son it was aimed at something I couldn’t control, his crying from cholic. I remembered the 16 year old boy who lived down the street who used to catch me on the way home from school almost every day for two years. He would take me into his parents garage because they both worked and didn’t get home till after 3. He accused me of beating up his sister and he would wail on me and kick me, and told me if i ever told he would kill my family. I finally couldn’t take the terror any more and finally told my parents. Thank God my mom immediately called the police and marched down the road to this families house and with the police confronted this monster from my youth and the police took him away and he was sent to a mental health prison for youth. I found out that someone had killed his sister violently and he lost control and began doing what he did to me. That opened me up to another controlling abuser a teenage boy who abused me sexually. I never knew that my anger towards inanimate objects was due to the fact that for years during my childhood from the time I was 8 or 9 until the time I was 17 and we moved to Oregon that I was being abused and there were things against my ability to control them.

    Today when I gently stroke my sons cheek at night as I put him to bed, when the lights are out and the books are read…. I am so thankful that I had a repentant heart. I am so thankful that God called to me and said Brad, stop swinging at the darkness in fear and let me heal you.

    Far too many men however don’t listen to that gentle voice calling them. Offering to help them change and help them heal and grow.

    Am I a great man? No just a very very blessed man.
    All you have to do is look at my beautiful young bride and my beautiful 5 year old boy to know how richly blessed I am. No I take that back, beyond even that, all you have to do is look at the Cross of Jesus Christ on that lonely hill at Gilgatha, to know what a blessed blessed man I am.

    Ok I’m going to take my tear streaked face and rinse off and go spend some quality time with my wife.
    God bless you all and thank you for accepting me as a man. I know for some of you that must be very difficult.

    God bless, and (as Paul Harvey used to say…) was the rest of the story.
    For now…
    Brad

  8. Brad, l finally got round to reading your story above. Thanks for sharing it with such transparency. And you’re right, God does heal when we are undone and turn to him. May you continue in rich blessings with your family.

    I might refer people to your story as an account of a man who was abused, became trapped in sin, and found freedom through Christ. Would that be okay? Could you please email me (find my email address by going to my website, which you can click on by clicking on my name at the start of this comment). I’d like to discuss using your story on my site.
    thanks
    Barb

  9. What a thoughtful and fantastic article! I am one pastor who stands with women who are being abused and does NOT turn a blind or naive eye to abuse.

    Thanks for raising awareness. I will do the same!

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