I came across an eye-opening book recently. God Hates Abuse by Robin Mullins Senger. She has written this book to help others who have experienced Christian domestic abuse while relating her story of an abusive Christian marriage. Her ability to lay out the biblical truth in regard to abuse is amazing. I learned so much from her book and wanted to share with you some of her insights.
One of the things Robin mentioned in her book is regarding the word ‘fool’ and how it can be replaced with the word ‘abuser’ in many biblical texts thus helping us to recognize the biblical warnings about abusers. I had never really thought about this before. It was like a lightbulb went off in my brain and I had to explore the notion further.
This book sent me on a search through the Bible to find out as much as I could about what is said regarding fools and foolishness. Much of what I found was in Proverbs since that book deals a lot with fools. Most of what I found in Proverbs was backed up in other parts of the Bible regarding fools. There is a clear connection between fools and evil doers in scripture, in fact, I can safely say that they are synonyms.
There are 2 main words used in Proverbs to describe 2 types of fools. The first type of fool can be described as a “Stubborn Fool”. The root of this fool is ‘weak minded’ and also has the idea carried with it of stubborn and determined. “This fool does not want anyone to tell him what to do; he desires to do what he wants to do. He is thus bull-headed and characterized by energy and determination to have his own way.” ~DR. GARY E. LA MORE
The second kind of fool can be characterized as a ‘Lazy fool’. The root here lends itself to a picture of fatness, slothfulness, and laziness. They are a blob on society and for their family. They are spoiled, inactive and entitled. “we have two fools: one fat, spoiled, self-centered and lazy; the other self-willed, hot-headed, determined and energetic. In other words, we have a bull and a pig.” ~DR. GARY E. LA MORE
I was pretty blown away by the accuracy of the descriptions of fools/abusers.
I have always loved the realness of the book of Proverbs. I’ve been drawn to the authentic portrayal of people and the truths are frankly spoken. Solomon didn’t mince words in the book of Proverbs. He called it like it is and it’s so real! Since its talking about real human character issues, then I should be encouraged to use that wisdom to identify the character of people right? These are human truths that God has given me (and you) as a way to navigate the pitfalls of sin and help us recognize evil around us.
“But we aren’t supposed to judge others.” some might say.
“Nobody’s perfect! we all sin!” other join in.
The problem with using these excuses which are used to overlook evil doers actions is that the evil-doer is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15). We are warned that the Devil sneaks around to kill, steal and destroy believers (John 10:10). We are instructed clearly to recognize the fruit of both the evil and good (Matt 7:16 and Matt 10:16). God tells us to be aware and prepared to deal with evil (Eph 6:10), therefore, there is no sin in judging the fruit of an evil-doer. We are keeping our faith safe by recognizing the techniques and schemes of the abuser.
Realize too that, even though all of us are sinners, as a believer I have repented of my sin. God has created a new heart in me and, by doing so, I don’t have the desire to be foolish, abusive or evil. I have a clean heart longing for the love of God and to reflecting that love to others. I am, therefore, willing to submit myself to instruction and correction (2 Tim 3:16). The abuser is not a believer. They have not submitted their will to Christ, have not allowed a new heart to be created, and their longing is not one of love and Christian care for others. The motivation of an abuser is complete power and control in the relationships they are in. Spouses, children,co-workerss and others are all at risk of being abused by someone who feels entitled and empowered to control them.
Fools hate wisdom and correction
The evil doer or fool, has not repented of their sinful character. They spurn correction and chaff under discipline. In fact, one of the trademarks of a fool/abuser the Bible talks about repeatedly is that he will never admit that he is wrong. He despises being corrected. Most abusers will blame other people for their own shortcomings and faults. They will readily hold others to account but will flat refuse to accept responsibility for any harm they have done.
(Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalms 94:8; Proverbs 14:33; Proverbs 23:9, 26:11, 1:22, 1:5-7)
Wisdom and knowledge are abhorred by the evil doer. He hates those who are wise because it highlights his own lack of spiritual wisdom. He will repeat their mistakes over and over, never repenting and therefore never changing.
It is interesting to me that many abusers see themselves as knowledgeable and wise about just about anything. They may or may not have an education on a topic, but regardless they are the final voice. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who refuses to listen? It is frustrating and pointless.
(Prov 26:11, 1:22, 1:5-7, 23:9)
Although we know God is in the business of changing the sinful heart and creating a new, clean character, He also makes it clear that we must choose to allow him to do this transformation in us. Unless a fool chooses to change, they will keep their foolish ways. Unfortunately, the character of an abuser is such that they will rarely see the error of their ways. They are always right and therefore they cannot see their need for change. Without the ability to admit fault and request help from Jesus, change will not happen.
Fools are Immoral
Fools long for and seek after things that are totally against the morality of a Christian life. It can take time to see some of the immorality that an evil doer will run after because, after all, they don’t show you all their dirty stuff when you first meet them! It once took me years to see the immoral behavior of someone I loved. Once I found out and confronted it, they refused to repent and blamed me for their choices. Just like I said above, they do not accept correction!
An evil doer will seek sexual satisfaction in immoral ways. In the Bible, we read about Amnon who obsessed after his sister and finally raped her. Once he had his way with her, he refused to repent and accept correction (2 Sam 13:11-18). Many fools today will turn to pornography and illicit affairs to satisfy their desire for sexual gratification. Just as Amnon did this in secret, so does today’s evil doer often pursue their sexual sin in secret.
Abusers have a deep seated sense of entitlement when it comes to their sexual desires. The will regularly make sexual demands, rape their partner and believe that they are in entitled to do so. We also know that pornography is deeply linked to increased violence against women. (https://thoughtsfromjas.com/2016/02/08/how-porn-and-violence-against-women-are-linked-easy-facts/)
Fools seek their evil and immoral satisfaction in more ways then just sexual. The Bible says that evil doers will mock Gods name (Psalm 74:18). They’ll delight in what is wrong and find it fun to do evil (Prov 10:23-25). They are preoccupied with things that are evil and will cast aside the needy in preference for themselves (Isaiah 32:6). Finally, Mark 7:21-23 lays out exactly what immorality the evil doer longs for.
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Fools speak perversions, nonsense, evil, lies and slander
Talking with a fool causes chaos and confusion for most of us. An abuser is able to twist, manipulate and talk themselves out of just about anything. The Bible warns of these people who are toxic communicators. We are told that they like to use perverse language like cursing, gossiping and purposely twisting words in order to manipulate a conversation. They have to manipulate communications in order to stay in control. Verbal and emotional abuse always includes the twisting and manipulation of a conversation with a fool (Prov 19:1).
An evil doer will tell lies. They lie about anything and everything that they think they need to lie about. They are deceitful and untrustworthy. It can be difficult to catch a fool in their lies. They weave them intricately and often. Truth telling is selective for a fool so always take what they say to you with a grain of salt. (Prov 10:18, 14:8, Isa 32:6 )
The Bible also says that fools speak slander; when a person lies and hurts another persons reputation. We find this most often during the smear campaign that abusers embark on when they end or are ending a relationship. They will lie and smear the reputation of their victim in order to make themselves look better. (Mark 7:21-23) (Abusive Smear Campaigns )
Fools will often use scripture against you. They have no issue with twisting and changing the meaning of Gods word to fit their personal agenda. This is spiritual abuse and runs rampant in many Christian marriages. We find this kind of spiritual abuse used often in churches too. A victim will be told to pray more, submit more, be a better wife and never ever leave her marriage. God never calls anyone to live a home fraught with abuse. (Prov. 26:7/26:9)
Fools are pride-filled and self inflating and they like to argue.
Fools keep talking. It’s like they don’t know when to stop and most of what they say is completely meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:3; Ecclesiastes 7:6). This also fits with an abuser/ narcissist. They talk about themselves ad nauseam, repeating the same stories, the same ideas, the same information over and over again. Rarely do they discuss anything that doesn’t have to do with them. In my experience, an abuser who talks about himself will inflate their stories with lies and exaggerations. (Prov 18:2-3).
Evil doers love to argue. They have to be right at all cost and will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. Their tempers flare at any given unprovoked moment. They will say anything regardless of how hurtful it is in order to win. (Prov 12:16, Ecc. 7:9).
Abusers choose not to use self control, but to use anger as a means to control. They don’t care what they say or how they hurt you with their words. They use their words like a weapon to beat you up and hurt you (Prov 29:11). They’ll lie and manipulate and argue as a way of controlling a conversation and maintaining their power in a relationship (Prov 10:18-19, Prov 18:6-7). Fools are verbal abusers and God despises this.
Relationships with fools are very difficult
Being in a relationship with someone who is unrepentant, hates to be corrected, is a toxic communicator, tells lies, loves to do bad things, cares only for themselves and argues about anything, is exhausting, unhealthy and tormenting for the victim (Prov 27:3). Fools refuse to take responsibility for their actions and will rarely give an authentic apology. To give a real apology one must be willing to admit how their actions were hurtful without excuse and without hyperbole. Abusers cannot do this. (Prov. 14:8-10).
Living with a fool brings misery. They bring their family grief and shame and bitterness (Prov 17:25). They are reckless, careless, unwise with money and trust only themselves which is a sure recipe for disaster (Prov 28:26, 21:20)! God says he hates divorce because of the violence it causes to families (Mal 2:16), and one can see that by breaking faith with your wife, dealing with her harshly and bringing misery are all ways in which the abuser/fool has brought violence into their home and forced a divorce.
The Bible tells us not to associate with fools because we’ll be dragged down. Our ability to discern truth will be compromised and our ability to maintain our own integrity becomes weak. Victims become trauma bonded and have a hard time making decisions, thinking for themselves and believing they are worth anything. Their abuse has dragged them down and poisoned their spirit with lies.
The Bible tells us great ways to deal with a fool/abuser:
For your own protection, we are told many times in Proverbs to not associate with fools. In fact, we are told to drive a fool out from among us and to stop socializing with them!
We are instructed to leave their presence and not lower ourselves to their level by using their abusive behaviors ourselves. God wants us to keep our integrity in tact! Don’t stoop to the fools level! Avoid an evil doer at all cost and refuse to be sucked into their harmful relationships. This is God’s word given to us to protect our homes and churches from the evil of abuse. Prov 14:7, Prov 26:4, Prov 22:10,Titus 3:10/1 Cor 5:9-13/1 Cor 5:5/ Matt 18:15-17
Sometimes, dealing with a fool is unavoidable. If we find ourselves having to deal with an abuser, then there are a couple of things the Bible says we can do. First, don’t answer a fool unless it is to expose his ridiculous line of reasoning (Prov. 26:5). Second, don’t give anything they say any honor or respect because they will take it and run with it. They will be ’emboldened’ and be more difficult to deal with in the future. Last, be sure you aren’t trying to help them, or change them, or correct them as the Bible says it is a waste of time! (Prov 23:9, Matt 7:6, Prov 19:10/Luke 15:11-14)
Fools, abusers and evil doers are all around us. We have to learn to spot them and avoid them. We must educate ourselves so we won’t end up sorry in the long run by associating with them (Prov 26:6). Please, don’t feel like you have sinned if you find yourself having to go to court against a fool, or press charges against your abuser. The Bible tells us that punishment for a fool is just! (Prov 26:3/19:29/19:25/12:11/22:10)
The Bible is not silent regarding abuse. Fools, evil doers and abusers are called out and identified throughout the Bible, but especially in Proverbs. Fools, abusers and evil doers are not Godly or Christian. We are not sinning by refusing to associate with them or by calling them to account in our churches. It is vitally important that we protect our churches, our homes and our hearts from the effects that abusers, evil doers and fools have on us.