But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. (1 Corinthians 5:11, emphasis added)
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers…, … shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NAS; emphasis added)
Frightening words! And yet comforting, in that they show us that all who will truly humble themselves and repent of sins like verbal abuse can receive the Lord’s forgiveness, cleansing, and power to change. But first a verbal abuser must see his heart in order to bring it to God for healing. The victim can try to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) with the abuser about the problem, if this can be done safely. Sadly, verbal abusers often deny the abuse, and seek to blame the victim for it. Abusers may escalate their attacks when confronted, in an effort to reassert power and control.
Jesus taught a four-step procedure for trying to resolve transgressions and to restore relationship in a way that incorporates a series of safety measures:
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
Some churches have staff who recognize the dynamics of verbal abuse and domestic violence, and will help bring the abuser to repentance. Or it may be necessary to get assistance from a professional counselor who specializes in domestic violence and is trained to help the abuser to see the pattern of abuse and its effects. However, no one can force an abuser to change.
Have you ever had difficulty in getting others to believe that you were being abused?