Tag Archives: Rick Thomas

Sin of Others

Below are excerpts from an article written by Rick Thomas.  There is a time to separate from an abusive spouse and there is a time to run.  If your church does not know how to support you, contact the counselors at Rick’s site.  The contact information is in his article.  I like how he says that they are not a replacement to the local church but they are there to compliment the local church.  I am glad they have been having articles up about abuse because I know my readers click over to his site.  I hope you all find the biblical help you need that draws you into a closer, more trusting relationship with our Lord and Savior.  May God give you the strength to do what you need to do in order for healing to take place and dear sister, I am not referring to your type of “healing”, but the type of healing that comes from God alone.  Healing that leads you closer to God not further away.  Healing that leads to righteousness not to sin.  Healing that leads to restoration instead of destruction.

How does the ongoing sin of others impact our physical health? by Rick Thomas

If my sin is affecting my health, then I can repent and be restored. If the sin of another person is affecting my health, then I am at the mercy of the other person owning and removing the sin from the relationship. In some marriages, the abusive spouse does not repent, a situation that can leave the victim spouse vulnerable.

What am I to do?

This discussion can stir up a few concerns, especially from a person who is in an abusive situation. Here are four of those possible concerns:

  1. Am I a victim?
  2. What about the grace of God in un-repented relationships?
  3. If my spouse is affecting my health, can I leave him?
  4. Where do I find help?

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV)

Grace – Because we are victims of sin and the impact of sin on our lives can be degenerative, we must talk about the transformative power of the Gospel that has been given to us. It is important for us to not lose heart, as Paul said. God is merciful. Though we have created this problem between sin, life, and death, the LORD does not leave us alone. He always provides a way of escape when sin abounds (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is good news because there could be a temptation for a person to give up, choosing not to access these means of grace that the LORD has given to us. The temptation to quit and not fight is always strong. Many adults give up the fight against sin and let their bodies go. They feel the gravitational pull of death on them and rather than finishing strong, they yield to ever-increasing physical and spiritual depreciation. Though there are means of grace for these temptations, we do not always access them. Whether it is the degenerative effect of the sins of Adam or the sins within our relationships that we are uniquely bound to, there is a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Separation – I think if I was in a situation where my spouse’s abusive sin was affecting my health, one of the things I would consider is separation. That makes sense. And because it is an instinctive response, it would good to wade through these waters with carefulness. Biblical grounds for separation, which leads to divorce, are adultery and desertion. An un-repentant mean man does not fall within those grounds, but this does not leave you in a helpless situation. For example, if a person was physically or sexually abusive, then we are talking about crimes, as well as sins, that are punishable by law. A person who is physically or sexually abused by someone should not hesitate about reporting the abuser to the authorities. If someone knows about these sin-crimes happening, then that person(s) should report them. There is only one option when a person is being abused in those ways: the abuser has to be reported. This is a non-negotiable reality. For the Christian, there is a process for the lesser abuses that can have a powerful impact on a person’s spiritual and physical wellbeing. That process may include separation.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. – Matthew 18:15-16 (ESV)

The first call to action is to appeal to the abuser. I am not talking about sexual or physical abuse. In those cases, you do not appeal first. You run. You get away from the abuse. However, in other abuse situations where your physicality is not in the kind of threat that sexual and physical abuse causes, you make an appeal to the abuser to stop. If the person does not stop, then you call for help. Do not try to persuade a domineering person to stop being domineering on your own. The LORD has given us a process for such meanness. You have an advocate in the body of Christ, a wonderful means of grace to come alongside those who are victimized by the sins of others. Help – There will be many people who will read this and say, “Yes, but my church does not have the means, competency, or the concern to help me.” I will not argue with you. I have been counseling for a long time. My vocation has been a wonderful blessing in many ways, part of which had given me a realistic view of the local church. In some situations we have failed the body of Christ. I am critiquing myself here. I am talking about us. I am speaking of my family—the body of the LORD Jesus. There are many people, especially women, who live in marriages where the men are not pursued, helped, or held accountable. They are not called to change, as they continue to live in unabated sinfulness, but this is where we must be careful. It would be misguided to lay the sinfulness of people in the lap of the church. That is not an reasonable charge. It is not biblical. There are many churches who are stellar in the fight against sin. They are like me in that the need is far greater than any one person’s or institution’s ability to resolve. Furthermore, it would be placing the cause of the problem on the church. There is no doubt the church can and should do a better job, but the real problem has to do with how sinful people do not want to change. It is similar to the hospital. The help is available, but the person who needs the help must access it. Many, if not most, of the people who live in un-repentant sin are elusive. They are not part of the local church, which puts the local church at a disadvantage. This is a dilemma.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17 (ESV)

I have never met a person who wanted to change, who could not change. If a sinful person wants to stop his sinfulness, there is enough grace, with or without the local church, for him to d that.

If you are in an abusive situation, then do not keep silent. Find a way to speak out; go for help. Our Member Site has been a refuge and a life line to many people who have found no other place to turn. We are not the local church and are not a replacement for the local church, but we can complement the local church by bringing care to the body of Christ. We also have been a means of grace to help the church in learning how to be more effective in their discipleship practices. It may be possible for you to find a counselor, a person who can come alongside you to help walk you through the un-repented sin in your relationships. Do not try to fight the fight against sin alone, whether it is your sin or the sin of others. Your spiritual and physical life will be affected in proportion to the amount, degree, and type of sin that is waging war against you.
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The Power of the Gospel

The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead.  Rick Thomas wrote about this topic in The reason I stopped hating my dad.  It makes me sad to think of some GCMers living in hatred of their husbands/family members/anybody because of the wrongs others have done to them.  I hope you will read Rick’s article and see the love of a Savior who died for you even though you are a sinner and not worthy of such kindness.  Through Christ’s death and resurrection we have forgiveness of sins and we no longer have to live with hatred for those who sin against us.  Read the article to see how Rick handled having a father who was a drunkard until the power of God changed him.

Below are a few quotes from the article.

“My father was a sinner who sinned—for all have sinned (Romans 3:23).”

“But he was not the only unrighteous person in our family. I, too, chose an unrighteous path. The sin that was passed down to him was passed down to me. I was just like my father—there is none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10-12).”

“For many years I spent more time thinking about what my dad did wrong to me than what I did wrong to God. This kind of thinking is self-induced poisoning of the soul.”

“As I began to come to terms with the Gospel as it applied to my dysfunctional childhood, I began to see. The angry fog began to lift. I was a self-righteous victim—a deadly duo. A self-righteous victim is more aware of and irritated by the sins of someone else, rather than being more conscious of and more grieved by their own sin.” (Emphasis added)

“There is nothing that has ever happened to you or to me that is more evil than the sin we have committed against God.”

“It no longer mattered who did what. The real issue for me was whether I would humble my heart before Almighty God and plead for His forgiveness for the crimes I had committed.”

GCMer, if you are struggling in any of your relationships then a good place to start would be to confess your own sins to God, repent and believe the good news that Christ died for you.  If you are still struggling with hate then the second best option is to go to The Counseling Solutions Group Inc.  This counseling is through Rick Thomas even though he doesn’t do much counseling himself.  If Mr. Thomas recommends these counselors then they should be good; in other words you shouldn’t get modern psychobabble from them but a biblical view of your problems and biblical solutions.  GCMers, if you are having a hard time with a relationship in your life, why don’t you contact them today?  And may you one day be able to say as Rick did, “It no longer mattered who did what. The real issue for me was whether I would humble my heart before Almighty God and plead for His forgiveness for the crimes I had committed.”

Cross Edited Clip Art

 

 

 

 

More About Sin

Here is a portion from an article by Rick Thomas, The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone to Change that I thought GCMers would be helped by.

“Here is my question to you: Shouldn’t you have mercy on others because of the mercy that was shown to you? Let’s go at it this way. Let’s take a short Gospel Test. How you answer these questions will reveal your understanding and application of the Gospel:

  1. Who is the biggest sinner you know? If you say anyone other than yourself, then you may have Gospel amnesia. (cf. Matthew 7:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:15)
  2. Do you believe what was done to you by others is worse than what you did to the Savior?
  3. Is there someone in your life you will not forgive?
  4. Is there someone in your life you are generally angry, frustrated, or impatient?

How you answered these questions reveals your functional understanding and application of the Gospel. If you are more stuck on what someone has done to you rather than what you have done to Christ, then you are a problem-centered, self-centered Christian, rather than a Gospel-centered Christian.”

An Article by Tracy Keen

On March 12  in my post entitled, What’s Going On, I linked to an article Tracy Keen wrote on abuse (it is in the comments section).  Today she has another great article up at RickThomas.net entitled, How to counsel the abused by going beyond the abuse.  If Rick or Tracy see this, I would love to post the entire article.  But for GCMers here are a few quotes from the article that you need to understand, something that has been left to the wayside in all the counseling that goes on at GCM.

Jennifer is the abused in this post.

“Jennifer has two problems. The first, she has been on the receiving end of much abuse and hardship and that is the problem that is obvious.

The second problem, which is not so obvious and where you must tread carefully, is she is also the victim of the modern gospel. She has a heart issue in more ways than one.

Jennifer needs a heart that is healed from the sins done to her, but she also needs a heart healed by Christ for the sins she has committed, which are not connected to the abuse.”

“In comes the struggle when dealing with a person like Jennifer. It is unbelievably difficult to counsel or help a person who has had so many sinful things done to them.

The reason for this, simply put, is because it is hard for them to see their own sin in addition to the sins done to them. Their focus is on others for obvious reasons. Even writing about their Adamic condition outside of the abuse can be an affront to the abused.”

“This is why a gospel that is centered only on the love of God and does not address the sins of the person is going to fail a person like Jennifer. She may come to God looking to be loved and accepted, which she will, but she will not be helped comprehensively.

So she comes to God confessing all the sinful things people have done to her. She admits to Christ how she is broken, about as broken as any person could be when they have been abused. She sees no future for her life and truly wants God to put her back together.”

“But here’s the problem, Jennifer was never helped to see her sin that put Christ on the cross. So when she comes to the cross, she comes with a list of sins committed against her.

When she leaves the foot of the cross, nothing has truly changed because now she sees herself not as how God sees her, but as someone better than those who have wronged her.

So what did Jennifer walk away with if it wasn’t Christ? Just an empty form of religion that often times leaves a person worse off than before. When dealing with a person like Jennifer, there are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Salvation is the work of God. We are to lead people like Jennifer to the cross.
  2. Sanctification is a work of God. We are to water and plant, trusting the LORD to give the growth.
  3. A person like Jennifer will need time to be able to separate her sin from the sins done to her.
  4. Pray, pray, and pray some more.”

Excellent Article on Abuse

Rick Thomas has done it again!  He posted a most excellent article he and Tracy Keen wrote about abuse.  It is not only about rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, but the need for the gospel for everybody- the abuser and the abused as well as the family of both.

Here is a link to the article, Practical thoughts on how to enter into the prison of a person’s pain.

Imitators of Christ

This is from Rick Thomas’s site* where a member asked, “My husband and I do not get along well. What do you think may be the problem? How can we fix our marriage?”  His answer was focused on Christ!  He asked 6 questions to the member about being an imitator of Christ.  They are some of the same points I have been trying to make in the comments section on some of my posts.  Mr. Thomas is a much better writer than I.  So here they are:  

  1. Christ is for us (Romans 8:31). Are you for your spouse?
  2. Christ forgives us (1 John 1:9). Are you holding on to any grudges or past hurts as it pertains to your spouse?
  3. Christ is our friend (John 15:15). Are you a genuine friend to your spouse–do you authentically like him/her?
  4. Christ gives us grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Do you have unconditional love toward your spouse?
  5. Christ loves us while we sin (Romans 5:8). Do you love your spouse in spite of his/her imperfections?
  6. Christ has compassion on the hurting (John 11:35). Are you compassionate toward your spouse’s weaknesses?
*Please be aware that Mr. Thomas does not leave his articles up long for non-members to read. If you are reading this well after the date of posting, the link might not take you to the article.

Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

*Notes: I know this book polarizes people.  If you found this site because you love this book and you hate my critique of it, please don’t comment about how I must be an abusive man myself or that I am a woman who hates women.  There is enough of that on Amazon.com.  If you go there you will find many reviews of the book and in the comment section of the one star reviews is where you will find those kind of responses.  So all readers, if you are interested,  go there because you aren’t going to find that kind of nonsense here.
Second note, I do know there is abuse out there.  I do recommend leaving during physical abuse and even sometimes with verbal abuse (with the hope of reconciliation).  But bad communication skills are not abuse.
Fourth note, I tried not to get too personal.  I didn’t go into great detail because I don’t want to on the world wide web!
Fifth note, I have not read all of the book because…. (Update: by the time I had written this post, I had read most of the book – minus a page here and there.  As I have stated in the comments section, nothing in my review changed.) 

Head Explosion!!!

That is the way my family members felt when we tried to read, Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.  This is a book my GCM sister read and loved.   This book was recommended to my sister by people on GCM.  It too has a cult-like following.  If you disagree with it and you are a man, it is because you are an abuser.  If you are a woman and hate the book it is because you have a low view of women (see my notes above about Amazon).

My sister wanted my parents to read it.  They tried.  My mom made the suggestion that all men should put duct tape over their mouths so they wouldn’t be accused of abuse.  My parents, my other sibling and myself, which makes a total of four of us, tried to read it.  None of us could make it the whole way through the book!

First of all, where are the footnotes?  As I was reading I kept wondering where Mr. Bancroft got his information.  Where are the footnotes for the studies he mentioned (page 26 for one example)?  How did he know what was myth and what was reality?  In a book like this you would think there would be footnotes!  Most often he based everything on his experience instead of any scientific study.  So wives who read this please keep in mind this is one man’s opinions and might not reflect reality.

My family got the impression that Mr. Bancroft believes only men are abusers (although he does state that women can be abusers, the reader is still left with that impression nonetheless).  He doesn’t know my sister!  While reading this book, my other family members could see my GCM sister in the abuser role.  We could easily sub he for she and she for he and so much of it fit their situation.  She was manipulative  and very controlling (especially through the separation and divorce).  Neither were very nice to the other during their entire marriage.  I would rather call them both sinners than abusers.  But if she wants to call him an abuser, I would have to call her one too.  She fits Mr. Bancroft’s descriptions of an abuser just as much as my brother-in-law.

The saddest part of this book is that it ruins families (the GCM website is not the only destructive thing in my sister’s life; however, it is where it started).  A Christian knows that salvation is not possible with man, but possible with God.  God works miracles in  the hearts of those who repent and put their trust in Christ.  But according to Bancroft, once an abuser always an abuser (of course his definition of abuse is anything that makes the woman upset! Why do I say this?  Page after page describes the different kinds of abusers.  By the time you get done any man will fit the abuser profile!  Actually, any woman too.  I know my sister fit at least 2 abuser profiles really well).  He will state that a man can change but quickly pulls that hope back from the reader.

Overall the woman is going to be left with little hope after reading this book.  “My experience with abusive men is that small or even medium-level improvements generally slip away over time…”  “Sometimes when a woman reports to me that her abusive partner has been doing better, it turns out that he hasn’t been doing anything at all.  He isn’t swearing at her or scaring her, but he also isn’t spending time with her, talking to her, or showing her any affection. (page 349).”  So not talking to your wife is abuse, gentlemen!  You better always show her affection, but not too much because then she will think all you want is one thing and that is abusive too!  Mr. Bancroft even says that the “abuser” may wait two years before he starts testing you.  So even though he is perfect for two years and starts to act in a way you don’t like after TWO years, it is him clearly being abusive?  It couldn’t possibly be that he is a sinner doing what a sinner does?  Where is the grace?  I can say with 100% confidence that the wife is not perfect either.   How can I say such a thing?  Because ALL humans sin!  We must do what Christ did: FORGIVE!  After two years your spouse does something you don’t like, it is not abuse!  No person can live up to the expectations in this book.  Nobody but Jesus is perfect!

This book should not be treated in high regards by any Christian.  It is dangerous in the wrong hands.  It leads to destruction instead of reconciliation.  It is very possible for a woman who is unhappy in her marriage to come away from this book thinking she is abused when in reality she just isn’t happy with her marriage.  Another reason a Christian should not read this book for marital advice; on page 87 Lundy says, “You may be sorely tempted to have a secret affair, since your partner shows you so little kindness or tenderness.  A positive sexual connection may be especially affirming to you, because of how sexually degrading the Drill Sergeant tends to be.  But cheating on him can be deadly if he catches you.  Consider holding off on seeing other men until you have gotten yourself safe.”  Does that sound like what a Christian should be doing?  If a Christian women is reading this book and already is getting the impression she is abused and she is in a low mental state, she may actually think it is important that she have a positive sexual connection – which of course would be adultery.  Where is the focus for the woman?  On having a satisfying sexual encounter.  Where should a Christian woman’s focus be?  On Christ.  On how to handle trials in a way that will be pleasing to Him amd not necessarily to self.

What does this book scream to people who know both the husband and wife well? Women are to be in control of EVERYTHING.  It makes a controlling woman even more controlling and if you don’t like it then you will be labeled as an abuser.  There is very little grace or forgiveness for a husband.

This book makes a woman paranoid.  My sister started to see abuse in everything my brother-in-law did and wrote (of course the GCM people encouraged that because that is what they do.  If you can’t see abuse they will help you find it!  Nice of them isn’t it?).  She would share e-mails with me from him and the only thing I saw is confusion on his part.  She didn’t want to hear that though.  She tried to twist things around.  She wanted to see abuse.  Her GCM friends already told her she was abused so obviously everything he did was abusive.

Again, as I have stated in a previous post, I want to emphasize to all readers: DO NOT GO TO GCM FORUMS WITH YOUR MARITAL PROBLEMS!!!!!  They will tell you, based on Mr. Bancroft’s book, that if you don’t support her 100% (and this means that if you say anything nice about the husband or if you say she has faults too) then she will be unable to talk to you because “you don’t understand” – the book says so (page 369).  You too will be cut out of her life for as long as she is in this cult-like place.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, http://www.rickthomas.net/ would be a great resource to start with.  I have been impressed with the articles I have read on this site.  Mr. Thomas is Christ centered in everything and that is hard to find in counseling!  They do have a recommended book list for marriage here.  I have not read any of them though.  If you think you are abused, they would be a great resource to start with.  They should be able to point you in the right direction.