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Help the abusers with truth
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
April 28, 2023

I once accused a man of being a liar. Following a conversation with his wife and daughters, three quiet women who told me about his abusive behavior, I met with the man himself. He swore to me that he was absolutely innocent. May God forgive me if I was wrong, but I was 99% sure he was trying to manipulate me to maintain control in his home, so I told him he was a liar and needed to repent.

In some tough-to-translate Hebrew, my Bible says, “Defend the oppressed,” but there’s a footnote that suggests this passage might mean, “Correct the oppressor” (Isaiah 1:17). Whatever the right translation, that’s a biblical idea. People who oppress/hurt/abuse other people need to be corrected strongly and unwaveringly.

What might that correcting sound like? Perhaps like this: “Abuse is your choice. Yours. Even if he . . . even if she . . . you made the choice to threaten your kids. Okay, you were drunk when you spewed those words, but you made the choice to drink. I know you were stressed, but not every stressed person smashes things. This is on you. And you need help. You can’t turn off your anger and jealousy and craving for control like a light switch. It’s time to humble yourself. Time to give up control, confess your sins, and seek professional help. That’s the truth.”

Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. But God calls us, for the sake of every soul involved, to correct the oppressor. Is there someone God is calling you to correct today?