I must confess that I’ve been too harsh towards the wolves found in the midst of church. Deep inside, I forgive them, I care for them, and I want them to find help. I just might not have been good at demonstrating this. Victims have very difficult decisions to make. I come across as if it’s an easy black and white thing to do. For that I am truly sorry.
As Christians we must reach out and be kind to even those who have hurt us. What does that mean?
Don’t demonize the wolf. They are humans made in God’s image. Many of them were once victims themselves. Abuse is a vicious cycle that can run in a family for many generations.
It’s also very important to note how Paul distinguishes between an abuser and a victim in Ephesians 5:1-21. Anytime he says “they” he is speaking of the abuser. Anytime he says “you” he is speaking to the victim.
Does an abuser even have a chance at redemption?
Yes… very yes! But first we must learn…
How to Recognize a Wolf
Jesus says in Matthew 7: 15-18
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
So, do they demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Or, do they produce the fruit of the flesh which are evident and visable (Galatians 5:19-21): sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
How God Deals with Wolves
Paul answers this at the end of verse 21, right after explaining the fruit of the flesh, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Jesus says in Matthew 7:19-23, right after teaching us how to detect a false prophet:
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Does this mean that a person who produces the ungodly fruit of the flesh goes to hell?
Paul says in Ephesians 5:5-6
5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Sounds very similar to Galatians 5:19-21. After naming off a list of the fruit of the flesh (which begin with sexual immorality) he ends with “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
What does it mean to inherit the kingdom of God? Paul defines this back in Ephesians 1:11-14
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
So, if a false prophet or pastor consistently produces the works of the flesh, they are not predestined to inherit the kingdom of God… unless they eventually repent.
So, the real question is… how does one bring them into repentance?
The Kindness of God Lead Us to Ours
Here is one of Strong’s Concordance definitions for the fruit of kindness (called gentleness in the KJV):
The Greek word xrēstótēs (“divine kindness“) is the Spirit-produced goodness which meets the need and avoids human harshness (cruelty).
This same word is used in Romans 2:4
4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
So… this is why God doesn’t strike us down every time we sin. He is kind to us. And in this kindness it seems like there is little to no judgment on this Earth. It appears that the only judgment for evil will be done once the season of grace is over and the final Day of Judgment begins.
So, again, in this season of grace, how do you deal with a false prophet, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
If you do nothing, the bible is clear. Without repentance they will eventually be judged by God and go to hell.
To those who struggle to find what is pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:7-11) I leave you with this… protecting a false prophet will only gain them hell in the end.
It would be far kinder for them to face a type of judgment on this Earth. In this they might repent and receive salvation.
If nothing is done, even those (who are evil) that you protect will be taken from you. This is why we are called not to partner with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:7-11), but instead to expose them. Not only will this help the victims find a new life free from abuse, it will even help the abuser to step down from ministry and perhaps (depending on the severity of his crimes) face some jail time. But in that jail, while suddenly brought low, he might repent and go to heaven. Staying in power and resting on the grace of God to the point of no repentance will only kill him forever and ever in hell, fire, and brimstone.
It seems cruel for me to say these things. How heartless can I be!
One might ask me, “Don’t you care about the victims? Do I even care about the abuser?”
Yes and… very yes! Though I don’t have the means to show it, I’ve always cared about both parties!
Another might ask me again, “Then why have you been demonizing the wolf so much?”
I have been demonizing the wolf too much. I’m very sorry for this. I deeply struggle how to come about these things. Please forgive me.
There are two unshakable truths though, facts that nothing can change.
- Wolves in sheep’s clothing are currently going to hell.
- Exposing them might prevent this.
But what a shaking it would be to expose such deeply-rooted sins! How many innocent people would be caught in the cross-hairs? How many hurts would it cause? What do the victims who rely on this wolf for financial support do once he’s gone?
These are very hard questions. I just don’t know that answers to them.
But there are answers from professionals and organizations who help in this very area. Reach out to them.
The only thing I know for sure, if no judgment is done on this Earth, the wolf has zero chances for salvation. This is because they are addicts.
All Forms of Abuse Are an Addiction
Abusers are addicted to the power they wield. Addicts must be separated from what tempts them. You don’t send an alcoholic to the bar; you send him to rehab.
It is kind to send these wolves to jail, though it appears harsh. But which way is truly harsh? Jail on Earth or hell forever more? I might struggle with how I’ve worded this for many blog posts… and for that I am sorry.
If I truly hated that abuser I would want nothing done. This would eventually send them to hell. But, I care for the victim and for the abuser.
This Is Not Easy
What I am asking is extremely difficult to do. In the end it is always up to the victims. They must weigh how much abuse they can take, to how many other souls would be affected once the abuser is removed.
And so, to temper this thought of mine, let me share a very relevant parable Jesus said in Matthew 13:24-30
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
So, the wolves and weeds among us are allowed to survive and even grow by the grace of God in hope that it might lead to repentance (Romans 2:4). This is done until the day of judgment arrives. On that day, all who haven’t repented will be sent to burn in hell.
In all of these writings, I’ve been so very dogmatic and harsh… reigning down hell, fire, and brimstone and demonizing people that are held very dear.
I don’t mean to be that way. I just see the end of it. I see cycles of harm that will continue until the Day of the Lord brings it all to a halt.
I just want victims of the abuse to be free… I’ve only been trying to help you. Please don’t hate me for my feeble attempts. I’ve been trying to shake you, to help you find deliverance. And, I haven’t really explained this part of it, but I really do care about the abuser. They are not demons. In most cases, they are victims of abuse themselves. It is a very sad cycle that continues from generation to generation.
The wolves and weeds among us need godly help. In my opinion, they can’t get it from us. They need rehab. They need jail time. Only there might they have a chance at repentance.
To the many victims of abuse out there, I leave you this promise (Ephesians 5:14).
14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”