Ravi Zacharias Responds

People have been asking about the credentials of Ravi Zacharias for several years resulting in little to no response. The recent allegations of sexting brought about a quick public response after emails and text messages between Mr. Zacharias and a woman were made public on The Spiritual Sounding Board.

I have on occasion listened to the daily radio/podcasts program Just Thinking with Ravi Zacharias over several years. I’ve recently had my 8th and 9th grade sons listening to it too. Just Thinking reaches the “questioner” and the “thinker” through knowledgeable answers. Ravi Zacharias strives to remove cultural and intellectual obstacles in order to present an unobstructed view of Christ. I believe he has one of the most brilliant minds of our time. He has been known for years as a man of grace, wisdom, logic and boldness.

When I read the published email responses between Mr. Zacharias and the woman in question my heart sank. I do not want any impropriety to be true!

Is it possible? Yes, anything is possible…for any of us. We are all sinners—made from dust.

To my knowledge, Ravi Zacharias has not denied the emails were from him. He only denies the intent behind them. He insists the woman purposefully set out to extort money from him which  I believe is completely possible. There are people intent on destroying Christians and/or their ministries. There are also people pursuing financial gain.

On the other hand, it could be as the writer of The Spiritual Sounding Board questioned regarding the mode of operation when men go looking for their next sexual quest. Was this woman being groomed for someone else’s sexual gratification?

Here are my questions about the case if it was all one-sided: Why did Mr. Zacharias respond to her first correspondence? Why did he respond to other correspondence? Why did he ask her to refrain from telling her husband until he, Ravi, was able to discuss the matter with her? Why did Mr. Zacharias tell her? “If you betray me here, I will have no option but to bid this world goodbye, I promise.”

‘Betray’ implies exposing information that no one else knows; revealing secrets; being disloyal, giving evidence. If he had said, “I will not allow myself or my ministry to be treated this way. This is a matter for the police. If you want to say anything else to me it will have to said through our attorneys,” he wouldn’t have people guessing as to what is truth and what is false. The mention of suicide also concerns me. It is straight from the toolbox of an abuser. It’s how they maintain power over another person. I’m not saying Mr. Zacharias is an abuser, but the comment does cause concern.

I believe it would be wise on the part of the RZIM board to seek help from professional, biblical counselors Patrick Doyle or Leslie Vernick for their perspective on this entire situation. Either of these counselors could quickly get to the truth and impart logic, wisdom, and application to bring forth healing.

As someone who ministers to women on the receiving end of unfaithfulness and abuse I can say I’ve heard about every spin imaginable from husbands caught participating in something they shouldn’t have been doing. Denial, justification, spiritualizing, minimizing, rationalizing, blaming, believing their own rhetoric, lying. Unfaithful people can lie so much they can’t keep their lies straight. Abusers are different from someone caught in unfaithfulness for the first time. An abuser believes every word that comes out of their own mouth. That’s why they are so convincing.

The original post on The Spiritual Sounding Board has been removed at the request of the woman involved in the case so you can no longer read the written correspondence that went back and forth between her and Ravi Zacharias.

 

Christianity Today published a response. You may read the response here...Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique

Ravi Zacharias: Statement on my Federal Lawsuit: Facebook post

Photo Credit: Facebook, Ravi Zacharias public profile picture
Link

Ravi Zacharias: Sexual grooming and misconduct lawsuit

This is a public service announcement for those of you who listen to Ravi on the radio or on podcasts. This is not the first problem to arise for Ravi Zacharias. There have been multiple people through the years question Ravi’s reported inflated credentials; followed by a lack of response, verification, or proof from Ravi’s ministry or leadership board.

spiritual sounding board

This news is being reported by Spiritual Sounding Board. I have followed Spiritual Sounding Board since I began blogging in 2013 and I have complete confidence in the accuracy of any issue or person they bring to light.

We are not smearing Jesus’ reputation since Christ is secure in who He is and nothing we do or say can change His perfection or His purpose. Christ does not expect us to cover for these types of people, but rather to hope and pray for conviction in their heart, soul, mind and strength. The purpose is restoration of relationship with God and with the church family.

Click the below link for the article and letters of correspondence…

via Ravi Zacharias Must Explain: Lawsuit, Narratives, and Emails

In the wake of infidelity (Helping the victim)

Last night as you sobbed your heart to your Heavenly Daddy

He pieced you back together, dusted you off, and woke you

To fresh mercies this morning.

You made it through another day.

Never let anyone tell you what your brave should look like

How you should act or respond.

This is how you heal. One hard fought day at a time.

In your weakness He is strong.

This is how you mend your broken.  

 

This I have learned from my own life traumas.

I also learned what a woman needs most from her friends in the middle of her shocking news…that her husband is being unfaithful is for a friend to listen. Affirm her, acknowledge her pain, pray for her. As in…lay your hands on her shoulders, or hold her hands, and pray over her in person. Pray over her home; room by room. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16b

She simply needs to process her thoughts out loud. There is something about talking to a friend that makes it real; not some crazy notion in your head. It’s healing. Validate her pain.

I understand that this may be uncomfortable, it may emotionally upset you. Yep, it will! Christ has called us to get messy and show empathy and love to those in need. Scripture tells us, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”  (I John 3:17) I believe the same principle applies here. To see your sister’s hurt but have no pity, how can the love of God be in that person?

If you think listening to her is taking sides and may jeopardize your friendship with the husband; think again. To not take sides shows the perpetrator and the victim that you have chosen sides.  We must take the side of the oppressed. Neutrality shows the oppressor you are on their side.

Here is another nugget of wisdom. Unfaithfulness is always the responsibility of the unfaithful. They had opportunity to say no. They had the power to change their circumstance. They had abundant choices for wise counsel; for help before it was too late.

You can be friends with both at the same time. One calls for tender love; the other calls for tough love. Don’t think you’re getting caught in a triangular relationship where you’re betraying trust. If you feel caught in between with he said, she said; make it clear to him that he needs to be honest with his wife. Say something like this, “I want to make sure that you understand you need to be honest with your wife in all aspects of your marriage which includes not withholding information. I’m concerned that you are showing me another area of your life where you are not disclosing the truth to your wife. For your good, and the good of your family, I need to call out the deceptions.”

Why? Matthew 18:15 applies, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” Most importantly, the goal is to bring them to repentance and reconciliation if possible.

“It’s a poverty when God’s words are watered down for the sake of being culturally sensitive, in the name of comforting others or not being offensive. His absolute truth is by nature going to offend because it requires of us change. Perhaps more scary, it requires us to do nothing but ACCEPT His grace and the promise of salvation — we CANNOT earn it! We can sooo love others to Jesus without backing down. Confronting wrong is NOT the same as pointing unkind judgmental fingers. After all, Jesus saved His most pointed comments for those who should KNOW BETTER, not for the unsaved. He loved them, but gently and firmly said, “Go and sin no more.” He DID NOT say, “That’s not really sin if you really want to do this.” Cindy Sigler Dagnan 9/14/2014

Repentance is not God’s way of condescendingly reminding us of our sin, failures and mistakes. Quite the opposite. It is our chance to approach Him, and through repentance receive forgiveness, healing, power, wisdom and blessing. Repentance is a beautiful gift. God does not dole out punishments, although there may be natural consequences, but instead gives good gifts to those seeking His heart and will.

I have also found that people are forgiving when they see repentance that leads to fruit. In other words; you will be known by your actions and not just your words. 

“Above all, love each other deeply,

because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8

Ideas for practical help

  • A restaurant gift card,  or freezer meal, for a day when she is having a difficult time functioning.
  • A gift certificate for a massage. Physical touch can help release loads of stress.
  • Offer to watch the kids while she has a counseling appointment, attorney appointment, or doctor appointment.
  • Offer to help her clean her house. She will appreciate the company and conversation as much as the help.
  • Stop by, or invite her over, for coffee or tea. Your house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean. It’s likely she will cherish the grace of your realness over tidiness.
  • Create a playlist of music to minister to her in her trauma.
  • Call and pray for her over the phone.
  • Lend a listening ear in a judgement free zone.
  • Send a note of encouragement with a scripture you are praying over her.

I’m afraid of the space where you suffer
Where you sit in the smoke and the burn
I can’t handle the choke or the danger

Of my own foolish, inadequate words
I’ll be right outside if you need me
Right outside

What can I bring to your fire?
Shall I sing while the roof is coming down?
Can I hold you while the flames grow higher,
Shall I brave the heat and come close with you now?
Can I come close now?

So we left you to fight your own battle
And you buried your hope with your faith
‘Cause you heard no song of deliverance
There on the nights that followed the wake
We never thought to go with you
Afraid to ask

What can I bring to your fire?
Shall I sing while the roof is coming down?
Can I hold you while the flames grow higher,
Shall I brave the heat and come close with you now?
Can I come close now?

Lay down our plans
Lay down the sure-fire fix
Grief’s gonna stay awhile,
There is no cure for this
We watch for return,
We speak what we’ve heard
We sit together, in the burn

What can I bring to your fire?
Shall I sing while the roof is coming down?
Can I hold you while the flames grow higher,
Shall I brave the heat and come close with you now?
Can I come close now?

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1 year since Lynn Messer’s remains found

Today, November 1, 2017, marks one year from the day of Lynn Messer’s remains being found on her husband’s farm property. Property that had been searched with GPS tracking equipment in the daylight and in the dark. It had also been searched by professionally trained dogs who would have picked up the scent of the remains; especially in the hot July and August heat.

Lynn Messer, disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun safety, and Christian/Biblical values.

As a courtesy to Lynn’s church I want to update my readers that I’ve been told Kerry no longer attends FBC FCC and hasn’t since the weekend the scheduled memorial service was cancelled. 

In the spirit of keeping this case in the public’s eye and in honor of Lynn’s memory, I asked her sons Aarron and Abram questions about their mom, and the ongoing investigation. 

Q: What has your favorite memory of your mom been since knowing for the last year that she is now in heaven and has been the entire 3+ years?
 
Aarron: I remember seeing my mom sing along throughout the house to Ray Boltz’ song Thank You, while watching the tears swell in her eyes picturing all the people she impacted throughout her life greeting her in heaven.
Abram: So many things I could say in response to that. But more than a specific memory I remember what she taught me. She taught me how to laugh, how to love and taught me to pursue Jesus Christ. I am who I am today because of her guidance, love and passion for Christ.
Elizabeth (Abram’s wife): My very favorite memory of Lynn would involve cooking. We would spend days in the kitchen just cooking and laughing. We would set aside a day every December to do nothing but make cookies and fudge. All 7 grand kids lined up decorating and tasting cookies. Christmas music on the old radio. The house full of excitement, warmth, and love. The house would smell of cookies and the wood burning stove. Every table and counter top would be piled with big beautiful Christmas cookies that were equally tasty. I never remember Lynn burning a single cookie. They always turned out perfect. Lynn would often take cookies to neighbors, and send the grand kids home with enough cookies to last the entire Christmas season. (Below: First 2 pages of a hand written cookbook from Lynn to Elizabeth.)Lynn verse 2
Lynn verse
 
Q: Do you have something she said to you that often replays in your mind?
 
Aarron:  Everyday it’s something else; another memory, another thought. 
 
Q: Is there something she said to you that has left you wondering if she was trying to tell you something was wrong in the home?
 
Aarron: Before she disappeared there was an evening. I had just been divorced in September of the year before and I had been spending a lot of time with my new girlfriend. My mom called me stressed—worried about me. I invited her and my dad to come over but we were making dinner at my girlfriends’ home; therefore, my dad wouldn’t come but my mom drove to Pevely at 9 PM and just talked.  It was like she was watching us; as if my mom had felt I needed her and she was seeing that despite the stresses in my life I wasn’t falling apart. I was happy and going forward in life and it was like watching her realize I didn’t need her.  I have relived that evening a hundred times over in my head wondering what she was thinking.  She was so quiet. Penny (my girlfriend) and I have talked about how strange mom acted that evening. It was like she wanted to say something to us but she didn’t——she was so quiet.  We both, even then, wondered what it was and ever since we have wondered what was on her mind. Did she want to tell us about Spring?  Was she afraid to say something?
Abram: Lots of things. The stress of knowing that my father was on his way home, the way she phrased things always trying to make excuses and explain away my father’s behavior—and the way she tried to love us enough to make up for his narcissistic behavior.
 
Q: Are you confident the case will be solved? 
 
Aarron: Her cause of death is unknown… How solved is that?  I have heard that my dad has told people my mom’s death was a suicide.  But the toxicology report showed no drugs, there was no weapon found with her.  How did she die?  If she killed herself there would be a weapon, or a drug in her system.  She wasn’t dying on her own; how did she die?  There wasn’t any of those things. She didn’t die of natural causes, so as we can see her body was clearly dumped in the woods.  Detectives are clear; my dad moved her body. If he would just be honest maybe this will be solved.  I am just waiting for the day when he breaks and tells the truth.

Abram: Over the last three years God has impressed upon me repeatedly throughout His Word how much He loves justice. The Hand of God is not slacked, He will in His perfect timing see justice prevail. Even should His timing be not on this earth, I will not give up. I will not quit, and I will not give up on my God’s incredible ability to take our darkest hours and illuminate them with His glorious light. I know that He will take this nightmare and use it in powerful and mighty ways to allow us to both minister to others who are struggling as well as allowing us to see His powerful sustaining hands. I know this because I already can see how He has moved in our midst in amazing ways. 

“Hope thou in God.” I am confident that the case will be solved because my hope is in God, not man. 
 
Q: Did you have an ah-ha moment when you discerned that your mom may not have disappeared of her own free will?
 
Aarron: There honestly was never a moment where I thought she left on her own.  From the first moment I knew she was gone nothing made sense.  Knowing that her body was moved and that my father has been lying, manipulating, and covering up where she was…it was the first thing/answer that made sense.
Abram: For me it was a slow realization of facts that I knew, and watching my father’s behavior. The truth became clearer and clearer as the days turned into weeks and months. This realization finally became undeniable. Then it was a matter of being honest with myself. Was I unwilling to accept what I was seeing with my own eyes, and hearing with my own ears? I wasn’t dependent on a third-party to tell me what they heard, and none of my thoughts or opinions are based on what other people told me. I came to these conclusions because I lived it. The truth doesn’t change because we don’t like it, nor does it change because it is hard for us to accept. Several of these facts were staring at me from the beginning, 
Q: Likewise, did you have a time when you thought you pin-pointed a specific person having knowledge to the truth of what happened to your mom?
 
Aarron: When I confronted my dad about his relationship with Spring Thomas it became incredibly clear that he was hiding information about what happened to Mom.
Abram: Absolutely. When I watched my father interact with law enforcement, telling them that he was not going to search for my mom. That was a turning point for me in my pursuit of the truth. 
 
Q: In hind sight, is there one thing that sticks out in your mind that you wish you could change, or had done differently, in the investigation?
 
Aarron: That morning when she disappeared—I wish I had never let my dad out of my sight when he drove off the farm. I wish I had never left the farm when he told me to leave.
Abram: The cows. Not so much in the investigation, but the fact that I was manipulated into covering a scent trail… and the many ways we have been twisted and used as pawns in someone else’s sick demented game will haunt me for the rest of my life.
 
Q: When is the last time you had contact with your dad?
 
Aarron: Ironically yesterday (Saturday).  A few weeks ago he left a note on my door demanding an increase in the rent I pay him; from $450 a month to $650. I wrote him back attempting to negotiate. He won’t respond of course.  I asked if he could give me a year lease since he has insisted that my rent be month to month.  Then the hot water heater in the apartment went out; I fixed it.  Then the sewer backed up into the apartment. I texted him several times asking about the sewer trying to get it fixed but he wouldn’t respond.  Then he did respond; acknowledging that there was a septic tank somewhere in the backyard. He couldn’t tell me where, but that he buried a soda can on top of it so I can use a metal detector to find it.  Not the highlight though; no! Saturday was opening day of youth firearm season so my daughter and I were hunting on the farm.  Dad and Spring each drove past us in our stand on his four wheelers; then they moved the cows into the field in front of us where we were hunting.  After 10-20 minutes of driving around the field he drove up to us and said the cows will be here til Tuesday.  So we packed up and started walking to another field to set up again to hunt.  He followed us while we walked a half mile across the farm.  After we setup again he pulled up and told me I couldn’t go to the back field because he had sold hunting rights on the farm to someone else and we aren’t allowed to be there.  This is the field directly above where I found my mother’s remains.  So here on that anniversary of finding her body I am not allowed to go back to where her body was. UPDATE 10/31/2017: Just got home earlier; Dad finally responded. I have to move before December 1st as he doesn’t want me on the farm. He also said the kids cannot go hunting on the farm.
Abram: The last contact I have had with my father (outside of seeing him in the courtroom dealing with our protection order against him), was in May of 2015. 
 
Q: Has the pastor from First Baptist Church Festus Crystal City attempted to contact you since cancelling the memorial service your dad attempted to hold at the church?
 
Aarron: No, no one from FBC FCC contacted me before the scheduling of the memorial service even telling us that it was scheduled or after it was cancelled.  The only time I was contacted by his pastor was when the pastor was upset that the deacons from the church had read my Facebook posts and had asked him about the things I said. He asked to meet with me to tell me never to talk about his church again.  Several of the deacons came to me later…apologizing and trying to get to the truth.  I have had them call me once since just to let me know they are still looking for the truth.  No one from the staff has spoken to me since.
Abram:  Dr. McLain has made no attempts or offers of any kind to contact us. It is heartbreaking to know that the church leadership does not care to be obedient to the Word of God, either in their dealings with us or my father. 
Q: As far as you know, has your dad married Spring Thomas?
 
Aarron: Not that I know of although they spend most their time together.
Abram: To my knowledge he has not. But I would not be surprised if he had a secret wedding without a marriage certificate. Very little of his behavior surprises me at this point. I do know that their relationship is still on going. 
 
Q: I had a message left on my blog about your dad attempting to organize a search party to walk the roads near Spring’s house and to search her property in the early days of the investigation. Do your recall this request? Did volunteers ever do it?
 
Aarron: A search was coordinated to search along the roads from the farm toward Spring’s farm.  I actually went on that search. We met at McDonalds in House Springs and drove up Hwy W from MM and 30 towards Eureka. I rode with Spring in her car and we stopped in every driveway, talked to every person we saw, and knocked on every door on W.  A woman described someone looking very similar to Mom that had been walking along the road; even had two people describe someone who looked very much like Mom.  We gathered their info and passed it along to detectives but it was an empty lead.  No one ever searched Spring’s farm.  That was the only search associated with Spring’s farm.  It was nowhere near her farm but merely along a highway in the middle of nowhere.
Abram: I became aware that a request to that end had been made late in 2015, well after it had supposedly transpired. If it was in fact done, it was deliberately done without my knowledge and certainly without my cooperation. I have no idea if it was actually done or not. I do find it very interesting that my father would have potentially searched Spring’s property, while refusing to search his own. 
 
Q: Aarron, on another social media forum it was mentioned that Kerry suggested to you where you and your daughters should scout for deer hunting and it was the part of the property where your mom’s remains were located. Is this true?
 
Aarron: Detectives asked me about that.  My dad and I had talked about hunting—where to hunt that season, but my dad did not tell me where to go or suggest anywhere to go.  In retrospect he actually had indicated he thought we should go somewhere else and I told him I wanted to go up by the water gap. He made the comment that no one has been back there for years.  But no, he had no idea exactly where I was going and didn’t suggest we should go anywhere near her remains.  One truly frightening thing is that her body was on the hill-side that I have personally seen them take dead or dying cows that were sick and push them off into the woods to rot.
 
Q: At this point, has your dad attempted to make sure you receive some of your mom’s belongings?
 
Aarron: My father has explicitly told me that I am not allowed to enter his home under any circumstance.  I have asked to read my mom’s journals and have yet to get a response from him.  He invited my ex-wife over to the house to go through my mother’s things and take whatever she wanted, but I have received no invitation to even look at anything of my mothers.  In fact, he has given away many of her things—even saying on Facebook that he was getting rid of those items; without asking me a thing.
Abram: No he has not, and in fact quilts that my mom made for us seemed to have disappeared just as mysteriously as she did. Our wedding quilt, the quilt she made me in high school, and all but one of my children’s quilts she made them were taken from us. We knew that my father had taken them, but then we confirmed it when we discovered a photo my father posted on FB with my son’s quilt in the back ground. He was using it as a prop to garner sympathy at an event. It serves as a reminder to his double minded nature. The way he pretends to be this suffering, loving husband and father when in reality he stole my son’s precious link to his grandmother that he has had since birth. 
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Q: A young man who rents a duplex from your dad in Jefferson City left a comment on a social network forum that your mom’s death was an accident. He implied that Kerry had confided in him information about his (Kerry’s) family problems regarding Abram specifically, and your mom’s death? Has anyone else told you your mom’s death was an accident?
 
Aarron: The only one who has said that is my dad.
Abram: This new story that we heard about certainly wasn’t the first time he has told a completely new version of events. This is what happens when you lie. It gets harder and harder to define the truth. My father has sadly told so many different lies to so many people he can’t seem to keep his stories straight. Sin builds on itself. When we embrace it, wallow in it, and make it our own personal reality it will eat our soul like cancer. God Himself has pledged that the things done in darkness WILL be brought to the light. If anything I hope that people will take seriously seeing the consequences of sin. What it can do to you, your family and everyone you know. 
 
Q: Did you see the inside of your parent’s house the morning you were told your mom disappeared? Did you see the bedroom? If so, is there anything you wish you had thought of, or realized, that morning when your were looking through the house?
 
Aarron: The day she disappeared, when my dad drove off, I searched through the entire house looking for my mom.  There are two bedrooms that my parents slept in. They were sleeping in the bedroom on the ground floor at the time because of my mom’s hip, as opposed to their upstairs bedroom.  There was absolutely nothing that I thought to look for because I had no idea to look for anything; I was searching for her. 
Abram: No, I did not go into their house that morning. When I arrived at their house the morning of the 8th, I drove the 4 wheeler out in the barn lot to meet my father. He of course was absolutely irate the Aarron had called the sheriff’s department, and demanded that I leave, after he became more agitated I finally left. A short while later, when I returned the detectives where already in their house, and I was asked to remain outside while they where doing the initial processing of the scene. 
 
Q: According to my sources: 
1) Spring Thomas has said that your parents were at her house, together, a few days before your mom disappeared.
2) Your dad has told people he hadn’t been to Spring’s house for a month before your mom disappeared.
3) A family friend saw your mom, alone, in St. Louis a few days before she disappeared and your mom mentioned she was on her way to Spring’s house to pay her a visit.
 
These accounts are all different. What do you know about this?
 
Aarron: I don’t know anything more.
Abram: One of the very telling things throughout the investigation has been the constantly changing and evolving timeline, events and stories as conveyed by my father. I have personally heard my father say that it had been weeks since he was last at Spring’s house, and my mother was with him. But I also know that my mom went to see Spring days before she her death. I have no idea what Spring may or may not have said about these encounters. I know she is still refusing to cooperate with the investigation as well. 
 
 Q: I’ve received many comments and questions about the airing of Discovery Channel’s show; Disappeared. People want to know if the portrayal of you was accurate? Abram, was there more to your dad knocking on your door early that morning than what the show disclosed? 

Abram: For the most part I think they did a very good job in portraying the overall scenario. There are many things that I could be critical of, mostly the argument that I had with my mom was exaggerated and overdone. I would have liked it if they had talked about how we passed the CVSA lie detection tests, and to date my father has not been able to pass any of the lie detection tests that he has taken. However, I have had personal contact with most of the actors on the show and I know that the director took an “artistic license” with many things. In several follow-up conversations the producers asked for clarifications about several scenes, and even did some editing to make the performances more authentic. So I feel that the freedom that they took to make certain aspects more interesting was a trade-off that I was willing to make in exchange for our attempts to raise awareness and prayerfully to get help in searching for my mother. 

As to the morning of, I was much more confused and befuddled than my depiction on the show. 4:15 a.m. that morning I think my father had to find out if I had seen or heard anything that had happened. He HAD to know if I knew anything. The only way for him to know that was to show up. Another thought we’ve had is that we had installed a new chain lock on the door that he didn’t know about. He thought he could walk right in. The chain was latched which means the door was locked. He did not start yelling my name til after the chain caught and woke up the dogs. He could have been sneaking in and the chain caught him off guard. The question then would be why was he sneaking? What were his intentions?
 
Q: The fact that there are different pastures for the cows indicates there must be fences and gates on the property. Would these have presented any problems for your mom if…she were to walk around the property in the darkness, in a thunderstorm, with bad hips walking on uneven ground, carrying a pillow (possibly more) on her way to where she was found? 
Abram: Yes. There are multiple electric fences all over the property with gates that have to be opened for passageway. My wife who doesn’t have my mom’s health problems, and is taller than my mom with larger hands has difficulty opening and closing these gates with the strength of two hands in the daylight. Add to that, Mom would have been carrying a pillow, wearing no shoes through a blackberry patch, in the dark, in the rain and thunderstorm. She would have had to open and close multiple electric fence gates regardless of which way she walked…if she walked…which we don’t believe she did.
 **DISCLAIMER: ALL OF MY OPINIONS COME FROM RESEARCH, PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, AND DISCUSSIONS I MAY HAVE HAD WITH PROFESSIONALS. I RECEIVE NO MONETARY BENEFITS AND HOLD NO RESPONSIBILITY BY SHARING THE INFORMATION ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PAGE AND ITS CONTENTS. THE INFORMATION HEREIN IS NOT INTENDED AS A FORM OF DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT, VERDICT, LEGAL ADVISE, OR A PREDICTION REGARDING AN OUTCOME OF AN INVESTIGATION. The answers to the above questions were written in their entirety by Lynn Messer’s sons. These are their memories, opinions, and accounts of interactions and conversations told from their viewpoints. I am committed to publishing works of integrity. In that spirit, I offer these questions and answers to my readers.

Click link ‘LYNN MESSER’ in margin for more articles.

#JusticeForLynn fundraiser: YouCaring


 

Find Lynn Messer Commentary

 

The following is for educational purposes only. I am not a professional. I write to help bring awareness for those who may be interacting with duplicitous individuals. As the conversation about destructive marriages continues to grow in the mainstream and within the church, we are provided with excellent opportunities to have much needed discussions. It’s my belief that if we seize the opportunities to tell our stories and discuss topics like this on a greater scale, we will begin to change the tides.

I’m not saying anyone in this article has been proven to be double-minded or guilty of a crime; they haven’t.

I seek only to help my readers recognize the possibility of such people existing, because it may occur with someone they know or with whom they interact.

The writer of the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page allows me opportunity to educate my readers on how there are two ways to look at a person. For teaching purposes the page can be taken at face value (completely true), or as an alternate reality (made up stories) or possibly coming from an unstable and/or criminal mind. Kerry Messer is a public figure which makes this a public interest case since he fund raises from the citizens of Missouri to provide for his professional and personal finances through his organization Missouri Family Network.  Lynn Messer’s sons and extended family continue to point out moral and ethical issues they have witnessed by Kerry Messer. I do not write these posts or publish letters as a professional in any field of expertise, but rather to educate my readers from the life experiences through which I have lived. See the disclaimer in the side margin. I simply raise questions so we can consider different viewpoints.

Here is the link to my first ever “Toxic Tuesday: Lynn Messer Missing Person” post which explains my reasoning for writing about Lynn.

Kerry Messer is a Missouri state lobbyist whose wife Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014. Her remains were discovered on their farm November 1, 2016. Law enforcement continues to investigate her death while waiting on the conclusion of all forensic testing. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time. 

Since my last post on this subject, Kerry Messer: Update, I’ve been making more phone calls to inquire if he still lobbies for  THE MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN CHILD CARE AGENCIES, INC and MISSOURIANS FOR PERSONAL SAFETY. As with previous calls I’ve made to Kerry Messer’s principals, I was given yet another false claim about the Lynn Messer case. I understand these organizations are passing on information they have been told. This time it was, “Lynn’s death was ruled a suicide and the case has been closed.” Kerry’s name is still listed for Missourians for Personal Safety and Alliance for Life as their lobbyist on the Missouri Ethics Commission website despite them saying Kerry does not work for them. MACCCA still works with Kerry.

As with all past claims I promptly called the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s office to verify the assertion. I was told, “No, Lynn Messer’s death has not been ruled a suicide and the case is not closed.” 

I have asked many questions about Lynn’s disappearance and death, and questions about Kerry Messer and Spring Thomas. Kerry has not contacted me to answer any of the questions. Like wise, when I asked Kerry, on his FLM FB page, about a C.S. Lewis quote that he cited in one of his writings he did not answer. He maintained it was a direct quote but it cannot be verified as a quote, a paraphrase, and after running it through plagiarism websites the quote still can’t be found. 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Kerry Messer continued to publicly post weekly updates on his Facebook autobiography page, Find Lynn Messer, through August 19, 2017.  Here is my brief commentary for his July and August posts. (Picture of Kerry and Lynn is from the public FLM FB page. A family member volunteered that they were present when this picture was taken. They remember Kerry handing the camera to another church member and asking them to take a photo of him and Lynn together.)Kerry Lynn in church

In the pursuit of public interest; Lynn’s side of the family believes many of the stories involving Lynn are fiction. They do not recognize many narratives that Kerry writes about, or if they do recognize one, they claim the stories often bear no resemblance to their memory’s version. I write mainly from the family’s point of view and their collective memories. 

July 2, 2017

“Ma’s commitments to the farm have helped me also. Just a few days prior to her disappearance she had gone through each and every field of the farm conducting an extensive grass evaluation to plot out a grazing rotation schedule for the cattle. (Her recent work in those fields also explains why her scent trails were just as prominent in every direction, frustrating search efforts in the days following her disappearance. Yet those facts, and her insistence on cattle rotations, are only examples of details that have been twisted to create crazy theories that contradict reason while fueling haters’ imaginations.)

Nevertheless, Ma’s commitments to the farm inspire me to continue. And as I found myself explaining in one media interview, “the cows have helped to save my life”! During those first six months everything was put on hold that could be. We did no work other than what simply had to be done. Most things were ignored and left undone if they were not necessary. But the cows had to be fed.”

Perhaps the cows did save him for a time. Did they possibly cover the most recent scent trail of Lynn’s; in the very direction from the house where her remains were discovered?

According to Lynn’s son, Abram, his mom took care of cattle rotation when it needed to happen so the fact that his dad was so demandingly adamant about Abram moving the cows the morning of July 8, 2014, seemed beyond odd to him; especially in hindsight. If moving the cattle was always Lynn’s responsibility, why would Kerry be thinking of such an insignificant detail when his beloved, “Ma, Bride,” wife was missing and nowhere to be found?

“First of all is that the unanswered questions surrounding Ma’s disappearance on the night of July 7th, 2014, will nag at my emotional well-being for the rest of my life.”

After almost three years of Kerry saying, the morning of July 8 in most posts and media interviews. Why did he switch to the night of July 7?

“Thus it became Lynn’s request that we would eventually retire to Arkansas, and ultimately be buried there. She pushed on her desire to go to Arkansas, sooner or later, and I promised her that one day we would.”

How are Lynn’s sons to reconcile this when according to Lynn’s family, they never heard Lynn say this was a wish or thought of hers?

“Over the years her attachment to the farm superseded everything else we had ever discussed. Eventually Ma and I made the decision to be cremated when the time came, and to have our ashes scattered here on the farm. The idea of going to Arkansas faded into our memories as the farm became our little piece of heaven on earth.”

“I was waiting for input from family. And so it was like being kicked in the gut (once again) when, after more than seven months, the coroner told me that he could not even send in an application for a death certificate until Lynn was in the ground!”

“There is way too much I would like to say about all of this right now, but maybe it would be better for me to just say I feel betrayed – again.”

“Since I was not given any feedback from the family, I decided not to go with cremation.”

How did he contact the family and when? Who did he contact? According to Lynn’s family and extended family, Kerry didn’t communicate with them through writing, through law enforcement, or through an attorney.  I was told that Kerry did ask a deacon from Lynn’s sister and mom’s church to mediate between himself and the family, but the deacon declined.

“So I went back to advisers for suggestions. They all said the same thing about waiting over six months with no response from the family. It was my decision to make – but I was strongly encouraged to keep it private and not announce it for haters and critics ahead of time. Preserving the dignity and integrity of even her skeletal remains outweighed opening up what many see as a sacred event to potential media or sightseers.”

“Thus I defaulted to Lynn’s original request. To be buried with my family in Arkansas.”

Again, Lynn never mentioned this to her mom, her sisters, her sons, or her daughter-in-law.

Who are Kerry’s advisers? His attorneys, Spring Thomas, his pastor, or someone else? I think a secular therapist, a Christian counselor, or a member of the clergy would have suggested the importance of allowing a mother’s children and grandchildren the courtesy and necessity of having a grave side service. This could have been easily arranged through the funeral director in Arkansas. One side of the family could have had their service, allowing time for them to leave and the other attendees to arrive, so the others could have the remaining time for their burial ceremony.

Do take note that Kerry, in a FLM post, stated that his pastor was indeed a part of the decision making process on how to handle the burial and who to invite and not invite. I have received word from inside Lynn’s church that just because Kerry states details about the church and leadership in his posts; does not make those details facts. Should we be confused? Maybe. Shocked? Nope.

Side note: I remain saddened and frustrated that the pastor or leadership didn’t bring Kerry before the church for discipline while he was in an extra marital relationship with Spring Thomas while Lynn was missing. 

I think we can draw a logical conclusion from the church cancelling the memorial service which Kerry had scheduled. I’ve learned through my studies of difficult relationships, setting boundaries, and identifying character disorders this: If something doesn’t directly affect a person, or institution and cause them discomfort, pain, or inconvenience, they won’t care about getting involved, helping, or changing their behavior. But…make them uncomfortable and they will likely take action to make their pain, embarrassment, or lack of comfort better. Could this also be why Lynn’s former church family was reprimanded and told to stay quiet and stop talking to outside people/non church members? 

Back to the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page:

People who have a different opinion are not haters. There happens to be more than one side to this story and I am telling the other side…as Lynn’s voice through her family. Our prayer is that one day soon, God’s truth of the story will be revealed since Lynn cannot speak for herself. I’m confidant the truth will be uncovered.

July 9, 2017

“Of the many ministries she (Lynn) has been involved with, I have narrowed the field down to the three following ministries which best reflect Ma’s passions:”

One of them is:

“Sunshine Mission: http://www.sunshineministries.org/donate/ This is Ma’s ministry of choice for people struggling with a variety of needs. During Ma’s years of cultivating her truck garden, she would take bushels of produce to Sunshine Mission. Because of its location and distance, she would usually get there after dark, or just before. So I encouraged her to take along one of her dogs. Thanks to Ma’s fearless confidence, nothing could stop her from doing anything she set her mind or heart to do. I expect to eventually donate most of Ma’s personal items myself.”

Please reread the last sentence. Why would any dad donate his children’s mother’s belongings without allowing the children to have some of their beloved mom’s possessions? Kerry and the woman law enforcement found Kerry to be in a relationship with within weeks of Lynn’s disappearance, Spring Thomas, were seen cleaning and going through Lynn’s worldly goods months ago, and giving some of them away. 

July 16, 2017

“And I am thankful that the memories of our love and life always eclipse the pains and anguishes of this dark path.”

As in the ‘pains and anguishes’ of the dark path Lynn was possibly  taken on in the middle of the early morning hours, July 8, 2014? Figuratively, literally, or both?

Last paragraph: July 23, 2017

“But for now, allow me to ask You to send a messenger, some angel with a golden voice, to please whisper my “Thank You” to Lynn. Please let her know that “I am the life that she changed” more than anyone else on this earth! Tell her, “I am so glad she gave”! Please let her know how You have used our love to mold me, and how our love continues to help soften this clay so you can continue working out the lumps! “Thank You” For Giving To The Lord!”

Hypothetically speaking, could he be implying that his Bride committed suicide? Last I knew, people don’t walk out in the woods, in the dark of night, in a thunder-storm, hold their breath and die. They also can’t get up and walk once they die and the question still remains: Were Lynn’s remains moved to the location in which they were found? Investigative time will tell. I’m still praying that soil samples will tell. The only answer I have received from a detective on the case is that the remains recovered were consistent with those that had been in the elements about that amount of time. Regarding what soil samples can reveal; I’ve read that the FBI is capable of removing samples of earth around the area where a body was found. They can compare layer by layer the months and seasons that have deposited on the ground in the area. Then they can compare this with the layers found around and on the remains. If the layers don’t match it would indicate the body was moved from a different location. As for the soil samples; there are unique qualities to soils such as sediment, color, and structure. For example, color indicates its history as well as the compounds present in the soil. For example, white or gray soil could mean that the soil contains lime or has been leeched((a chemical, a metal, etc.) from a substance by the action of a liquid passing through the substance. Gray soil can also mean that the organic material or moisture is present, black soil suggests the same. Soil that is red,brown or yellow generally suggests that there is iron present. 

Does he want detectives to think Lynn committed suicide; possibly suicide so he could go on with the life she couldn’t provide but wanted him to have? That she was so selfless? So selfless because his heart was hardened toward her and she knew he wouldn’t change since his interest was in someone else? So….is he saying she took herself out of the way? That he had no idea his Bride was going to do that, or did do that? But now in hind sight, he can see clearly what she did…what she did for him? I ask these questions based on past life experiences that leave me reason to understand how a spouse can write like this and be leaving clues, half-truths, and (to the writer) brilliant hidden meaning. It doesn’t mean this is what happened in this case, but it does leave room for other possibilities. 

 “I was fired from my job for taking on a battle against a corrupt industry in St. Louis (which I did on my own time and which had nothing to do with my regular job).”

Earlier reports questioned this story and referenced their memory that Kerry was fired for not showing up to work for 3 days; against company orders because he had already been told he could not have the time off and that he had to be at work.

“Along the way, Lynn turned this “old house” into our “home”. Her becoming “Ma” is intimately tied to all of her many exploits and adventures associated with the ways she has created our “home”. As with all of life’s major experiences, we are often changed by major events and we become a reflection of the totality of our choices and responses to the challenges we face. Ma has a reputation of facing her challenges with a certain degree of grace, and lot of spunk!”

When I asked Lynn’s family about the “Ma” title they said that was not one of her names.

July 30th:

“At 10:55 pm, on August 20th, 1977, sitting in the cab of my pick-up truck, Lynn gave her heart and life to The Lord. From that moment on, it was no longer a matter of religion and doing religious things, but about her personal relationship with a God who was now her Guide and friend.”

Fast forward and we now know that a memorial service for Lynn had been planned on the same day, August 20. If the above story is true I find the date interesting. If the above story is not true I find the date interesting. Interesting, because I don’t believe in coincidences where God is concerned and I can rest in knowing He is working out His plan and His truth in Lynn’s story.

“So when our world totally collapsed three years ago, I was confronted by The Lord with the fact that I had no excuse to turn to the world or temptations for comfort from the pains and anguishes of this season.”

Notice; he didn’t say that he had or had not turned to temptations (Spring or other women) but only that the Lord had confronted him about this. With word spinners; it’s the little things you need to consider.

“About a year and a half into this season, I felt that The Lord was moving me to commit to this series of posts, outlining how He has used the Book of Psalms to minister to my shredded heart. It has taken over an additional year and a half to complete this commitment, and no matter what anyone else may say (or the critics twist out of it) I can say at least one thing that no one can take away from me:”

“And that is, it doesn’t amount to a single jot or tittle, what anyone else may think of these posts.”

Has anyone else found Kerry’s personal rewrite of the book of Psalm thought-provoking?Does he think of himself as being like King David; a man after God’s own heart? Is Kerry hoping that if he gives God all the glory and praise that he, Kerry, will be saved from the consequences of choices he has made? I remember that King David had consequences for his adultery with Bathsheba and the premeditated murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah.

I never noticed King David writing with an inflated sense of self importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others, a need for special favors and admiration he believed he deserved, or being preoccupied with telling grandiose stories of ideal love to support possible delusions. King David was transparent, humble, and repentant. He owned his sin, confessed it, and accepted the consequences.

Lynn’s story isn’t over. We know her spiritual heritage will continue through her children and grand children. Meanwhile…we patiently wait on justice for Lynn.

August 19, 2017

“This was supposed to be a Memorial Service for Lynn Messer. I had agreed to step aside and have no role other than to attend, just to keep anyone from possibly twisting anything I might say into something ungracious towards estranged family members or others. Several more close friends of Lynn’s were also taken off the potential speakers list for the same reason. This was supposed to be a time of healing for our church family and anyone else wishing to show respect to the memory of a long term and dedicated church member.”

“The agenda of these internet trolls and their campaign is dishonoring to Lynn’s memory. It is disrespectful to her legacy of life and love. It is even a disgrace to their own agenda against me and anyone who dares disagree with them. And it will be assessed by any objective observer as disgusting and despicable.”

My sources informed me that Kerry was TOLD he couldn’t speak at Lynn’s memorial; therefore, there was no option except to agree. By the way, it is sad but true that the church in general tends to not take the side of, or take up the cause of the victim. They often stand with the guilty.  If you think staying neutral is the best road, you are still taking sides in the eyes of guilty and the innocent through your passive indifference. To not speak is to agree to something wrong that God has called sin. The absence of your empathy and understanding causes great harm to the innocent. Your inaction and withholding of words is speaking loudly and clearly.

Kerry’s last paragraph could be referred to as mirroring. Some people have the capability of reflecting their own thoughts, or things they have been accused of back on the other person.  Actions and words that they should own; they blame on other people. Even when they clearly and definitely did something wrong, they cannot and will not accept responsibility. They habitually deflect the blame elsewhere. They ignore their contribution to the situation or insist that the other person made them do it. They know right from wrong, but they can’t allow something bad to be their fault; therefore, the rules don’t apply to them. They have the ability to blame you for everything that isn’t right in their life, and blame you for what other people do, and blame you for whatever has happened. They will always blame you-even for their abuse toward you. It can be a maddening cycle. 

“Until we can become people-focused rather than reputation-focused – churches will fail to properly support victims and survivors. We must follow the way of Jesus and sit with the hurting rather than stand with the harmful.” — Ashley Easter

 

**DISCLAIMER: All of my opinions come from research, personal experience, and discussions I may have had with professionals. I receive NO monetary benefits and hold no responsibility by sharing the information associated with this page and its contents. The information herein is NOT intended as a form of diagnosis, treatment, verdict, or legal advise.

Click link ‘LYNN MESSER’ in margin for more articles.

Domestic Abuse: 5 Biblical principles & 5 guidelines

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. I’m aware that DM is alive and well; which includes in the church.

I currently have 30 Christian women in my county who I advocate for in person and/or Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smallon the phone, and for whom I pray. Many times they just need to be listened to and validated.  I can report that only 2 of these women have churches who believe them and stand by them. Most churches want the couple to come in and meet with the pastor so he can get a feel for what is going on and if abuse is truly taking place. Couples counseling DOES NOT WORK for a destructive, abusive marriage. The abuser will sit and lie his way through the session; denying or justifying the problems while acting the part of a loving, tender, and godly husband.  This is why the woman is not believed. (I also know abused men who have gone to their church leadership, but were not believed. Since I minister mainly to women I state women throughout my blog.)

Leslie Vernick is a Christian and biblical counselor who has spent years in the trenches teaching women in destructive and abusive marriages how to reclaim their voice and strength. Now she is helping first responders (church leadership) so they can correctly apply scripture when a woman in an abusive relationship approaches them for help. To do this, church leadership needs to respond to the abused and the abuser. How? It’s not difficult if you have the proper training, but sadly most pastors, church leadership, and even Christian counselors do not have a background in spotting and dealing with domestic abuse. Leslie provides the opportunity for church leadership to fill this void and provide hope and help those seeking it.

Please remember; abuse is not a marriage problem—it is an abuse problem. The abuser needs private counseling and serious, firm accountability.

What Does The Bible Say About Destructive And Abusive Relationships?

Leslie Vernick receives frantic calls and e-mails each week from Christian women (and some men) who feel scared, trapped, hopeless and helpless because their most intimate relationship is abusive; verbally, physically, economically, sexually, spiritually or all of the above. The Bible has something to say about the way we treat people and as Christians we should all strive to be Biblically wise in how we handle these difficult and painful family issues.

Below are five Biblical principles that will guide your thinking about this topic.

Leslie Vernick, Author

1. Abuse is always sin. The scriptures are clear. Abuse of authority or power (even legitimate God given authority) is always sin. Abusive speech and/or behavior is never an acceptable way to communicate with someone. (Malachi 2:16-17; Psalm 11:5; Colossians 3:8,19).

2. Abuse is never an appropriate response to being provoked. In working with abusive individuals they often blame the other person. This can be especially tricky when trying to counsel couples. There is no perfect person and victims of abuse aren’t sinless. However, we must be very clear-minded that abusive behavior and/or speech is never justified, even when provoked. People provoke us all the time but we are still responsible for our response (Ephesians 4:26; Luke 6:45)

3. Biblical headship does not entitle a husband to get his own way, make all the family decisions, or to remove his wife’s right to choose. At the heart of most domestic abuse is the sinful use of power to gain control over another individual. Biblical headship is described as sacrificial servanthood, not unlimited authority and/or power. (Mark 10:42-45). Let’s not confuse terms. When a husband demands his own way or tries to dominate his wife, it’s not called biblical headship, its called selfishness, and abuse of power. (See, for example, Deuteronomy 13; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:2-4 for God’s rebuke of the leaders of Israel for their self-centered and abusive shepherding of God’s flock.)

4. Unrepentant sin always damages relationships and sometimes people. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2-5) and from one another (Proverbs 17:9). It is unrealistic and unbiblical to believe that you can continue healthy fellowship with someone who repeatedly sins against you when there is no repentance and no change. We are impacted in every way. (See Proverbs 1:15; 14:7; 21:2822:24; 1 Corinthians 15:33).

5. God’s purpose is to deliver the abused. We are to be champions of the oppressed and abused. God hates the abuse of power and the sin of injustice. (Psalm 5,7,10,140; 2 Corinthians 11:20; Acts 14:5-6.

What’s next? How should we respond when we know abuse is happening to someone?

We must never close our eyes to the sin of injustice or the abuse of power, whether it is in a home, a church, a work setting or a community or country (Micah 6:8). The apostle Paul encountered some spiritually abusive leaders and did not put up with it. (2 Corinthians 11:20). Please don’t be passive when you encounter abuse.

However, because we too are sinners, we are all tempted to react to abusive behavior with a sinful response of our own. The apostle Paul cautions us not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Below are five (5) biblical guidelines that will help you respond to the evil of abuse with good.

1. It is good to protect yourself from violent people. David fled King Saul when he was violent toward him. The angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Jesus because Herod was trying to kill him. Paul escaped from those who sought to stone him. We must help people to get safe and stay safe when they are in abusive relationships. This is not only good for her and her children, it is good for her abusive partner. If you are not experienced in developing a safety plan and assessing for lethality (often women are more at risk when they leave an abusive partner), refer or consult with someone who is knowledgeable in this area (Proverbs 27:12).

2. It is good to expose the abuser. Secrets are deadly, especially when there is abuse in a home. Bringing the deeds of darkness to light is the only way to get help for both the victim and the abuser. If you are working with a couple and notice that the woman defers to her husband, regularly looks to him before she answers, blames herself for all their conflicts, speak with them separately. (Proverbs 29:1; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20). If you are a victim of an abusive relationship, it is not sinful to tell, it is good to expose the hidden deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Biblical love is always action directed towards the best interest of the beloved, even when it is difficult or involves sacrifice (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 3:13).

3. It is good not to allow someone to continue to sin against you. It is not only good for the abused person to stop being a victim, it is good for the abuser to stop being a victimizer. It is it is in the abuser’s best interests to repent and to change. (Matthew 18:15-17; James 5:19-20).

4. It is good to stop enabling and to let the violent person experience the consequences of his/her sinful behavior. One of life’s greatest teachers is consequences. God says what we sow, we reap (Galatians 6:7) A person who repeatedly uses violence at home does so because he gets away with it. Don’t allow that to continue. (Proverbs 19:19). God has put civil authorities in place to protect victims of abuse. (Romans 13:1-5) The apostle Paul appealed to the Roman government when he was being mistreated. (Acts 22:24-29). We should encourage victims to do likewise.

5. It is good to wait and see the fruits of repentance before initiating reconciliation. Sin damages relationships. Repeated sin separates people. Although we are called to unconditional forgiveness, the bible does not teach unconditional relationship with everyone nor unconditional reconciliation with a person who continues to mistreat us.

Although Joseph forgave his brothers, he did not initiate a reconciliation of the relationships until he saw that they had a heart change. (See Genesis 42-45.)

Biblical repentance is not simply feeling sorry (2 Corinthians 7:8-12). Repentance requires a change in direction. When we pressure someone to reconcile a marital relationship with an abusive partner before they have seen some significant change in behavior and attitude we can put them in harm’s way. We have sometimes valued the sanctity of marriage over the emotional, physical, and spiritual safety of the individuals in it.

The apostle Paul encourages us to distance ourselves from other believers who are sinning and refuse correction. (See 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15).

A person cannot discern whether a heart change has taken place without adequate time. Words don’t demonstrate repentance, changed behaviors over time does. (Matthew 7:20; 1 Corinthians 4:20)

As Christians we have the mandate and the responsibility to be champions of peace. Dr. Martin Luther King said “In the end what hurt the most was not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

In honor of victims of domestic abuse who need wise help, please forward this article to other Christian leaders who may need to learn how to see domestic abuse through the lens of the Scripture.

The Heart Of Domestic Abuse

By Chris Moles

Domestic abuse and violence are on the rise in our culture today, and just as prevalent in the church. With an estimated one-fourth of women in the church living with abuse and violence, pastors and biblical counselors need to have the resources to offer hope and help.

It is time for godly men in the church to call abusive men to repentance and accountability. Here is a valuable resource for every church leader and Christian man.

 

Many Christian counselors, pastors, and lay leaders are still woefully ill-equipped to handle this very important issue despite 1 in 4 Christian women reporting being in a destructive marriage. Leslie Vernick invites you to visit her new website that she designed to educate and equip pastors, counselors and church leaders on this very important topic.

 

 

Toxic Tuesday: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

3 Ways To Spot A Wolf In Sheep ‘s Clothing 

Leslie Vernick 

“One of the ways bank tellers and merchants learn to distinguish real money from counterfeit is by examining genuine $100 bills over and over again so that they are more wolf 4likely to spot the counterfeit bills when they see them. In the same way we can learn to recognize destructive people by knowing what to look for.

Some may object to any attempt to identify wolves among us because it sounds uncharitable and judgmental to call someone a wolf. Only Jesus knows a person’s heart so who are we to judge? Yet, Jesus himself warns us that there are those who claim to be believers, they may even be leaders in the church, but they are vicious or ravenous wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).

The apostle Paul warns Timothy that there will be people who act religious, but are puffed up with pride, who are unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, and cruel (2 Timothy 3:2-9). Part of spiritual maturity is gaining the ability to discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). Why is this necessary? Because Paul reminds us that even Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Evil pretends to be good.

wolf 3Sometimes we make a naive assumption and it gets us into terrible trouble. We assume that if someone claims to be a Christian and talks like a Christian, that means he or she is a Christian. That’s not true.

Just like there are counterfeit $100 bills that attempt to pass for the real thing, there are those among us who attempt to pass for Christians but underneath they are ravenous wolves. How do we tell the difference?

Jesus said by their fruit you will know them. A wolf can be an expert at talking like a Christian but when you observe his or her behaviors over time, they look more wolfish (aggressive). As the saying goes, the sweetest tongue often has the sharpest tooth. Here are three things to watch out for.

1. Wolves live for the love of power rather than the power of love. Wolves refuse accountability and resist submission to authority. You’ve heard the phrase lone wolf? Wolves in sheep’s clothing have themselves as their highest point of reference. They often use charisma and charm to “win” people over but they do not have mutual or reciprocal relationships. People are to be used, possessed, exploited or controlled rather than loved.

2. Wolves look like sheep and talk like sheep but they bite like wolves, especially when the sheep are disagreeing or dissenting. Winning and being right are their highest values and they do whatever they need to in order to stay “on top”. wolf

When operating in church or religious settings their methods are often underhanded and cunning to seem less obvious or aggressive. They don’t want to look like wolves, that’s why they pretend to be sheep.

3. Wolves are experts at deceit. That’s why they are so successful at making us think they are true sheep. Jesus tells us that Satan, too, is an expert at deceit. That’s why he doesn’t go around with horns and a tail but as an angel of light.

Wolves pretend to be good and to care about the sheep but those closest to them (especially their family) know the truth. They’ve been bitten again and again and again.

But the wolf’s ability to maintain his cover is one reason why it’s so difficult for church people to believe the person who has been wounded by the wolf. They fail to see him as a wolf and assume that the problem is two sheep biting one another.

That’s not true. Wolves have much sharper teeth and stronger jaws than sheep do. A sheep cannot harm a wolf. A wolf kills sheep.

It’s interesting that God chose a wolf as a word picture to portray this type of problem person. A wolf is a predator. It has a strong jaw and 42 sharp teeth designed to stab its prey to death.

As Christian counselors and leaders, let’s not naively close our eyes and think that there are no wolves among us. They are everywhere and we must learn to recognize and stop them from wounding and killing the sheep.”

“The Church has been rather slow to acknowledge the validity of emotional abuse, especially in marriage – and real change can only start if pastors, lay leaders and other counselors start to see the reality that many people face.” ~Leslie Vernick

Counselor Leslie Vernick has made it her “mission to bravely stand up for those who suffer in the shadows.” Her “heart is more and more heavy to help churches know how to competently and compassionately help those in destructive marriages.”

I believe Leslie to be the best of the best in the field of ministering to spouses in abusive marriages. She recognizes abusers and helps the person on the receiving end of the abuse set boundaries, maintain safety, stay committed to truth, remain open to the Holy Spirit, be responsible for their self and respectful toward others without dishonoring their self, and practice empathy and compassion while setting boundaries.

With this in mind Leslie has started a web-based ministry to counselors, pastors, and church leaders. This makes the task of learning about marital abuse/domestic violence reachable for anyone who wants to learn. Because…there are wolves in every congregation.  Almost all counseling centers on communication issues between two people; when in some cases the problem is abuse. Abuse is not a marriage problem. Abuse is an abuse problem—a character problem, and the abuser needs individual help; not marriage counseling. (This applies for marriage, extended family relationships, or non-family relationships. Abuse is abuse; not a communication problem.)

Leslie has numerous free articles and video resources available; as well as, the opportunity to sign up for more resources. If you are in ministry this is a must have area of continued education you should consider. I highly recommend in today’s culture that anyone who works in church leadership should have training in this area.  Click here to check out Leslie’s web-site: Leslie Vernick: Training Church Leaders and Counselors in Abuse.

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Kerry Messer: Update

Here is an update for concerned citizens who have been advocating to remove Kerry Messer from lobbying for family, Christian, homeschooling, and pro-life principles in the state of Missouri. Your letter/email writing and phone calls made a difference. You were successful again. Kerry was removed as a lobbyist for Americans United for Life.

Kerry Messer is a Missouri state lobbyist whose wife Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014. Her remains were discovered on their farm November 1, 2016. Law enforcement continues to investigate her death while waiting on the conclusion of all forensic testing. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and law enforcement confirms that Kerry Messer has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.

Below is a list of principals Kerry is still listed as lobbying for, and those who have deleted their association with him as their lobbyist.

April 2017, Alliance for Life (417) 598-1040- Kerry is listed as a lobbyist but they mainly works with Sam Lee.  August 2017 – They do not currently employ anyone as a lobbyist. They need to call the Missouri Ethics Commission  (573) 751-2020 to delete Kerry’s name from their listing.

April 2017 MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN CHILD CARE AGENCIES, INC. (660) 347-5982- As of last contact, April 2017, Kerry still works for them. They knew his wife was missing but didn’t know her remains had been found. August 2017 – MACCCA was contacted two more times but did not respond.

Missourians for Personal Safety (816) 455-2669: April 2017, I spoke with Kevin Jamison. Yes, Kerry represents them. They have been pleased with how Kerry has been very honest, upfront, and forthright with updates on everything. Kerry informed them when Lynn went missing, Kerry told them about his relationship with the other woman, told them when Lynn’s remains were found, and informed them when he, Kerry, secured Lynn’s dental records for the authorities; and just in time because they were about to be destroyed. Mr. Jamison said everybody but Kerry (referring to his colleagues, knew Kerry’s wife was dead and wouldn’t be returning).  August 2017 –  Said that Kerry hasn’t worked for them for years. The Missouri Ethics Commission shows that Kerry still represents them. They also need to call the Missouri Ethics Commission  (573) 751-2020 to delete Kerry’s name from their listing.

Missouri Family Network is Kerry Messer’s own organization from which he works in Jefferson City.

Kerry Messer update

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Next:

There have been numerous calls going back and forth for several months waiting for the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board to name Kerry Messer’s replacement for his seat. This was achieved at the end of August 2017 and confirmed to me today, for publishing, by Sarah Smith in the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect office, and by Scott Turk, Director of Boards and Commissions at the Office of Governor Eric Greiten. The Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board, is a board in which Governor Nixon had appointed Kerry Messer, and although Kerry’s term had expired, there was not a replacement voted in so Kerry maintained his place on this board.; not any more.

I have been down the traumatic road of not being able to keep a child safe from a predator, and the court silencing me from telling what I knew about the predator to churches who hired him. After over a decade, I succeeded in helping to put this pedophile offender away for life without the possiblity of parole for 25 years. For this reason, I needed the reassurance that people of integrity who have a passion for innocent children serve on the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.

Thank you, Governor Greitens, for replacing this seat with Donna Neely.

Donna Neely

Donna Neely Photo credit: Missouri KidsFirst public Facebook page

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Governor Eric Greitens Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions

It recently came to my attention, through a GiveMe Chocolate reader, that Kerry Messer also serves on the board for The Good News Voice: Missouri River Christian Broadcasting.

Radio is one of the most used forms of communication and is a powerful and effective way to advertise and get a message out to a mass audience.

Should someone who is not cooperating with an open and active investigation in his wife’s disappearance and death, who according to law enforcement, Spring Thomas, and Kerry Messer has been in a relationship with a woman not his wife within weeks of his wife’s disappearance, be representing the Christian broadcasting community?

If your answer is no, please take action and call to voice your concerns and disappointment in The Good News Voice for continuing to allow Kerry Messer on their board of directors. Phone number (877) 385-3787. Below is a screen shot of the current Good News Voice website.

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Thank you for your continued interest in this case and for your citizen activism for the benefit of the state of Missouri.

 

Click ‘LYNN MESSER’ in the margin for more articles.

 

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Holly & Dave Ashley: Lynn Messer case

Holly and Dave Ashley recorded an interview: Redemption, Restoration and Recovery on Freedom through faith: The Kingdom Crossroad’s podcast.

Holly and Dave teach their court approved, Christian, domestic violence curriculum to those mandated by the courts. Holly consults churches and ministries; setting up biblical counseling resource centers and domestic violence, legal aid, counselor programs at their ministry and church locations. They have been involved in grassroots advocacy in the field of abuse for over 30 years. Holly’s work has been locally and nationally recognized and she has assisted local prosecutors in mock trials for high-profile ‘violence’ cases.

Holly and Dave have been working on the Lynn Messer case. She has much to say about Lynn, Kerry Messer, and the church that loves and welcomes Kerry.

If you have a heart for people fleeing abusive relationships you will find this interview educational.

Part 1: The first 8 minutes include Holly’s commentary on the Lynn Messer case. 

If the Part 1 link is overwhelmed/busy you can try this link for Part 1. It is written in Spanish, but if you click the orange arrow on the left, the podcast is in English.

Part 2: Who abuses? Men and women.

This is a precursor for a series of testimonies I will be publishing by people who are trying to leave, have separated from, or have divorced an abusive spouse.

It has been a goal of mine for a year to begin working toward changing our state laws in regard to child custody cases. As I have ministered to abused women for the last few years and heard story after story of their abuser deceiving and winning over the guardian ad litem to win full custody, 50/50 custody, or unsupervised custody of the children in cases of extreme abuse; I came to realize the system needs fixed.

My goal for the state of Missouri is to bring about change to our current legal system.  Our present day system does not mandate domestic violence training for people involved with family/divorce court. I would like to see judges, attorneys, guardian ad litems, social workers, law enforcement officers and church leadership trained to recognize domestic violence and deal with it accordingly. Domestic stats

If you would like your testimony to be included in my presentation, you may send me your concerns. Please type your story, short and to the point. You may include your name and address if you like, or if you’re in the middle of divorce court and don’t want to use your full name, you may use your first name or a fake name.

I don’t know who ever proposed that an attorney with no background in child development, domestic/spousal abuse, child abuse, psychology, psychiatry, social work, or zero understanding of personality disorders was made responsible for the current and future well-being of children. It literally turns out that most often the abuser, or unstable partner, is believed over the stable parent/partner/victim.

I’ve heard of women losing their sanity upon the court awarding full custody of the children to a documented abusive father. (This also applies to men who have been in destructive or abusive relationships.) There are new, published studies showing the majority of abusers are in fact believed over the healthy, stable person.

I’ve also watched women be left financially desolate while the man drags the court case out for years without having to pay his share of child support and bills. I’ve seen women walk away from receiving financial support and court mandated child support to escape the abuse and control.

Something needs to change and I’m willing to put in the time to see it happen. Please help me by telling me your story, or your loved one’s story, about an unsatisfactory encounter with a guardian ad litem or the one thing you would like to see changed in the process of navigating family court.

I in no way mean to bash the guardian ad litems, I’m just pointing out that they don’t have domestic violence training. How can they be expected, in minutes or hours, to see and figure out what likely took the victim years to conclude?

If you don’t want to publicly post your story, please leave an anonymous note. My blog adminstration receives your email address and I’ll resond to you through my private email.

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*Disclaimer: This podcast is published in its entirety by outside sources not affiliated with GiveMe Chocolate. These are their opinions and do not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of this website. The commentary presented in this podcast does not constitute legal fact.

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Play Book

What happens when an individual you suspect may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder is having a genuinely difficult week?

First, understand that these individuals need narcissistic supply and huge, massive amounts of it.

Second, understand that the supply can be positive or negative. They prefer positive, but supply 2when enough of it can’t be found; example: shallow narcissistic supply. Receiving fleeting comments—especially words that are perhaps written and not in person, or from people they don’t deem special, wealthy, influential, or popular. Then…they will turn to extracting concern or compassion out of people to obtain their positive narcissistic supply. Examples: feigning amnesia, inventing health problems, faking a suicide and often with a grand suicide note, avoiding their usual social activities, not keeping up with normal commitments, avoiding social media. Yes, these are prime ways to extract the supply they need, and for the people who don’t understand this aspect of narcissistic personality disorder, or don’t realize the person in question suffers from it—they become unaware suppliers by showing concern,compassion, and/or asking if everything is all right. If the NPDer hears that people have been asking about them, even through the grapevine, they score a personal goal…narcissistic supply.

For those of us who truly do notice when someone is missing, not interacting, or not communicating we have to muster up the strength to practice tough love. This is one instance when caring hurts the individual more than helps them. And they do need help…professional help. Not the type of help any friend, Christian, pastor, or family member can give. The recovery rate for these individuals is low; most professionals believe 1%-2% recovery is the most; if at all possible.

Also, when becoming aware that you may be interacting with someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder; take note that this is the first step to diagnosing if the person is a full-blown sociopath.

supplyThe narcissist who introduced me to this disorder now sits in prison. He never tired in attempts to extract narcissistic supply. Even after being fired from a ministry, when they told him he needed professional psychological help. His mentor from that ministry told him he met the criteria for having narcissistic personality disorder. These former church leaders and mentor most likely saved my daughter and me from being killed by this man; which led to my divorce of him, yet still…  When my former husband would get a new ministry where he didn’t know people well enough to extract supply from them he would call and email his old supply. The people who fired him, outed him, and wanted nothing to do with him. Why? A narcissistic will return again and again to ensure you never move on from the pain they caused you. They know you don’t like them, but they also know you’re most likely too kind to be rude so they feed off of you; positive or negative…they don’t care. You’re just supply.

If you were literally starving, famished, and in need of nourishment you would eat what ever was set in front of you to supply your body with energy and nourishment. Think of it the same way with narcissistic personality disorder. Their ego is literally starving and they will take psychological nourishment any way they can get it; positive or negative.

Remember the signs in forests that say, “Don’t feed the bears.” Feeding bears encourages them to come around the campsites where civilized people are camping. It discourages them from hunting for their own food and makes them dependent on humans.

“DON’T FEED THE NARCISSIST!” Don’t encourage them to come near you. They need to learn to care for their own needs; in a healthy way, and only a professional has a slight chance of being able to help them with that.

Criteria for…narcissistic personality disorder

For more on this disorder read…Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Narcissistic Sociopath?

You can also look up the criteria for a sociopath/antisocial personality disorder here…

Excellent book for educating yourself…The Sociopath Next Door : 1 in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty. Who is the devil you know?

Missouri Missing Person Case Solved

Missouri had a missing person case make the news this week as reported by Avi Selk at The Washington Post.

Approximately 2,300 Americans are reported missing—every day. This includes both children and adults. 

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), there are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases in the United States at any given time.

A few days ago I posted about the murder rate of women involved in domestic violence cases. In 93 percent of those cases, victims were killed by current or former intimate partners: boyfriends, husbands, and lovers.

Today’s article reports on a case involving an autistic girl, Savannah Leckie, who was murdered in the first-degree.

Statistics report that 71% of children killed by one parent are killed by the mothers.

I’m including a few excerpts from the article. You may click here for the entire article, or click at the bottom of this page.

In an affidavit that reads like gothic fiction, investigators describe how a teen reunited with her birth mother last year on an isolated farm in Missouri — only to be tortured there, forced to crawl through hog pens and have salt rubbed in her wounds, and then finally murdered last month and burned in a fire pit.

This mother had recently started a business with her daughter and named it, Hidden Holler Farm Soap. The mother used chemicals from ‘the business’ as an accelerant to dispose of her daughter’s body.

This causes me to ponder how many hidden, unheard hollers, the sweet 16-year-old girl let out in her last days on earth. Sadly, no earthly soul who cared could see or hear the abuse she was enduring.

When law enforcement was notified that the girl was missing, the mother told them,

Her daughter’s favorite pillow, blanket and coloring kit were missing.

“I think she’s a runaway,” Ruud said, according to the affidavit. “Savannah is blaming herself for the fire.”

Rescuers fanned out across the woods and fields. A helicopter and plane searched from above, and missing posters went out as day passed with no sign.

Investigators began to get suspicious.

Ruud and her current boyfriend, Robert Peat Jr., were interviewed at the sheriff’s office,

But the couple were becoming less and less cooperative as the search went on, an investigator wrote.

Deputies returned to the farm on Aug. 4 — with dogs, state police and a search warrant. They now suspected that Savannah had never left the property.

In the ash, they sifted out a button, imprinted with little ducks, and finger bones and vertebrae and teeth.

Rudd and her boyfriend, drove for nearly 100 miles, to Summersville, Mo., and married each other there, on the same day police combed the farm.

Later…They (law enforcement) went back over the property, and the ash pile they’d searched before. According to documents published by the Ozark County Times, investigators left with a box of girl’s clothing; hair; a knife; a meat grinder; and more than two dozen bottles of lye.

“We’re dealing with someone who’s tried to dispose of evidence,” Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed told OzarksFirst.com.

She was charged Tuesday with first-degree and second-degree murder, fatal abuse of a child, tampering with evidence and abandoning a corpse — and “more charges are forthcoming on any individual that was involved in aiding or tampering in this investigation,” Reed wrote in a news release.

The sheriff told the Ozark County Times he wants the mother put to death.

 

A Missouri teen reunited with her birth mother – who then killed her and burned her body, police sayClick here to read article by Avi Selk at The Washington Post.

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Who Is Killing American Women? Their Husbands And Boyfriends, CDC Confirms.

A new report finds that most female homicides involve domestic violence.

 

Most murders of American women involve domestic violence, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

 

The CDC analyzed data from 18 states, finding 10,018 female homicides between 2003 and 2014. Over half ― 55 percent ― of cases where circumstances were known involved domestic violence. In 93 percent of those cases, victims were killed by current or former intimate partners: boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. The other 7 percent of victims were female friends, family members, first responders and bystanders who were killed during a domestic incident.

While the facts seem shocking at face value, they’re not surprising or new.

It is already well-established that women in the U.S. are far more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than by any other group of people. As HuffPost previously reported: It’s not strangers, friends or acquaintances who pose the biggest threat to women’s lives. It’s the men they date and marry.

According to the report, one in 10 victims of homicides involving domestic abuse had experienced some form of violence in the month before their death, suggesting an opportunity for intervention.

 

“These assessments might be used to facilitate immediate safety planning and to connect women with other services, such as crisis intervention and counseling, housing, medical and legal advocacy, and access to other community resources,” the CDC report read.

 

Click her to read the entire article: 

Who Is Killing American Women? Their Husbands And Boyfriends, CDC Confirms.

 

If you believe you or another person is in danger right now,
contact police immediately.

If you question if you are in danger or not; take the Mosaic Threat AssessmentMOSAIC is an error avoidance method, a computer-assisted method for conducting comprehensive assessments – in the same way that diagnosis is a method used by a doctor. An effective medical diagnosis results when a doctor knows which questions to ask, knows which tests will produce the most accurate answers, and then knows how to draw relevant conclusions from all the answers combined together.

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Naghmeh Panahi (Abedini’s) Divorce

 

Here is an another update on Naghmeh Panahi (Abedini). It has been over a year and a half since I first began writing about her, and eight months since my last update: Naghmeh Abedini One Year Later.

Naghmeh gave me full permission to post a letter she wrote. She’s in a place where she is growing closer to Jesus; where He will redeem the lost years and heal her heart, soul, mind and strength.  I bring people like Naghmeh to my readers who feel alone, broken, and hopeless in their abusive marriage. I want to validate them, tell them they’re not crazy, they are not weak. Actually, they’re stong to have endured for so long. I want to point them to True Hope: Jesus. He can and will do the impossible to care for them and protect them. Women need to understand that divorce is an option; it is a gift from our good, gift giving Heavenly Father for times such as these.

I wrote about Naghmeh’s revelation of marital abuse in a high profile case involving her then imprisoned husband, Iranian, American Saeed Abedini in the Iranian prison system. Read more about this here: Naghmeh Abedini’s Leaked Letter.

It turns out Saeed ordered his certificate to be a pastor over the internet. This coupled with his abusive treatment of his wife and family; along with, the extreme verbal abuse many who advocated for him during his imprisonment received from Saeed does not qualify him to be a pastor.

Many in the Christian community didn’t believe Naghmeh even though she had legal evidence: She Said He Said: Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini.   For some who did believe; they still said derogatory things about her for speaking out against her husband. How dare she say something bad about him; especially considering what he had been enduring in prison!

I understand much of what Naghmeh shares in the below letter because I had some of the same thoughts when I was in a difficult and abusive marriage; knowing that good wives don’t tell, especially good Christian wives. I briefly wrote about my journey here: Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond? Part 1  and here My Destructive Marriage.

I still believe in listening, affirming, and believing spouses who say they are in an abusive relationship as I wrote about in Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond, Part 2.

You never know what goes on in someone else’s home. You have no way of understanding if the woman sitting next to you in Bible study, or worshiping next to you in church is secretly being mistreated in  her home. If she should muster up the courage to tell you; please listen. Please believe her.

I worked off the premise that, domestic violence and abuse of any type is not a marital issue; it is an abuse issue.

The abuser needs healing. I don’t believe women should go to counseling with their abuser. Why? The victim shares no responsibility in the abuser’s character, attitude or actions.

There is scriptural precedence for blame not being split down the middle.

We considered Nabal and Abigail from I Samuel 25; and other examples that you can read about here…Naghmeh Abedini: How Do We Respond? Part 3 

So many women have a similar story. There is a strong community of these women across the country, and throughout the world.

This is Naghmeh’s story. Yet I remember having some of the same thoughts and feelings. I’m grateful that today we have the tool of the internet to connect  hurting women to one another. They can find help navigating a seemingly impossible road and find encouragement and support from one another.

Naghmeh believed what so many other women are taught; that having a good marriage is up to them alone and based solely on their ‘dying to self.’ This is a destructive and often deadly teaching for women married to abusers.

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By: Naghmeh Panahi

 

This is in reference to one of the best articles I have read: A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce. I hope it is a source of encouragement to those who have had to walk through this and that it gives a deeper desire to study the Word of God carefully and to know Jesus more.

Until two years ago wherever I traveled and spoke, my advice to women (those who even confessed to me horrific abuse and adultery) was to die to themselves and love and obey more. You can look up YouTube videos of my talks at different conferences and churches (under Naghmeh Abedini).

Therefore I put the burden of saving a corrupt marriage on the oppressed. I believed with all of my heart that if we, as women, would just die to ourselves more and love and submit more, a marriage could be salvaged. I judged those who divorced and specially the woman. I would think to myself “I am sure she was not so innocent herself and was to blame.”

No one in the world could have changed my mind. It was deeply rooted in what I was taught by the church of how much “God hates divorce,” but also my deeply rooted Middle Eastern culture that as a woman you put up with anything for the sake of the children; not to mention the shame and rejection a woman of Middle Easter origins has to face when she is divorced.

I was taught that love “covers a multitude of sin” which meant that I should hide the sin of my spouse, not talk of it, and in the process created a false image of our family. Oh, the shame I felt whenever the smallest negative word or confession would escape my lips about my husband…even to my parents and closest friends…I was taught not to even approach another about sin because “we are not each other’s Holy Spirit.” That a good wife hides and not airs the dirty laundry…

So I gave it my all. And in the process of giving it my all and trying desperately to get mySave Saeed husband out of prison and to honor him as my husband, a very false image was created of him. I gave and gave convincing myself that if I laid down my life enough, he would change. But things got worse and the world didn’t know. The world didn’t know that the abuse and porn addiction continued from behind prison doors. How could he have a smart phone with internet inside of an Iranian prison??? I kept crying out to God! The world did not know and the burden got heavier and heavier to carry. No one knew the night before his arrest he had cheated on me with the same woman that he now advocates for from the minute he got out of the Iranian prison. But a godly Christian woman would forgive the adultery and the porn addictions and abuse. But would I have to live with it for the rest of my life? Under such darkness?

Yes. I gave it my all until I had nothing to give and reached the end of myself. It was then that I cried out to Jesus and I heard the gentle voice of my Savior, “Enough!” It was through His Strength that for the first time I drew boundaries and said no more to such darkness and abuse.

My heart was broken into a million pieces when Saeed filed for divorce. I had hoped that my separation and pleading would end in him getting help and it would end in reconciliation and a healed marriage. NOT DIVORCE.

Saeed prayer vigilHow I was broken. Facing my worst fear of being a divorced single mom. Yet I could not back down. The same love that took me before presidents and governments to get him out of the physical prison, demanded that I would not back down on my boundaries in the hopes that he would be freed from his spiritual prison.

Through it all my Savior stood with me and cleansed me and is healing me and my children with His Word. For almost two years I have sat under the feet of Jesus and am learning to pay close attention to the Word of God and step into obedience of His Word by His Grace alone. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know and what a filthy sinner I am covered by the blood of The Lamb and in desperate need of God’s Grace.

So I have been hesitant to share. Surely most Christians know so much more than me. I feel like a babe in Christ. And the times I do share, I see it tinted with pride and arrogance. Oh this fallen nature. To be freed of it one day when I see Jesus face to face!

So I share this article and hope and pray that more rise up and are a voice for the oppressed.

“Evangelical and confessional churches are striving to maintain a high view of marriage in a culture that is ripping the institution to shreds. So extra-biblical barriers to divorce can be well-meant. They try to protect marriage by doing everything possible to avoid divorce. In doing so, they not only fail to keep a high view of marriage. They also spread lies about the gospel, divorce, the value of people, the character of God, and the nature of sexual sin.”
Naghmeh Panahi

Read the article referenced here…A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce

 

My Toxic Marriage

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A recent Toxic Tuesday post, How to Love a Woman In a Destructive Marriage, detailed how to respond to a friend who confides in you about abuse taking place in her home.

Unfortunately for some women—friends, family and church members don’t believe her story. After all, many abusers are wonderful at playing the devoted victim! I believe this is true because many abusers suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and consider themselves special. They are not held to the same standards, morals or laws as the general population. Even when caught, if they admit to doing it, they insist it is not who they are. It’s a twisted mind for sure!

After nine years in my own destructive marriage I finally told my parents, and my husband’s and my ministry mentor, what had been going on in my home since shortly after I said, “I do.” No one was surprised. The mentor told me that he had believed for some time now that my husband was mentally ill but he hadn’t said anything to me since he didn’t know if I was aware or if I would believe him.

Why did I take so long to tell? you may be asking.

Good Christian women don’t tell.

Good wives don’t talk poorly about their husbands. You never tell your family because that will incite them to not like him—and they might encourage you to leave him. We are taught at Bible college, in the church and by godly older women that we never speak poorly of our husbands; especially when you are in the ministry—which we were.

We are to encourage our husbands, respect our husbands, forgive them, pray for them, hope in them, help them, and make love a daily action even when we don’t feel like it. Be intentional about how we respond in love; not frustration or anger. Don’t dwell on the negative; concentrate on the good parts. Be the one to set the tone for the atmosphere in your home to keep it positive and productive. Let go of pride.

Don’t compare your marriage to anyone else’s marriage. Don’t compare your attitude or actions to his. Pray that God will change your heart and through that, improve the difficulties in your marriage.

Care, adore, smile, kiss passionately, forgive, forgive again, be gracious, listen, compliment him, comfort him, and be content. Stay…always stay the course—it WILL pay off. It will!  It does not matter how you feel; what matters is how you respond. With God, all things are possible!

Here is the catch—God gives us free choice and your spouse has a choice in the outcome. The above does not apply in an abusive marriage or a marriage plagued with unfaithfulness.

Through the advice of my mentor I confided in one local friend, a long distance friend who would help my mentor confront my husband in hope of reconciliation and healing; as well as, tell a friend/spiritual leader of ours and our mentors from a former ministry who was very concerned about my marriage, concerned about my husband, concerned about me and wanted the very best for my daughter. It wasn’t easy telling a single detail. I didn’t know if they would believe me, tell on me to my husband, or walk away from the relationship.

Two of these close friends who knew all the ugly details of the abuse and walked the road with me for a time after telling them of my destructive, abusive and unsafe marriage, still attempted to silence me from speaking truth and achieving safety. I can’t speak for what their heart motive was; perhaps my truth made them uncomfortable. Did it hit too close to home? Was the evil, messed up truth about my spouse unbelievable? Had the narcissist won them over? Was legalism involved?

One of my friends told me, “I’ve prayed about this and God will remove his hand of protection from you if you go through with this divorce. You are taking yourself and your daughter out from underneath God’s covering, blessing, provision and protection. You are not supposed to do this and you will be sinning against God if you go through with it.”

I thanked her for her concern and told her I would pray about it more before finalizing the paperwork; however, I had only taken these measures after prolonged prayer, in depth Bible study, extensive counseling, and out of obedience to the Lord. I felt like God had held my hand while I skimmed the surface of hell begging my husband to return to me. He refused. In fact, during our time of a therapeutic separation when he was supposed to be seeking professional help and healing so our family could be reconciled; he instead took a preaching ministry and moved away. Because after all, God had called him to preach first and foremost and he was following God’s calling on His life. Good-bye to his wife and daughter—we were in the way of his career. I had spent the last two years refusing to seek another ministry because he needed spiritual guidance and serious professional emotional, psychological and psychiatric help. He decided to no longer wait for my permission; he left and moved on without me.

The other friend, George (name changed to protect his identity), whose own wife was delivered from an abusive marriage through the death of the abuser (first husband), wrote me an email after I gave him the latest report I received from my husband’s psychiatrist. I received discouraging news at every psychologist’s, neuro-psychologist’s and psychiatrist’s appointment I attended with him. But on this given day I heard the final blow that sealed the fate of reconciliation.

Unfaithfulness I had forgiven and mental-illness I could live with if he would acknowledge it and seek help and stay on his medications but hearing, “He has started down the slippery slope of pedophilia from which there is no return” was the death blow and I knew our daughter would never be safe. Before this day I kept thinking he was just mentally ill with an addiction to pornography and with help he could get better.

My hope for my husband’s healing was over. I asked the doctor a few questions and sought clarity but the doctor was clear, serious, and gave me his professional opinion about my daughter’s safety.

George had asked to be kept updated on doctor appointments, progress and prayer needs but the pedophilia information proved to be, unbeknownst to  me, the last straw. Here is the reply I received via email:

Carolyn-

I understand that life has been difficult for you. But please don’t make it more so by continually pleading your case in the court of public opinion. Whenever I hear from you it is a constant stream of bashing your husband. I’ve not said anything before, but now I must. Your husband is my friend. I know he is not perfect, but then again neither are you or I. It’s almost as if you’ve been building a case against him ever since the first of hint of problems last year. Your husband has always been different. Always. He was when we were in college. He was when you fell in love with him and married him. He is now. He could make us laugh like no one else. His nice guy looks and golden vocal cords along with his love for God and the church made him a joy to be around. All he ever wanted was to succeed for God. That dream appears to be a long shot now. But give him some dignity. Stop confessing his sins for him. You said in the email that you have been able to help some women whose husbands have left them, as if that is your situation.  Carolyn…he didn’t leave you.

If you made a mistake marrying him, say, “I made a mistake. I left him because I couldn’t take him.” Don’t write husband bashing emails. What good is that doing??? Are people lining ups saying, “Poor Carolyn,” and that’s helping you? If so, then something’s wrong there.

In love (for all three of you),

George

To this day I cannot imagine how I could have made it through this time in life without my godly ministry mentor and his wife.

Sobbing, I called them and asked if I had been inappropriate with the details I had given about my marriage and my husband’s issues. They said I had not been and then asked me to read the email from George.

After hearing George’s reply they recommended I stop all contact with him; immediately. They were dumbfounded at how he could feel this way after seeing and hearing first hand, my husband’s delusional and irrational behavior and his denial of needing help for his problems and mental illness. All they could guess was that the classic textbook narcissist had struck again; a professional liar and actor who had won over another pawn in his game.

As for, “His love for God and the church made him a joy to be around,” investigators from three different law enforcement agencies have contacted me through the years investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by my ex-husband. All these investigators have said they believe his pedophilia goes back to his teen years and that he purposefully chose the ministry as a way to access child victims from a place of trusted leadership; pastor. The investigators also believe the list of child victims is well into the hundreds but because he targets very young children, who are mostly too young to tell, he stayed under the radar. Until last summer…his reign of terror is over.

No, my husband did not file the separation papers, I did; but make no mistake…he was the one who left in every way except for the paperwork. For him to file the papers would potentially ruin any hope of his future in ministry and preaching. He HAD to be portrayed as the victim.

Had I listened to George and my other local friend, my daughter and I would most likely be dead; at the very least we would have been further abused with my daughter suffering the greatest through it.

God allowed, encouraged and provided a way out of this marriage along with Biblical grounds for divorce.

I hope this testimony brings awareness to women who desperately need help, friendship and love while they seek safety and support during an unsafe and/or difficult marriage.

Be a blessing. Pray scripture over them; in person. Offer to watch their children so they can see a Christian counselor, run an errand, or just need an hour to be alone. Invite them over for lunch. Take their children to the park for an hour. Give her a gift certificate for a massage. Drop a bag of groceries at the door. Or head over to Give Her Wings ministry website to find out how you can help. There is a , “Books we like” tab for suggestions on books that would make a great gift for a hurting wife, and it would be one way you could show her you understand and care.

You could not plan for this
No, there was no silhouette
Up against the pink horizon
To warn you of the hit
But you absorbed it all with grace
Like a child you spoke of faith unmoved
That holds onto you

This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you/You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you

You could take your loss
You could hide away from us
With your grief lassoed around you
But you’re laying it in the sun
And you stare straight into the light
You say you’d rather go blind than look away
What can I say?

This thing is going to try to break you
But it doesn’t have to
You’re showing us how
This thing is going to bend and shape you
But He won’t let it take you
You know it somehow
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you
This thing is not going to break you

Status

Lynn Messer’s Memorial Cancelled

UPDATE: THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR LYNN MESSER HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

I THANK THE CHURCH FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.

I’VE BEEN GIVEN MULTIPLE REASONS FOR THE CANCELLATION: THE PASTOR AND DEACONS ARE NOT PLEASED WITH KERRY’S ONGOING BEHAVIOR, KERRY’S DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS OF ALREADY REPORTED INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION, SAFETY CONCERNS, POSSIBLE PROTESTS, CHURCH MEMBER’S CONCERNS ABOUT KERRY’S RELATIONSHIP WITH SPRING THOMAS.

I APPRECIATE THIS READER’S WORDS WHICH THEY INCLUDED IN A LETTER TO THE CHURCH THIS WEEK, “I cannot understand why you would choose to be more conduit to Kerry’s deception as the “grieving” spouse on Sunday.”

THIS LETTER BY J. LEE GAVE BIBLICAL PRECEDENCE FOR CANCELLING THE SERVICE: ZECHARIAH 7…CLICK HERE FOR LETTER