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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Kerry Messer update 3

 

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.

goodnewsvoice

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.

Gallery

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.

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

NPD 16

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

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Lynn Messer case: Kerry not cleared

UPDATE: THE MEMORIAL SERVICE HAS BEEN CANCELLED. I THANK THE CHURCH FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING. I’VE BEEN GIVEN MULTIPLE REASONS FROM DIFFERENT PEOPLE: THAT 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 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 TO READ THE LETTER.  

I’ve been hearing from several people who have received communication from Kerry Messer this week regarding the memorial for his deceased wife, Lynn.

They  are confused because they are being told that the investigation is closed, that JusticeForLynnMesserKerry has been cleared in the investigation of Lynn’s disappearance and death, and that Kerry did not become involved with Spring Thomas until 15 months after Lynn’s disappearance. 

“How do we know who to trust; Kerry, family members, you, media? Where do you get your information and how do you know it’s true?”

Thank you for asking.

I have four sources: the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office, Lynn’s family members, Lynn’s friends, and other media sources. Detective White always proves to be approachable and answers questions as best he can. Often he can’t comment, but when he can he does.

I called Detective White today, August 18, 2017 for clarification. I don’t want to publish false news, misinformation, or downright lies. I asked permission to pose a few questions so I can clear up questions that some of my readers have, and to find out if investigative circumstances have changed since I talked to him a few weeks ago.

Questions are mine.

Answers are from Detective White of the Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Department.

Q: Has Kerry Messer now been cleared in the investigation of Lynn’s disappearance and death?

A: No.

Q: Has Abram been cleared in the investigation of Lynn’s disappearance and death? 

A: No comment. (Later he went back to this question for clarification as best as he could give.) Abram continues to cooperate with the investigation through law enforcement; answering questions when we have them. That cannot be said of Kerry Messer. 

Q: I’ve heard that the investigation has been closed. Is this true?

A: No.

Q: Word is getting back to me that Kerry is claiming the relationship between he and Spring didn’t begin until 15 months after Lynn’s disappearance. 

A: I don’t know the source of that information but it didn’t come from law enforcement. 

Here is a quote from the St. Louis Post Dispatch,  “But Schott, of the Sheriff’s Department, said detectives had confirmed a relationship between Kerry Messer and Thomas months earlier — about eight weeks after Lynn Messer disappeared.”

Q: I’m aware the Ste. Genevieve County prosecuting attorney’s wife passed away this spring. I don’t know if that has affected his position, but I do understand that his term is almost finished. Could this mean the investigation will remain at a stand still until a new prosecuting attorney comes on the scene?

A: No comment. It is true that prosecuting attorney Carl Kinsky’s term will be finished in 2018. An election will be held to fill the office.

Click here for Sherae Honeycutt’s interview: Lynn Messer laid to rest, questions remain. Major Jason Schott, “We won’t stop until we determine what caused Lynn’s death.”

Sherae Honeycutt: “What would you say to someone who might say this case is dead, you don’t have any suspects, you have inconclusive evidence at this point; what would you say to them?”

Major Jason Schott: “There may be stuff that we’re currently looking at that we cannot talk about because it is an active investigation.”

This gives me great hope that they believe they can solve the question of how Lynn died.

Below is more information on the timeline of Kerry and Spring Thomas’ relationship.

This is what Aarron said in the “Who is Spring Thomas?” post: “At the six week point of the investigation into mom’s disappearance Spring confirmed in a written statement that she was in fact in a relationship with my dad. After she made her statement to police she messaged Abram and in an odd conversation and asked Abram if it was appropriate for her to continue to participate in searches. Abram was flabbergasted; he had no idea why she would ask that. See, the only people aware of Kerry and Spring’s relationship at that time was Spring, Kerry, and investigators. Abram has since reflected that the purpose of that discussion was to identify if police had told him about the relationship.”

 

This was reported in the Misssouri Times: Son calls for Messer to come clean.

“No one is naive enough to believe this was a new relationship,” Abram said. “There was no time to have a relationship, no opportunity to spend meaningful time with someone. I don’t know how my father could say that they were just friends. It was way more than a friendship. Besides, I don’t know what kind of friends you need to take Viagra or Cialis to visit.

“While we were trying to figure out when this relationship could have started, we realized we had been taking cattle up to her farm for years,” Abram said. “I was never comfortable with the way my father acted around her. She acted like a boyhood crush had visited. Then we figured out why there was this sudden rush of stress.”

 

Daily Journal Online: Son shares another perspective on disappearance. “It was over a year after my mother went missing, whenever we started doing some more investigating after finding out my father had been hiding a relationship with another woman since August of 2014,” said Abram. “That is aside from the woman he claims he was pursuing as soon as eight weeks after my mother went missing. When we found all this out we began to question the things he was saying and that’s when we found out that she never went to any of those counseling sessions alone.”

 

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Missing woman case tears apart Jefferson City lobbying team. 

Both of Kerry Messer’s sons, Abram and Aarron, now doubt aspects of their father’s accounting of events relating to the disappearance of their mother.

Moreover, the sons are bitter over Kerry Messer’s decision to begin what their father describes as a romantic but chaste relationship with another woman — a decision that they say raises questions and sullies the reputation of the Missouri Family Network.

“For the first time in 39 years I kissed someone other than my wife, Lynn. If you want to call that an affair, then you call it that term.”

In an interview last week, Kerry Messer said his relationship with Thomas began around Christmas 2014 — about five months after his wife disappeared.

But Schott, of the Sheriff’s Department, said detectives had confirmed a relationship between Kerry Messer and Thomas months earlier — about eight weeks after Lynn Messer disappeared.

Messer said in an interview that he disclosed the relationship to police voluntarily and upon advice from pastors.

However, police say Messer first told them about Thomas only after authorities already had learned of the relationship from her, while visiting her farm. Hours later, police say, Messer called them to disclose the relationship.

Schott said Thomas was seen by police among search parties organized soon after Lynn’s disappearance. Police said she has refused further questioning.

On to a different topic: The Memorial

Several readers have said they have attempted to call and talk to someone at First Baptist Church Festus Crystal City without success. Without exception, everyone gets a recording. Some have left calm messages asking the church to reconsider their position and listing their biblical reasons for calling. 

How has it gone for you?

I called this afternoon for an update on their reconsideration of holding or not holding the memorial service. Again, I received a recording. I didn’t leave a message since no one has been successful in receiving a call back. There has not been a courtesy reply or a public statement.

Possibilities have gone back and forth, but I have nothing definite… so I’ll wait to update you.

If you have heard that the memorial has been cancelled, rescheduled, or moved, please comment below and let me know.

Multiple readers sent letters to the church this week: Read previous posts for 3 letters, Abram Messer’s response, and my response.

 

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

#JusticeForLynn fundraiser: YouCaring

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To Lynn Messer’s church: Correspondence from Jeff. City

seek justice

I submit to you another letter written on behalf of Lynn Messer’s sons, their families, Lynn’s extended family, and on behalf of Lynn. What if it were you who disappeared for over two years only to have your remains discovered on your husband’s farm? Law enforcement discovers your husband is in a relationship with another women within weeks of your disappearance. During the three years since your disappearance/death he writes weekly about how he is grief-stricken and that his shredded heart can barely go on without you. Wouldn’t you want your someone to pursue answers and justice for you?

To: First Baptist Church Festus Crystal City,

I am appalled that you would be hosting a memorial for Lynn Messer. I’m sure I need not quote Scripture to show you where God’s Word warns us of turning a blind eye to evil (Kerry’s) not to mention God’s even more stern warning to teachers and leadership for doing so specifically in II Timothy. 

Lynn’s entire family has been cleared in the investigation except for Kerry for 3 YEARS now, and you choose to indulge Kerry’s attention seeking with this service? Have any of you contacted law enforcement to ask basic questions about the investigation status? Spring Thomas and Kerry are not cooperating with them. Do you know any grieving spouse that wouldn’t want answers about the other’s disappearance and now that her body has been recovered, can you imagine any grieving spouse not wanting answers about how the other died? Not cooperating with the investigation speaks volumes on Kerry’s ‘grief’. I cannot understand why you would choose to be more conduit to Kerry’s deception as the “grieving” spouse on Sunday.

Has it occurred to you that seeking unbelievers observe actions more than they hear words… Its concerning to know that the unbelievers observing your church are watching you allow a man WHO IS STILL CONSIDERED A SUSPECT to organize a service for his wife who died under suspicious circumstances.

I worked at the capital and spent a lot of time with Kerry and Abram and I had no reason or motivation to choose sides from the very beginning but I couldn’t bring myself to join those early search parties because nothing added up from the very beginning and I was spooked that I would trip over her dead body because my instincts were telling me there was foul play. There is still no motivation or benefit to me choosing sides, in fact this has cost me certain professional relationships for speaking out against Kerry’s affair publicly. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and I stand by my choices. I will not look the other way on Kerry’s convoluted rationale for his ‘special friendship’ with Spring before he would have known he was a widower or all the contractions in his details of the events that occurred. All the lies and omissions especially on his Facebook page make a mockery of God’s pure love and forgiveness and our true repentance in order to be called his children.

Trying anyone outside a court of law is wrong so Kerry is still presumed innocent of anything illegal. At the very least however the FACTS about his still suspect status and confirmed affair (according to investigators) are shocking to so many of the mutual friends and acquaintances I have in common with Kerry in terms of your church supporting him as you are. They are confused, disillusioned and discouraged with your decision to host this service.

If you are choosing to enable the furtherance of evil no matter how insignificant you might rationalize it to be, I personally can not in good conscience push it under the rug according to God’s calling for our righteousness. To watch a HOUSE OF GOD planning something on behalf of the REMAINING SUSPECT in Lynn’s death on Sunday is nothing short of frightening to me personally because it won’t be blessed.

*Disclaimer: This is a letter written in its entirety by a GiveMe Chocolate reader. These are their opinions and do not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of this website.  I am committed to publishing works of integrity. In that spirit, I offer this letter to my readers; however, the words are the author’s alone—told from their viewpoint. The testimony presented in this letter does not constitute legal facts, a guarantee, or a prediction regarding the outcome of advice given.

 

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Lynn Messer: More correspondence

I have met some amazingly wonderful people through the avenue of blogging. They challenge me, encourage me, speak truth to me, and provide excellent community. I’m grateful to have made a few new, meaningful friendships with like-minded people.

I received the following letter from a reader who is a former homeschool graduate with a college degree from Moody Bible Institute. The below letter was sent directly to the church.

This is another biblical challenge for the church leadership to change the path they are taking.

Dear Pastors of First Baptist Festus,

 

I am not sure if you are familiar with the passage in Zechariah 7.  In my 30+ years in the church, I have never been fortunate enough to hear a sermon on this passage.   It really speaks to the WHY of what we do.

The people[a] sent Sherezer. . .  to the house of God, to pray before the Lord, and to ask…, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “. . . ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves?  Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets…?’”

Zachariah 7:2 – 7

Could fasting or other spiritual practices really be insulting to God?

I am struck with God’s response to the question as to if they should continue their observance of fasting.  God wanted to know if the mourning and fasting was for Him?  For His glory?  God didn’t need to ask a rhetorical question – He is all knowing, but I presume He wanted to evoke thoughts that would result in repentance, change and restoration.  Simply put – He was confronting them.  Sadly, they didn’t listen!

In verse 9, the Lord Almighty said this “Administer true JUSTICE, show mercy and compassion to one another.” Simply, love mercy and DO Justice.  Justice is compassionate and precedes mercy.  No surprise that a just God is justice-oriented.

Verse 10 speaks to not oppressing widows, the fatherless, foreigners or poor.   And to NOT plot evil against one another.

Sadly, they weren’t inspired by the words of God.  They didn’t get to the business of justice.   It seems shocking that they were too busy to listen to God because, after all, they were building the temple

“They refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders and stopped their ears…They made their hearts as hard as flint.” (verse 11 – 12)  God was angry!  Injustice makes God angry! 

The chapter ends with “When I called they didn’t listen . . . I scattered them . . . This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.”

When I heard that a memorial service was being held for Lynn Messer, my first Lynnthought was, “Why?”  Why another one in addition to the one held by Lynn’s sons, sisters and mom? If Kerry was holding another one, why didn’t this happen at the same as when her bones were buried?  Why now?  Why isn’t there justice for Lynn? Why would First Baptist Festus continue to align themselves with a man who appears to have a heart of flint and is unrepentant?

Why is First Baptist Festus focused on mercy for one man but not on justice for Lynn?  Throughout the Bible and in God’s economy, justice comes first and then mercy.  Is it really merciful to not do justice?  NO!

My heart is especially grieved by earthly fathers and, in particular, Christian earthly fathers who do not emulate the love of our Heavenly Father to their children.  Fathers who give their children stones and snakes when the children ask for bread and fish have done something more devastating than breaking the hearts of their children – these evil fathers trample on the very earthly institution that God instituted to remind us of His love.   I am pretty sure this angers a just God.  (Matthew 7:9-11)  I am saddened by the manner in which Kerry has treated his sons.

Could having a memorial for service for a dear lady be the wrong thing to do?  I submit to you that YES it is just as it was wrong for the fasting to take place in the above passage.  Justice first, then mercy not fasting or memorial services that are self-serving.  The best way to honor Lynn is to act justly, to love her sons and to honor the sanctity of marriage!

What should happen next weekend is that Kerry Messer should be urged to cooperate with law enforcement and repent –  if for nothing else than for having an affair.  It is hard to believe that a husband with a missing wife would start a relationship just weeks after the wife went missing unless he knew she wasn’t coming home.  And makes you wonder if then the new relationship wasn’t the reason for Lynn’s death?

Please don’t continue to bring dishonor to my Lord and Savior by your unwillingness to stand for justice.  Lynn had evil plotted against her, so don’t be too busy “building your temple” to take a stand for justice.  Don’t allow your hearts to be that of flint.  I am sad to think that a failure to seek justice will result in making the “pleasant land” of First Baptist desolate.

 

Justice before Mercy,

J Lee

Dear 2

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

#JusticeForLynn fundraiser: YouCaring

 *Disclaimer: This is a letter written in its entirety by a GiveMe Chocolate reader. These are their opinions and do not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of this website.  I am committed to publishing works of integrity. In that spirit, I offer this letter to my readers; however, the words are the author’s alone—told from their viewpoint. The testimony presented in this letter does not constitute legal facts, a guarantee, or a prediction regarding the outcome of advice given.

 

Lynn Messer letter response

I’ve heard and read that the letter to the church from some of Lynn’s concerned friends seems over the top to a few of you, but I understand the concern and frustrations behind the letter.

Before I go any further I want to address the letter from Holly Ashley’s “Oh, Did I type that outloud?—Wolves in Shepherds Clothing: Justice for Lynn Messer and Victims of Abuse everywhere. Abram Messer did not petition for a protest or have knowledge that a protest was going to be recommended. A protest is not at all his desire or request.

From: Abram

I am publicly calling anyone who is planning on protesting the memorial service to please cancel those plans.

Any one who chooses to engage in this activity is directly acting in opposition to my express desires and wishes, and are operating on their own.

 

Before I continue…

I understand that tone of voice and emotion are left up to question when writing and/or reading so allow me to clear the question of my intent. 

I’m not angry or being demanding. I have a calm, quiet voice and am fueled by my love for Christ’s church. I have some questions and concerns I desperately want the church leadership and membership to consider. No one’s motive is to attack the church; the body of Christ. The motive is to ask them to reexamine the decisions they have made because the decisions don’t line up with scripture. 

I also need to remind you in this post with what I’ve been seeking all along—that the church hold Kerry Messer accountable for his ongoing relationship, with a woman not his wife, since shortly after Lynn disappeared…when no on knew where Lynn was, or if she was alive or dead. I am not asking them to pass judgment on his guilt or innocence in Lynn’s disappearance or death. The pastor and the church may have their own opinions on how to handle this; but scripture doesn’t leave room for our opinions. That is what I want to make clear and why I desire the church to act justly. Seek justice for Lynn and her family.

I have lived on the side of an abuser being believed over the victims. I see far more churches who accept an abuser’s testimony without checking the facts, I have a passion to see the church come to an understanding of how rampant this problem is throughout all denominational and non-denominational backgrounds.

Here is a list of a few biblical counselors, organizations, and survivors who minister to victims of marital abuse, and other abuses within the church. Most of these offer educational tools to local church’s and individuals.

  • Leslie Vernick
  • Patrick Doyle
  • A Cry for Justice
  • Emotional Survivor
  • The Psalm 82 Initiative
  • G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment
  • Claire Roise
  • Give Her Wings
  • Gary Thomas
  • Jeff Crippen
  • Holly Ashley 

For those of us who study abuse in the Christian environment we desperately want the church to see the way they are contributing to the demise of victims while putting their trust and support behind abusers and/or duplicitous individuals.

These leaders may not be clever enough to see it, but the abused women and children get the message loud and clear: If you come to us about abuse, we will cross-examine you, we will doubt you, we will endanger you, we will use God to pressure you, we will blame you, and we will shame you.

I often see churches that believe in being sweet and soft toward people who need corrected. Jesus was not soft-spoken and syrupy sweet when dealing with blatent sin. He was wise, just, caring, firm and factual. I think it’s time for church leadership to act with biblical wisdom, justice and boldness. There is no other way to deal with difficult personalities if you see they are trying to manipulate you.

Regarding the letter to the church, no one was judging the motive of the pastor’s heart. Please reread the scriptures listed in Abram’s letter: regarding obedience. You are picking one sentence and using it out of context. Your pastor is not responsible for Kerry’s action, but he is responsible for safe guarding the flock God has entrusted to him.

Let’s also apply this verse:

Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (NIV)

I understand your concern for your pastor. I’m not God and I can’t say with certainty that what I think about Kerry Messer is correct, but if he is anything close to what I speculate about him then he could hoodwink the most world renowned doctors in the field of psychology. Which could mean your pastor should chalk it up to a lesson learned and humbly apologize, and ask forgiveness from Lynn’s sons and his church family. He wouldn’t be the first person to believe a professional liar.

 That is why the apostle Paul warns us in I Timothy:

The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden. (1 Timothy 5:24-25)

Paul wrote to Timothy to be on guard. He warned about people whose sins are visible and easy to see. That’s easy! What’s difficult is the second part of the verse; “the sins of others appear later.”  Paul wrote this to Timothy after he said, “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.”  (1 Timothy 5:22)

Those evil ones whose sins “appear later” hide in the church, especially abusive husbands. Although I don’t know why; statistics show a higher rate of spousal abuse in the church than outside the church community.  Abusers thrive in this environment and satisfy their hunger for power and control in every local church body…and the church members sitting next to them in bible study and worship have no idea.

This is where the church, and especially leadership, needs to grow in wisdom. Abusers can appear outwardly holy in speech and even in actions—for a short time—yet be inwardly evil. Usually only the family experiences this side of the person, but occasionally so do co-workers. We shouldn’t be shocked when someone steps forward with allegations of abuse. It’s sad, but we should believe the victim’s side until a full investigation has proven innocence. I so strongly believe in this where spousal abuse is reported. Not believing has left countless women and children battered or dead.

Believe Her

In C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, no one believes Lucy when she tells them she has found an entire new country through the back of the wardrobe. Perplexed, the other three children go to the professor about Lucy. After all, Lucy has always been honest. She has never displayed acts of manipulation or craziness. The children cannot understand why Lucy will not recant. They are stunned when the Professor asks them, “How do you know that your sister’s story is not true?” He then explains that there are only three logical possibilities: either Lucy is lying, she has gone mad, or she is telling the truth. Lucy was never a liar nor had she gone mad. Not only that, but the Professor asks them which one of the two children (Edmund or Lucy) was most likely to tell the truth. Lucy was more likely to tell the truth. A new perspective had developed.

This perspective is what is sadly missing in the lives of so many people surrounding abused women. I am at a loss as to why a perfectly sane, honest woman is all of a sudden a liar when it comes to the abuse she is suffering at the hands of her husband – behind closed doors – LISTEN – where no one else lives. I see this all the time now. A woman is respected, honored, looked up to by so many people in the church…until she admits to someone that her personal home life is a living hell. NOW she is doubted, questioned and treated like a squeaky, high-pitched crazy woman who is crying wolf. Where did this come from? Emotionalabusesurvivor.com 

Witnesses stepped forward at Lynn’s memorial service and luncheon in December and told me that Lynn confided in them about spousal abuse. Abram and Aarron have also written and spoken; confirming these accusations.

There is a spiritual disconnect with abusers. Why?  They have a veneer of Christianity but don’t have the actual spirit. Jesus said, “I’m leaving but I will send you a gift; the Holy Spirit to convict you of sin (right and wrong) what’s true and what isn’t, and to comfort. If I don’t see conviction and comfort in someone I doubt  their spirituality. You can feign the fruit of the spirit but you cannot feign conviction and comfort. The spirit is dead or not present.

Religious denial is the worst because, its sneaky, the most dangerous denial there is. Not only do these types of people believe they’re okay but they have  a sense of nobility and righteousness about themselves. It appears he has spiritualized what I think is his sin. He doesn’t see the problem; he believes he’s doing God’s work. It looks like he’s ignoring his sons, not caring about their hearts, withholding relationship, while losing his children’s respect and love.

Scripture says we confess our sins to one another that we might be healed; the only person this does not pertain to is Jesus. Hardness happens when we don’t confess. He’s avoiding truth and making the world as he’s see it; which is not his family’s reality. That is in essence idolatry.

Truth is more important than comfort—so I press on to reveal truth and bring sin out of the darkness and into the light. The light is where Jesus dwells; it’s what He is and in this place there is healing and restoration.

We must call abusers out on the darkness; and ask those who support them to step back and allow the consequences to fall where they may. This is tough but it is not unloving, unkind, or judgmental.  We call them out because we do love; we love with the love of Christ and we want them to receive wisdom, power, and healing to have victory over their stronghold. This is true love…anything less is the oposite and in reality is unloving. 

 

“When you meet someone who seems soooo “Christian” and sooooo “warm” and “kind,” remind yourself that the verdict is still out on what they really are. Don’t let yourself get swept off your feet by someone’s charm, no matter how good it might feel to do so. If you permit yourself to be “charmed” and come under their spell, it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to be able to warn you, and you will have to learn the hard, hard way as most all of us have had to. In the same way as time will show the genuineness of a real Christian’s heart, so, in time, the wicked deceptive person will be revealed for what they really are.” ~ A Cry for Justice: He is just the nicest man I’ve ever met—Beware the abuser’s charm.

Unfortunately, people who live a double life will always have their following…even after the prison doors clang shut behind them. I’ve seen it!

 

blog quote

*This case is of public interest. Kerry Messer is a public figure who fund raises from the citizens of Missouri to provide 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. The content of this post does not constitute legal facts, a guarantee, or a prediction regarding the outcome of advice given. 

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

#JusticeForLynn fundraiser: YouCaring

 

Aside

Abram Messer regarding obedience

*Disclaimer: This is a letter written in its entirety by Lynn Messer’s son Abram Messer. These are his memories, opinions, and accounts of interactions and conversations. I am committed to publishing works of integrity. In that spirit, I offer this letter to my readers; however, the story, the experiences, and the words are the author’s alone—told from his viewpoint. The testimony presented in this letter does not constitute legal facts, a guarantee, or a prediction regarding the outcome of advice given.

Aarron Messer fathers quote

~Aarron Messer

Regarding Obedience

By: Abram Messer

As many of you know my father Kerry has announced that he is planning a memorial service for my mom at First Baptist Church of Festus Crystal City. Many of you also know that our family also used to attend First Baptist FCC as well. In fact we were members there for over a decade, and pastor Charles McClain even baptized some of my children. We still have many dear friends who attend there. Those friends we thought so highly of, we were sure to invite to my mother’s memorial service in December of 2016. My brother Aarron, was also sure to send invitations to my mom’s friends and acquaintances at First Baptist FCC as well. Due to questionable weather conditions, many of our friends were not able to attend. And sadly, almost everyone else that Aarron invited declined to attend or even respond to their invitation.

So what does this have to do with obedience?

The Word of God has plenty to say about sin, repentance, obedience and reconciliation. And 2 Tim 3:16-17 tells us “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This tells us that any questions that we have about ‘what to do next’ can be found in the infallible Word of God. All we have to do is be obedient. We do not have the luxury of picking and choosing what portions of the Word we ‘feel’ like obeying. Nor do we get to skip over the parts that are hard, challenging or that make us uncomfortable. When it comes to our current circumstances, it can be easy to feel very lost… but God has not abandoned us and has left us with a very specific course of action in dealing with sin.

*Just an FYI, I am NOT perfect. I have made plenty of mistakes, struggled and failed repeatedly to wholly live up to Gods standard. I have also never hid these shortcomings, and sought both God’s forgiveness as well as done everything within my power to be reconciled to those that I have offended.

Obedience in response to sin

The Word of God gives us a very detailed outline of what to do when a brother (or sister) is in sin. This process is not one to be taken lightly. It should be done with all seriousness and humility before God, as Ezekiel chapter 3 and Romans 1 lay out our biblical responsibility to call out sin as well as presents Gods firm condemnation on us if we sit quietly by. The consequences of this “sin of silence” ought to be more than enough to demand our attention.

This outline we biblically must follow starts in Matthew 7:1-6

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

Church goers are always quick to point out verses 1-4, while conveniently editing out the rest of the passage… namely that confronting sin is a serious thing, and our first stop is not the person whose actions are in question. Our first stop is on our knees at the foot of the cross. Dealing with sin always begins with personal reflection, to ensure that our hearts and minds are right before God.

After we have dealt with our own heart before God we move on to Matthew 18:15-20.

“If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

If we have made certain that our hearts are right before God and we are operating out of the right motivation, then we are commanded by Jesus Christ Himself to go to the individual who has sinned and in love confront them about the issue. If they do not repent, go back with more fellow believers and confront them again. If they still refuse to turn from their sin, we are commanded by God to bring them before the church, and finally… if steeped in their rebellion they refuse to submit to the Word of God, they are to be treated as a nonbeliever and a tax collector. The term “tax collector” here which is used is very interesting, considering He was referring to the Jewish people who had betrayed their countrymen by cutting a deal to work with the Roman officials to extract and extort Gods people.

If an individual still refuses to repent of their sin and submit to God, He still has commands for us.

Ephesians 5:11-17

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

1 Timothy 5:20-21

“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”

The Word of God stands in stark contrast to the way most churches deal with sin… and sadly this is the case with First Baptist Church of Festus Crystal City. You see I think Dr. McClain kind of was obedient. He did do some things… he did go to the MBC president Dr. Yeats and together they made the decision to remove my father Kerry from his position representing the MBC at the capital (a position, they were very careful to explain was basically a verbal agreement formed through the CLC). But here is where something happened.

I started meeting with Dr. McClain in June of 2015 after discovering my father’s secret relationship with Spring. We met off and on through the end of the year, and I followed up with him repeatedly until the end of the legislative session in May of 2016. All in all, for 11 months we had an ongoing dialogue. That my friends, was a lot of time, tears, and prayer.  I met personally with Dr. Yeats in Jefferson City in the early months of 2016, and he recounted for me his personal conversations with my father in which my father was informed that he would no longer be publicly speaking on behest of the convention. As time went on things continued to disintegrate. My father has refused to speak to me since December of 2015. Despite my pleas for him to repent, and in spite of the fact that I had gone to him in private (multiple times) begging him to repent; in love desperately seeking that he would be reconciled to God, so that our relationship could be healed, he has refused to do so. He has ignored the fact that my brother and I both sat down with him, calling him in love and tears to repentance. His first response was to attempt to pacify me by telling me he was going to turn MFN over to me (which I never asked for) and finally place my home in my name, but also failed to follow through with anything he pledged to do, setting himself up with the legal authority to remove my family and me from our home.

Partial obedience is disobedience

1 Samuel 15 tells us about King Saul being given a direct command from God. Saul then goes out and does… most of it. King Saul does most of what God commanded, but decided that he knew better than God. God responded in 1 Sam 15:22-23 by saying

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Partial obedience is in fact disobedience; it is nothing more that rebellion before God Himself. Let me phrase that a little bit differently for you… “To not act is to act”.

The hardest part of this whole mess has not been the abuse and betrayal of my own father. It has not been losing my home and career. It has not been the long-term trauma of my mom’s missing persons case, or the years of searching.

It was realizing that Dr. McClain and the MBC, as far as I can tell, chose partial obedience.

I was getting concerned that the MBC was more interested in making sure that they had covered their backside than being obedient when I tried to follow up with Dr. Yeats in 2016. When I finally was able to reach him, he recounted a completely different version of his conversation with my father. A new version which completely whitewashed the very issues which we were attempting to deal with. Furthermore, when various media reached out to the MBC, they chose to tell a third version of why my father was no longer representing them, this time fabricating the story that it was due to budget cuts.

It is with the deepest heartbreak that I tell you that when I met with Dr. McClain days after my father fired me, he chose a side.

I am not telling you this because I am angry and lashing out, nor am I out for blood as some have accused me of. I am telling you this because I believe that I have a biblical responsibility to tell you. For the same reason that I chose to publicly “expose” the sin that my father has become involved in. Someone else’s disobedience is not an excuse for you to be disobedient too. We are responsible to God Himself to be obedient. No matter what.

In May of 2016 I believe Dr. McClain chose to lie. I think he chose to outright lie about the content of 11 months of meetings, and place himself firmly in support of my father. He has not chosen to follow the biblical outline for dealing with sin, choosing rather to be partially obedient. He has done just enough to pacify his own conscience. When I asked him about going before the church, or least of all the deacon body he said “that’s not even going to happen.”  It was not biblical for him to tell me to not tell anyone else at church anything about the investigation, and it was not biblical for him to respond to my tearful voicemail begging him to please call me, but instead he waited a few weeks before emailing me and telling me I should find someone else to counsel with.

This is why we left First Baptist Church of Festus Crystal City. Not because of my father, but because of what I considered blatant, unbiblical actions and the chosen path of Pastor McClain.

I would be amiss if I did not also point out that there are still a tremendous amount of good people who still attended there. PLEASE do not misinterpret my public calling out of church leadership as condemnation of a whole church body. I am well aware of the manner in which information has been used to manipulate and keep people in the dark. For those members who truly have no idea what has been going on behind the scenes, I am truly sorry. I love all of you, and the deepest desire of my heart is that we may all be reconciled. I know there are godly people at First Baptist, many of whom I am still in regular contact with. Some of them have even reached out to me here and there and I look forward to their warm embrace when we see one another around town. I even had one brother reach out to me once, and I hope that as the months go on his schedule would open up enough for him to continue our conversation.  But it is sickening to hear the ongoing criminal investigation of my father regarding my mother’s death and disappearance referred to as a “family dispute.” To do so is to completely disregard and devalue my mother’s life and ministries. All while gravely downplaying open disobedience to Gods commands. I would truly like to have conversations with Dr. McClain about these issues but I fear that is not an option. The last two times that I saw him publicly, he looked right into my eyes, his face got red, and he started breathing heavy… then he physically turned his body away from me and refused to acknowledge my existence. The second time he did this I knew that it was not a case of mistaken identity.

So here is the bottom line. What are you going to do about the memorial service that is being planned at First Baptist? Remember, people don’t typically have another funeral just because they missed the first one. This is not about my mother; this is not about honoring her. If you truly seek to honor her, then walk in obedience, stand for the Word of God. Refuse to accept partial obedience, stand up for Truth. I would encourage you to follow the biblical outline, start with yourself. And in that time of self-examination ask yourself “what if it was my mom?” or sister… or daughter. How would you react to the news that the church leaders who lied to you and withdrew their support from you in the most desperate time you have ever been in, had decided to put together another service without any family involvement. But most importantly, how should you biblically respond?

08/12/2017 3 PM, I would add two things to this in response to various comments I have read.
1. I’ve heard people say for almost 3 years now that my father has not been charged with a crime yet so what can the church really do?
This is very problematic from a biblical standpoint. Go back and reread 1 Cor 5 and Mat 18. Then message me and point out to me where the Word says something about charges being filed. It’s not there. We have to stop confusing sin, with the term “crime”. Crime is sin, but legally not all sin is considered a crime. Is it a crime to cheat on your wife? Nope. Is it a sin? ABSOLUTELY. So we must stop thinking about our biblical responsibility in terms of man’s law, because it is about obedience to a higher law- Gods law.
2. There isn’t really anything more that the pastor of First Baptist can do.
Wrong. Biblically, if you are a member of First Baptist you are under the spiritual leadership of the pastor. The pastor (also referred to biblically by terms like “Shepherd” and “overseer”), is required by the Word to bring sheep who have wandered back into the fold… not passively offer lip service and watch the sheep walk off a cliff.
I would encourage Dr. McClain to have the Biblical and moral fortitude to “reign in” my father and not allow him to continue to control this service they way he is.

 

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

#JusticeForLynn fundraiser: YouCaring

The pastor that ignores an abuser’s profound and hateful lack of love, in order to deal with a relatively minor fault with the victim, has allowed themselves to be manipulated into becoming an instrument of cruelty in the abuser’s hands.

~Psalm 82 Initiative (Facebook forum)