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.
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.
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!
*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.