I attended a Domestic Violence Awareness workshop a few evenings ago and was stunned by what I learned.
I was still processing the emotions surrounding the passing of Carla Williams, a woman whom I once called a friend, but now I was labeled her enemy (and the cause for her brain tumor) because I was willing to stand up to her husband and expose his tyranny.
Tyranny: arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority. Synonyms: despotism, absolutism, dictatorship.
But here is one of the main things that really stood out to me.
Domestic violence doesn’t start with a gun to the head. It starts with:
Reeling through my mind were the many times Tim Williams would shame me (and others) with scripture, and yes, it really did escalate to name calling. I even have copies of the posts where he would name call and heap shame upon many of us. I don’t have to worry that my memory blanked out those painful moments…I have the proof to remind me of what I endured.
It’s amazing to me, now that I’m on the other side, that I put up with the verbal abuse he heaped on me, and I’m sure continues to heap on the other loyal followers…but it’s just another way he would take scripture out of context and use it to justify his shameful and abusive behavior…after all, “no discipline seems pleasant at the time” is a great line to keep someone trapped in bondage, and shame them into silent submission.
The control and isolation were two other components that kept me captive, but at the time, of course, I didn’t see it. The “us vs. them” mentality of the group fed the acceptance of such control and isolation… we were convinced it was for our own good. Now that the scales have been removed from my eyes, it’s clear as day.
So, to those who still believe in the lie, I am praying for you. That someday you will have the courage to see what is right in front of your face, come out of denial, and allow God to rescue you out of the pit you are in. He has been raising red flags for years, but you have been conditioned to turn those red flags around onto yourself and declare yourself “in sin” for questioning.