Holly T. Ashley

Oh? Did I type that outloud?

Go for Broke

The conversation went something like this:

Counselor: Holly, I’m at my witts end. She won’t leave her abuser or even file for an order of protection. I’m afraid she’ll end up dead. I know she’s saved, she told me about how she recently accepted Christ and started coming to some church functions – I’ve told her that God has a plan for her to have an abundant life – but she continues to stay with him. I’ve tried everything – But every time I see her, she tells me of more things that he has done… I’m so frustrated! I’m out of options… She needs to talk to you –

Me: I’ll take the referral – but you need to be ready for the fall out.

Counselor: What fall out?

Me: She’ll reject my counsel the moment I tell her that she if she continues to persistently live in sin she will face the wrath of God.

Counselor: But, she is saved, I told you that.

Me: Her fruit says otherwise and that’s where I begin.

It took a month… but the victim called.

“For from the least to the greatest of them and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wounds of my people LIGHLTY, saying ‘peace! Peace!’ When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abominations? NO. They were not ashamed. They didn’t even blush! Therefore, they will fall among those who fall at the time of punishment, they will be overthrown. -Says the LORD.”

(Jer. 6:13-15).

We live in a world without shame. Without guilt.

First there is no shame in the counseling – or life coaching (whatever that is). There is only “dealing falsely” with those we seek to “save” from the shattered lives that they chose to live in.

Only, we don’t have the power to save – only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power of God that leads to salvation (Rom. 1:16). And if we don’t share the gospel then the person we are “counseling” has no salvation and we are “healing wounds lightly” because without the gospel, there is no “peace.”

We strive – yes, we strive hard and long – to tell people that they have nothing to be guilty about – encouraging self esteem, when their deed declare them shameful before a holy God.

We tell them that there is no condemnation. That Jesus loves them right where they are.

The fact is that Light can have no fellowship with darkness (1 Jn. 1:5-6). And that without Christ, the sinner .. this sinner… the one you are counseling – is nothing but condemned.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so… those who are in the flesh cannot please God…”

(Rom. 8:6a, 7, 8).

The fact is that they should be ashamed. They should grieve and mourn their sin – because it was sin that put Jesus on the Cross. It was because of man’s sinfulness that Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, suffered and died a horrific death.

This victim wasn’t going to leave – She had no shame in the fact that she was living with a man she wasn’t married to… There was no guilt over the fact that she was continuing a sexually immoral relationship.

She had no guilt or shame – because she had never been confronted with her sin. So why would she leave evil and cling to what is good? She had no idea of good – She thought she was good!

She preferred being a victim… telling her stories of abuse, neglect, belittling… how badly he treated her- because that was self-gratifying. She got pity, attention, hugs, and assurances that she was loved, and she was important –

On top of it all, there were children.

Children, whose needs of safety and security, were being neglected because their mother was too preoccupied with her own sinful desires and self-gratification, than to fulfill her responsibilities of a mother.

It was because of this very same sinful lifestyle and pattern of behavior – man’s fallen state and refusal to serve the One and only, Holy LORD of lords, that Christ left the beauty and splendor of His glory to come down to earth to be belittled, mocked, maligned, and then eventually killed.

“But were they ashamed?” No. They “didn’t even blush.”

This victim wasn’t ashamed – nor did she blush at her choices in lifestyle – because no one called her out! Everyone she had “counseled” with dealt falsely with her – they lied to her. They were leading her down a road that went straight to hell.

And little “c” Christian counselors, do it all the time!! It has even become a pattern of behavior for the church. So afraid to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ – because it might offend the hearer – We water down the truth in order to make it easier to swallow –

We have perverted the gospel of Christ, the only power to save, by making it more culturally appropriate – and by doing so, we have diminished its power and left the world to die in their sin.

“For from the least to the greatest of them, and from the prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely…”

When pastors, pastoral counselors, Christian counselors, Christian psychologists – even domestic violence service providers – from the least to the greatest does not address an individual’s sinfulness, in order to bring them to the point of realizing their brokenness and need of a Savior – They have failed.

“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).

A physician does not deny truth of cancer in order to save a person from hearing “bad news.”

There is only hope in healing when someone realizes they need help.

“They have healed the wounds of my people lightly, saying, “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace”

Putting a Band-Aid over a bleeding wound doesn’t prevent a person from bleeding out – that is what Jeremiah referred to as “healing the wounds… lightly.”

Telling someone that they have peace with Jesus, while they continue to walk in darkness is a lie and God promises that “their blood will be required of you.” (Ez. 3:18).

Mankind must be informed of his sinfulness in order to bring him to a godly grief – a godly biblical brokenness that leads to repentance/salvation/abundant life in Christ alone.

“If you are WILLING and OBEDIENT, you shall eat the good fruit of the land”

(Is. 1:19).

It is only through our brokenness that we grieve our sin and see the need – the desperate need of the great physician, the only One who is able to save us, heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds (Ps. 147:3).

Only when a person – victim included – is willing and obedient – can they “eat the good fruit of the land.”

But it will never occur if we continue to pretend that the unconverted have hope.

  • “Why won’t they leave?”
  • “Why does s(he) continue to associate with these (abusive, neglectful, violent, aggressive, fill in the blank) types of people?”
  • “Why are these children so rebellious?”
  • “Why won’t they stop drugs/drinking/their delinquent behaviors?”
  • “Why does (s)he continue to be abusive?”

When there is no conviction of sin, there is no need for a Savior, and therefore no reverence for a Holy God – there is no fear of condemnation, no fear of God’s wrath, and absolutely no incentive to do anything consistent with Scripture.

And therefore, there is no hope.

We must rediscover our purpose – Our only purpose – that is to glorify God with our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Our only mission as Christians, is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ, because the only problem man has – that any woman has – is sin.

The very center – the heart of the gospel – is the death of Christ on the cross – and the understanding of the fact that Christ died because of man’s sin.

To omit this is – to water it down – to present it any other way – is a false gospel and that in and of itself, denies the sinner “the power of God unto salvation.”

Period.

“Hamartiology” is the theology of Roman’s first three chapters. Paul took this theology and hammered it into some of the most “brilliant” minds of his day – and it was simply this – the discourse of sin.

(GK: Hamartia meaning sin and logos meaning word or discourse)

“His [the Apostle Paul] entire point,” says Paul Washer, “was to prove the sinfulness of man and to condemn the entire world… We must possess a biblical passion that tells men the truth in the hope that their hearts will be broken under the weight of their sin and that they must look to Christ alone… Modern man has become the feeble character that he is because he is self-absorbed and living in rebellion against God. He is loaded down with guilt because he is guilty. He needs God’s Word to expose his sin and bring him to repentance. Only then will there be a biblical brokenness that leads to life” (The Gospel Message, Paul Washer, p. 78).

We are living in the days of self-absorption, pride, arrogance, and entitlement. Men and women, victims and abusers that are corrupted by sin and sentenced to death.

Yet, in most “Christian” counseling ministries – and the pulpit – we ignore this completely.

If we continue on this trek of “free grace” we will experience even more corruption, more delinquency, more abuse, more violence, more fornication, more sexual immorality, leading to more abortions, more pornography, more trafficking and prostitution, more rape and sexual deviancy, more addictions – and more suicides.

Not quite the abundant life is it?

But without the realization of the sinfulness of self- there is no need for a savior – and Christ’s death is irrelevant – something that was simply done in vain.

Yes, we want to get victims to safety. Yes, we want to fight for justice. But we cannot negate our responsibility to the great commission (let alone, our moral responsibility to heal the broken), by not addressing the elephant in the room –

Sin.

Any and all thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, or actions that are contrary to God’s law.

David and I fully understand that we are unorthodox. We hear the whispers (in the dark) that malign, scoff, and condemn – mostly due to their gross misinterpretation of Scripture.

For over three decades I have worked in the field of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Because God allowed my abuses of childhood molestation, a gang rape at the age of 5, date rape, and 25 years of domestic assault to occur in my life.

So, the next time you tell someone that “God has a great plan for your life….” You’d better inform them of just whom that plan intends to glorify.

  • News Flash: It’s not us.

The “abundant life” is found in glorifying Jesus Christ – the one and only Way, Truth, and Life.

We must cease and desist from seeking the approval of man. We must seek only the approval of Christ and Him alone in our “counsel” and call for the brokenness of the sinner and help them see their need for the Savior.

Even though I suffered hurt at the hands of others while being a young, innocent child… Even though others had belittled, maligned, sexually and physically assaulted me –

I didn’t suffer for the sake of righteousness – like the apostles. I wasn’t a martyr like I had come to believe I was.

Sin-filled men and women sinned against me.

Shocker! That’s the world we live in.

Sin is sin is sin…. period.

This victim that was referred to me was not any different than most who come to us. She wanted so badly to be a martyr. Fighting the good fight of showing an abusive, worthless, pile of dung, that she had the power to change him.

She blatantly denies God’s holy command to flee from sexual immorality, not to be unequally yoked, to flee from evil… Even going so far as to deny her baby the safety and security God requires of mothers.

Retelling her story as often as she could be heard to an audience of individuals that would shed tears of compassion and offer her their home, their money, and their time and possessions – if she would only leave…

She had people giving free baby-sitting, money for gas, groceries, clothing, diapers, and even sending her to the spa, “so she could rest.”

And when she continued to allow the abuser into her home and stay for days on end, missing work, they paid her bills and offered her a new place to live when the landlord evicted her.

Why do we have a domestic violence epidemic?

Because we have a sin epidemic!

Evangelist/scholar, Dr. Voddie Baucham preached a sermon a few years back that included the hard-core truth of mankind’s sinful state of being and God’s response to unrepenting hearts. He said, Jesus isn’t a sissy. God isn’t longing for us… He is not pinning for us – but rather, He’s going to break us.

It took 25 years to understand that no matter what man did to me – God’s wrath was going to be worse if I did not come to a place of utter brokenness for the woman I had become.

I hope it will not take that long for this victim. I pray that she becomes so ashamed of her thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and actions before the holy God she claims to “love and serve” – that she is filled with a godly grief that leads to salvation (2 Cor. 2:10).

I was on a fast track to hell – both as a domestic violence counselor and as a condemned-by-God, sinner.

“Were they ashamed? No. They were not at all ashamed. They didn’t even [so much as] blush! Therefore, they will fall among those who fall, at the time of punishment, they’ll be overthrown.”

God is very clear – “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Josh 24:15).

And if you choose Him then, “lift your drooping hands, strengthen your weak knees… You have not suffered to the point of death.” (Heb. 12:12). “Forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead,” (Phil 3:13), knowing that God will work all things together for your good – IF we love God (Rom. 8:28).

Make no mistake about it, our mission is to quite literally, go for broke.

We want our victims and our offenders who voluntarily come into our programs to understand that God is serious about His glory and because of that, so are we.

We intentionally call out sinners to come to a place of sheer and utter brokenness in their sin, so that they can come to a sheer glorious experience of life with Jesus Christ and Him crucified – so they can pay it forward (that’s called making disciples).

A Christian who offers counseling – whether it be a domestic violence victim or offender, an addict, or a delinquent, must not have any intentions of superficially healing a wounded heart – They can never say, “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace – nor placate the fruitless tree with a false message of free-grace for all.

In addition, I will submit a charge to all of you –

Go for broke or go home.

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This entry was posted on January 16, 2020 by in Call to Action.

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