Throughout this course I have been leading you to put down your condemnations and shame of self and others. You have come to see that God loves all people with a heart of compassion and mercy. We have learned that the heart of God would see each person on this planet brought into his embrace, the awareness of his love for them, and a restored life unto wholeness in the Lord.

I trust that your heart has been turned from demands and judgements to an ease of walking alongside your fellow men and women in the grace and great understanding of our Lord. As we know, the favour of the Lord works through our hearts that would love as God loves.

These are the things we have been learning and will continue to expand upon even in the remainder of this course. However, in this chapter, #70, Restitution Boundaries, we will make note of hard lines that must sometimes be drawn between ourselves and others. We will look at righteousness that calls servants of the Lord unto right living, humility of heart, and purity of service.

We will make clear the kinds of healthy boundaries that must be in place within our beings and in our lives that would say a clear ‘No!’ to the abuses and violence, the hurt and harm, of others to us. And we will make clear the standards of the Lord in order to stand in service on his behalf.

For Instance: There is a false belief in the christian community that to forgive means that we must continue alongside our perpetrators. There is mixed understanding that would have us believing that forgiveness means that we continue in relationships that would have us abused. But of course, this is not so. Forgiveness is not permission for someone to continue doing us damage.

Rather, we forgive in order to free our own lives from hurt and the harm (that our bitterness would cause us), and then, THIS IS IMPORTANT, to remain free from hurt and harm we take steps and make changes to ensure that those who would continue to harm us would no longer be able to do so.

We forgive to:

• free our own lives from hurt and harm, bitterness and revenge

We then:

• make changes to ensure that we can remain un-abused in the future

We do what we can to live free of violence, our violence to others and their violence to us. We do not stay in position to be violated, humiliated, beaten down, and demoralized. And, as the body of Christ, as the church of the Lord, we do not advocate that people stay in abusive situations as some sort of piety of the Lord. This is nonsense and if we choose to advocate this, we are standing in agreement with abuse and denigration; we are no longer standing for fullness of life for the people we serve.

Peter Scazzaro in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality says this of ‘dying to the wrong things’:

“Jesus did say, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:23. But when we apply this verse rigidly, without qualification from the rest of Scripture, it leads to the very opposite of what God intends. It results in a narrow, faulty theology that says, “The more miserable you are, the more you suffer, the more God loves you. Disregard your unique personhood; it has no place in God’s kingdom.”

We are to die to the sinful parts of who we are—such as defensiveness, detachment from others, arrogance, stubbornness, hypocrisy, judgmentalism, a lack of vulnerability—as well as more obvious sins described for us in Scripture: Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Speak the truth (see Exodus 20:13-16 and Ephesians 4:25).

We are not called by God to die to the ‘good’ parts of who we are. God never asked us to die to the healthy desires and pleasures of life—to friendships, joy, art, music, beauty, recreation, laughter, and nature. God plants desires in our hearts so we will nurture and water them.” 71

When we remain in situations of abuse, hurt, harm, and trauma, we participate in the destruction of self that God has created; we participate in destruction of God’s creation called You! And if we claim that the vulnerable and the weak, namely women, children, and the elderly, must remain in abusive situations then we are participating in the destruction, hurt and harm of God’s precious creations. This is the exact opposite of what God wants for each and every person on earth.

In contrast to this, it is as we grow and mature in the Lord that we come into a great understanding of the preciousness of human life (and all of creation). We therefore end our participation of violence, but we also end our advice and instruction to others to remain in violence.

To follow are just a few examples of how moving away from violence is to work out within our lives and communities:

–  Forced sexuality harms women and they must have the authority and take the choice of refusing sexuality that would harm them; they must find their voice to say ‘no’ and those around them must respect this.

–  Beating children greatly harms them and keeps them from a full life in the future. There must be adults around them that would speak up and advocate against the ones who would harm children.

–  Neglect of the elderly is a profound lack of regard and respect and is clearly denounced in scripture. We must take the time and the service and the humility to engage in care for those who can no longer care for themselves.

Henry Cloud, Phd and author of Boundaries:When to Say Yes and How to Say No, gives a brief overview of boundaries and the Biblical support for them,

“Simply stated, it is this: people have a need to be in control of their own lives, and they have a need to know that God is behind that idea. This need is fundamental in the creation of mankind, according to the Bible. God created us to be free, and to act responsibly with our freedom. He wanted us to be in control of ourselves, and to have a good existence….something so dear to the heart of God that He says it was one of the motivators for the sacrifice of Christ Himself: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Jesus died to set us free: from sin, from the devil, from the world around us. And that is the essence of what Boundaries teach—freedom.” 72

In addition to the freedom that we both live and give is the concept that in freedom we allow the natural consequences to unfold of those who would abuse such freedom.

What I mean is this. As people live free, and when they make wrong choices, we do not pretend that things are okay and that the way they are choosing to live is right. There are natural consequences to all actions, some are good and lead to life (a fullness of life in our lives) and some are bad and lead to death (broken relationships and death lived out even as we are alive).

As we stand for fullness of life, we therefore draw hard lines against behaviour that damages people:

• Abusive men may lose their marriages
• Reckless young men may lose the respect of others
• Adulterous persons may lose their standing in the community 
• Neglectful parents may lose their children
• Abusive teachers may lose their jobs
• Selfish pastors may lose their spiritual authority

We do not stand in the way of the natural consequences of people’s choices, attitudes, and behaviour. While love covers over a multitude of sins, we do not turn a blind eye to neglect, violence, abuse, and reckless sin; for those who would choose these things we let them face the natural consequence of their lives while covering over the ones victimized.

In such cases, we do not rush to pretend that all is okay. Rather, we rush to rescue any who are bearing the great hurt and harm perpetrated by such people. And we allow such people to feel the full ramifications of their decisions and manner of living.

We have had this quite backwards. In many places it is the abusers that are protected, while the victims of that abuse are told to ‘stick it out’ and to ‘love more’. But there is never any excuse for abuse or neglect. There is never any reason that would make these things okay. We must draw hard lines in regards to these kinds of behaviours and make it clear that abuse and neglect are not tolerated.

We do not heap shame and condemnation, we do not reject and scoff, but we do allow the natural consequences to take place. Men and women, pastors and leaders in the church, must be held to standards of decency and what is right within all of their relationships and dealings with people.

In this way, we love with a deeper kind of love. In this way we spur one another to healthy ways of living, we call one another to account for our behaviour, and we give clear messages to would-be victims that as a body of believers we will do all we can to ensure that persons are able to live free from abuse, neglect, control and manipulations.

This is a light in the darkness of this world that is fuelled by hatreds, cruelty, abuses of all sorts, neglect and all manners of disregard unto others. We stand for what is right and good and kind in the land. And this means that we stand against actions and choices that would defy the love and decency of God in our midst.

Victims are to forgive (for their own internal heart freedom from hurt and harm) but they are not to remain in abusive situations.

This is an important distinction to make and to live. Consider:

  • The gospel of Jesus Christ brings freedom to each person. The cruel husband is free to be cruel, but his wife is free to leave his cruelty and to separate herself (and her children) from further harm.
  • The neglectful pastor is free to ignore his wife and children and to abandon them for the sake of the ministry, but his wife is free to see that abandonment for what it is and to choose a better life for herself apart from him.
  • The abusive parent is free to abuse his or her children, but that child is free to recognize the actions as abusive and is free to run away from that abuse.
  • The manipulative pastor is free to manipulate his congregation, but those in his congregation are also free to remove themselves from his ministry.

Too often we uphold the freedoms of the cruel, neglectful, abusive person and we limit the freedoms of those most affected (and damaged) by these things. 73

This is wrong. Our standards and understanding of justice must be enlarged and lived out in the land.

The house of the Lord, his people, must be cared for. It is the body of Christ whereupon the Spirit of God resides. We therefore must bring all peoples into the grace and wholeness of God. We do this by standing for what is right for those who are victims, and we do this by standing against those who abuse. “And the church is his body.” Ephesians 1:23a NLT

“Don’t you realize that all together you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT

“Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in manmade temples.” Acts 17:24b NLT

“Together we are his house, built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming holy temple for the Lord.” Ephesians 2:20-21 NLT

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” 1 Peter 2:5a NLT

  • You would not condone and put up with abuse in the man-made structure we call a church.
  • Why would you affirm, allowing, condoning, encouraging, abuse in the true house of God, his people?

“When you come to appear before me, who has required you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the ‘calling of convocations—I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moon and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:12-17

For our churches and gatherings as the body of Christ we must attend to the abuses in our midst and stand for justice and what is right.


In context of Poverty Strongholds, we reach the part of the conversation about demons. Now, I am fairly pragmatic about demons, meaning, they are where they are with the power that they have as determined by our permission and agreement with them (ie: our agreeing to lies, condemnations, and shame of the enemy). Demonic forces are not random happenstance but fall under the ordered universe just as everything else does.

If we are turned toward the demonic in fear or agreement we will receive the darkness of the enemy.

As we studied in Module TWO, Month #8, Chapter 61, REFUSING PAGANISM, our agreements make a big difference to our lives. Demons live according to authority and where there is a foothold (or permission) for them.

Surely, there are satanic strongholds of poverty over whole areas and over individual lives. Satan hates people and has been working unto destruction of the entire human race a very long time.

To stand in the spirit realm with the authority to bring down these demonic strongholds requires people who are ready, personally and corporately, to take responsibility for their sin that has agreed to the enemy; to bring in place of this, the light of God.

When people live the truth of God’s sufficiency in their lives and communities, demonic strongholds will continue to lose their power bit by bit until one day we no longer experience the assignments of the enemy against us but instead the light of Christ around us and peace within us.

Part of becoming free of the demonic is to not give it any attention or focus. Telling and re-telling stories about the demon only strengthens its glory and hold upon a person or area.

As a person/s is agreeing with the demonic it remains present in their lives. Just as we learned about how agreements result in poverty strongholds, the same thing happens with the demonic. Agreeing with the lies, condemnations, assignments, curses, and fear of the enemy results in a firmer grip of the demonic on our lives.

The healing process for this happens a few different ways. Again, in inner healing prayer (with individuals) we bring the light of Christ to the stronghold. This can be done by illuminating (confessing and healing) the lies and the agreements with the enemy that have been made and that are now confounding the person.

Where an entire community is affected the same principle holds true. At some point in time there was corporate agreement to the lies of satan, and demons are now holding forth to protect that domain acquired.

To conclude, the demonic is real and is active, but, the demonic must bow to Jesus just as everything else. We, become participants of God’s Kingdom as we change the agreements we have made with the enemy and as we take on (living, acting, speaking, responding) agreements with God. We, can then participate in declaring God’s ways over entire regions.

So, this is why I have left the conversation about the demonic element of poverty stronghold till this time. The demonic is real and active but we participate in bringing the new life of Christ to our regions not by shouting at the enemy, but by our very lives. As we stand in heart agreements unto God and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we are transformed and our experience of this world is transformed.

To those who would rush to shout out against the enemy, to those who would want a quick fix against the darkness, I would admonish to begin with our hearts and false beliefs; bring in the light of Christ and darkness will flee. Live unto God and the enemy will lose its grip.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:11-17 ESV

71 Peter Scazzero, Integrity Publishers, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN, 28

72 source:

73 It is important to note that in regards to marriage, that the man or woman who would abuse or neglect the spouse, has already broken the bonds of marriage. By chronic toxic behaviour and attitudes of disregard and disrespect the marriage has already been thrown away by the person who would think they can do anything they like and their spouse just has to put up with it. This is a cheap understanding of marriage. A marriage can take this kind of abuse once in awhile, but chronic disregard for decency, respect, regard, and consideration of the other person and the marriage will be lost.

=> Let’s study Healing and Reframing next.

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