The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Emerging From Darkness: Guidance & Hope for Malicious Torturers

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

CAUTION: This post is speaking to active torturers. This is a dark, graphic subject matter which is not going to be edifying to a general audience.

Sadism is a mindset in which we derive pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering, and/or humiliation onto others. Sadism comes in different flavors. In sadomasochistic pairings, someone who gets off on inflicting pain finds someone who gets off on being degraded, and the two party on. Here’s where we get into the world of BDSM torture fests in which the many forms of “play” revolve around sexual arousal. In this post, we’re not talking to sadists who are toying around with willing victims. In this post, we’re talking to those of you who are addicted to dishing out hardcore pain. You don’t want willing victims, you want terrified ones. You’re out to inflict malicious forms of pain and suffering, and seeing some honest terror and agony being expressed by your victim is an essential ingredient for you. You’re not just in it for sexual arousal, although that can be a nice side effect. For you, the whole screaming, writhing, bloody freak out gives you a deep internal rush. For you, it’s all about dragging things out as long as possible, while constantly trying to push the boundaries of sick and twisted. Bring on the medical experimentation and anatomical disfiguring. You expect your victims to die—they’re totally expendable to you. Maybe you’ll keep a few souvenirs from their corpses, but then it’s on to the next one because you need to keep that rush coming.

If this is the dark world you are currently living in, then we don’t need to tell you that you’ve got a problem. You’re in way over your head, and by now you’re probably not seeing any way out of this deep psychological pit that you’re currently trapped in. And yet there is a way out, and for those of you who are tired of choking on your own hate, we’re going to explain the principles you need to understand to start getting your life turned into, well, a life. What you’re doing right now isn’t living. You’re just rotting in your own pain, and every time you lay into one of your victims, you’re taking yourself down with them.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR ATTRACTION TO TORTURE

So how did you get here? You weren’t born this way. The desire to torture is something that wells up within us as a defensive reaction to pain. You see, people react to pain in different ways. Go around kicking dogs and some will cower, while others will erupt in rage and attack. Humans who turn into malicious torturers (MTs) are those who respond aggressively to pain. You’re not doormat material, you’re a fighter, and a darn good one. You’ve got buckets of perseverance and an iron will. You’re made of tough stuff, and when you are forced to endure humiliation, you aren’t satisfied to just even out the score later on. You have to escalate when you get revenge, because you need to put major distance between yourself and the feeling of being defeated. You have to be the one on top. You have to dominate. It freaks you out to not have a strong lock on the alpha position, so the longer someone makes you eat dirt, the more desperate you become to see yourself proving that you are back in control.

Let’s talk about your victims. They’re symbols, all of them. You’re not really fighting humans, you’re fighting your own fears: fears of being destroyed through domination that you don’t know how to cope with. Why does it soothe your inner turmoil to see them dying slow, agonizing deaths? Because the more you see yourself demonstrating total mastery over them, the safer you feel. For you, the crisis that must be avoided at all costs is domination. You can’t be dominated. You probably have been, and none too nicely, which is a trauma you are now trying to reverse by trashing soul after soul. When you’re short on human victims, you can try to get by on animals, but let’s face it: humans are best. Humans are the ones who threaten you, so humans are the ones you need to keep asserting mastery over. And what better way to prove how unshakable your power is than by doing things to people that you know they would stop you from doing if they possibly could? Of course you always fix it so that it’s not a fair fight. You find ways to restrain or cripple your victims to ensure that there’s no possibility of them overcoming you. But you want to see some resistance on their part, because it is their failed attempts to stop you that really give you that rush. It’s no good if they’re unconscious: you need to see them actively fighting against you and perpetually losing, because this is the only connection to internal security that you have left.

CHANGING COURSE

Step one for emerging out of this bestial existence is to understand what you’re really trying to accomplish. You need mental peace: we all do. You need to feel like there’s some part of you that is totally safe and protected from all forms of ravaging. You need to stop feeling so terrified and hurting on that deep core level. You need a way to diffuse this overwhelming tension that is keeping you keyed up and unable to find peace. That’s step one.

Step two is to face the fact that the method you’re using is never going to work. You simply aren’t going to acquire what you need by piling up a bunch of mutilated corpses. It’s like you’re on a treasure hunt, only you’ve been sold a phony map and now you’re digging a huge pit trying to uncover some gems that just don’t exist at that location.

Step three is to realize that what you need does exist and it is accessible to you. But you’re going to need to head off in an entirely different direction and employ some totally different methods. Instead of keeping the focus outward on your victims, you’re going to have to turn it inward and confront the mess that you are inside. Instead of trying to keep fighting this war alone, you’re going to have to admit that you’re getting nowhere and accept some help from a third party.

Now as an MT, you’ve got some very good reasons to despise the human race. By now you’ve figured out that there are some pretty nasty people in the world—other MTs like yourself who get off on destroying defenseless victims. By now, you can probably point to several times in your own life when you felt like you were worked over pretty maliciously by one or more humans. Some MTs acquired their appetite for aggression while they were physically strapped to other people’s torture racks, but others were tortured in non-physical ways. Intense bullying, psychological degradation, emotional abuse, social ostracizing—there are many ways that humans can internally maim each other. You don’t need to have personally endured years of torment to end up as an MT. We all have different resources in life and as soon as you are pushed past your personal limits, you’re going to go hurtling down the road of desperate revenge.

Let’s talk more about step three. Where do you even start in the search for real solutions? If you’ve got a lot of corpses to your name, then you are clearly going to be in hot soup when law enforcers catch up with you, which they will at some point. Because bodies are so hard to get rid of quietly and victims are so hard to come by, it’s tough to pull off a long term career as a private MT of humans. And while part of you might feel relieved to have someone shut down your grisly operation and save you from your own addiction, simply being arrested and slapped with legal consequences isn’t going to solve your core issues. You need healing, hope, and love. Some joy would also be nice, although that seems pretty unrealistic to hope for at this point. But is it? Is there some law in the universe that says you can’t ever get to the point where you have true peace of soul? Is there some low ceiling over the head of MTs that is limiting their ability to recover and thrive? Of course there isn’t. You aren’t beyond hope, and you aren’t beyond healing. You would be if you were strung out on just your own resources to save you, but you’re not strung out, and you’re not alone. You’ve never been alone, not in all the times you’ve been going at your victims. You’ve always been in the Company of the three Gods who created you: Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And being the all-powerful non-humans that They are, They aren’t scratching Their heads in bewilderment about how to help you. They know how to help you, but They aren’t going to ram that help down your throat. If you break out of this hellhole, it’s going to be because you wanted to and because you asked Them to save you from yourself. The only kind of relationship They’re interested in having with you is one in which you are taking an active interest.

Now there are two common ways that burned out MTs respond to the concept of reaching out to God for help. Shy MTs struggle to believe that God would actually be willing to look at them. Angry MTs react with intense rage and repulsion at the thought of submitting to the Gods who trashed them in the first place. We’re going to talk to all of you shy MTs first.

SHY MTs

For those of you who think you’re just too scuzzy for your Makers to want to snuggle up to, you’re wrong. The Gods who created you are the same Ones who created everything in existence. This includes not only physical things, like humans and animals, but also concepts. The elements of pain, evil, and torture don’t exist in this world by freak accident. There are here because the Gods who control all things want them to be. You see, the real Gods are not just smiling blobs of sunshine and flowers. They are not innocent minded simpletons who gasp in bewilderment over all of the dark impulses that are swirling about in your being. The real Gods gave you all of the capabilities that you have. They defined the limits of your imagination and abilities. They gave you the temperament that you have and designed it to be one which would react aggressively to pain. It doesn’t mean you’re some robot who has been acted on your whole life. You’ve had plenty of choices along the way, but the Ones who created you decided the number and type of choices you would have. You didn’t get to choose your early life guardians, for example. You didn’t get to choose to hide out in some bubble where no one could hurt you. You didn’t get to choose to be invincible. But while many choices that you would have wanted to have were withheld from you, others were put on the table, and the culmination of all of the choices you’ve made up until now has led you here: to the point where you are now an active MT who is feeling desperate and wretched and nervously close to the end of everything.

It’s important to realize just how active your Creators have been in your life all of this time, because understanding this helps you realize that They are quite informed about who you are and where you’re stuck when They say that They still love you and want to have a positive relationship with you. The love of God is always an informed love, because all three of your Creators know you inside and out. You cannot shock Them by the depths to which you sink, because They are the Ones who gave you the capacity to fall in the first place, and They have defined the limits of that fall. So while you’ve been quite disturbed to watch yourself morph into a monster, this entire transformation is quite logical to your Gods. As your Creators, They have an intimate understanding of who you are, how you think, and how you cope with unmet needs. Their desire for you is not shifting sand, it is solid bedrock upon which something permanent can be built. Your Gods don’t want you because you have so many admirable qualities. They want you because you are Theirs. It was a loving desire to form a positive, personal bond with you which motivated Them to make you in the first place. So there’s simply no reason for you to stall any longer. And since They’re always with you, connecting with Them is a very simple thing to do. Praying to God is like talking to someone who is standing right in front of you with the ability to hear your thoughts: there’s no need to even speak out loud. A sincere internal cry of, “God, please help me,” is quite enough to start you down a better path.

ANGRY MTs

Now for all of you angry MTs, yes, the whole idea of submitting to God is extremely scary, because in your mind, submission is the door that allows all kinds of horrific pain and degradation into your life. Because you have a better grip on God’s sovereignty than many Christians, you have figured out that He was quite involved in all of the terrible things that have happened to you in life, and He was also quite capable of preventing them, yet He didn’t. Why on earth would you want to cast yourself into the hands of Someone who gets off on seeing you in misery?

The problem here is that you’re confusing God with yourself. You get off on torturing people, because you’re desperately trying to cope with some serious internal woundedness. Well, God doesn’t suffer from woundedness. He’s not a human, and unlike you, He is impervious to being injured. So while you are projecting cruel motivations onto Him, the truth is that He hasn’t acted cruelly towards you at all.

God is so powerful, that should He want to really get sadistic with you, He wouldn’t fuss around with the forms of suffering that we see humans enduring on this earth. The worst kinds of pain that we can experience here are child’s play compared to what God is capable of dishing out. To God, this earth is not a torture chamber, it’s a sifting ground. You’re here for one main reason: to make a voluntary choice about how you are going to respond to your Creators. You can either refuse to submit to Them and insist on treating Them like your enemies for all of eternity, or you can choose to submit to Them and embrace the love and help that They are offering you. Your life on this planet is the one shot you have at making decisions that you will then reap eternal consequences for. Should you decide to go the route of despising the Ones who created you and refusing to submit to Their Authority, then when They finally kill you, you will at last get a taste of Their hateful side. But right now you’re nowhere near experiencing just how brutal Their wrath can be. Right now They are being extremely patient and gracious towards you because They are still extending an invitation for you to come to Them.

If you don’t want to spend your life completely misinterpreting God, here’s a critical point that you need to understand: motivation defines whether an action is cruel or not. When a man digs a needle into the flesh of a child’s finger, is he being cruel? His actions certainly look malicious, and his victim is crying in pain. But you can’t make an accurate judgment until you understand what the man’s motivation is. Why is he using that needle? What is he trying to accomplish? If it turns out that the man is a doctor who is trying to remove a splinter from the child’s finger in order to spare the child further pain, then clearly his actions are not cruel at all, but kind. It doesn’t ease the child’s suffering in the moment to understand that the doctor is trying to help him, but it does tell us something about the doctor’s character and whether or not we should put our trust in him.

It’s absolutely true that God has hurt you in life. In many cases, He used human beings to bring pain into your life. But you cannot determine the Character of God by assessing the character of the instruments He uses. This is a very common mistake humans make. When John’s father gets off on beating him and his father makes it clear that his motivations are malicious, it’s a simple thing for John to then project those same motivations onto God. After all, it was God who gave John the father that he has. It was God who trapped John with the human abuser. Clearly if God works through cruel people, He must be cruel as well, right? Wrong.

Dr. Benson is a good man who sincerely cares about the well-being of his patients. After assessing Jane’s condition, Dr. Benson determines that a certain painful procedure is the best way to ensure that Jane will thrive in the future. She won’t thrive right away—in fact she’ll feel much worse during the procedure, and the procedure itself will cause greater damage. But once she heals from that damage, the benefits of having had the procedure will start to emerge, and Jane will end up much better off than she is now. A good doctor thinks about the long-term consequences of procedures and tries to steer his patients towards long-term benefits. Dr. Benson is convinced that his course of action is best for Jane, so he assigns Nurse Hammond to do the procedure. Now Nurse Hammond is a cruel woman, who gets off on seeing her patients in pain. So when she receives Dr. Benson’s instruction, she delights in her task. She enjoys inflicting misery on Jane, and yet even though her intentions are nasty, her actions still accomplish what Dr. Benson wanted, and Dr. Benson is acting out of true concern for his patient.

This how things work with you and God. Unlike the human Dr. Benson, God is not just making educated guesses about what is best for you. He knows what is best for you, and because He deeply loves you, He is not going to hold back on putting you through some terrible experiences if He knows that those experiences will position you to really thrive further down the road. When God puts us through crippling experiences in life, we are immediately and drastically changed by them, and at first those changes feel entirely negative. Just as the patient with a bad heart feels much worse off after he’s had his ribs broken and his chest torn open in order to get a better heart transplanted into his body, when God puts us through brutal experiences in life, we find ourselves feeling much worse off at first. We are crippled, frightened, and overwhelmed with pain. And yet the patient who is willing to trust in the wisdom and good character of his doctor and obey the doctor’s instructions ends up thriving. Of course human doctors aren’t perfect, and they make errors in judgment sometimes. But God is perfect, and He never errs in His methods with you. Every misery God brings your way is a calculated move which is designed to end up benefiting you if you are willing to follow His orders. Here is where we get into submission and trust. Submission is when we acknowledge that God is wiser than we are and so we ask Him to take control of our lives. Trust is when we stop lumping God in with all of the cruel humans we have known and start exercising faith in His goodness and in His loving intentions towards us.

God is who He is, and who He is is a Being who is supremely good in Character. God isn’t good because Christians want Him to be. The real Gods are not fantasies that humans can alter at will. In this world, you’ll come across a ton of fictitious deities. Even Christians have invented false versions of the real Gods which they then focus on in order to get out of having to deal with facts about the real Gods which they don’t like. Many Christians refuse to acknowledge how intimately involved God is in our suffering. They refuse to face how intentionally He hurts us because they are simply unwilling to believe that the intentional infliction of misery can coexist with good character. Well, this is absurdly hypocritical given how often we humans put our own loved ones through misery in order to help them. It’s not like we don’t all understand the concept of hurting someone for their own good, yet many Christians simply won’t accept that God is capable of such a basic thing, so they instead pretend He has nothing to do with suffering. They then blame all of their problems on demons and a mysterious force called “Sin”. They talk as if God is some aloof Bystander who constantly mourns over the sight of the world falling apart while He tries to keep coming up with helpful patches that will fix some of the damage. Well, no, this is total rubbish, and if you view God as such an incompetent Nimbus, you’ll never know the kind of peace and security that He wants you to have.

God didn’t put you through intense suffering because He hates you or because He views you as some kind of trash. God did not create us all equal. We were designed with different degrees of stamina. Some of us are like fragile crystal figurines which can’t take much pressure at all, but MTs are like strong steel. MTs are equipped with some very impressive strength, but cultivating that strength requires some brutal methods. If you want to mine gold, you don’t politely ask the mountain to open up, you get out the dynamite and blast your way into it. In the same way, God put you through some very crushing experiences in order to bring out the awesome potential that He has packed into you. You were not designed to be some background wallflower, you were designed to thrive as a soldier on the front lines. There are delicate little poodles who are good at sitting on pillows, and then there are muscular huskies who can haul lifesaving supplies through brutal weather and assist in search and rescue missions. MTs are made of stout stuff, and when all of that fierce intensity is misdirected, you end up where you are now: torturing the life out of people and showing no mercy. But suppose you were to invite God to have His way with you and suppose you were to cooperate with His efforts to finish the good work that He’s started in you?

You’re like a freshly blasted gold mine—the blasting won’t get you any closer to unearthing the gold unless all of that rubble gets cleared out of the tunnel. What’s killing you is all of this rubble that has rained down on you from God’s initial blasting: all of the pain and fear and distress from the traumas you have gone through. But it’s not too late to ask Him to continue the process and help you get unburied. Yes, you’ve done some major damage to people, but that doesn’t mean you personally are beyond redemption. When we reach the point of exhaustion with our own efforts to help ourselves only to discover we’re hurting even more than before, it’s easy to give into despair and decide that we are beyond all hope. But you are not beyond hope, nor are you beyond transformation. When you surrender yourself into the hands of your Makers, you are putting your hope in Beings for whom anything is possible. They can fill you with a depth of peace that you can’t even fathom from here. They can put all of these overwhelming fears to rest and take all of the terror out of feeling dominated. When we are dominated by humans who are getting off on hurting us, that is certainly a distressing experience. But when we are dominated by Gods who intensely love us and delight in seeing us thrive, that ends up being a truly freeing experience.

CHOOSING REDEMPTION

No matter how many people you’ve killed or how vicious your methods were, you can choose the path of redemption and seize hold of the invitation your Creators are extending to you. Theirs is an invitation to a far better quality of life and an existence that is filled with purpose and hope. You are not just a screwed up mess in Their eyes. You are Their dearly loved creature who They want to see experience the vast benefits of the pain that They have put you through. Our Gods don’t enjoy inflicting suffering on us in life, but They love us too much to block us from the experiences we need to become able to receive all that They want to give us. Choose the path of redemption and refuse to accept that where you are now has to be the miserable end to your story. This doesn’t have to be the end of anything. Instead, it can be the beginning of a truly beautiful transformation.

FURTHER READING:
The Purpose of Dysfunction: Understanding Why God Messed You Up
Repentant Sinners: Is it wrong to stop feeling bad about the past?
Overcoming Shame
Recovering from Abuse: Forgiveness vs. Reconciliation
Accepting the Mercy of God
Understanding the Love of God: The Five Versions of You
Justifying God’s Love for Us

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