Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

I Don't Want Your Christmas Cards – A Victim's Response to an Abuser Ally

Isa 1:11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

Mat 12:30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

It happens every Christmas. You go to the mailbox and there it is. A Merry Christmas card addressed to you from a voice from the past. From someone you don’t want to hear from ever again. Yet here they are showing up in your holiday. If you are really unlucky, it even has their fine, family picture on it.
Not only do abusers do this, so do those who allied with them. You know, those people who told you how wrong you were, how unforgiving you were, how unloving and unmerciful and unkind you were when you confronted the abuser and broke relationship with him. The ones who said you were the one sinning. Who told you that you were the one God regarded as the guilty one. Then they went and wrapped their arms around your abuser and said, “you poor, poor, poor fellow.”
Merry Christmas. In Jesus’ name, of course. That’s what the card said. “Sure hope you hang this up on your fireplace.”

I received just such a card this season. A voice from nearly 30 years in the past. “Christmas blessings to you, in Jesus’ name.” These are people who allowed a wicked, power and control, deceiving wolf to take over the reins of their church, even at the cost of myself and my family having to leave the church we worked for years to plant. In spite of this wicked man’s open and public sin, witnessed by many in the church, these people and others refused to stand against him. And they have continued to stand with him all these many years. After all, his money and his influence provided them with a new parsonage, a new church building, and, well, no trouble for themselves.
I was expendable. Merry Christmas, in Jesus’ name, they said.
Well, that is one of my stories of being targeted by this kind over these three decades plus years of ministry. That is how I have learned how abusers operate, what they are, and how it feels to be their target. I know who their allies are and how those allies do not hunger and thirst for righteousness, but choose to travel the broad and easy way. But I know that most of you who follow this blog have your stories too.
Have you ever wondered why it is that these allies of evil who have blood on their hands have the audacity to send you a Christmas card? I think that I know. The card I received (and I have received many others) did not include a single word seeking forgiveness for what they had done. Nope. No mention of their crime at all. So why did they send it? Here is my theory:

They send the card because it makes them feel good, and because it makes you feel bad. They are reminding you that you have still not “forgiven” – like they have forgiven. They are telling you that you need to repent. That you are the one who needs to “move on.” 

And all they have to do in order to accomplish these malevolent goals is to ink “Merry Christmas, in Jesus’ name” on a store bought card, slap a forever stamp on an envelope, and their deed is done. “See Lord? My, what a good boy am I!”
If you did not stand with an abuse victim against their abuser, if you did nothing, if you thereby became the ally of that evil one, then let me just clue you in. We don’t want your Christmas cards. Or your birthday cards. Or your anniversary cards. Don’t even waste your ink. They don’t go on the fireplace. They go in it. Immediately.


Dealing With the Abuser — sermon by Ps. Jeff Crippen


More Thoughts on the Impossibility of the Christian to Remain Deceived


  1. TJ

    Exactly. We got a Christmas card from my husband’s sister who tried to force us to have contact with their brother who is very toxic, very abusive. We asked them to respected our boundaries. They insulted us instead. How very “nice” that they send us Christmas cards every year so they can feel so spiritual.

  2. anonymous

    It is so helpful to hear these things from a pastor. A person otherwise is suckered into feeling like the bad one, “bitter” or “self-pitying” or “difficult” when they don’t appreciate the Christmas card’s arrival. It’s a headtrip, for sure.
    The “broad and easy” route versus standing with a target against her abuser. It’s very, very costly to go against the wicked and there are more of them than there are of us. Plus, many bystanders don’t know better and are misguided into believing the whole ‘peace, love’ hippie-style worldview where we should ‘all just get along’ and whoever objects to something must be the person in the wrong, needing criticism and correction. I don’t know. But for those who have been targeted, abused, and victimized, it’s an experience like no other and there are pretty much two sets of people, those who lived it and understood, and those who had no clue and whose words are not to be taken seriously because their advice is so misguided, out of ignorance.
    Yes, burn those Christmas cards. We need to practice self-care and not feel guilty or second-guess ourselves.

  3. Notlongnow

    Amen. This is excellent. Thanks for expressing it so well. Now I know why I always got such an uneasy feeling from the well wishing 2 sentence emails or hastily scribbled Christmas card that would come from the abusers family. The family that never protected me from his evil and instead strengthened his wicked hand.

  4. Jane Smith

    Oh I know this feeling. No Christmas cards but two invitations to a reunion instigated by both my abuser and his dutiful allie (my former bible study leader) unless a heartfelt apology is the purpose of the communication I want nothing to do with them. And that ain’t gonna happen! They were unrepentant arrogant fake Christians 30 years ago and haven’t changed a bit. I am sickened by their fake piety. In fact I want to throw up when I think about the backstabbing, the lies and manipulations of the criminal, bully abuser and his allies.
    It’s terrible to hope for revelation and have to realize these people will die before they acknowledge the truth. But I’m stronger and will never submit to that crap again nor will I be made to feel guilty for the arrogance, trash, lies and warped thinking their evil minds propagate.

  5. healinginhim

    Thank you for this post.

  6. CB

    Thank you Pastor Crippen. This is the BEST Christmas gift that I received today! Total validation from what you wrote. No, they abuse and pull a fast one and then expect you to look the other way and pretend nothing happened. But God saw it all and heard all of the lies and slander the abuser spoke because one did not bow to their evil will. These wicked, wicked people claim they are serving the Lord while acting like the devil. They are deceived souls who need to buy some eye salve so that they may see. To these wicked people the Lord says – Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie – I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. Rev. 3:9
    Merry Christmas to all here. Someday very soon we will be forever with our King and never have to deal with evil ever again! Hallelujah!!! MARANATHA!!!

  7. RC

    Jeff, it’s amazing to read your posts and feel as if you’re describing my life. I understand that it’s not because you know everything in every situation like our God does, but simply that abusers all display the same pattern of traits and you’re keenly aware of them after many years of ministry. I’m grateful for that because it’s helpful to many who have been in abusive situations who, possibly like me, have only started to see these things more clearly because of articles and comments on your blog and others. I am still somewhat ashamed that I didn’t spot these things earlier but nevertheless, I’m grateful for the way the Lord is growing me through a difficult trial and the way these articles are educating me on how to spot abuse moving forward.
    P.S., I was a member of the church in which the pastor wrote you the letter saying the “the Lord would remove His blessings from your ministry”. I was there for 10+ years and never fully understood the deception that was going on until recent events. I’m praying for him and others there that God would truly convert them and grant them true repentance. I’m also praying for many others to stand up and have courage to put an end to being abused. It’s time that we follow the Scriptures and not allow men like this to continue to have their way with the church. Our Lord promised that He would build His church and the gates of Hell would not prevail. Sadly, the devil is good at wreaking havoc among God’s people; often times with the very people who claim to be Christians. Jeff, thanks for your ministry. Merry Christmas!

    • Jeff Crippen

      And merry Christmas to you too, RC. Your note is very encouraging. I understand when you say that you are ashamed you didn’t spot these things earlier. I have felt the very same way many times. However, we can see why this happens. We want to serve the Lord. We want to be faithful to His Word. And so early on we look to pastors and teachers and books and theologians and seminaries and various Christian organizations and we let them teach us. After all, the Bible says that the Lord gives teachers to the church. We know that we have to be Bereans and test everything by the Word, but the catch is that when we have been taught deceptive, false doctrine we end up filtering the Scriptures through that faulty paradigm.
      And what’s more, we aren’t taught about evil. We aren’t taught that every church can expect to have evil creep in. We aren’t taught what that evil looks like or how it disguises itself or what tactics these emissaries of the enemy use. We only get generalities. “Watch for a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” But what does such a monster really look like? The fact is that Scripture does provide us with all these descriptions and warnings, but very, very few believers and pastors and church elders are wise in this regard. They are naive at best and wolves at worst.
      And so, along comes the Lord with His Word and by His Spirit and He opens our eyes to all these things. He usually does so in the context of us being targeted by the wicked ourselves and then showing us what such people really are and what His Word truly says about them. We begin to see how vast the plague of evil is that has infused local churches and inevitably we end up being ostracized and accused because we won’t be quiet about it. Our church and circle of fellow believers grows much smaller. Not because we necessarily want it that way, but because so many in the church today are counterfeits who don’t want to pay the cost of following Christ.
      Many, many blessings to you. Thank you very much for your encouragement.

  8. Jane Smith

    Woah! Jeff and RC I too am ashamed that I did not see the truth sooner. Your blog and other non religious information on evil has helped me see clearly. I know what the wolf looks like now. And am aware that they have the ability to morph into angels of light. Our circle has grown smaller, not by choice. But I’ve learned just because someone claims to be a “Christ Follower” they many times are not. I’m not going to be gullible again. Thanks again Pastor Crippen.

  9. Jade

    I can’t wait to change my address, phone number, and even my name for this very reason. No more random text messages in the name of “love.” No fake Christmas cards.

    I’m still in the process of leaving my abuser, and he has gotten ALL of my family except for one brother on his side. Even that one brother is “trying to stay neutral.”

    I actually have photographic proof of a text conversation he had with my Grandma. I had written to her, telling her about the abuse and asking for a bit of money to help me flee to safety (she could definitely have afforded to help me, and then some), and she wrote back to me that what I told her was literally unbelievable. She used Bible verses to tell me to humble myself and rely on God’s wisdom instead of my own. Then, she wrote to my husband. She told him she couldn’t believe how terrible I was being (but apparently I always had been and they didn’t know), that they were on his side, and were praying for him. My husband wrote back thanking her, and said piously that he was just trying to surrender me to God like Abraham did Isaac, and praying that my heart would be softened. It makes me want to barf.

    I’m glad I saw it though, because it was some of my strongest proof that he is an EVIL man. The bold-faced lies!! In doing lots of reading through this blog, I have come to the conclusion that he never was a true Christian. Thank you, Jeff Crippen! My eyes have been opened.

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