Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

**Abuse and Relationships: We All Have the Right to Choose our Friends+

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15)  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16)  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17)  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18)  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

I believe that by far and large, churches and Christians and pastors and teachers are denying the truth of this Scripture.  What are we told?  We are told that because Jesus loves everyone (by the way, He doesn’t!) then we are bound to love everyone and that love means that we are required to maintain relationship with everyone who asks us. I think this is why you are seeing books come out like Boundaries and Unsafe People.  We are trying to get back the freedom that has been stolen from us.
Christian, YOU have the right to choose your relationships.  Did you know that?  Have you been taught just the opposite in your church or by other Christians?  You do not have to be in a relationship with the “unclean.”  Of course we know that this does not mean that a Christian who is already married to a non-Christian is commanded to leave that marriage (see 1 Cor 7).  But it does mean that in our lives we do not have to be bound together with darkness and those who represent it.

1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Proverbs 13:20 ESVWhoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, (25)  lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Now, whenever we choose to withdraw from a relationship, and especially if this takes place within the environment of the church, you can be sure that someone — some “concerned brother” — is going to come up and “should on you.”  They will tell you that you have hurt the person you are not associating with and you “should” fix it.  They will remind you how we are to love one another.  And if you want to turn up the heat even more, just draw some boundaries in your own family and extended family!  “But she is your sister!  Nothing is more important than family!”  Yes, but though she is an earthly, flesh and blood sister, she is not a safe person to be in relationship with and I choose not to have that relationship.  That is my right.  In fact, it is wisdom.
You have the right to choose your friends.  You have the right to choose NOT to have or to continue in a relationship with anyone who is unsafe for you.  In fact, you might even say that God instructs us — dare we say, commands us — to avoid such relationships!  And I am pretty sure that this means an abuse victim has the right before God to separate from and divorce a wicked, abuser-type spouse.  That is a yoke that is good to break.  That is freedom.


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  1. Krikit


  2. Charity

    Yep yep! Thank the Lord so much for the TRUTH of His word, wherein His justice lies in His perfect righteousness. ..and thanks for speaking it!!

  3. Z

    These Scriptures were never, ever preached in any church I ever attended. Never! So thank you Pastor Crippen for preaching and teaching the WHOLE BIBLE. Not just the ear-tickling sermons and teachings that keep butts in pews with NO COST TO THOSE WHO CLAIM TO FOLLOW CHRIST. Not even the “cost” of exposing and reporting the evil of severe physical child abuse by church members!
    As addressed in Pastor Crippen’s last few sermons titled “You Must Be Born Again”:
    How much is our Treasure of following Jesus worth? How much are we willing for it to cost us to obey ALL of God’s Word? To expose, call out and depart from evil? As he said, if you haven’t or aren’t suffering by being separate from this world by being unaccepted, unpopular, ostracized for telling and living the truth of God’s Word…if you ARE popular with this world, you aren’t doing Christianity right!
    There was so much misinformation taught and horrid hypocrisy was on display for me in churches. I was a child then an adult who was abused by both (brazenly counterfeit) “christian” parents. And whose extended family and family friends all knew about this abuse of children and were sitting in nearby pews with my abusers every Sunday. Not only associating with these known evil abusers but complicit in the coverup of this evil. Not a word of help from any of them. I felt lost and hopeless. And I now know that the reality is that IF those complicit in hiding the abuse HAD exposed it, reported it to the pastor or congregation, nothing would have been done. The abusers wouldn’t have been held to account. They’d already “polished” the churches by giving money generously-preemptively.
    Pastor Sam Powell also has a great blog post today. He talked at the end about praying the Imprecatory Psalms about GOD’S JUSTICE being done to abusers of children (or, really, anyone). Hopefully we will see justice done on earth but certainly it WILL be done when Jesus returns as the great Avenging Warrior-the Dispenser of Godly Wrath. Pastor Powell speaks to those “guilting tsk tsk” misinformed Christians about our praying for God’s Wrath on our abusers. They say to us “God wants you to Love, Love, Love them. God loves everyone.”
    As Pastor Crippen says in this post and others-GOD DOES NOT LOVE EVERYONE!
    And in Pastor Powell’s post, He aptly closes with:
    Amen to that.
    I’m thankful to both Pastors for their great posts today.

  4. Porcelain Warrior

    I have clung to your blogs (and I’m so glad I found you!) since I’ve had to walk the journey of having no contact with my father because of his abusive behaviour. It wasn’t a decision made lightly, and it came after repeated pleas and warnings to my dad to change his behaviour. I copped every manipulation and intimidation from him in that process.
    And then, once I had made my decision to step away, I copped the “but he’s your dad” from the well meaning but not really thinking people trying to offer me counsel in the church. And it hurt to realise I had to journey this hurt alone lest I open myself up to more hurt and more pressure. I remember one (very kind and Godly) lady saying to me “I understand why it’s maybe necesssary to not see your dad at the moment, you need to heal, and maybe once you’ve healed and got stronger than perhaps you can have some sort of relationship with him with some strong boundaries…” I get that one quite a bit – even from my mom. I said to her “but if he hasn’t repented…if he hasn’t changed, why would I go back into a relationship with him? Why is it up to me to ‘change’ and get ‘strong’ and no change is required from him, when HE is the one who has done wrong? Aren’t I just opening myself up to more hurt?”
    The lady got very flustered and didn’t know how to respond….no one has a response to that….it’s like they haven’t thought through their own theology, but just automatically revert to reconciliation being the holy grail of relationship. Especially if it’s family.

  5. walkinginlight

    Porcelain warrior thank you so very much for your post. It was very confirming to me as I also have had to set a few family relationships on the shelf. They were very unsafe for me with the horror that I experienced. They broke God’s word over and over again many times while claiming innocence, and then shoved a dagger through my heart acting like it was no big deal. I developed broken heart syndrome (a true medical condition) and it took me over five months to just sleep through the night again. I have had quite a few people along the way behave very mean and abusive to me, but this deal with the family took the cake! And no, you can never trust a person like this again. The Lord does not expect us to socialize with a unrepentant person who is not at all sorry for the agony they caused. And someone who is not sorry for what they have done is NOT A SAFE PERSON TO BE AROUND US. King David did not try to sit and have dinner with Saul when he knew Saul’s intentions toward him. The Lord gave us a inner warning system to let us know who is unsafe to be around, it is wise for us to use it.

    • Z

      Dear Walkinginlight and Porcelain Warrior,
      I too had to put a No Contact policy in place with my abusive family, as a whole, because they all continue to stick together as one clan. (A “cult” mentality really.) I decided for my safety and mental well-being, No Contact with he abusers themselves, their minions, those who knew and cover up, those who don’t want to get involved (b/c there’s a “cost” to them-inconvenience, the abusers’ bribes/polishing/grooming they’ve gladly accepted, they themselves becoming targets of the abusers if they don’t continue to follow the cult script..) ALL are Unsafe People. They are not Godly or kind and well-meaning but following false teachings and passing them on to victims. They are intentional in what they have said and done, unrepentant, hard-hearted. I do not choose to associate at all with darkness.
      But you both are right. When you cease contact with “family” (I no longer consider them family) you become a target of many judgments from other so-called christians. Mostly, the abusers seem to be absolved of all they’ve done to bring the relationship to such a severe necessity of our No Contact, but the onus to “fix” the relationship is usually placed on the victim! “Reconciliation at all costs”. Where does this false doctrine come from?! It’s not Biblical, as we’ve now learned through these blog posts and sermons.
      And I agree with you both that there IS a great emotional and physical cost to having to put No Contact with family in place for our safety, mental well-being and for our Biblical separation from darkness. We still suffer even though we took measures for the abusers to have little to no access to us anymore. PTSD, anxiety, depression, isolation, loss of community (which often stands by and does nothing to help or support us or worse, stands with the abusers as if THEY are the victims of OUR meanness or ungodliness for stopping all contact.) It’s a hard road especially with no support system.
      So we rely on Jesus every hard moment of every hard day to get us through and ultimately heal our wounds.
      We have a Savior that sticks closer than a brother. When our mothers and fathers forsake us, the Lord will receive us. (Prov. 27:10) We are daughters (and sons) of the Most High God. He is a Perfect Father! He is the lifter of our heads…We have so many promises to stand on in our Lord, our Rock.
      Let’s agree to pray for each other. For the healing of our emotional and physical “aftereffects” of our being abused and also the isolating and often lonely effects of the extreme measures we HAD to take of going No Contact with these Unsafe People who were supposed to be “ family. May we stay strong in JESUS. Amen. 🙏🏽

  6. walkinginlight

    Z, thank you for your wisdom writing what you did. You hit the nail right on the head. Thank you for praying for us and I will keep you in my prayers as well. The Lord is indeed faithful and does heal the brokenhearted and binds up all of their wounds. It is one thing when a outsider abuses but when it is family I feel is even more traumatic. Family is suppose to love and support one another and have each other’s back. It seems our military is much better in this department in these last days. Nevertheless God commands us to separate from unrepentant people who do things that are evil in His sight. We are doing the right thing by obeying even if the people who are the wrongdoers do not understand. I would rather have a human mad at me then displease God and compromise His truth. The Lord will strengthen and help His servant carry out His word when that is our greatest desire. Many blessings to you and everyone here.

    • I love the promise that is ours when we do this in verses 17 & 18!
      (17) “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
      (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
      Consorting with evil in an intimate way (marriage) definitely puts an obstacle between us and God.
      When I separated from my abuser I stopped defending him, I stopped being pushed to lie for him to his extended family members.
      I began to expose the darkness to the light! I stopped obeying an oppressive person and stopped facilitating his selfishness.
      There was just so much freedom for me and my children!
      We could open the windows, my older kids could park in the driveway again …! We no longer walked on eggshells dreading the next explosive rage nor the ridiculous unpredictable things that set him off.
      God was like a light leading me away from blatant evil and it was so tangible and these verses helped me to know I was walking in God’s will by separating and divorcing an evil man whose feet were eager to race to do the wrong thing each time there was a choice to be made. Thanks for sharing this wisdom!

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