Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Keep Your Accusation Radar Up — It Detects Abusers

I have written on this subject before,  but it comes around in my mind once again. Here is a fact that will serve you well in helping identify and defend against an abuser:

Abusers are accusers. A normal, healthy, safe relationship is not characterized by accusations. If someone is regularly accusing you (often in subtle ways that are disguised as ‘suggestions’ or ‘questions’) then you are dealing with a person who is at minimum not safe nor healthy for you.

A Christian wants to do right. We pray that the Lord will show us even our hidden sins so that we can repent of them and be healed from ungodly ways of thinking. So if someone comes along and tells a Christian he or she has done wrong, or had a wrong motive, or evidences some pattern of misbehavior that is not pleasing to the Lord, we listen. It isn’t fun and it is even painful, but we strive toward humility. Yet….
We must beware. There are times we must NOT listen. How do you “feel” around a person? Safe? Generally encouraged? Accepted? Loved? If so, you probably want to hear what they have to say. Besides, from this kind of person the nature of their statement to us is not going to smack of accusation. It comes in a spirit of kindness. And it doesn’t come except rather rarely from these type of people. On the other hand, if you will pay attention to your feelings and senses and the spirit (or Spirit) in you, you will find that your feelings around a wicked person are quite different. You feel unsafe. Discouraged. Rejected. Unloved. You may have tried to suppress those “negative” feelings and even denied them to yourself because after all, Christians aren’t supposed to feel that way, right? And hey, there are tons of Christians, including ourselves, who just assume WE are the problem.
Well, it’s not necessarily right that Christians aren’t supposed to feel that way. Wicked people WILL make us feel unsafe. The Holy Spirit in us WILL stir us to caution — level yellow and up to level red if necessary. And you will also find that, if you begin to make note over time, that this kind of person in your life rather regularly, not rarely, accuses you.
Think it through. How many other people in your life accuse you regularly? I mean the people who love you. They just don’t do it. So what can we say? We say what we said again:

Abusers are accusers. A normal, healthy, safe relationship is not characterized by accusations. If someone is regularly accusing you (often in subtle ways that are disguised as ‘suggestions’ or ‘questions’) then you are dealing with a person who is at minimum not safe nor healthy for you.

Understand! BOY! This is hugely helpful and freeing! Accusations are not normal. A relationship characterized by accusations against you is not normal. People who are regularly questioning our motives, telling us what we have done wrong, telling us what we need to do better, are doing exactly what Jesus said the wicked do to the righteous:

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)

See? That’s what the wicked do. Accuser! Begone! We see you for what you are! Your master has been thrown out of heaven. He can’t accuse the brethren anymore, and I’m not going to let you do it either!


The Error of Seeing the Abuser as Victim


Forgiveness Requires Justice: Else Why the Cross?


  1. So if our partner hits us, or has an addiction relapse, or takes and destroys our personal possessions, or harms or neglects our children, or violates our sexual boundaries, or engages in typcal coercive control tactics, is verbally abusive, etc . . . How can we address that in a way that will not be criticism?
    Are you saying it’s abusive for us to suggest to him that these kinds of things are not okay to do, or are hurtful and harmful to us?
    I had a partner who would take literally any request to do something differently (no matter how collaborative or non-accusatory) or any suggestion that there was a problem with his behavior as if it was abusive criticism.
    For instance, if I suggested that it was intimidating for him to beat himself with his fists, punch other surfaces, and jump up and down while yelling at me; that was me being unreasonably critical and inappropriately overreacting to suggest that was intimidating behavior.
    What is the correct response that would not be critical or accusatory?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Welkin- not saying that at all. A rebuke of abuse calls it for what it is- evil. There is no other way to confront it. Im not sure how you came to the conclusion that I said otherwise? Maybe I wasn’t clear?

  2. eagerlabs

    Yep yep…they play the victim, act oh so innocent while they accuse and abuse in private and.or make a play of ignorance – both the offender and often the so called *leaders* helping (you right over a cliff) while their craziness, blasphemy of scripture puts the victim over the edge.
    While divorce wasn’t the purpose for this latest inquiry for advice and help, (and the false “leader” knew it), he didn’t know my husband knew it. Despite that, the conversation opened with laying down HIS law for divorce right in front of us AS IF he didn’t know that wasn’t our point. (I since found an unknown church document detailing this stupid crap no one even made us privy to). Claimed he was mistreated by former churchgoers while also claiming he didn’t understand what being a victim of such means.
    Then, my choice of words was criticized (he doesn’t “like” abuse …while he used it himself later and giggled about it), and before hearing me *I* was judged disrespectful while my husband was minimizingly declared having “bad habits” when he admitted his sin against me.
    Later, he apologized for being harsh…to ME..as if I’m a flower…whereas there was no recanting of the lies. Um..it’s called sin and unrighteousness, on both their parts, that leads to hell mister, as you preach…and yes..abuse is blasphemy of the Lord’s truth. Fear him, not me. (Stupid me I forget..he doesn’t like ESV while also claiming KJV isn’t original either…*eyeroll*) the stupid word play is enough to put one over the edge for sure..for the victims’ sakes let alone the word of God.
    Another member has an issue with this *leader* also…and his response was, prior to making an appointment…”I have to think about how I’m going to answer” when he didn’t know the questions yet. (Insert choice words here)
    Pharisees incite and empower sin.

    • eagerlabs

      I have a lot more against this heretic too and accompanying signs. After the first incident..he refused to speak to me again unless my husband was present (not just any witness being present, which I would totally understand, but nope, had to be the husband/suspect). Been there..forget it, my “worth” was clear. Radar, praise the Lord!
      What’s more disgusting is that the civil authorities (that are praised from the pulpit) would give me more “justice” than he ever would. Who ever heard of finding your own suspect, dragging them down to the station before being able to file a complaint with the police? They’d hear me on my own, and not only not accuse me but actually investigate and prosecute FOR me without such. While *that* ultimate court can only render judgment (and I wasn’t asking NOR would ask, as I later found they’d “require”..probably why he set it out from the beginning at that first conversation ), it disgusts me there is nothing but silencing from him who claims he represents the court of thanksgiving. That is NOT CHRIST.
      Furthermore..and after the details sink in with us, while anyone can see the church is small (small in not a good way), WE were the *only* other married couple in the church. All of the other married couples left a few years ago (the origin of his so called abuse) and what’s left are divorced (the offenders), deaf and blind (literally), questionable reprobates, and the geriatric.
      My husband then remembered ..wait..that’s the point..he hates marriage, except his own….(well.. probably hates his own too but..) YEP.
      They hate the grace and mercy of God, suppress his truth, and silence and devour anyone who’d dare to object. So yep..more radar..not only accuse…but also canNOT accuse, and rather speak the truth UNTIL you shine your light. It’ll show them what they are and often times doesn’t become clear until there’s a “problem”.
      I’m actually thankful for yet another despising of Christ of me (I have decades of stories..lol) ..because He’s instilled me that radar you speak of. Wait for fruit.
      I’m also thankful for you, pastor Crippen and your church as I’ve heard the truth and over the past few years in the shadows, seen the truth played out in your actions. It’s what commanded of us…believe AND obey. :).
      Have a super day everyone!!:)

  3. My husband’s biggest complaint about me was that he felt I was critical of him all the time, and unfairly accusatory. I think all the things you described in this article as signs of being an abuser, he would say described the way he felt he was treated by me. He constantly felt accused and unfairly criticized by me throughout the relationship.
    Your article says, “Abusers are accusers. A normal, healthy, safe relationship is not characterized by accusations. If someone is regularly accusing you (often in subtle ways that are disguised as ‘suggestions’ or ‘questions’) then you are dealing with a person who is at minimum not safe nor healthy for you.”
    What do you do if you have a partner who takes every question or suggestion as an accusation?
    And what do you do if your partner engages in behavior that is truly inappropriate or harmful, to address it in a way that asks for things to be different but is not accusatory?
    Is there a way to hold someone accountable for their hurtful choices and actions or even just ask them to do something differently without being accusatory? This was one of the biggest areas of conflict in my marriage.
    He sees the fact that I called his behavior abusive and that he felt criticized and accused by me as being a far greater wrong toward him than anything he ever did.
    So I find this post confusing. I spent so many years trying to be less critical and more appreciative, but there are some behaviors that I feel just can’t be allowed or excused.
    How do we differentiate between inappropriate criticism and accusation, vs. appropriately holding someone accountable and asking for necessary change?
    And how can we differentiate whether someone’s feelings of being accused by their partner’s questions or suggestions are the result of abuse or not? How do we know which party is responding inappropriately when someone feels that way?
    Is accusation or criticism always wrong in every situation? If not, where does the line get drawn?

    • Jeff Crippen

      The abusers accusations are always wrong. Always wicked. How to differentiate them from normal criticism? They are habitual, not occasional. And behind them lies a motive of obtaining power and control. There is no fix for such a person. Abusers never change. Once we realize that then we can make realistic decisions. A marriage to an abuser doesn’t need to be fixed. It needs to be ended

  4. Susan

    I really need to take this article to heart. Memorize it even. I have a grown son, who, having grown up under an abusive father, evidences many of the same abusive characteristics.
    This article in particular reminds me of the idea of finding I feel I’m always “on trial,” with him, always needing to defend myself in one way or another. He is quick to say things like, “Have you thought of the other person?” “Have you looked at how you’ve been blessed?” “Have you considered how they perceive you?” “Have you prayed for that person?” He also analyzes my motives and intents in what I say or do. He does this a LOT! I end up thinking I’ve been horribly unfair in some way. Usually I have just been relating some rather insignificant occurrence, but he feels the need to censure me for anything that might be the least bit negative.
    When HE is being confronted, however, he nearly blows a gasket!! When I asked him to read something from “Unholy Charade,” he said, “I try to let things like that go…get my mind on more positive things.” At the time, I wasn’t trying to share the book to have him see himself, I was really thinking of his dad and how he had grown up under his abuse. Unfortunately, more and more, I’m realizing the dynamics of abuse can be passed on from another generation to another.

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