Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

"Christian" Enabling of the Abuser Increases His Attacks on the Victim

Recently an abuse survivor made a very insightful comment. She said that she could always tell when her abuser (a professing Christian) was receiving support from a Christian. How? He stepped up the intensity of his abuse. She said that while non-Christian support for him would certainly encourage him in his wickedness, her suffering at his hands increased the most when professing Christians sided with him. This is very sobering.

First, let’s ask “why?” Why does an abuser particularly feel empowered in his wickedness when he receives support from duped (or worse) Christians? I suggest that the answer simply comes down to this: “Christian” support/enabling of the abuser makes him conclude that God is on his side. That he is in the right. It makes him out to be a holy jihadist, zealous for the Lord, ready and willing to wipe out any opposition. Christians who enable abusers actually hand over the keys to a new and improved torture chamber to the evil man, and they do so in the name of the Lord! That is blasphemy. It is using the Lord’s name in vain.

… they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.’” (Jeremiah 29:23b)

A second question: “What does this say about the culpability of Christians who enable the abuser?” It says that they share in the guilt for this wickedness. They participate in the oppression of the victim. They have blood on their hands.
You see, while we are errant human beings, falling quite short of perfection, nevertheless there are some things we simply must get right. A firearm, for example, must be handled wisely and safely. Because you just don’t get a second chance. I may intend to use fire to do good, perhaps burning up an ugly pile of debris in my yard, but I had better know about fire and follow the rules for its safe use. Because fire often doesn’t give us a second chance. So it is with evil. We have to get it right about the nature and methods of evil. If we don’t, then we become participants in its wickedness upon its victims.
So, Christian, remember this and mark it down well. The next time you preach things like “just go back to him and submit and pray for him more” to victims, the next time you preach a sermon about how husbands are to be masters and priests in their home and how wives are to submit to them in all things, you are a participant in the abuse being dished out to the victim and in fact you are increasing its severity because you have endorsed the wicked man’s thinking that he has God on his side.
God is most certainly not on the abuser’s side, and furthermore, He is not on yours either.


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"Reconciliation" With an Abuser is the Twilight Zone


  1. walkinginlight

    A holy jijhadist! Yes, receiving support from a so called “Christian” who has ignored Gods commands to be able to discern evil. Most people take this to mean in the most blatant forms. You know the obvious evil. There are so many that go through life thinking that all who call themselves a Christian are sweet pious wonderful people. That God wants us to breeze through life with cotton candy and rainbows and ignore the obvious evil behavior in “impostors”. Being willfully blind, this kind of person does help and enable a wicked abuser. They will be held guilty for having no Christian fortitude! One of my favorite proverbs the Lord gave me many years ago:

    • Stormy

      This is so good and it is just what I needed to read tonight. My bible study leader and her music minister boyfriend supported and still support the abuser.
      They knew I was being abused and encouraged the abuser in his wickedness toward me. Every time he was being supported by them I would get abused more intensely.
      Thank you for writing this it means so much. They still support him and hate me. They masquerade as saints.
      They have no fear of God. They should all be afraid of the custom made millstone they will be wearing. While they were leaders in a Christian organization they were all trying to lead me astray.
      It Is an abomination and I’ve also used that verse about those who call evil good and good evil are an abomination. In reference to almost every member of that fake Christian group.

    • A pastor's wife

      Going through this now. Other pastors, ministers support his ungodly behaviors and he has become embolden and even more wicked. Meanwhile there is no accountability and he has no responsibility for relationship problems. Thanks for article. I know God will bring truth to bear on this.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Pastor’s wife- you are not alone. There are many others. Very glad you are here.

  2. Mhiggins

    I’ll take that statement a step that goes even further. In my situation I noticed that even when Christians I had called on for help did nothing it fueled his attacks. He really felt he was untouchable.

  3. Z

    Wonderfully explained, Pastor. I’ve been subjected to further and worse abuses by my abusers because of their emboldenment by the complicity of “professing christians” all my life. I believe you are spot-on in saying the abusers delude/deceive themselves into thinking this means “God is on their side.” Deceivers deceiving and being deceived!
    Ezekiel 33:8-9 says, “When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die’, and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die (eternally) for their sin, and
    I WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR BLOOD. (As you said Pastor>blood on the hands of the complicit.) But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”
    Isaiah 5:20 says, “>WOE<unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
    It can’t get any clearer than that!

  4. sue

    Dear Pastor and Friends, churchian dupes prove again and again, they’re so out of the Word. And so blasted clueless. An abusive husbands make his wife’s Biblical submission to him impossible, because the dirtbag keeps changing the goalposts, keeps digging ruts in the field. I know the Lord tells his children to forgive, yes, BUT to separate from the wicked. Some people are so vile, they leave the rest of us no choice, but to steer clear.

  5. jessicanotadoormat

    My husband/abuser saw that I was gaining spiritual strength and support by going to a monthly small group Bible Study at my Aunt and Uncle’s (who is also a pastor) house. My husband knew that I was in my last month of a grueling round of student teaching before graduating with a BA. He chose that time to try and derail my graduation by pretending he was going to leave and withdraw any financial support I needed to finish school. He gave every last one of those reasons listed as reasons why. He knew he had me over a barrel and that I would comply with whatever he wanted just so I could finish school. The intensity of his abuse grew exponentially when he enlisted the support of my Aunt and Uncle to “prove” what a “terrible wife” I am. It didn’t matter that I was working 45+ unpaid hours a week for student teaching, in addition to my coursework, I was still “Biblically required” to keep a perfectly clean house (without his help of course). It didn’t matter that I had text after text, and recording after recording of his verbal and emotional abuse to me and our son. All those things were “justified” because I wasn’t prompt enough to events, didn’t keep a clean enough house, and wasn’t “submissive enough”.
    My own family agreed with him that I was just being overdramatic about the parental alienation he was committing daily with our son. It didn’t matter that HE would never bother to darken the doors of a church. That was MY fault because we had a hard time making it to church promptly (largely due to him starting petty arguments many, many while we were getting ready to go). He knew that I would comply, because I respected them and loved them and that if he could levy them to his side, he could have more control over me. So we had a “meeting” with them. I left that meeting complying and contrite on the outside, but inside feeling more betrayed and imprisoned that ever. My heart cried out to God at the injustice of it all. They actually gave us each a checklist of improvements for our marriage. Mine had at least seven items such as, keep the house very clean (no matter my work hours or courseload), be more submissive, smile more, be sweet with a sweet spirit, be on time to all events…ect. His list had one item. Be gentle with your words. Really? I tried to comply just to finish college, but the stress of it all was too much and I ended up having to repeat a semester of student teaching in order to graduate.

    • Jeff Crippen

      So glad you did graduate. He was trying to sabotage your career to keep you more easily under his control. All who side with the wicked and become the abuser’s allies are as guilty of the abuse as he is. This is not mere naivete. It is willful blindness to evil and the Lord will judge all who claim His name yet serve the devil. Thankyou very much for sharing part of your story.

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