Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Many Times Teaching "Gossip" as a Sin is Designed to Hush up Abuse Victims

A friend emailed me and brought the following book to my attention. Ed Welch (who wrote the forward) is of course a bigwig in CCEF which I never recommend to anyone. I haven’t read the book. Apparently there is also a video series of it that is being used by churches.
Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue by Matthew C. Mitchell – Fwd by Ed Welch
But I just use this reminder to caution everyone regarding the typical teachings on gossip that we see in churches and in “christian” publications. Many times, if not most of the time, these teachings are actually used to hush up abuse victims. How many of you were told by your pastor, for example, that you were guilty of gossiping about your abuser when you reported his/her abuse?
I have seen this very thing exercised over and over by “the most holy saints” running churches. I remember for instance telling a wolf in wool one time (I didn’t yet understand what he really was) about the wickedness of a person in our church at that time. His response was accusatory. “Now, pastor, should you really be telling me this?”  He comes off looking all saintly and I wear the guilt.
So, I issue this caution about books and teachings like this one on “resisting gossip.” Beware. Christ publishes the sins of the wicked from the rooftops. And I don’t think He is guilty of gossip.


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  1. Leanne

    Yes, that happened to me. I was warned that I would be brought up on charges by the church if I kept talking – to personal friends – about the abuse I was going through.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Leanne. And what a wicked tactic this is, isn’t it? I am so glad that you see this clearly now. That old nonsense about “if you can’t say something good about someone then don’t say anything at all” is completely false. Antibiblcial. I mean, how often in Scripture do we see the Lord Himself saying lots of things about the wickedness of evil ones.

  2. standingfirm

    I guess Paul was sinning when he mentioned the wickedness of Diotrephes. Wasn’t Paul gossiping when he told of the girl who has a spirit of divination in the book of Acts? (you know it is not nice to repeat things like that). All through the bible I see God naming names of those who were wicked. In Ephesians chap. 5 the word of God says to EXPOSE the unfruitful deeds of darkness. Now how would a Saint of God expose these dark deeds if they did not speak of them? I personally know of a ministry while they mean well, teaches not to say a word about wickedness or it is gossiping and sinful. It is one thing to maliciously repeat lies to hurt a persons reputation (slander, which God hates) and it is totally another thing to obey God and expose the dark evil deeds of a wicked person. You know the old saying, if the shoe fits wear it.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Well stated, standingfirm. “Alexander the coppersmith has done me much harm. Beware of him.” Yes, the sin of gossip has maliciousness and malevolence as a motivation. To harm someone. Even to tell lies about them. But exposing evil does not have any such motivation. In fact it is motivated by benevolence – a desire to do good. And it certainly is not spreading lies. It is truth-telling. The ones who are doing the cover up and hush up are the ones who are lying.

      • Grace

        This is stated so clearly and wisely and gave me such relief. Distinguishing the intention is vital. There is a huge distinction between gossip that intends to harm and truth telling to expose evil so that self and others can be protected. I often see a similar lack of distinction between an evil person giving the silent treatment and a victim breaking contact with evil doers.

        • Jeff Crippen

          Yes, very good insights Grace. You are right. It really is relieving, isn’t it? Truth does set us free. And your point about victims being accused of sinfully “shunning” an abuser is very good as well. There is indeed a huge difference between the wicked person abusing through the silent treatment, designed to hurt and punish, and that of a victim getting free by going no contact. Thank you.

  3. Debby

    Gossip is passing on unverified information to people who can’t do anything about it. Complete opposite of speaking TRUTH (verified bc the speaker experienced it first hand!) to a PASTOR (whom it is presumed CAN help solve the problem! Isn’t that part of a pastors job?!) There are only 4 reasons a pastor may not act upon this type of information:
    1. L
    2. A
    3. Z
    4. Y

  4. Change Agent

    Knowing the darkness of people’s hearts comes from being confronted by their hardness and unresponsiveness in the face of abuse. It is easier for some individuals to stifle the truth than take the courageous road of standing up for justice and mercy. They hush those who are victimized in an effort to soothe their own conscience. They convince themselves that they are doing what is best by supporting demoralizing and dis-empowering mindsets. The Truth at the end of the day sets us free. The individual truth of your experience lightened by the truth of scripture is our anchor. As another healing voice spoke: “You cannot simultaneously keep darkness in your life and seize the light that is waiting for you.”

  5. no one down here

    I think this is happening to me.

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