Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Chameleon Nature of Evil or, "Where's Waldo?"

2Co 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. (14) And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Most of you know that the sin of abuse hides. It hides in plain sight by donning a facade, a disguise, a costume of righteousness. The abuser is a chameleon, changing his outward appearance as necessary to not only blend into the current surroundings, but to even stand out a bit as an eminent example of whatever society (such as a local church) he happens to be in. I think there are some super-hero villain types in recent movies who can change their form at will?
Evil hides in plain sight. It puts on camo paint and blends, so that it looks like the “good” around it. What better vantage point to strike from? You never see it coming. Hidden in disguise it can work its harm for years, picking us off one by one. I think of the rabbits in Watership Down, willing to be domesticated and gain the comforts of it all — though it did seem that some of their neighbors mysteriously kept disappearing. Oh well.

How good is the disguise? Very, very good in many cases.  So good in fact that even after we have seen it for what it really is, been stung and injured by it many times, we still find ourselves having to actively tell ourselves that it is not what it appears to be. Know the feeling? “Yeah, the guy murdered 25 people, but I talked to him and he seems such a nice guy! Hmmm. Maybe we’ve got him all wrong?”  I have sat face to face with evil ones like this, listening to them talk so convincingly, and at the same time in my mind I am saying over and over again, “he is lying, that is a lie.”
God’s Word tells us repeatedly that we have to be on guard against evil “creeping in among us” in the church:

Jude 1:12-13 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; (13) wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Hidden reefs designed to make shipwreck of our faith, and they are sitting right beside us at the communion table! They have no fear, though they should tremble at the Lord’s wrath against them. Peter gives us the very same kind of warning (as does Paul in the Scripture cited at the beginning of this post):

2Pe 2:12-14 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, (13) suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. (14) They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

“While they feast with you….They entice unsteady souls.” Their motive is greed, self-love, a craving for self-glory. They are entitled to power and control. Did you notice the “unsteady souls” reference to those who are enticed and deluded by them? To a degree, let’s face it, that describes each one of us, especially in the days before we wised up to the nature and mentality and tactics of evil (abuse). Every Christian needs to get their “sea legs” real quickly and stand steady against these chameleons.
Here is the same thing described again by Paul:

Rom 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

“They deceive the hearts of the naive.” They do it by using “smooth talk and flattery.” Ever hear that? It behooves us then to cease being naive to evil, just as Christ instructed us to be innocent yet wise when it comes to the machinations of the evil one.
The scene in our churches is much like one of those “Where’s Waldo” pictures in a child’s book. He’s in there, someplace. In disguise, blending in with the surroundings. Waldo is harmless, but just imagine if he were evil, hiding there like a chameleon in plain sight? Danger! “You say he’s where?” “There! Right there! Can’t you see him?”
With all of these warnings graciously given us by the Lord, why is it that it remains so easy for evil to hide in a local church? Do we think that we are wiser and better than the Lord? “Oh, no. Not here. Not in my church. Couldn’t be!”
Yes, pastor, it could be. Don’t you see him? There, right there. Sitting beside you whispering in your ear.


The Religion of the Pharisees (Part 6)


The Good Samaritan Story Exposes Most "Christians" as Counterfeits


  1. notlongnow

    I’m reminded after reading this of a recent case regarding a couple named Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum, who have just been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of their foster child. The trial is on YouTube. Jennifer appeared to all as an outstanding citizen. She worked as some sort of prosecuter I believe, and she was a law student. She had been a federal army guard, and was running for her local county. She and her husband also went to church and one of the church members testifies how Jennifer would lavish gifts on her and her husband, massage certificates, movie tickets etc. Inexplicably this church member stayed friends with her, even after she was charged with murder, and several of the accused friends, also tearfully pleaded at the sentencing hearing for leniency for her, because they still believed it was all just a horrible mistake. Not intentional murder. Goes to show the sway evil people can hold over others, especially unsteady souls (which as you say, we have all been at one point).
    The way she was able to get care of the child, who was a dear little girl named Laila Daniels, was to contact the mother on Facebook. The mother was a drug addict who had lost her children, but desperately wanted to get her life together to get them back. Jennifer had known the mother from when she was a teenager and they were in a group foster home together. In her message to her on Facebook she came across as wanting to help her, and said she was praying for her. It was all a ploy. She was really a vindictive, jealous, evil person, who while pretending to be a loving foster mother, was in fact abusing Laila.
    It may not be relevant to post here in the comments, but I just thought the case is an example of how these evil doers can go out of their way to excel in society, and worm their way into people’s lives, fooling everyone.

  2. Stormy

    Yes I agree the evil doers I’ve been exposed to do excel in society. They are drawn to the high profile positions where they appear to be suffering servants. They love to be well thought of, they get a high out of being able to fool people. It feeds their sense of superiority. It infuriates their victims in that they are not believed when the truth of their victimization is told. That’s exactly how the evil doers want it to be. Isolate and torture the victim while everyone else thinks they are great people.

    • Z

      Dear stormy,
      Whether the abusers put on their “Unholy Charade” as suffering servants, with their deeds for others as their “currency” to bribe and con others or they actually in fact in a sinister way, really groom and “polish”-bribe and con others with money, gifts, dinners, flattery, favors, inclusion in their “gang”…”perks” for the conned continuing to believe their act even in the face of victims’ stories of truth about their abuse, they ALL live a LIE. And others are complicit in it willingly. The complicit don’t want to lose their perks or they don’t want to be targeted by the abuser (often they aren’t conned at all-they KNOW the person IS an abuser and they fear reprisals for standing up for victims). Or they don’t want to lose their inclusion in the abuser’s “gang” of insiders. They see how the victim has been so shunned and isolated and they fear that happening to them. Whatever the facts of our individual cases, it leaves us victims out in the shivering cold often alone. A cold, hard fact of our lives.
      Pastor’s sermon on “The Prosperity of the Wicked” referring to Psalm 73 has been SO helpful to me with absorbing how hard these cold hard facts are and have ALWAYS been (Psalm 73 written by Asaph about 3000 years ago?). Asaph nearly lost his faith when he saw what he thought was the “Prospering of the Wicked”. But verses 17 and 24, which I read almost daily, always heal my hurting heart. We can go to the Lord and talk with Him. And read His Word, in particular Psalm 73, that speaks to us. And we can DISCERN THEIR END (the wicked) and it IS NOT>”PROSPERING”! We can be assured that Verse 24 is OUR END!! The Lord will take us into GLORY!! I can’t wait!! This gives me comfort and hope.

    • Change Agent

      As a survivor going through a massive smear campaign I appreciate your insight on how others torture the victim. I could never have imagine the depths of depravity that people will go to based on groundless accusations and slander. David speaks to that on many occasions. He clearly experienced slander, gaslighting, smear campaining, menacing, abuse and attacks of every kind. He was abandoned by those who were supposed to support and help (relatives, friends, the religious leaders). Those of us who know the truth should support each other in love and stand against this hideous social pathology.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Truth. Be sure to read tomorrow’s post on the Good Samaritan. Goes right along with this.

      • Stormy

        Thank you so much Z I’ll read Psalm 73 over and over again. I appreciate your thoughtful response. I’m sending Kindness, smiles and peace to you.

  3. walkinginlight

    Thank you everyone for your writings. As I read each one I feel I am not alone. The smear campaigns and slander are horrible to deal with also! First the evildoer commits a horrible act then to try and ease their “conscience” (if they even have one) they make up all kinds of horrible lies about the victim. I love the scripture in Proverbs about a liar listens to “lying lips”.

    • Z

      Don’t forget “flattering lips” the Bible refers to also!! Abusers and their allies in complicity use flattery to con people into thinking they are “good people”. Because who doesn’t like to be flattered? Human nature-hah-but I know better! I hate flattery because I’ve seen my abusers and allies use it an dso many other bribe/polish tactics so successfully to con people to turn against victims or at least not support them.

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