Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Watch out for Perversions of 1 Corinthians 13

1Co 13:7  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I suspect that most of you have had this verse quoted by people who are at work to keep you in an abusive relationship. We must love our abuser, you know. After all – love endures all things. And we must believe our abuser when he claims repentance because love believes all things. Yada, yada, yada.
Nonsense. Don’t fall for it.  First of all think about the Lord Jesus. He is obviously the essence of love in a man. Now did Jesus believe all things? Did He believe the Pharisees? As He, by His Spirit, inspired the Apostles to write Scripture, did He guide them into writing that we are to literally believe all things? Of course not. Much of the New Testament consists of warnings against false doctrine and false teachers.

As always, misuse of Scripture entails cutting a verse out of its context. If you read the verse immediately preceeding, it says this:

1Co 13:6  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

So “believe all things” cannot mean that we are to bear and believe all things. Love does not accept the abuser’s lies. Love stands for and loves truth. In fact, it turns out that 1 Cor 13:1-7 is a description of God’s love and God’s truth. This love bears all things the Lord brings our way because it believes all things the Lord says and it hopes in all of His promises. Promises that, for instance, He will destroy the wicked and we will never see them again. Promises that He will provide a way of escape from evil.
And the Spirit in us who plants this love in our hearts also reveals to us who does and who does not possess this love:

1Co 13:4-5  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  (5)  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

So don’t let anyone tell you that 1 Cor 13 requires that you remain in abuse out of “love.” That is nonsense. In fact, it is a wicked twisting of God’s Word.


The Double Standard of Evil


Fantasies and Fictions that Keep Victims in Abuse


  1. Leanne

    Thank you!!
    Yes, I had that used against me by the ‘c’hurch.

  2. Riley

    Thank you for this. I sincerely wish more church leaders taught this explanation. This verse (the whole chapter really) was a huge part in keeping me in the bondage of abuse for over 20 years. I thought I had to “endure all things” and quoted these middle verses in 1 Cor 13 to myself on a daily basis while I hoped that things would magically get better. Instead they only got worse.

  3. no one down here

    Thank you.
    Like Riley, I quoted this to myself over and over and over for years.

    • Stormy

      I also quoted this to myself and to the abuser telling him that’s what I was trying to do. So yes since I was searching scripture to help me deal with a horrible situation and I wanted Gods perfect will I looked to his word. Since I wasn’t being taught properly I thought allowing this to go on was what I was supposed to do. Urgh🤦🏼‍♂️

      • Z

        Don’t be too hard on yourself my sister and all those others who were falsely taught to endure abuses as a show of “love” using this portion of Scripture taught falsely. We’ve all been victims of twisted Scriptures.
        Thank God for Pastor Crippen’s post here that so helpfully and clearly teaches and “divides rightly “ God’s Word! Now we have a properly educated answer to those false teachers who tried to keep us in bondage with their falsehoods.
        But we are all becoming “wiser” with proper teaching now. And some of us have even been freed from our abusers and feel NO CONDEMNATION for it for it is Scriptural to FLEE THEM.

      • no one down here

        same here, Stormy. I was searching Scripture all the time for what was my problem, how could I be better, do better, have better attitudes… I know that I did not respond correctly many times. I still have trauma about some of that. What exactly was my part in all that… At some times I think I had no part (no part meaning, sure I am not perfect. absolutely I aggravated things, but the truth was that even if I had been perfect, he still would have done what he did). At other times… I’m convinced I played a big part. It is so very confusing. I have been going through the information in this blog post a lot, trying to grapple with it, trying to understand it, trying to own it.

  4. Change Agent

    Jesus told his critics “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” They engage in practices without considering the principle behind them. That leads them to error and to condemn others unjustly. The true application of God’s word is guided by the greatest commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
    Love does not support abuse. In fact in 1 Corinthians 6 the mention of abuse indicates that God does not support such behavior.
    “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”
    This mention is a clear indication that those who subject people to abuse have missed the mark in counseling them to endure it under the guise of love.
    God is love and he rejects abuse and cares for the victims of abuse.

  5. cindy burrell

    I think virtually all of us who have traversed the road of abuse have been deeply affected by the improper understanding of that section of Scripture, so thank you for making the truth so clear, not just for our own sake, but so that we can pass it on!

  6. Jenn

    Thank you so much for this truth!! After being so disappointed in my church family, who knows my situation, and advised me to change my focus and just pray for a miracle. NO!! This is not how abuse is stopped. God sees my tears and is more saddened than I am by the years of abuse in my “Christian” marriage.

  7. Elizabeth

    The woman my husband had an affair with is a leader in her church, community, and is frequently quoting scripture. All this, but never apologized to me for her part in the damage to my marriage. It feels like she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I worry about her influence over vulnerable children. Would YOU alert her church?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Most pastors and churches don’t listen and they usually run right to the culprit and rat you out for telling. They have what they deserve. I’ve been burned every time I tried to warn a pastor.

  8. Change Agent

    The insane part of this story in my experience is having a divorced status for years and still dealing with this discrimination, harassment, and character assassination.

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