Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Patience? Really?

Many thanks to @daughterofnarcissus for this artwork. She drew it after reading our post at Light for Dark Times on unbiblical forbearance which is so often laid upon victims of abuse. As the first frame indicates, so many people here have been targeted by an abuser for decades. And yet, “the Bible says we are to forbear.”  Yeah.

Link to article at LFDT – Abuse Counseling: How Long is “Forbearing”?


The Essential Nature of an Abuser – Devoid of Love


Stephanie's Story: Part 1


  1. no one down here

    By the time a person has come to the church for help/relief, etc…
    The abused person has already:
    –preached all of 1 Corinthians 13 to herself multiple times, probably has the whole thing memorized
    –searched her soul for all the things she has done wrong or could do wrong and begged for forgiveness
    –searched her soul for all the hidden evil thoughts against the one abusing her and begged for forgiveness, you know, the thoughts that were hidden so deep, SHE didn’t even know she had thought them. They were suggested to her by HIM.
    –begged for God’s forgiveness for calling her husband a jerk after he had been on a tirade for hours
    –begged for HIS forgiveness for calling him a jerk after he had yelled at her unrelentlingly, calling her worthless, incompetent, hopeless, worst parent ever, worst wife ever, unloving, unbiblical, a witch, a bitch…
    –preached “do not judge” to herself, castigating herself for her own issues, determining that who is she to call him out on his MAJOR issues when she also has sins
    –talked to herself about “submission” over and over and over… doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, do it anyway because HE is the one to whom you should submit
    –told all her faults to HIM so that he would forgive her and finally love her. repeatedly.
    –read all the passages about divorce and why she should not…
    –prayed for him, prayed for “them”
    –stayed up late and got up early to better meet his demands. every day.
    –shoved herself under the bus so that HE could be magnified. constantly.
    –excused his sin because, let’s be honest… She has also sinned, and no one is perfect, and no marriage is perfect…
    –worked hard to make everything perfect for him and collapsed a thousand times a thousand times in anguish when her work was rejected as not good enough.
    The abused person has also already:
    –confronted the abusive person about his issues and received the answer of “it’s your fault.” multiple times
    –forgiven him the few times he asked for that, before it degraded into “I have done nothing wrong, it’s all your fault… I have tried to help you, and you will not be helped.”
    –attempted to be accountability partner for other sins since he asked her to… with the results of “leave me alone.”
    –brought in some one else as the “take it to 2 or 3 others…”
    In short… by the time the abused person goes to the church, she has already determined that none of the things she is now being told to try will ever be effective, because she has already done them. Again and again. She is beyond that, she has shoved down the fear of “what if they don’t believe me…” because she has nowhere else to go.

    • Kelly

      Amen! I could not have said it better! Thank you and bless you

    • Stormy

      Well said— you hit the nail on the head especially the part about 1st Corinthians. I tried that it didn’t work.

  2. Krikit

    So much THIS.

  3. Bill

    Jeff, one of my dear friends, the mother of my son-in-law, died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage after living 8 months in hiding with her seven children. I’ll always believe that it was stress that took her. My son-in-law was going through some old emails and came across a message his mother sent him right in the middle of the furnace. She was doing some cleaning and listing to some of her old music playlists.
    I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this song by Van Morrison, but it’s worth a listen to. I don’t know what experience or inspiration led him to write this, but clearly he’s dealt with the destructive people we all know too well. He nails it.
    How can you stand the silence
    That pervades when we all cry?
    How can you watch the violence
    That erupts before your eyes?
    How can you tell us something
    Just to keep us hangin’ on?
    Something that just don’t mean nothing
    When we see it, you are gone
    Clinging to some other rainbow
    While we’re standing, waiting in the cold
    Telling us the same old story
    Knowing time is growing old
    That was a wonderful remark
    I had my eyes closed in the dark
    I sighed a million sighs
    I told a million lies, to myself, to myself
    How can we listen to you
    When we know your talk is cheap?
    How can we ever question
    Why we give more and you keep?
    How can your empty laughter
    Fill a room like ours with joy?
    When you’re only playing with us
    Like a child does with a toy?
    How can we ever feel the freedom
    Or the flame lit by the spark
    How can we ever come out even
    When reality is stark?
    That was a wonderful remark
    I had my eyes closed in the dark, yeah
    I sighed a million sighs
    I told a million lies, to myself
    To myself
    Baby, to myself
    Baby, to myself, to myself
    To myself, to myself
    Songwriters: VAN MORRISON
    © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    For non-commercial use only.

  4. sue

    Dear Jeff and Friends, about 15 years ago, i stumbled onto a secular website about how drunks ruin their families. Still remember these words, “[drunks] use a person’s good nature against his or herself.” Right then, a lightbulb came on. That was long before i discovered how Scripture, again and again, describes how the wicked mess with people (both saved and unsaved).
    And still, these vital Scriptures are either glossed over or simply ignored – yeah, even in fundamentalist Bible churches. So sad, people are dying.
    Jeff, thank you again and again for being a voice in the wilderness.

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