Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Growing Accustomed to Evil

Isaiah 1:1-4 ESV  The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  (2)  Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.  (3)  The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”  (4)  Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.

Some years ago I was in a meeting with some local people who claimed they wanted to help abuse victims. One of them was a judge in a local court. I was explaining that attorneys representing domestic abusers in family court very often misrepresent (lie) the victm and use the court system to bring even more prolonged suffering on their target. Frivolous proceedings. Many of you have experienced this.
But what I wanted to share with you here is that judge’s response. He said “of course they do.” And the tone in which he said this communicated volumes. It was obvious that he was not angry about this fraudulent use of the justice system but took it as a matter of fact, normal and expected practice. He was accustomed to evil, and he no longer really cared.

Just as Israel became habituated and blind to their own gross wickedness toward the Lord, so it is today. People become callous to evil. They take it as just a normal part of life. And you see it in the churches. How many abuse victms go to their pastor and seek help/justice, only to get a response much like that of this judge I met? “Oh, well, of course. That’s marriage, you know.”
Christ said that His true people hunger and thirst for righteousness. That they have a zeal for the Lord’s truth and that they hate wickedness. Anyone who can be presented with evil – especially evil that parades as Christianity – and yet remain unmoved by it, well, they simply do not know the Lord. They are accustomed to evil and are actually blind to it. The thing has become normalcy to them.
I find it angering and shocking that any local church has an evil person in its pews. Not a sinner looking for Christ, mind you, but a hypocrite parading as a saint. I hate that scenario. I cannot tolerate it. That is why our church here locally is so small in number. I am not willing to dismiss ongoing, habitual, unrepentant evil by a person who claims to be a Christian and who wants to be in church with us each week. And yet it seems that local churches have grown so accustomed to this that it no longer (if it ever did) moves them to righeous anger. They dismiss the thing with the catch phrases coined by the enemy – “We are all sinners. We must love and forgive one another. We must show everyone grace.” Yada, yada, yada.
Such places and people could very fittingly adopt as their theme song, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face,” – meaning, as they sing it, the face of evil.


Don't Make Traditional Church an Idol – A Great Article by Sam Powell


Trusting Experience Over Scripture – a Common and Deadly Error


  1. Deborah

    This was an excellent article today but unfortunately, it is the exception in the church. My husband and I were directed to Pure Desire Ministries and other “PURE” ministries and they said that it’s sexual addiction and we all sin and all sin is equal in the eyes of God. Relapse is a part of recovery and you can’t get angry or shame them because shame is the root of addiction. You just have to be patient because recovery takes 3 to 5 years. You have to keep fighting even if they have another affair because it’s part of the process. How do you feel about the addiction theory and leveling all of our sin? Is there a difference between a wolf and a saved person in addiction?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes. Absolutely a difference. The Lord sanctifies and delivers us from our sin. See 1 Cor 6 for instance. I encourage you to go through my video study series on First John posted at sermonaudio.com/crc or our youtube channel at Unholy Charade. Also check out my booklet on Amazon titled Who is a Christian. These will be great helps to you. Thankyou!

  2. Seen it

    You called it like it very often is. Having been a newlywed when fleeing the abuser, they tortured me for the following two years when I tried to leave and get a divorce – threatening to drag me to divorce trial if I did not lie to the DA for the abuser. Worse, my legal counsel did all but bleed me out during the process and all the while commenting on how 3 of their DV clients had been killed – no surprise either.
    For those that do their best to rule with a distinct understanding of the abuser and their tactics, and for those police, law professionals, medical providers, DV advocates and friends that stand up for the abused – no matter how few they are, they take a stand for the abused, and we praise God for them!!!!! We the survivors are now them, and we too must stand firm for those that have lost their voices to the abusers. As for the abusers and the others that passively supported their abuse by omission and looking the other way, the Lord will deal with them.

  3. Reader

    I see this with lots of applications, such as workplace bullying and bullying in childhood. It is assumed that the victim is over-reacting, not tough enough, too sensitive, too emotional, needing to get over it and not be so thin-skinned. But nobody goes after the bullies nor do they criticize the bullies in the way they criticize the victims for the victims supposedly being too sensitive, etc. Nobody seems to care to address, let alone criticize and condemn, the tormentors of society. Childhood bullying is seen as a rite of passage, or worse, when boys bully girls, girls are told the insane message that the boys like them and that’s why they torment and bully the girls! And workplace bullies are coddled, whereas the victims are shunned, criticized, judged, and eventually fired, or the victims are forced to quit.

  4. suzzieq07

    If it were not for this website I seriously would think I’m going crazy due to the prevalent “Just love ’em to Jesus” philosophy concerning blatant evil abusers! I had a discussion with someone just the other day who admitted she 1) had anger; 2) had been “held in a corner” for a prolonged period of time. Her biblical studies have led her to believe she can “choose love” over her feelings toward this person. I am praying about this as she may very well be an abused spouse and needs to hear the truth of scripture. I shared a copy of “A Case Study in False Repentance” with her on Sunday. Please pray.

    • Reader

      I remember all too well having been there, feeling as though I must be confessional and ashamed of myself in having felt anger! And there is indeed a massive push to “choose love” along with “be positive”.

      • Innoscent

        Reader, their understanding of Love has been perverted, and it has become some kind of sentimentalism and permissiveness. Godly reproof is seen as harsh and judgmental, this is because the churches have embraced worldly positivism and relativism which:
        . won’t confront,
        . accommodates,
        . lowers the bar,
        . has the morality of the pack,
        . measures things not by absolute right and wrong, but by social acceptability,
        . doesn’t have right and wrong, it just has social and antisocial,
        . shuts down the whole process of divine truth and its proof.
        But God says otherwise. Reproof aptly addressed, using Scripture and with the right motive is entirely part of Love. In fact, keeping quiet is seen as unloving by God who commands us to truly care and help one another onto the narrow path.
        “You shall not hate your brother in your heart:
        you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”
        Leviticus 19:7
        “Open rebuke is better than secret love.
        Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
        but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
        Proverbs 27:5-6
        “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
        Revelation 3:19
        ““My son, do not take lightly the discipline of the Lord,
        and do not lose heart when He rebukes you.
        For the Lord disciplines the one He loves,
        and He chastises every son He receives.”
        Hebrews 12:5-6
        “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
        2 Timothy 3:16
        Before the fall only instruction was necessary; since the fall, reproof must follow instruction.
        Reproof, call to repentance, is the only step that brings healing grace. Accepting this kind of rebuke is sign of maturity and desire to be transformed to Christ’s image to honour Him.

        • Reader

          Thank-you, Innoscent, for your comment. I had gone back and forth from bristling at such to feeling guilty and bad for not thinking along those lines and still being angry. Thanks for articulating and fleshing out things for me.
          Many times I think it is sexism, too, because men don’t get the deluge of “be positive” and “smile” and push to always be pleasant, smiling, and agreeable that women do. Women’s anger is seen as dangerous and of the devil, it seems, whereas men’s anger is seen as rational, justifiable, understandable, relatable, and healthy. Not so for women.

          • Innoscent

            Reader, it took me quite a while to come out of the fog of twisted Scriptures and to unlearn the “commandments of men” (Mt 5.18). I’m still working on it to get clearer and stronger and the UC ministry helps me a lot!
            You make a great point about the cultural constraints on women re. anger vs men, thanks for articulating the man-made differences for each sex. By dictating how men and women make use of their emotions, it is clear that men are allowed to express them whereas women are expected to repress them and are obligated to be nice and reserved. Another way that serves abusers to keep their female victims under control.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Suzzieq07 – thank you and good job!!!

    • Reader

      “Choose love” is along the same lines as the push and expectation for women to “choose happiness”. It’s New Age cult teachings. It enslaves people with unreasonable expectations and demands. It distorts things.
      We are to hate evil, otherwise we don’t really love good. And it’s not good or healthy to demand or expect anyone to be positive, happy, or lovey-dovey when being abused or dealing with abusers.

  5. Innoscent

    **Lukewarm** is another word used in Revelation 3 to describe this state of affairs in today’s churches. The Laodicean church is blasé and everything goes in the name of (their definition of) ‘love’. In general, there is no pure conscience, no godly indignation, no standing for justice and the victims.
    I sometimes feel angry that my life was messed up by abusers because my spiritual leaders neglected to teach me rigorously about evil, and predators, and deception, and ways to detect them and protect myself accordingly. And now when you dare mention righteous anger, church discipline and the like, they see you as unloving, judgmental or self-righteous. I was even told by someone who knew about the abuse in my past, that it was now influencing (meaning twisting) my reasoning and evaluation of situations/people. In fact, I’ve become wise to evil and they haven’t! And shame it had to take that long hard road and with all the devastation and mutilation they don’t see in their Laodicean blindness…

  6. Sue

    Dear Pastor Crippen and Friends, yep, ya calmly, kindly expose evil…and yer made out to look like a complete idiot. Wickeds are so skilled at that…making you wonder if in fact you are over-reacting. A few years ago, i saw a secular article about how drunkards manipulate; never will forget the one sentence, which went along the lines of, “they use your good nature against you.” Even though the article was not Bible-based, that sentence opened my eyes about mean-spirited people in general.

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