Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

What "Do Not Think Too Highly of Yourself" does NOT Mean

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)

Satan and his reps are very adept at twisting God’s Word. This Scripture has been a favorite target for such abuse. Victims of evil have been taught, told, commanded, instructed… that God wants them to continue being abused. This twisted evil insanity goes something like this:

  • You are selfish and you are conceited
  • You need to humble yourself
  • You need to focus on others, including your abuser, and consider them more important than yourself
  • You need to be like Jesus and even die if necessary

Reporting abuse, desiring to be free of abuse, and exposing the wicked is not selfish! It is not arrogance! Confronting evil is NOT self-serving. If it were, then Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets would be guilty of selfish arrogance. They all confronted evil. The Christian, Paul is saying here, is to love his brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to consider their needs more than selfishly and pridefully demanding first place for ourselves. In other words, when it comes to abuse cases, this Scripture is calling upon Christ’s people to stop being cowards, to quit focusing on the consequences for themselves if they stand with the victim against the abuser, and to consider the protection and deliverance of the victim as first priority. All of this, of course, assumes that it is a godly and right goal to bring justice to bear upon the wicked and deliverance for the oppressed.
Abuse victims are not guilty of selfish arrogance when they call out for deliverance. If they are, then the fact is that the following Scripture is an example of that selfish arrogance:

Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! (Psalm 109:1-8)

So look out for this trap. Don’t let anyone twist Philippians 2 and convince you that seeking deliverance from and justice against your oppressor is to be guilty of selfish arrogance. It is quite the opposite.


Watch out for Flattery


Lessons from Laodicea


  1. R

    In fact, the one who is thinking too highly of himself is the abuser, not the victim.

  2. Free

    Yes!!! This is exactly what happens – in the church and outside of it. I was/am completely astounded by the complete willingness for the majority to protect the abuser and yet again, blame the survivor for the abuser’s willful patterns of harm and deception. Thank you for so succinctly shining the light is this much needed area.

  3. IrisJane

    But it is the abuser that is viewed as the victim and the true victim accused of being the abuser because they reacted and spoke out against the abuse. I am now labeled as angry and mean for doing so and completely ostracized, though the abuser has been emotionally attacking and abusing people for years on end and is still welcomed…it’s all so discouraging, so twisted..
    I‘ve recent come to realize that the enemy truly loves to attack through ambushes that are so skillfully coordinated it’s mind boggling. Over and over again I see now how often the enemy will provoke a reaction at the most unexpected time, and then point their ‘see I told you so’ finger as proof of the lies they’ve been telling about the true victim. Just recently I was provoked in such a way at a very vulnerable time as I had just suddenly and tragically lost my father, whom I loved dearly, when I was ambushed out of the blue by a family member (flying monkey) behaving in such an inappropriate way under the guise of ‘doing good and being helpful’, when in reality it was selfish, inconsiderate, and meant to glorify them…and being in such a fragile state, I forgot everything I’d learned about dealing with narcissists, such as gray rocking, and showed my utter shock at what they did…which of course proved the enemies point about me being so angry.
    I honestly don’t know how to be prepared for these ambushes, there have been so many but they get me every time and have such serious consequences. I pray over and over that God will protect me, not from the enemy, but from myself and my reactions. How, after years of emotional abuse does one not get triggered?
    I believed Jesus was labeled as angry and violent after he righteously and bravely cleared the temple, twice…and that is why they came to get him in Gethsemane bearing swords and clubs. Despite all of the wonderful miracles He had done and all of the love He had shown to so many, He was still most likely labeled by these two incidents as well as the ‘angry-toned’ truth telling He spoke to the hypocritical pharissees. Jesus had the truest, most loving heart of anyone that ever lived and yet was still labeled an angry and violent usurper and treated as a criminal. I’m nowhere near to Jesus’ goodness, pureness, and righteousness, but it is somehow helpful knowing He went through the same thing, though in the most horrific and extreme way possible. His truth telling was part of His sacrifice…and in this I have a mustard seed of hope.

  4. Aimee

    I still find myself questioning whether I did the right thing in leaving my abuser. This helps me to see that yes, I did.

  5. walkinginlight

    My heart goes out to you. I feel your frustration and pain concerning the unexpected “ambushes”.
    If it will make you feel better, I sometimes have the same thing happen to me. I get so angry at myself for showing such dismay to the ambusher when I know it will happen time and time again. Sometimes I remember to rebuke in the name of the Lord, and say “Greater is He who is in me then he who is in the world”. Yes, it’s great when I can do that. Yet as you say, it is always when we are off balance with our heart and mind on someone else’s suffering or are own grief. My deepest sympathy of the loss of your father. Just know you are not alone on this. I do not think Jesus is displeased with our dismay and anger at these instances. I think it is our yearning for justice and righteousness, and I am sure the Lord will show some real Holy anger toward these conniving “ambushers” when they stand before Him in judgement.
    Also, few consider the protection and deliverance of the victim from the abuser. As Pastor Crippen has said, they focus on the “consequences” for themselves for sticking up for the victim. I was just told that the reason one of them didn’t want to stick up for me and point out the truth is they didn’t want “to get into it” with the abuser. Like that was suppose to make me feel valued and treated with dignity. HA!! No, that answer was like a slap in my face. They knew I was sinned against in a horrible way but did not want to set the “abuser” straight on my behalf. I am sure they all think I’m terrible because I won’t look the other way at evil. Oh well, I would rather please God then what some human thinks.

    • IrisJane

      Thank you walkinginlight, I appreciate your kind words, it’s been such a sad time, and the added stress of dealing with abusive chaos has made it even more so, but I’m finding that my reactions are bothering me now more than the initial abusive ambushes. I want so much to be stronger and not triggered, and just when I think I’m able to do so another surprise blow comes along and I fail miserably and then cause even more chaos for myself. Along with finally seeing the truth about how the enemy operates I’m also starting to see how I operate, and I’m so worried that the enemy will just up their game the more their tactics are discovered. The mind games and constant battles are so exhausting, but the enemy likes to keep us off balance so continued vigilance must be never ending, a concept that I’m finally starting to truly grasp.
      I’m so sorry that you and all who read this site know the frustrating realities of dealing with abusers, especially the ‘christian’ ones and those that support them who don’t want to ‘get into it’ by dealing with the truth, it makes for a very lonely and difficult journey, which is why I’m so thankful for Pastor Crippen’s ministry and for all who are connected with it, the creators as well as those who are struggling on the same narrow path to healing from abuse, at least we’re all in this together.
      Praying that we all by God’s grace become stronger and wiser in dealing with the enemies tactics, and are able to handle them in a way that is honoring and pleasing to Him. Blessings in comfort, courage and wisdom to all, may God help us to keep our armor on and to stay standing.

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