Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Life After Abuse – How to Move On

Galatians 2:20 ESV  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What do you do with your life after you have gotten free from an abuser? In most cases of course we all know that being totally free isn’t possible because of things like joint custody of children, visitation, relatives who often ally with the abuser, and so on. And there are triggering events and places that can replay the trauma. Nevertheless, we need to be able to get on with life. Here are some of my thoughts on this subject and I hope they will be helpful.

I have never experienced domestic abuse in marriage. But I am quite familiar with the beast because my abusers have been many and they all fit many of the very same mentality and tactics that characterize domestic abusers. For the most part, I met them in church. In the churches that I have pastored. They were in every single one. They lusted for power and control. In fact, getting power and control was their very motive for playing Christian and being in a church. As pastor, I was their biggest threat and thus their target. At the hands of such evil ones I have experienced firsthand-

  • Economic abuse – keep the pastor poor so he is easier to control, more dependent
  • Gaslighting – you did this and you said that. I saw you. (When in fact I did  no such things)
  • Guilting and Accusation – you know, most people in this church find that you are harsh and hard to talk to (when in reality I was only hard to talk to for the wicked. They hated truth)
  • Isolation – long stories here, but one of the main ploys under this heading was how I was expected to live in the church owned parsonage right next to the church building
  • Control of Sermon and teaching subject matter – I never yielded to this tactic and their fangs really showed as a result

I could go on and on but you get the idea. Abusers are all out of the same school run by the devil. These tactics of wickedness come to them as naturally as a lion preying on a gazelle.
After years of having to deal with many, many such people, usually every day and certainly every single Sunday, the dawn broke and the last one was gone. Each one had to be confronted – and that required that first myself and other genuine Christians had to grow in wisdom about evil. Some left. Others had to be put out of the church. All took other people with them.
So I know this beast called abuse.
So how do you move on? As I noted above, there are lingering situational issues to be dealt with and endured. Most survivors do not have deep pockets, so economic problems are part of their lives. They have no church home and most friends abandoned them. They devoted years of their life to raising their children, schooling them, being a wife and mother – so after decades of this they have no current job skills. These are all hard issues to deal with.
But what I want to talk about here are more fundamental matters that will do more to help you move on and heal than anything else as you recognize them. So, here we go:

  1. You must be born again. And then you must realize who you are in Christ. That is why I quoted the verse from Galatians above. Your fundamental identity, if you know Christ, is that you are a new creation in whom Christ lives. All that your abuser told you regarding who you ARE, was a pack of lies. In this regard I highly recommend David Needham’s book, Birthright: Christian, do you Know Who You Are?*
  2. It will get better. Believe this. By “it,” I mean all the effects of the evil that was put upon you by that abuser. For example, for a long time I got tensed up when I had to go in places (like a store) where the wicked often went. But no more. It went away. Now I am like, “yeah, alright, there they are.” And you know what else? As years pass, these wicked ones actually increasingly become strangers to you. No kidding. I have actually had them not even recognize me. And more – I didn’t even recognize them. They are like ghosts out of a past that is like a misty, distant dream.
  3. You do not need another husband (or wife). You can remarry – all those pastors and theologians that forbid you to do so are wrongly trying to enslave you. But what I mean by need is more like what I would call neediness. This is why coming to terms with point #1 above – your relationship with Christ – is so important. He is sufficient for you. But I have known numbers of women who have had this neediness built into them either by a mother, or by teaching in a church, or from some other source. And you know what this so often leads to? Marrying another abuser. That is a cruel pattern (see John 4, the woman at the well). If you have gotten free of an abuser and you are thinking that the cure for what still ails you is surely another husband, then look out. Get some help understanding yourself in this area. Don’t keep getting in a train wreck.
  4. Don’t remain stuck in a victim mentality. You have been victimized, but you need not embrace an identity of victim that defines who you are. Perhaps you could think back to who you were before the abuser came along and largely re-molded you into the image he could control. Many survivors and victims have told me that “I used to be happy and confident and people liked me. But now I don’t even recognize that person.” I hear you on this! I understand. But don’t stay stuck there. Embrace again some of the things you used to enjoy. Get some training in a new skill or career field. Pick up that musical instrument again.
  5. Don’t live in regret. That is to say, don’t yield to the false thinking of “I should have stayed in Egypt.” I can confidently tell you that I have never met an abuse survivor who left their abuser and who now regrets doing so. Sure, I know many who will say that thoughts like that have played out in their mind at times, but then the truth prevails. Slavery in Pharaoh’s Egypt was NOT better than freedom across the Red Sea.

These are some of my thoughts on life after abuse.  I am sure that many of you have some great suggestions too and you are very welcome to share them here in the comments.

Philippians 4:12-13 ESV  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  (13)  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

*Unholy Charade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  See additional information here.



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  1. wingingit

    The hardest part with moving on is the intense financial strain placed on the mother who is still continuing to raise, educate, clothe, and provide for the children while her precious resources and health continue to be stolen by her children’s father, post divorce.
    While she has developed many marketable skills and would make an excellent leader or executive in any company setting, she lacks the paper trail to prove her varied skill sets.
    Our current culture does not view skills gained at home to be real or valuable.
    So, even if the mother could get gainful employment to allow her to have a secure financial future, she is prevented from doing so.
    But while she struggles to become financially secure, she still has the full time job of raising the children, caring for the home, repairing whatever breaks, with no extra funding to buy parts or pay for repairs.
    Thus, the family spirals into poverty as more and more appliances, cars, and the home wear out from age and use, with no way to replace these things.
    Moving on often feels like a fantasy when your whole life is trying to figure out how to fix the broken water heater, van, A/C, and more; all while also trying to pour money into the “pay to play” court system, getting therapy and medical care for damaged children, and fighting a still abusive ex…who has many empty hours to fill and much money to spend torturing her and the children.
    I believe this is where the rush to find another partner often comes from. The burden is just far to much for her to carry.
    Many people will say, “Stay single, have more faith, pray more, let the Lord provide.”
    I am not saying God does not provide, but when the woman has gone to every church, charity, domestic abuse program seeking help and has been turned away, it feels pretty desperate.
    Moving on is the same as moving a mountain when you have been fighting for so many years and everyone stands on the shore and yells for you to swim harder while they hold life preservers and watch you drown.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Truth here. Painful. And “churches” watch and do nothing or worse than nothing. A local church could meet virtually all these needs and yet they the are like the two who passed by the wounded man instead of being the Good Samaritan

  2. walkinginlight

    This was wonderful and very practical. Thank you. Philippians 4:13 is one of my favorite verses that I constantly quote to myself! I long for the peace that I had the past fifteen years as my anti-husband has worked overseas. He came home three years ago now and has turned my world once again upside down. He really gave himself away a few weeks ago when he blurted out to me “I can’t control you anymore”. I was stunned that actually came out of his mouth! He knows how God opened my eyes to his mental/emotional torment seven years ago. Because of the knowledge the Lord has taught me through this ministry, he can no longer play his mind games with me and it drives him crazy! Now he has reverted to verbal abuse. I had asked the Lord over and over about leaving him permanently (I am moderately disabled), and the Lord told me that I will know when the time is right. I wait on the Lord. I have been cultivating some of my old personality traits one of which was humor. The anti-husband does not like seeing me laugh and make funny jokes about a situation. Oh well!!! The Lord has a sense of humor. One day when I was running errands in town I came across so many that I saw do dumb things. I came home that night upset by all that I encountered that day. The Lord gave me a scripture that night while reading my bible. Job 11:12 – An IDIOT will become intelligent when the foal of a wild donkey is born a man. I read that and burst out laughing! I said “Thanks Lord, I needed that”. I will continue to cultivate my sense of humor before the abuser squashed me down, so I can bring a laugh to someone else. The Lord is has been helping me to be my old “new” self in Him. Blessings to everyone.

  3. Free

    Thank you Pastor Crippen. After I fled from the abuser, who was met at church, I came to find out the tactics you mentioned above had been used by him on the church pastor(s). This was the same small church he demanded we abruptly leave just months before I fled. Came to find out he had verbally assaulted a pastor that day and they later disclosed they would not let him back in the church, or on the campus because of this and his other behaviors there (he did not tell me any of this, I had no idea until after). Although we had gone to a new church that ultimately harbored the abuser, the former pastors offered genuine help to me after I fled, and were a true gift in a very dark time. They understood, like you.
    I am sorry you have had to experience the evil of the abusers’ willful choices. I am grateful you are making good of these absolutely awful experiences and helping those of us who really do need to hear and read your messages as we recover.
    Your advice is well stated and exceptionally critical. This cannot be a victory in our individual recovering lives if we do not do it with Christ. Thank you for your spot on, truthful advice and next steps, they were, again, so helpful in this process.

  4. Rae

    I’ve had a pastor state directly to my face with his wife right next to him. The subject matter here does not matter. “I’ll survive. I’m not sure you will.” This was post divorce. I know God used the situation to reveal his stand against my divorce. I won’t seek counsel from him, or agree with his rhetoric from the pulpit about marriage. Period.

    • NoKa

      Is it normal for abuse survivors to keep going through cycles of depression/ anger/ anxiety after they get away from the abuser? How long does that last? What would you recommend to people who are still struggling mentally/emotionally even after the abuse is over?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Yes it is normal. PTSD and other results of the trauma can last a long time. The real remedy is truth. Truth that you weren’t to blame. Truth that your spouse blamed you for his evil. Truth that he terrorized you. Truth that all his words were lies. And of course Christ’s truth in His Word. Read it. Listen to the Bible study and sermon videos we have online at Christ Reformation Church youtube, facebook, and sermon audio channels. I apply Scripture all the time to abusers, abuse, and healing from it.

  5. After 5 years of divorce, due to a poorly mediated divorce decree, my abuser is still in control of the financial benefit I am legally to receive. and I’m beginning to doubt I will ever get any of it. All the while, he charms my children and his family into thinking he is the godliest, kindest man ever.
    I just left my home and relocated, again. And he followed me, living with the children. Been struggling with my mind, hope and trust. Thank you for the reminders in this post.!! Much needed.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Followed – yep. I believe everything you say. I have no doubts as I have seen that deception in action. And its all “christian “.

  6. Innoscent

    The hardest for me is my identity. I know as a born-again Christian, my identity is in Jesus.
    However, in this world my identity has shifted from a respectable status of a married woman to one of a victim and divorced. People tend to look down on you and stigmatize you. For a long time I couldn’t even say the word ‘divorced’. This is not what I wanted to be. It was forced on me.
    And then I had to come to terms with the reality that I’d never have a married life.
    How do I move on from this reality, this label? How much do I say from about my past?
    Sometimes I so badly want to shake it all off, or I wished I became amnesic. My whole life has been plagued with abuse starting with my father.
    Anyway there has been much progress and healing in the last 3 years post-divorce and I’m so grateful to God for that. I was able to move places, go back to study, learn new skills, regain confidence and clarity. I’m in a much better place now, although I’m not there yet on the financial and professional aspects, and I’m isolated. People have no time for new friendships and especially someone who doesn’t fit their standards. And I let go of a small church I’d attended for some time in order to keep safe and sane.
    God’s plan is unfolding and I trust Him more than ever. He’s my only refuge and strength for sure.

  7. Aimee

    Great post.
    What i find so hard is hearing the oft-repeated sentence: ‘We pray for you [every day].’ Am I ungrateful to wish they would also contact me regularly to find out how I am doing and/or offer practical help?
    And also: ‘Don’t you miss your home?’
    Of course I miss it and my children! But I couldn’t stay with Pharaoh.
    The temptation to find another partner is very real. There is so much to do alone and it is extremely challenging.
    Thank you, Pastor Jeff.

    • Innoscent

      Aimee, I also hate that ‘praying-for-you’ mantra. I especially think of a Christian couple. All these years, they’ve never ever asked me if I needed anything, especially during a long period when I didn’t have enough to buy groceries and was suffering in every way. But they sure do pray for me and let me know…
      I also find life is super busy doing it all alone. But I’ve seen divine guidance and miracles every step of the way.
      The challenges we face, Aimee, is what makes us stronger and closer to God in the end.

      • lg

        That is so true: “All these years, they’ve never ever asked me if I needed anything, especially during a long period when I didn’t have enough to buy groceries and was suffering in every way. But they sure do pray for me and let me know…”
        I pray to God that I will not be like that when the time comes when God calls me to lift up, encourage and help a struggling widow in the ways I remember that I needed help.

        • Innoscent

          That was my very prayer Ig! And after God delivered me He provided means for me to help others practically.
          Those ‘bail out’ prayers are cruel indeed. They only put more salt on the wounds. And yet this ‘praying’ couple are ministry leaders, providing the word of God and highly admired by church folks… ‘good Samaritans’ praying by the injured victim but then going on their way… Fake good Samaritans they are in reality.

  8. lg

    I agree with “wingingit” and “Aimee” — no one has ever offered me much needed practical help while also having to deal with the incredible trauma, exploitation, and financial devastation that is par for the course when divorcing a sociopathic abuser, being forced to “pay to play” the court system as “wininginit” described. Many people, including my family, seem to think I have a choice in spending money in Family Court. I don’t. If I don’t respond, and pay the time and money required to respond, then I lose custody and will have to pay child support to someone who makes 15x as much money as I do. That is what abusers do in the family court.
    While I did receive some sympathetic support and encouragement what was needed at the time, it was only from less than a handful of the church members. And after a while sympathy is no longer helpful, and neither are the “sympathetic prayers.”
    What I really needed was not just very savvy legal help, but also practical day-to-day help, such as car insurance, car registration, moving things, fixing things, etc, etc.. Or even just an invitation for my daughter and I to share a holiday meal – so that I would not have to bear the expense and energy required to host my own holiday meals for my daughter’ sake. I never received this.
    I also needed prayers from people who were not afraid to get their hands dirty and learn about the corrupt and exploitative money making pit called “Family Court.” But like evil and abuse, no one is interested in “soiling” their world with this kind of knowledge.
    As a result, I have come to learn that we need to be very selective and careful about who we ask to pray for us. I no longer feel safe and comfortable asking anyone from our church to pray for me anymore.
    When I was fighting to keep my daughter in her school, a modest Christian expeditionary learning school, I sought the prayers of many from our church. I was stunned when I lost that case and so confused as to why God allowed that to happen. I felt betrayed. When I lost the case, I remember a trusted friend who has the appearance of great godliness said to me, “we prayed every night for your daughter, and were surprised she was even able to remain there (in her school) for as long as she did.” In other words, they were praying prayers of unbelief and presenting an appearance of godliness but “denying its power.”
    Another time during the same time I remember a friend, a single mother, not educated at all, but wiser to evil than any of the over-educated elites in my church, telling me after she heard my mother pray, “she (my mother) prays curses over you!” This struck me and for a while afterwards I was realizing that just because someone “prays” does not mean their prayers are to be interpreted as godly prayers, just like just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean they are one.
    Looking back I remember how I would always feel nauseated when I would see people going up for “healing prayer” each Sunday, while also listening to the “corporate prayers” prayed each Sunday. Meanwhile, I felt like I was silently drowning in front of everyone and forced to smile and show everyone how strong I was while simultaneously “spiraling into poverty” resulting from near monthly family court drama initiated by my ex in the midst of the overwhelming absence of any negative reports about me or my parenting. At the time, I could not understand why the idea of “healing prayer” and “corporate prayer” made me feel so nauseated, but now I do.
    Moving on does “feel like a fantasy” as “wingingit” described. Especially since the devastation has been so great. But I do think Pastor Crippen’s advice is spot on: 1) Realize who you are in Christ 2) It will get better 3) Don’t live in victim mentality 4) don’t live in regret, “Slavery in Pharaoh’s Egypt was NOT better than freedom across the Red Sea,” 5) You can remarry, but do not need to. God promises to take care of his widows and even promises to be their husband (Isaiah 54).
    God also promises his children Psalm 37: 25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
    While Naomi does pray for her daughters in law that “May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband,” God also promises in Isaiah that “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”
    Thinking back on the story of Ruth and Naomi: was it because of unbelief that Naomi’s husbands and sons left their homeland in Judah to go to an ungodly place like Moab in seeking greater material provisions? Naomi’s husbands and her sons then died there in Moab. Similarly, Lot’s wife also died when she “looked back” in regret or longing at her cushy life in Sodom. Just like many of the Israelites had to wander for 40 years in the desert, never allowed to enter the promise land due to their unbelief, balking at the “giants” they would have to encounter in the land of milk of honey and complaining to return to their life of slavery in Egypt.
    While Naomi was honest about her bitterness and so was Job when he questioned his life, yet they still remained steadfast in their faith and resisted the adversary who goes “to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it” (Job 1) “seeking someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5). The adversary intentionally works hard to beat us and wear us down.

  9. No one down here

    For me, the key was love.
    I am not wealthy. *someone* didn’t reveal entirety of income to the court system, and the child support I receive is laughable. The same someone continues to lie to me and others. Continues to put out a scenario where he is innocent of anything and I am the mentally disturbed person.
    But God.
    Somehow, in the dark hours, God decided I needed to learn the lessons of love.
    To put this into context… I was frequently told I was worthless, useless, not needed, not wanted, an enemy, a bringer of destruction, a contentious lazy person who surely didn’t love her husband. I was told there was no reason for me to live. It would be better off if I were to kill myself.
    These things said often enough, in enough ways, and demonstrated in actions… along with the insult of being so repulsive, he could hardly bear to look at me, let alone touch me.
    Rejected completely. Abandoned. Considered no better than garbage.
    I believed it all.
    After leaving a “home” like that, how is one supposed to keep house? Survive? Have a voice? Find hope?
    God. The answer is God. For me, He has been so incredibly gracious and kind. He sent me to a person who made it a personal mission apparently to demonstrate the love of God to me. Months and months. Even after I stated, “I don’t want to be shown love.”
    A person, sent from God, demonstrating true love so that I could understand and know what it feels like to be loved…
    Patient and kind, even though my life is complicated and difficult
    Strong to continue when I tried to reject the kindness
    Demonstrating forgiveness… when I failed, and had to deal with serious issues… showing me what it means when God forgives and remembers no more… rather than letting sin color the future interactions
    Empathizing and sympathizing…. crying with me, being angry at injustice shown me, rejoicing with me…
    Did I say not ever giving up? Months…. demonstrating what it means when God loves us first… and draws us patiently to Himself.
    Safe. Courage to do the right things becomes easier when there is someone walking the hard things with you. Lifting you up, telling you they know it is hard, they understand… and listening when the tasks are completed… and providing encouragement.
    Love is the key… God’s love in particular, but sometimes help is desperately needed to make God’s love seem real. Knowing you are loved is what allows you to have a voice, to stand firm when needed, and do the right things before the Lord.

  10. Pandora

    I don’t understand why so many in the church want to appease the abusers. How often have I heard, “ we just need to love them”. It’s absurd! It’s encouraging evil! What about their victims? Why wouldn’t Christians want to protect the oppressed and punish the abusers. This wrong thinking is the height of ungodliness and hypocrisy. Glad that many of you have escaped your Egypt.

  11. Free Bird

    To me, the hardest part of moving forward isn’t internal. It’s the unwanted interference from others trying to pull you back into the pit.
    A lot of outsiders want you to return to doormat position because they had you where they wanted you. They’re afraid that if the doormat vacates the porch, the abuser will go looking for a replacement. Nobody wants to make the abuser’s short-list.
    People who weren’t part of your life come out of the woodwork with unsolicited judgment when you leave an abusive relationship. You’ll hear from your aloof uncle who couldn’t ever be bothered to know or call you for the first 40 years of your life, yet emerges when you get away from your abuser so he can admonish you with gems such as “family sticks together.”
    Also, some outsiders want to be cheap heroes. They put you and your abuser back together in the same room, and they run away quickly so they avoid the inevitable shrapnel while patting themselves on the back for mending a broken relationship. They won’t be paying your bills if you land in the hospital the next day from another assault.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Free Bird- it really has so much cowardice, selfishness, and arrogance in the mix. You expose the abuse and confront it and this rocks their comfy world. So you are the culprit.

  12. notlongnow

    Leaving is not easy and moving on can be hard too when you are still in survival mode. I had all of those disadvantages, lack of money, no recent job skills, health problems, no family support, etc. I still do except have some recent job history now. Several years out and still in survival mode wondering if I will make it, I’m actually in emergency homeless accommodation now after having to leave my last place after a double whammy of surgery complications and a storm that flooded me out.
    It’s like you’re always struggling to keep your head above water, and sometimes you make a little bit of progress but then wham, something else happens and you are back at square one. If you were given a good settlement from divorce, you definitely have an advantage to starting a new life and moving on, some of us left with nothing and got nothing for the years of abuse.
    Only thing that keeps me going is the many instances where God has taken care of me, sometimes in miraculous ways. I know He loves me and is with me, and provides and helps.
    I agree with what has been said above, most professing christians just get frustrated at you in your problems, make absurd judgements and say they are praying for you, but won’t lift even their little finger to help in any way in a practical sense. I know one lady in particular who loves to tell me to think positive and never speak negative (she thinks because I speak real about my problems, my speech is causing them… word of faith rubbish), pray for God to heal my broken bone and ongoing pain (which has had me out of work for months). I’ve told her over and over that money makes a huge difference and if you don’t have it, or family support and you end up homeless it is dire. She keeps putting the blame on me, “speak P…O…S…I….T….I….V…..E!!” she said through angry, gritted teeth the other day when I was at breaking point. Meanwhile she has countless expensive pieces of artwork hanging on her walls and seems quite wealthy. I don’t expect her to at all, but the other day I couldn’t help thinking that just one of her paintings could change my world in untold ways, and I cannot fathom Jesus thinking it is ok for rich people, professing christians at that, to get mad at abuse victims as if they are not being positive enough and the ongoing ramifications of abuse is all their fault, when they actually have the practical means to really help them (again not expecting it, just pondering the wrongness of it all.)
    Anyway, at least emotionally I finally feel like I am starting to get free of the abuser, and I do think freedom from evil is worth even the struggles. It’s only ever a downhill slope when you are in it. At least there is hope for a somewhat better life out of it, even if its a many year fight to get it, and who can put a price on freedom and peace, which is what the Lord wants for us? I keep reminding myself we are pilgrims in this world anyway, this world is not my home, and the trials keep me close to the Lord. I don’t think the smug, know it all, safe and comfortable ‘christians’ have that closeness to Him, or even know Him in truth at all really. I know what I would rather.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Notlongnow – You are very courageous and growing in wisdom in Christ. What you say here is truth. One of the things I often dream and think about is winning piles and piles of money so that I could provide help to abuse victims/survivors. Build nice condos. Provide for all kinds of their needs. But then I am reminded that in fact we do have infinite resources. The Lord owns it all and He is vastly wiser than me in how to use those resources.
      I cannot believe that people who claim to be Christians and yet refuse to help the downtrodden like yourself really know the Lord at all.
      James 2:15-17 ESV  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  (16)  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  (17)  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
      May the Lord bless and protect you and bring us all safely into our real home where there will never be any of this evil ever, ever, again.

  13. IrisJane

    My heart breaks for what each and every soul who has shared their story here, and also for those who are unable to share but are experiencing the same traumas and abuses. When I became a Christian in my early twenties, I was in desperately in need of being ‘happy’ after growing up surrounded by abuse and a friend brought me to a church who offered just that, it was heaven to me, and the people were very kind, but looking back now, as someone who desperately needed to be taught what true evil, repentance, and righteousness were, it was sorely lacking in teaching any these traits, though the second you accepted Jesus as your savior, you were expected to go out into the world and become an amazing evangelist trying to save anyone you came in contact with, but without any real deep training or guidance in how to do so, and for someone like me, who came from an abusive background and was severely lacking in the basics of normal behavior, and then married into a very toxic ‘christian’ family, I was woefully unprepared to do so, and now look back with such deep remorse at how I thought I was showing Christ’s love to people but how clueless I really was at how to share Jesus with anyone.
    It’s as if these churches, even if they mean we’ll, just churn ‘christians’ out by the thousands like a factory to make more christians. I know many mean well, as I did, but they and I never realized the harm and that was being perpetrated on hurting people by the ‘love, acceptance, and forgiveness’ mantra. Though there were some who were able to really take that to heart and make it work, sadly, I wasn’t one of them and feel I let God down and wasted so many years thinking I was serving Him, when I was most likely more of an embarrassment to Him.
    I say all this because I believe there are so many like me who think they are doing God’s will and serving Him but are really doing quite the opposite and actually causing more harm and creating barriers to Christ’s love and healing instead of bridges.
    When someone is in an abusive situation, with all that entails and is just trying to survive, how are they supposed to just slap on ‘church-happy’ and truly be the hands and feet of Christ? They can’t really, as much as they’d like to. That’s why , as painful as the learning has been, I’m so thankful for this ministry for finally showing me what true evil and sin looks like, in others as well as in myself, but most of all, I’m thankful to finally see what Christ’s love really looks like and pray that others who think they see but are still blind will have the scales fall off as I have and be able to finally offer help in Christ’s name to those who are truly hurting and in need. The shallowness that has permeated the church needs to be eradicated and they need to start churning out warriors for Christ to truly share His heart and His reason for dying on the cross for us…this is what you are doing here Pastor Crippen, you are a warrior for Him and may your ministry continue to grow and be blessed in every possible way.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Iris Jane. You have become wise.

    • Innoscent

      IrisJane, I seem to read my own story in your comment. I came to Christ in my late teens after much heartache caused by an abusive father, a dysfunctional family. I was broken and bruised in every way. In the churches I went on to attend over the years I never found a correct teaching about evil and abuse. Thus I ended up marrying an abuser in the church when I thought I was marrying a fine Christian with whom to serve the Lord and be a powerful testimony of God’s love to my unbelieving family. Needless to say it was a total disaster.
      It may seem that these years were wasted, but as I look at Joseph, his years as a slave, servant, prisoner, all these God used them and turned them around to His glory and salvation of His people. I take much comfort in such example that God included in HIs word for us.
      With all the learning and divine miracles I turned into a warrior for Christ, with the conviction that God has a Joseph plan for each one of His dear ones, which were once victims and oppressed. Take heart in that promise IrisJane.

      • IrisJane

        Thank you Innoscent, we do have similar stories. I too think upon Joseph often and also hope that my years in ‘prison’ will not have been wasted, but will be glorifying to God in some way, and I also take much comfort in his example, God is so good that way, speaking across the centuries through His word to offer help to the hearts of those who turn to Him and seek Him.
        Blessings in continuing to be a warrior for Christ, praying God’s strength and peace to you.

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