Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Rudeness as a Sign of Evil

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV  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;

Do you see that little phrase here – “or rude”?  The very next quality of love that is named after it is “it does not insist on its own way.” I suspect the latter is an elaboration on rudeness.
Abusers and other evil characters are rude. This word means far more than mere failure to observe proper etiquette (although I suspect that many of you could share how being a slob or being gross was a quality of your abuser). Rudeness is not simply limited though to a failure to be polite. It is in fact, an insisting upon having its own way. It is a pressing and pressuring of someone else. It is a violating of proper boundaries. An inappropriate insistence that someone do something or yield to some demand. It is a rank lack of consideration for others.
Let me give you some examples. I tell you, evil people just keep giving me the examples!!  I suppose that’s one good thing about them. They provide lots of material for us to write about.

Let’s call this pastor, Barry. Barry has been a pastor for a long time and although he has just an average sized congregation, Barry has a knack for working his way into “position.” Position and office-holding in his denomination. Position in the community in various and highly visible “serving” capacities. Many people turn to Barry for his “wisdom” in a crisis.
But Barry is a narcissist. For all of his religious talk and his expositions upon sound doctrine, Barry is an evil man. A wolf in wool. And one of the ways that his disguise slips at times, if you watch carefully, is his rudeness. He is rude in the sense that Paul is thinking of. Barry insists upon his own way. Barry does this by insisting that his target have a relationship with him. Barry foists himself upon others – upon people who simply want nothing to do with him anymore. “You know, we ought to get together. We haven’t seen each other for a long time. I think my wife and I will just drive on over this weekend and we can have lunch with you.” He doesn’t ask. He totally ignores issues that caused us not to want to have any contact with him. And when he is met with “No, Barry. I don’t want to do that,” what is his response? He keeps pressing and insisting until you have to just come out and say it – “Barry, I want nothing to do with you. Don’t come here. I won’t meet with you.”
Of course, Barry is then highly offended and “hurt.” He just cannot understand, so he says, why we would say such a thing to him. And of course it will be our fault. He will tell others so. “Oh, I tried to reach out to him, but I guess he is just a bitter person.”
And then let me tell you about Paul and Agnes. Perhaps you have met them yourself. Paul and Agnes just “know” that the Lord has called them to a particular ministry, and they just “know” that He is directing them to involve you in it. Let’s say that the “you” here is “me.” They are on a mission to involve me in this thing.
Now of course, the Lord hasn’t really told them anything. Their “ministry” is one that they have created themselves. They are like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day –

Jeremiah 14:14 ESV  And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.

So Paul and Agnes contact me (they leave a message)  and in very pious sounding language, they excitedly launch out into a description of their “calling.” And they want me to contact them because they want me to be part of it. But I don’t want to be a part of it. God, interestingly, hasn’t “told” me anything about it. But my thoughts on the matter don’t even enter into their thoughts. Paul and Agnes are rude. They are inconsiderate. They are boundary-crossers.
Well, as I said, I don’t return their call. Not to be dissuaded however, a couple of weeks later, they leave another message, this time much longer and in even more pious sounding tones. Don’t I want to be a part of their calling? Please, please, please contact us.
I don’t contact them. I’ve met their kind before.
But does this stop Paul and Agnes from pressing on? Oh no. They step it up. Once again with absolutely no consideration for my obvious message (by not answering their calls) that I am not interested, they foist themselves on me. They send an email and announce that they have been praying about all of this, and specifically about my involvement, and they are now leaving their home and driving down to my area where they pray that the Lord “will open a door for them to meet with me.” They would have come by our church on Sunday, but we are just meeting online right now and they know that. So, “perhaps the Lord will be good and direct you to meet with us Sunday afternoon.”
So here they come! They have already even reserved a motel room nearby.
Now, keep a couple of things in mind. First, no matter what your thoughts are on the covid virus restrictions, the fact is that those restrictions and guidelines exist. Paul and Agnes know it. But they are going to travel down to my area, stay in a motel, and then (God has directed them, you know), they want me, the pastor of a church that isn’t even physically gathering together right now due to the virus) to socialize with them! Furthermore, Sunday afternoons are often the most inconvenient time for me to drive somewhere and meet with people who I don’t even know (or at this point, like!).  No matter. Paul and Agnes are on a mission for God (ever seen the Blues Brothers?)
So, it is time to get direct. “I am not going to meet with you. I do not want to be involved in your activities. Please remove me from your list.”
Will they show up Sunday anyway? The chances are high. I know this because I have dealt with their types many times. Their motives are never pure. They always have some selfish agenda. Oh, and when I shared their emails and messages with a few friends, here are some of the responses I received (I have wise friends):

  • That is just creepy
  • They have some unstated and evil motive
  • That is sooo presumptuous to just foist themselves on you
  • They probably are coming down to teach you that you are doing church wrong by worshipping online
  • And this one I really like – “how obtuse of them.” I had to look up that word even though I think I remember it from geometry. But in regard to people, it means “dull, stupid, slow to take a hint, dense.” And that is just seeing the best case possibility. Worst case and probably the most accurate is, they have a hidden and evil motive.

Such dull people require clear dealing. I’ve seen it and I have done this. “You need to leave now. Here is the door. You are never to come back here or you will be charged with trespassing.” And even then, believe it or not, I have had such people respond with “are you asking me to leave?” Ha! “No, I am ordering you to leave!”
And off they go, so hurt, and ready to “share” with others how sorely and hurtfully they were treated at your hands. You are so mean, you know. They will have to pray for you.

Nehemiah 6:2-4 ESV  Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm.  (3)  And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”  (4)  And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.



We are Children of the Promise – Take Heart


Why is Forgiveness Even Possible?


  1. joepote01

    Obtuse is the opposite of acute… both in geometry and in people. 🙂

  2. Notlongnow

    I’ve just had an experience with a ‘rude christian’ in the past few months. He got mad at me I would not attend his church, (even after assuring me before he would not pressure me to go), when I declined yet another invitation, this time for the service and ladies morning Christmas tea with the pastors wife, he said it was not nice that I wasn’t going, that I was selfish to his wife to not go, and that I need to “repent and forgive” my previous church that was causing my aversion to wanting to attend a church of the same cult like, spiritually abusive denomination. He really showed his true colours, I think he was mad he wasn’t going to be able to impress the pastor that he finally got me to go (they had been trying to get me there for weeks). This same man has a ‘Facebook’ ministry where he posts Christian memes and sermons, takes photos of himself in tshirts with Christians slogans. Makes me ill now when I think about it. He loves Voddie Baucham so that was a red flag in itself. Lots of other rude, arrogant and belittling behaviour from him but I brushed it off wanting to believe the best in him. I got away from him after that.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you! Good job getting away. Some of the rudest church people are the “soul-winner” types who are only looking to get another decal on their soul winner club membership.

      • Notlongnow

        Yes, it’s all about them and has nothing to do with the true love of God.
        In relation to your post, with the couple pressuring you. I agree, it’s a very tell tale sign someone is operating in evil. The devil is the one that pressures and disrespects boundaries, as do people who have some evil, selfish motive. The man I referred to was like that too, him and his wife each separately banging on my bedroom door each week harassing me to go to their church. I was staying there while I had nowhere else to go and after he said before I moved there that I could go to any church I wanted, that they would not expect me to go to theirs at all. That whole experience taught me the second someone won’t accept your no and starts pressuring, it’s coming from the evil one and not of God. I’m glad I was able to discern it quickly this time. In the past I would have ‘been nice’ and just gone along with what someone wanted to keep the peace thinking that would be the Christian thing to do. It’s good to see how God is changing me in these ways for the better.

    • frankiesmith2064

      Could you please explain about Bauchman? I’m curious about Voddie Bauchman? What does he believe and preach? Is he soft on abusers?

      • Jeff Crippen

        He forbids divorce for ANY reason and would ex communicate anyone who does divorce. And yet people flock after him.

  3. Debby

    My narc ex tries this with our grown children. They don’t want anything to do with him. But they struggle with the level of firmness they know is necessary. They are good people and nobody likes being forced to have to be so firm. We want these people to just “take a hint” but they purposefully don’t take it. They think they can manipulate us bc we are nice and don’t want to be rude. I have learned that with some people you HAVE to be super blunt to stop the manipulation train.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Blunt! Yep. I literally have told several to get out of our church and never come back or they will be arrested.

    • Free

      Thank you for sharing real-life background to this, and your resolve in standing firm with these situations.
      It helps to hear your approach to repeatedly rude or pushy people (which some have excused it by being “on fire” for the Lord). The misuse of the Bible and “God revealing” these things to them is a common abusive and manipulative tactic – it’s helpful to hear your success stories in handling them, particularly knowing you have a full schedule and can be an easy target.
      Have seen the overt and covert rudeness, and way pushy tactics in and out of the church community….. in and out of ministry…. in small groups… and so terribly often in my former oppressive religious congregation and legalistic relationships. When you break out and say “no” or “no thank you”…. the fallout from these people speaks volumes – in a way, as hard as it is to stomach at times (their smear campaigns and all), it is validation that you are in the right. No need to look back, stand firm and move on.

      • lg

        Yes — It is very helpful to hear real life examples! I agree – Thank you for sharing this with us!
        I was NEVER taught the concept of “boundaries” when I was growing up, but instead taught to be polite, accommodating, to always “give people the benefit of the doubt,” and believe that “they mean well,” and “their intensions are good,” “their heart is in the right place,” even if what they do is uncomfortable and unwanted. But, I now know that these are lies. Shortly after I got married I read Cloud and Townson’s book, Boundaries, but even their description of boundary violators was was not enough for me to fully understand the depth of what that means and now, after all I have been though with a shameless boundary violator, therr message on boundaries is rather weak.
        Looking back, I realize that my now ex never took “No” for an answer, not even my No to his early requests for a relationship with him. However, instead of seeing that as a red flag and clear boundary violations, I was taught to see that as “persistent” and “he must really care about you” and a trait to admire and respect! My family thought he was such a great guy because he was so persistent!
        Flash forward when I have to file a no trespassing order and protective order because he refuses to accept my no to stop trespassing and demands constant contact including unlimited depositions of me for “day to day until completion” and up to “eight hours” each time, which he conducts as a pro se litigant (acting as his own attorney). I know now that his demand for contact has absolutely nothing to do with being concerned about my wellbeing or caring about me or wanting to “communicate” with me in a sincere and honest way, but instead has everything to do with power, control and intimidation — violating boundaries: by forcing me into an unwanted relationship and constant exchanges. This is how it is selfish: it depletes me emotionally and financially, but it is all very energizing for him. He get energized when he depletes me.
        Boundary violators are like vampires — they will “eat your life” if you let them. And — they will always seek to appear like angels of light, righteous, and “with good intensions” while doing so.
        I was always taught that having a boundary or trying to enforce a boundary was “not nice” and even though my intimate experience with a clear boundary violator taught me a lot, it is still very much out of my comfort zone to say No to people and feels confrontational. Yet – as Pastor Crippen just described it is they who are being rude, not me!
        However, on a less extreme scale: it is still hard when the boundary violator is more subtle and who is a parent. It is hard to figure out that fine line between “honoring your parents” and then opening yourself up to many micro boundary violations that only make a stressful periods even more stressful, not helpful. The first step is realizing how easily I have allowed people to bulldoze me over the years: a parent, play date parents of my daughter’s friends, and “well meaning” people from the church who are “praying for you….”
        Thank you for making that association between “rude” and “inconsiderate” and “boundary violators” and how destructive and selfish “rude” behavior really is, even when cloaked in the “appearance” of “good intentions.” I don’t even believe in the idea of good intensions anymore if the intension ends up hurting more than helping.

  4. twosparrows

    Thank you.
    Perfect timing in my life.
    I was sitting here wrestling with why I have to repeat my “no”, only to have it be disregarded again.
    Love is not “rude”. Amen.

  5. Snapdragon

    The audacity of this type of person disgusts me. Who do they think they are, that they can just do what they want without regarding the feelings of other people? This is the way little children sometimes act before they have learned to be unselfish. When adults act this way they sound like crybabies: “give me what I want, I deserve it, you can’t deny me what I am entitled to.” So insolent.
    Thanks Pastor, perfect verse to quote from Nehemiah at the end. 😀

  6. Z

    Pastor, there is SO much wisdom and truth in this post. Rudeness. The narcissist/christian poser forces another true Christian who is nice and open to friendship to be forced to set healthy boundaries. But the abusive types will NOT accept your boundaries no matter how valid they are. So they force you to be more firm and blunt. And then comes the victim card they play. How mean you are and you are a fake Christian. Tantrums like a five-year-old. Your word “foisting” themselves on you and on others to join them in condemning you for your boundaries on them. Oh, and the deceptions! They will weasel their way however they can to try to MAKE YOU and others interact with them. They WON’T take “No” for an answer! The smears and lies, the fangs and talons come out. And they claim to be the victim! In one case, the person claims to be an “abuse victim” but in actuality IS the abusive person! EVERYONE in this person’s life is “against this person”. They are all going to hell, according to this person. Because they’ve dared to set boundaries!
    I’ve learned so much from your teachings on red flags and tactics these types use on us-kind and welcoming true Christians to try to advance their agenda. But I’ve become wise to it. No amount of smearing, lies, false accusations or condemnation will work. Those only CONFIRM that I did the right thing in cutting off all interaction and standing firm against the backlash. Thank you for these tools and for teaching us wisdom, Pastor!

  7. Survivor

    Many years ago someone taught me that if I am being – “rushed, panicked, nagged, driven or pressured,” that that is Satan’s calling card!

    • Ms.E.

      I agree with this teaching, and can certainly relate to the experience of narcissist’s rushing, nagging, and pressuring. They are yellow flags that I should have never dismissed.

  8. Innoscent

    Thank you Jeff for zooming in on the ‘rude’ word. Other versions say that love ‘does not act/behave unbecomingly / unseemly / disgracefully / improperly / inappropriately’.
    One tactic my narc ex- used was to accuse me of having my own way. Obviously he didn’t like me resisting his devilish schemes, so he’d projected his rudeness on me. That I wasn’t the submitted wife and didn’t let him be the head. How dare I?
    He’d also turn up at the place of specific friends of mine uninvited to glean some info and try and turn them against me to chip away at my support network.
    All this was very frustrating and aleniating to say the least.

    • frankiesmith2064

      So true about the accusations of selfishness. While I was being smear campaigned, manipulated, abused, bullied, lied to and lied about I was told I was selfish and unteachable. The audacity, entitlement and arrogance of these types-of creatures is unbelievable!!

      • Innoscent

        frankiesmith2064, indeed their creativity to do evil and justify it knows no bound -a bottomless pit! the abomination of communication!

  9. Grace

    We recently experienced a strange feeling of contention when a church member arrived at church for the annual voter’s meeting (after not being there for months). One thing we noticed was his rudeness. We’ve learned to pay attention to those feelings of contention and conflict that appear when certain people appear, when before we used to dismiss them.

    • Jeff Crippen


      • suzzieq07

        This post on rudeness is so great! You can see how many other people thought so too by all the replies! My abuser did about everything mentioned. One thing that I identified with from one of the replies, was how my abuser would ‘TRY’ to manipulate others into getting me to talk to him or see him. Fortunately most people he tried this with were onto his game and wouldn’t play it with him. I would find out after the fact, how he had approached these people with various different ploys to get them to tell me to contact him. One time, after we were separated, believe it or not, he went with members of our church who were slated to be guests in the studio audience of a live Christian late-night program. When the live mic was passed in the audience for “prayer or praise,” he took the mic and tearfully sobbed that he “wanted his family back.” I had fallen asleep and never saw the broadcast. My Pastor’s wife said, “Good, it was a disgusting display,” glad you didn’t see it.

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