Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

What did Jack the Ripper look like?

I recently read a short story by Shirley Jackson from collection of her short stories entitled Dark Tales.  There is a movie out now, recently released, on Jackson’s life – but I don’t recommend it. It may not be that factual anyway.  On the other hand, a movie version of her novel “We Have Always Lived in this Castle” is definitely worth watching – but not for kids.
Anyway, one very short story she wrote is called Jack the Ripper. It describes a man who appears to be a champion of mercy and empathy. He comes upon a young woman lying on the sidewalk in the rain and dark, drunk and passed out. He goes into the pub nearby and attempts to garner some support to help her but ends up only being mocked. Eventually he carries her home (finding her address in her purse) and goes to great lengths to carry her up 6 flights of stairs to her appartment. He settles her in, puts her to bed, and then you expect him to leave.
He doesn’t.  This in fact is how the story ends:

…then, just before blowing out the candle, he took out his knife. It had a polished bone handle, and a long and incredibly sharp blade.

He took a taxi home, kissed  his wife who was in bed, and then told her he was going to take a bath. He had put a small picture of the girl that he had “helped” in the corner of the frame of a picture of his wife there in the bedroom.
Shirley Jackson understood evil. Many of her writings emphasize that evil is amazingly adept at disguising itself in beauty. Here in this story we have this man who, more than any other characters in the story, appears to be sacrificially helping a poor girl in need. What nobility! What kindness! If he were a church member he would be beatified by the rest of the congregation – a true saint of a man, you know.
But he was Jack the Ripper.
THIS is evil in action. It appears so often as the serpent in the garden who was more crafty and perhaps even more beautiful than any other creature. People who refuse to know this fact (as most professing Christians do) are necessarily going to be not only victims, but allies of evil. Because Jack the Ripper can appear as an angel of light, just as his father the devil does.
Beware. Beware of that most eminent saint in your church who seems too good to be true. Because…he probably isn’t. Want a new year’s resolution? This is a pretty good one. Wise up to evil. Stop living in denial. Fantasylands are dangerous places.


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  1. EasilyDuped

    Yikes. So what to do? How can you root out the evil when faced with it? My husbands father is a high person in his church, devout in his morning Bible studies and life practices. He is also spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially abusive to his family. I don’t think he would turn into a murderer, but his abuse is subtle and supported by close family who sees him as the patriarch. So how do you root it out? Strangers passing by? Prayer for protection?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Most people, pastors, church members choose to believe the lie. They won’t believe you. So you go no contact with the evil one and his allies. Paying the price is worth it and this is Christ’s command. 1Cor 5. Don’t even eat with such a person.

      • lg

        yes – this is true. Not contact with the evil one OR his allies! He is much too devious, cunning and manipulative for you to even be friends with those he is “friends with.” I learned the hard way.

      • Free

        In 100% agreement with you!! Cease all contact – ALL contact. You will be surprised at how much easier it is (it is not easy, just easier) when you know the Lord backs you – at that point, if does not matter what smear campaigns they attack you with when you cease contact with them and their supporters. The temporary pain of their attacks pales in comparison to the Lord’s word and his promises – and somehow, as awful as it is to ride the social ostracizing wave, you will find comfort in knowing you are standing strong.
        There will also be peace that follows when you are no longer drug through the hell of their lies and deception….. lived it and although it was rough for awhile…. I found that once I really did it…. ceased contact…. it was a huge step in recovery and I NEVER looked back. Praise the Lord – ceasing contact works…. that’s why he clearly told us to.


    Amen! “Wise up to evil. Stop living in denial. Fantasylands are dangerous places.” This is the best advice!
    Thank you again, Pastor Jeff, for so boldly speaking the truth. God bless you!

  3. I Woke Up

    Jeff, what is your take on the Ravi Zacharias revelations after his death? I’m disgusted!!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Typical scandals of these big name “saints”

      • Sue

        Yeah, those celeb-preachers give me the willies. A few years ago, i was saddened to hear that Billy Graham caved – my grandmother used to watch him, back in the day, when he actually preached the Word.

  4. Innoscent

    ..”evil is amazingly adept at disguising itself in beauty.”
    That one reason why the idea of remarrying sounds scary. Even though I’ve wised up to evil and tuned my radar to spot red flags, Jack Rippers come in so many different alluring shades and forms, all the more since Satan has had plenty of extra time to perfect his deceit…

  5. Free

    The abuser has left permanent physical injuries, and basically tortured me with the variety of abuse techniques – including the use of guns. Only to have people dismiss the actions, ironically as with Jack the Ripper, because he was so “charming”, “godly”, “good looking” “successful” “Why would he do that?’ “I don’t see it” “he has such nice eyes” “ he loves the Lord” “he loves you” “he treats you different than the others” etc. They were more than happy to deny his evil because he had the look down – only to find out there are 3 decades worth of people he has abused – and still – he gets away with it because he doesn’t “look” the part.
    Satan disguises his lies with the best of masks and Jack the Ripper, the abuser(s) etc. are just some of the many masks…. way too many that don’t “look” the part…… Yet…. when you become a target for them …. and when they slip and let their masks drop for a second – you will see their eyes – and there is no evil like what you see when their mask drops, and it does, they literally look their part….. but by then it is too late, they have been unleashed.
    More frightening….. split seconds later they will put their mask on again and go about in the world as if nothing happened, whistling, talking, laughing, eating, making calls, doing yard work, watching TV, going to sleep, having guests over, etc. to yet again, successfully not “look” the part.

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